COVID-19 Update for Employers

Businesses across the state are responding to the coronavirus outbreak. See below for COVID-19 resources for Washington state employers, public health resources, information about response funds, and how to help.  

Washington State Official COVID-19 Website:

The state’s Coronavirus Response portal links to official information from a variety of trusted sources. The website provides links to resources for families, businesses, and workers, including how to get help with finances, food, housing, and childcare. You can also visit the site for news, how to help others during this time, government emergency actions, health recommendations, guidance for schools, and more.

Governor Inslee’s Stay Home/Stay Healthy Order:

COVID-19 Resources for Employers:

Public Health Resources:

Ways to Help:

  • #AllinSeattle: This group is quickly deploying resources directly to proven non-profits who can deliver it to those most in need. At launch on March 23, they’ve raised over $27 million to contribute directly to these non-profits. Join by donating to the organization of your choice at allinseattle.org
  • Seattle Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund: The COVID-19 Response Fund, hosted by the Seattle Foundation, is focused on providing flexible resources to organizations working with communities who are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and the economic consequences of the outbreak. It is designed to complement the work of public health officials and expand local capacity to address all aspects of the outbreak as efficiently as possible. Currently the fund has raised $11 million and is finalizing criteria for distribution of funds.  They plan to have two-thirds of the funds distributed by the end of March. You can get additional information or donate here.
  • Coronavirus Response Fund for Snohomish County: Hosted by the Community Foundation of Snohomish County, the Coronavirus Response Fund will provide flexible resources to regional organizations working with communities who are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and the economic consequences of this outbreak. The first round of funding awarded $250,000 to nonprofits providing immediate, safety-net services to families, seniors, and individuals. To learn more or donate, see here.
  • COVID-19 Response Fund for Eastern Washington: A coalition of philanthropic, government, and business partners have joined forces create an Eastern Washington COVID-19 Response Fund, hosted by Innovia. In the coming weeks, the fund will begin to provide grants to community-based organizations at the frontlines of the region’s coronavirus outbreak in Eastern Washington. See here to donate or get additional information.
  • BloodWorks Northwest Needs Donors: There is an ongoing need for blood donors to maintain a safe and reliable blood supply during this time. For the safety and care of current and future patients, Bloodworks Northwest is urging the community to step up to donate and spread word of the need. Please consider scheduling an appointment to donate blood and encourage your colleagues, family, and friends to do the same. More information is available here.
  • Donate to Food Banks: In light of the economic impacts of COVID-19, organizations working to solve hunger need support. Northwest Harvest provides meals to food banks across the state, and Food Lifeline distributes food to Western Washington food banks.

Updated 3/25/20.

Around the Table: Seattle Storm, Boeing, Microsoft

Alisha Valavanis (Photo: Seattle Storm)

Seattle Storm CEO and general manager Alisha Valavanis featured in PROFILE Magazine

PROFILE Magazine recently featured Roundtable member Alisha Valavanis, CEO and general manager of the Seattle Storm. In the story, Valavanis discusses her childhood, early career, her dual roles at the Seattle Storm, and her work in leading the team’s management company Force 10. Under Valavanis’s leadership, the Storm’s players and staff collaborated to set goals for future success, and the team won the 2018 WNBA championship.

Students compete in Boeing innovation competition

At Boeing’s first Innovation Challenge for students, engineering majors proposed new solutions for aviation industry challenges, such as enhancing the passenger experience and improving operational safety and efficiency. The winning proposal – from a team of University of Washington, Cornell University, and Georgia Tech students – summarized how artificial intelligence could be used to provide an automated personal assistant for pilots. The competition aims to attract skilled engineers to Boeing’s workforce.

Microsoft introduces social entrepreneurship program

Microsoft is inviting entrepreneurs to apply for its new Global Social Entrepreneurship Program, which will support social startups by providing technology, connections, and grants. Select startups will be eligible for grants related to skills development, sustainability, and accessibility. Entrepreneurs will also receive free access to Microsoft technologies and sales resources. The program is offered to startups based in 140 countries.

Around the Table: Symetra, PSL Ventures, Windermere, and more

Sharing some recent stories and headlines from our member companies… 

Windermere donates $30K to Mary’s Place as part of Seahawks partnership

As part of the #TackleHomelessness campaign with the Seahawks, Windermere agreed to donate $100 to Mary’s Place for every Seahawks home game defensive tackle during the 2019 NFL season. Windermere presented Mary’s Place, which supports families on their journey out of homelessness, with a $30,000 check. Read more here.

Margaret Meister of Symetra named a Seattle executive to watch in ’20

Seattle Business Magazine named Symetra Chief Executive Officer and President Margaret Meister one of the 10 Seattle leaders to watch this decade. The employee benefits, annuities and insurance provider is taking major steps to become an iconic Pacific Northwest company as a sponsor of the Seattle Storm and Seattle’s new NHL team. “For us to really get to the level that we can get to, we need to make the brand investment and get the consumer-level recognition of who Symetra is and what we do,” Meister says. Leaders from Nordstrom and Starbucks are also included in the list.

Julie Sandler of PSL Ventures provides startup advice at panel discussion

At a recent panel discussion, speakers such as Julie Sandler, managing director at Pioneer Square Labs, offered startup advice to entrepreneurs who are raising funds while getting ready for a potential economic downturn. Sandler said “it’s a great time to be raising money” given all the capital available to startups. Sandler added that a company’s business fundamentals are of equal importance to the growth story. Read more here.

Roundtable members honor Black History Month

We’re pleased to share a sampling of stories from Roundtable member companies in celebration of Black History Month. Wells Fargo highlighted the history of William M. Robison, an express messenger in the 1850s who advocated for equal rights; Russell Investments celebrated the accomplishments of three 20th-century black economists; a Microsoft leader reflected on her family’s history; and Starbucks shared stories of four black partners.

Around the Table: WaFd, Wells Fargo, Starbucks, Microsoft & Boeing

Sharing some recent stories and headlines from our member companies… 

Brent Beardall and Mary Knell honored with 2020 Excellence Awards, Seattle Business Magazine

Congratulations to Brent Beardall and Mary Knell, both of whom were honored with a 2020 Executive Excellence Award from Seattle Business Magazine. As reported in the magazine’s January/February issue, “Under Brent Beardall’s leadership, WaFd has become one of the healthiest banks in the nation. Beardall has been CEO for only three years, but he’s held leadership positions at the bank – the largest based in Washington state – since 2001. He has been instrumental in the bank’s recent business and technological transformations.” Mary Knell is recognized for her 40 years in the banking industry and work to promote diverse leadership. As reported in the magazine, “In her first year as CEO of Pacific Northwest Commercial Banking for Wells Fargo & Co., Mary Knell led an effort to combine the company’s middle market and business banking groups into one organization. In that role – which she started in January 2019 – she is now responsible for all of the commercial banking operations in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho and Western Canada. She manages a team of more than 400 bankers who serve business customers with revenue between $5 million and $2 billion.” Read more of Mary’s story here and Brent’s story here. For a full list of winners, click here.

Starbucks announces new sustainability commitment to become resource positive

In an open letter to shareholders and customers, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson announced a bold aspiration to guide the company as it look towards its 50th anniversary in 2021. Starbucks aspiration is to become resource positive and the company has identified preliminary targets for reductions in carbon emissions, water use, and waste. “We must look ahead with a heightened sense of urgency and conviction that we must challenge ourselves, think bigger and do much more in partnership with others to take care of the planet we share,” Johnson said. Read more here.

Microsoft commits to be carbon negative by 2030

Microsoft has announced an ambitious goal and a new plan to reduce and ultimately remove its carbon footprint. By 2030 Microsoft will be carbon negative, and by 2050 Microsoft will remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975. “While the world will need to reach net zero, those of us who can afford to move faster and go further should do so. That’s why today we are announcing an ambitious goal and a new plan to reduce and ultimately remove Microsoft’s carbon footprint,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith. Read more here.

Boeing employees make the holidays brighter

Boeing employees took the “Spirit of the Holidays” to heart this past holiday season, gathering more than 8,000 toys for families in need during the annual Boeing drive. Employees also raised more than $200,000 through donations, gift matches, and team volunteering for local nonprofits to share with Washington families. Read more here