New KDA executive director shares plans for 2017

Barbie Collins Young was recently promoted to executive director of the Kirkland Downtown Association. Contributed photo

Kirkland Downtown Association Executive Director Barbie Collins Young is not taking time to “settle in” to her new position.

Since her promotion in October, she’s been busy with events such as Winterfest, preparing new membership and sponsorship programs and making sure the association is strengthening its role as a connector for the community, merchants, event promoters and the city.

“We’re trying to get everyone … working toward the same vision,” Young, who has lived in Kirkland for 27 years, said. “The community has such a huge heart; it drives everything we do.”

The new membership and sponsorship programs will be rolled out in the second week of January. “There will be lots of different options for people,” Young said, adding there will be individual and business memberships available.

In 2017, the KDA will continue to sponsor various community events, including the Kirkland Wednesday Market, Summerfest, Celebrate Kirkland (Kirkland’s July 4th Festivities), Kirkland Wine Walks and Winterfest. Young is also planning a couple of new events, including a beer festival.

The KDA will continue to partner with the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce and the City of Kirkland for various events. “We have a lot of the same goals in mind (as the Chamber),” Young said.

She said the city’s support of the business community has been vital as well. “I can’t say enough about the (Kirkland) City Council and the mayor, and Kurt Triplett, the city manager, is incredibly supportive of everything we do,” she said.

Young is currently the only full-time employee at the KDA, which also employs a part-time bookkeeper. The KDA will be looking to hire an events manager in 2017, with the position starting as part-time and eventually growing to be full-time, Young said, adding the KDA will also be looking to fill volunteer positions and internships.

Young was hired as the KDA’s events and development manager in 2013. She has more than 20 years of experience in business leadership roles. Prior to working at the KDA, she was the senior regional vice president of a direct sales company.

“I decided to take my skills and apply them to the community,” Young said.

The KDA Board of Directors, the group that oversees the work Young does, is currently in need of four board members. Those interested should email her at

For more information about the KDA, visit

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