Panel luncheon audience members predict survey results in regard to what Eastsiders consider to make up the American Dream. From left: James Whitfield, Dr. Amy Morrison, Anne Morisseau and Anne-Marie Diouf. Madison Miller / staff photo

Panel luncheon audience members predict survey results in regard to what Eastsiders consider to make up the American Dream. From left: James Whitfield, Dr. Amy Morrison, Anne Morisseau and Anne-Marie Diouf. Madison Miller / staff photo

Leadership Eastside hosts panel discussing the American Dream

The panel consisted of Dr. Amy Morrison, president of Lake Washington Institute of Technology, Anne Morisseau, Planning Commissioner for the City of Bellevue, Residential Real Estate Agent, LE Board of Directors, and Anne-Marie Diouf, VP Human Resources for Symetra.

Leadership Eastside (LE) recently held its State of the Eastside and the American Dream panel at Cascadia College in Bothell.

The panel consisted of Dr. Amy Morrison, president of Lake Washington Institute of Technology, Anne Morisseau, planning commissioner for the city of Bellevue, residential real estate agent, LE board of directors, and Anne-Marie Diouf, VP human resources for Symetra.

The panel was moderated by LE president and CEO James Whitfield.

The purpose of the panel discussion was to provide an opportunity for community leaders to come together, discuss and better understand the issues and trends that will affect the future of people living and working on the Eastside.

The panel was organized around two main questions: “What is it that an Eastsider considers the American Dream?” and “How can/should we, as leaders, work together to help make the dream a reality?”

Prior to the panel discussion, an American Dream Survey was open to anyone to answer with their thoughts on what constitutes the “American Dream.” The panelists engaged with the American Dream Survey and the audience to uncover today’s definition of the American Dream in the community.

From each of their positions, they shared their perspectives on education, jobs, housing and immigration on the Eastside.

On the subject of education, Morrison said one thing she wants to see change is the negative stereotype of people earning degrees from technical colleges.

“There’s this stigma around professional technical education, and people feel shame,” she said. “People need to know it’s a perfectly viable option for those who don’t want to go to a four-year college or university… We need people in technical fields.”

On the subject of housing, Morisseau said the Eastside has made great improvements in recognizing affordability as an issue, but it’s still a problem.

“There are some things that are working…between zoning for multi-family homes and nonprofits, such as Imagine Housing, and legislation changing, steps are being taken,” she said. “But the need is so great that the infrastructure is struggling to catch up.”

On the subject of jobs, Diouf said there’s been a large growth in technology jobs on the Eastside and it’s only going to continue. However, many jobs are looking to bring in people with technology skills to teach those who are not as strong in those skills.

In terms of immigration, all three panelists said the Eastside has improved with the growing diversity population.

“Diversity provides so much for the community,” Morisseau said. “It promotes a global perspective.”

“Over 20 percent of our student population are English language learners,” Morrison said. “These people are here to thrive in our communities and get a job and be successful.”

In closing, all three panelists said one thing they would most want to change in order for the American Dream to become more attainable for Eastsiders.

Madison Miller / staff photo
                                James Whitfield, Leadership Eastside president and CEO, moderates The State of the Eastside and the American Dream with Dr. Amy Morrison, president of Lake Washington Institute of Technology, Anne Morisseau, planning commissioner for the city of Bellevue, residential real estate agent, LE board of directors, and Anne-Marie Diouf, VP human resources for Symetra.

Madison Miller / staff photo James Whitfield, Leadership Eastside president and CEO, moderates The State of the Eastside and the American Dream with Dr. Amy Morrison, president of Lake Washington Institute of Technology, Anne Morisseau, planning commissioner for the city of Bellevue, residential real estate agent, LE board of directors, and Anne-Marie Diouf, VP human resources for Symetra.

More in Life

KPC announces 2019-20 season

KPC to welcome Jake Shimabukuro, Booker T. Jones, Mickey Dolenz, Los Lobos this season.

Charity swim event hits Kirkland this weekend

The Park to Park Open Swim benefits Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Kirkland parks department expands its reach with scholarship program

The decision to expand the program was made in an effort to provide more opportunities for residents.

Applying mindfulness into your daily life

Being mindful is the act of staying present, being aware of your surroundings and noticing new things without judgment.

National Night Out set for Aug. 6

The annual event will be at the Kirkland Justice Center.

How to mindfully set goals for your life

What are the roots of you life goals?

Kirkland Kiwanis programs help Kirkland teens

Programs include the Jack Keller Memorial Fund and scholarships for graduating seniors.

Bothell’s Babies of Homelessness preps for back-to-school event

The Bothell nonprofit provides basic need supplies to homeless families.

City seeking feedback on community policing

Community members can participate in online survey on community policing and public safety priorities.

Friendship Adventures is hosting its 7th annual charity golf tournament on July 29 at Cedarcrest Golf Course in Marysville. Photo courtesy of Friendship Adventures
Kirkland’s Friendship Adventures to host 7th Annual charity golf tournament

The golf tournament will be held on July 27 at Cedarcrest Golf Course in Marysville.

Performers take over the main stage at Summerfest in 2018. This year features an 1980s night on Friday, a dance party on Saturday and a youth music program on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Stefan Photography
Kirkland Summerfest features new music and family friendly events

Music, art and family fun takes place on July 26-28 at the Kirkland waterfront.

Kirkland runs Summer Sundays pilot program along Park Lane

Connecting with neighbors and businesses is the center of Summer Sundays.