Barbie poses with a pet. Photo courtesy of Barbie Young

Barbie poses with a pet. Photo courtesy of Barbie Young

Barbie resigns from KDA, stays involved with the community

The outgoing executive director will continue to stay involved with the Kirkland Downtown Association.

The Kirkland Downtown Association (KDA) recently announced that after five years, executive director Barbie Collins Young is resigning to pursue other passions, but will remain involved with the community.

Young has lived in Kirkland since 1990 and has deep roots within the community. Her position will be filled by the KDA board president Jim Kress and part of the responsibilities will be split off into a new full-time events manager position, filled by Tessa Hanson.

“It was five years ago when I accepted the position as the events and development manager for the KDA,” Young said. “That was a part-time position when I started and then it became full-time when I took on the role of director and executive director.”

Hanson served the KDA last summer as the Kirkland Wednesday Market manager and “won kudos for her work growing the market and her energy she brought to all the events,” according to a KDA press release.

Young leaves the KDA on good terms and with a “great working relationship” with the board of directors, according to the release. Young worked as the face of the KDA during her time there and said her favorite part of the job was working with the community.

Barbie Young (third from the left) poses in a group shot with the Kirkland Downtown Association Board of Directors. Photo courtesy of Barbie Young

Barbie Young (third from the left) poses in a group shot with the Kirkland Downtown Association Board of Directors. Photo courtesy of Barbie Young

“I chose this time as the KDA is now in a strong position to continue to move forward with the same momentum,” Young said about stepping down as executive director. “I feel confident in the KDA staff and board of directors to continue to grow the organization as the Kirkland downtown expands with the addition of Kirkland Urban. I am ready to focus more of my energy on other pursuits.”

She added that her proudest accomplishments at the KDA includes being able to organize a dedicated team of about 500 volunteers and implementing creative ways to bring local business owners together.

“There was a big learning curve to understand and a lot going on,” Young said. “My role was to really manage all the events, implement new ideas and creative ways to make them better.”

KDA board members praised Young’s work for the community, partially crediting the nonprofit’s success to Young’s enthusiasm and leadership.

“For five years Barbie Collins Young has been invaluable as the executive director of the Kirkland Downtown Association and we are a far better organization for her leadership,” board member and Kirkland Mayor Penny Sweet said in the release.

Barbie Young brings the energy with a megaphone at a Kirkland Downtown Association event. Photo courtesy of Barbie Young.

Barbie Young brings the energy with a megaphone at a Kirkland Downtown Association event. Photo courtesy of Barbie Young.

“Barbie Collins Young brought effusive energy to the KDA. Whether rallying volunteers or working with the board, Barbie was always upbeat,” board member Glenn Peterson added.

Young is equally proud of the KDA as an organization, saying she’s confident it will continue to grow with its current momentum. She added that locals should realize many downtown events are hosted and organized by the KDA, not the city itself — including Kirkland Wednesday Market, Kirkland Wine Walk, Kirkland Art Walk, Celebrate Kirkland, the summer concert series, classic car show, Winterfest and Santa’s Mailbox.

“I know that everything is going really well,” Young said. “We’ve got some incredible people we’ve hired on and an incredible board of directors, so I feel very confident in that. And I had to feel that confidence, that things would keep on operating and moving forward in a way they have been.”

While Young moves on from her official role with the KDA, she plans to continue being involved with the Kirkland business community and helping out as much as she can.

“I won’t be too far away, I’ll still have my heart and my hands with the KDA and the community itself,” Young said. “I’ll find my fix in some way because it does feel good.”

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Life

Forbes Creek Park. Courtesy photo/City of Kirkland
Kirkland reopening playgrounds

The city states there’s been an increase in compliance in masking and social distancing in the city, leading to the reopening

Diya Garg, left, distributes Mighty Crayon recycles crayons and coloring books for Seattle students. Courtesy photo/Diya Garg.
Getting crayons to kids runs in the family

Eastside nonprofit Mighty Crayon is relaunched by younger sister of founder, repurposing used restaurant crayons

Terry Lentz, pictured, has won the I am AGELESS Community Builder Award. Courtesy photo/Woodlands at Forbes Lake
Kirkland volunteer to receive award for spirit and service during COVID-19 pandemic

Presented by SHAG Community Life Foundation, the award recognizes those whose service, skills and spirit defy aging’s stereotypes.

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid. Courtesy photo
2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid | Car review

There’s a reason Honda’s CR-V has been America’s top-selling crossover vehicle over… Continue reading

2020 Ford Ranger SuperCrew Lariat. Courtesy photo
2020 Ford Ranger SuperCrew Lariat | Car review

Ford’s venerable compact Ranger pickup went away for a while. But it… Continue reading

Courtesy photo
Sign up for 2020 ‘Run to Rwanda’ Fun Run slated for September

Clyde Hill resident Sophie Sharp, an 11th grade student at The Overlake… Continue reading

Screenshot of the stray kitten and the Rev. Aaron Burt from the July 12 liturgy video.
Stray kitten surprises local priest during virtual Sunday service

“It was one of the most difficult sermons I’ve ever had to offer, because I was trying not to step on her.”

Washington State Fair cancelled

COVID-19 outbreak claims another event

Listen and Talk students playing on playground. Courtesy photo.
Specialty school coming to Kirkland

Listen and Talk is a specialized program for young children who are deaf or hard of hearing

Decorated statue at Marina Park in support of Black Lives Matter efforts. Reader submitted photo.
Ribbons for Black Lives Matter

The display at Marina Park coincides with statewide efforts of the local King County Black Lives Matter chapter.

Kirkland Wednesday Farmers Market will run every Wednesday from June 5 through September 25.
Kirkland farmers markets are ready for shoppers

Both Kirkland Wednesday Market and Juanita Friday Market are practicing social distancing during their reopenings.

TLG Motion Pictures CEO Erik Bernard and TLG founder Courtney LeMarco on a set. Photo courtesy TLG Motion Pictures.
Local production company seeking film, TV pitches from young minority creatives

The Big Pitch competition, put on by TLG Motion Pictures (“Hoarders”), started about six months ago.