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.


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 editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. 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.

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

‘Don’t assume it can’t happen to you’

Federal Way resident Evelyn Allcorn shares story of her husband’s battle with COVID-19 after he tested positive on March 28.

From left, Evan Shouse, Lauren Shouse and Ellienn Tatar stand outside their Kirkland residence. Courtesy photo
Making ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic

LWTech Foundation COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund lends a helping hand.

Shamrock Run participants from a previous year smile for the camera. Photo courtesy of Orca Running
Shamrock Run returning to Kirkland March 14

The annual event is put on by Orca Running with presenting sponsor Lake Washington Physical Therapy.

Lake Washington Institute of Technology. File photo
LWTech students place fourth in national Codebreaker Challenge

CSNT program recently placed fourth at the NSA Codebreaker Challenge online competition.

Photo courtesy of Julia Marshall
                                Tiki’s perch at Totem Lake and the store in its early years.
Denny’s Pet World mascot dies at 45

The scarlet macaw, Tiki, was the pet store’s mascot for over 43 years.

Making a human connection in a sea of social media

A monthly health column about natural medicine.

Eastside Community Musical debuts ‘Mamma Mia!’

Studio East and KPC are presenting “Mamma Mia” Feb. 7-8 and 14-16.