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

Award-winning play ‘The Good Adoptee’ coming to Mercer Island

The autobiographical drama was penned by acclaimed playwright Suzanne Bachner.

Photo by Rosemary Dai Ross
                                Carolynne Wilcox, Devika Bhagwat and Cindy Giese French in As If Theatre’s first production, “The Clean House” last year.
As If Theatre celebrates successful first year in Kenmore; looks forward to 2020

The theater company announces its spring show, “The Cake.”

From left to right: the city of Bothell’s Christi Cox and Friend of North Creek Forest’s Paula Quigg and Melissa Gugala. Blake Peterson/staff photo
Friends of North Creek Forest, city organize work party on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Community members and other groups came out for the gathering.

Courtesy photo
                                Bothell resident Patricia Wangen participated in the Community Action Training School (CATS).
Bothell woman creates environmental education program at Northshore Senior Center

Community Action Training School helped Wangen with her project.

From left: students Riley Retinger, Abby Smith, Mimmi Hubbard and Sadie Rabinowitz. Photo by Calah Webb
‘It’s one of my favorite places to be’: School of Rock Issaquah gears up for January shows

In January, students will be paying homage to the Beatles, Black Sabbath, Chris Cornell and others.

Sue Freeman was recognized as the human services champion of the year by the North Urban Human Services Alliance (NUHSA) at the organization’s annual awards program held on Dec. 3. Photo courtesy of Michael Powell
Northshore volunteer named human services champion of the year

Sue Freeman was recognized as the human services champion of the year by the North Urban Human Services Alliance (NUHSA).

Bothell’s Anderson earns Eagle Scout award

For his project Daniel Anderson organized and led volunteers to remove and install new fence posts at Cascade Park.

Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo
                                During the week of Nov. 18-25, community members filled shoeboxes with school supplies, toys and hygiene items to send to children in need around the world.
Bothell’s My Story Church participates in global Christmas project

National collection week for Operation Christmas Child shoe box gifts were collected Nov. 18-25.

Courtesy photo 
                                North Creek’s upcoming performance of “Elf: the Musical” is based on the holiday film starring Will Ferrell.
North Creek High School debuts ‘Elf: The Musical’

There will be performances this weekend and next weekend, with shows at 7 p.m. and a 2 p.m. show on Dec. 14.

63 NSD students to perform at all-state music conference

Student musicians will represent their schools at the 2020 Washington Music Educators Conference from Feb. 14-16 in Yakima.

Dora Gyarmati. Photo by Nityia Photography
Three simple rules for the holiday

A monthly column about mindfulness.