Politicos speculating on what's next for Marilyn Strickland, a former Tacoma mayor widely respected not just in the business world, now have their answer.
On Wednesday Strickland announced she would take the helm of the Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce as its next president and CEO, replacing Maud Daudon, come February 19. Strickland was sworn in as Tacoma mayor in January 2010 and served for nearly eight years. City law in Tacoma requires that no mayor serve more than 10 years, which prevented Strickland from running for a third term.
Strickland in a statement Wednesday said her top priorities will be working with stakeholders "toward solutions that keep our region globally competitive."
“A strong, vibrant business environment is key to addressing the challenges that we face," she said. "Businesses of all sizes are an essential part of our community: in addition to the jobs they create and their place in the fabric of our neighborhoods, they drive investments that benefit us all."
Strickland's new role as a business leader in Seattle became a natural choice after establishing a reputation for boosting Tacoma's economic development, as well as national and international profile. (As an example, Tacoma hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2016.) She proudly touts a record amount of private investments in the city during her term—nearly $1 billion, she said—as one of the legacies she left behind.
She's also known as a straight shooter. Born in Seoul, Strickland grew up with a Korean mother whom she credited as the reason for her "thick skin."
"She has always said to me that you will have to work twice as hard to get half as much," she told Q13 Fox.
Strickland graduated from the University of Washington and earned a master's degree in business administration from Clark-Atlanta University.
Heather Redman, chair of the Chamber's Board of Trustees in statement said Strickland is "known and respected throughout the Puget Sound region as an effective advocate for economic competitiveness."
"She’s fearless about taking on challenges in a collaborative way—a trait that will be essential as our region works through issues such as education, housing, and transportation, all of which have big implications for our long-term prosperity," Redman said. "Marilyn will be a strong voice for the economic conditions necessary for continued job growth for people in our region, especially as we face growing competition from around the globe.”