The Women's Issue

30 More Women Who Run This City

By Seattle Met Staff January 31, 2018 Published in the February 2018 issue of Seattle Met

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Megan Jasper

CEO, Sub Pop Records

Few have done more to forge the Seattle sound in the past 30 years—be it grunge or hip-hop—than the city’s premier music label. Jasper, who went from laid-off Sub Pop employee to now running the place, keeps that sound alive.

Melinda Gates 

Cochair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Forbes calls her the third-most powerful woman on the planet (after Angela Merkel and Theresa May). We know her as the leader behind Seattle’s booming biomedical philanthropy sector.

Natasha Marin


Marin’s solution to assist those in need, launched via Facebook in 2016, is simple but brilliant: People of color ask for help (paying a bill, borrowing a moving van), and the community delivers. Perfect gestures for an imperfect time.

Ana Mari Cauce

President, University of Washington

The first woman and the first Latina to hold the top position at our state’s flagship university is doing more than paying lip service to diversity and inclusion. She’s steering the ship with her Race and Equity Initiative.

Lillian Sherman

Executive Director, Pike Place Market Foundation

Sherman and her team raised $9 million for the new wing that offers more space for vendors and artisans (not to mention throngs of tourists), but also low-income housing, live-work artist spaces, and other social services that ensure Seattle’s famed market remains a neighborhood, not just a landmark.

Jody Hall  

CEO, Cupcake Royale and the Goodship Company

She put Seattle on the forefront of the early-aught cupcake craze and made this humble sweet a symbol of our city’s progressivism; when recreational marijuana became legal, Hall applied her knack for politically savvy confections to a line of snickerdoodles, peppermint patties, and other edibles that are equal parts tasty and effective.

Maria Semple


Only a former TV writer now living among us could skewer Seattle’s particular brand of earnest passive aggression with such hilarious accuracy. The rest of the country laughed, too; the movie based on Semple’s best seller, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, comes out in May.

Renee Erickson 

Owner of Bar Melusine, Bateau, The Whale Wins, Barnacle, General Porpoise, and The Walrus and the Carpenter

Whether it’s oysters or steak, doughnuts or delicate vegetable plates, the prolific chef illuminates the marvels of Pacific Northwest cuisine to diners who come from across the country to visit her Seattle restaurants. This year Erickson also opens a bar and Italian restaurant inside the Amazon Spheres.

Tarah Wheeler

Author and tech evangelist

Wheeler’s erstwhile organization LadyCoders, launched in 2013, was an early salvo in the fight against the gender wage gap and harassment among the software engineer set. In Women in Tech, published in 2016, the cybersecurity expert shares true stories that carve a path for aspiring female tech professionals.

Jenny Durkan

Seattle Mayor 

The city’s first female mayor in nearly a century kicked off her first few weeks in office with the announcement that the city would invest $100 million toward affordable housing.

Eula Scott Bynoe, Alaina Caldwell, and Jasmine Jackson

Podcast hosts, Hella Black Hella Seattle

The Central District residents bring everything to their audience from restaurant reviews, current events, and interviews with Seattleites making the city and region a better (and decidedly cooler) place—all from the perspective of three women of color.

Colleen Echohawk-Hayashi

Executive Director, Chief Seattle Club

A leader in the fight for the rights and well-being of members of our region’s low-income and homeless Native American communities—Chief Seattle Club serves some 50,000 meals a year, to name just one of many services—Echohawk-Hayashi was recently appointed to the city’s Community Police Commission.

Sarah Myhre 

Paleoceanographer, University of Washington

Myhre’s not afraid to call out sexism when she sees it. The renowned scientist and single mother is not only a leader in her field of oceanography and climate change; her writing and unhindered activism make her a strong voice in the fight for gender equality.

Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell

United States senators

In the battle over what kind of country we will become, our two U.S. senators are reliable opponents to a White House agenda that’s perpetually out of step with Seattle’s values.

Cheryl Waters


She’s been at the station since 1994 and hosts the midday show five days a week. Few are more responsible for the distinct, mellifluous clamor of Seattle’s unofficial soundtrack than Waters.

Danni Askini 

Executive Director, Gender Justice League  

She helped thwart bills and ballot measures for antitransgender laws regarding public restrooms in 2016 and 2017. She now has her sights set on changing Washington’s statute of limitations for felony sex offenses.

Kate Becker

Director, Office of Film and Music

Her fine arts bona fides are unimpeachable—see her work with Seattle Theatre Group and Art Share L.A.—but thank our city’s chief celluloid attache the next time you see our city on the screen, big or small.

Amy Tsai  

Legislative analyst, Seattle City Council 

Seattle’s central staffer did much of the legwork for Seattle’s police reform legislation—and is known for 2am email responses to get it done right. 

Estela Ortega 

Executive Director, El Centro de la Raza 

The Beacon Hill nonprofit leader and nationally recognized civil rights advocate has a steep challenge ahead of her in the time of Trump—keeping Seattle’s undocumented immigrants safe from deportation. 

Toni Reid 

Vice president, Amazon Alexa and Echo

She helped create the speaker device now seen as the future of the voice-activated market. Fast Company named Reid, who helms Amazon’s Alexa unit, one of the most creative business people of 2017.

Mary-Claire King

Genomicist, University of Washington

The UW genome sciences professor in 2016 made a trip to the White House, where then-president Barack Obama presented her with the National Medal of Science for her research on evolution and disease. 

Erika Dalya Massaquoi

Founder and CEO, Oula Company 

The designer and curator’s new brand is dedicated to fashion’s fair-market sourcing, supporting economic development in emergent markets, and global style in women’s clothing and housewares.

Amy Hood

Chief Financial Officer, Microsoft

The tech giant’s budget guru has led it through challenging times—keeping the company competitive with $90 billion in revenues in 2017, up from $85 billion the year before.

Beth Galetti 

Senior VP of human resources, Amazon

You could argue that Amazon’s top female executive is more responsible for who the new Seattleites are—that is, who Amazon hires—than anyone in town. 

Lindy West

Opinion writer, The New York Times

Her memoir cemented the Seattle native as a nationally recognized feminist culture critic. Her powerful voice in The New York Times opinion section rang even louder, and angrier, as she unleashed it after the 2016 election.

Shefali Ranganathan

Seattle deputy mayor

The Chennai native and former Transportation Choices Coalition executive director pushed that advocacy group to look at transit options through a social justice lens. Oh, and credit her in part for Sound Transit 3, that regional $54 billion ballot measure bringing massive light rail and public transit expansions. 

Manka Dhingra

Washington state senator

Thanks to Dhingra’s win in the 45th district in November, Washington state now has a Democratic majority in both the House and Senate. The King County senior deputy prosecuting attorney cofounded API Chaya, an advocacy group for South Asian domestic violence survivors.

Lynn Shelton


Your Sister’s Sister, Mad Men, Fresh Off the Boat—the director’s TV and film work stands out in an industry fraught with sexism.

Patty Hayes 

Director of Public Health, Seattle and King County

Before Hayes received both statewide and national awards for her work in public health, she was a nurse. She’s now taking the helm on a work group to create King County’s first safe injection sites. 

Kimerly Rorschach 

Director and CEO, Seattle Art Museum

The Texas native landed at SAM five years ago after heading Nasher Museum of Art in North Carolina. Since then, she’s led Seattle’s iconic museum through blockbuster exhibition after blockbuster exhibition, including last year’s Infinity Mirrors by Yayoi Kusama. 

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