High-powered businesswomen to speak on climbing the corporate ladder — their way

Compiled by Staff
Northwest Asian Weekly

To some, sitting around and talking about businesses and corporations may seem boring. It may evoke age-old archetypes of gruff men in stuffy suits, sitting around a private conference table and sequestered dozens of floors above everyone else in a skyscraper.

However, on Jan. 29 at China Harbor Restaurant in Seattle, men and women of all ages and ethnicities will get a chance to peek into the conference room as powerful women of various backgrounds, who own their own successful businesses or belong to corporations, convene to talk shop — so to speak.

Instead of monthly reports, the women will talk about the secrets to their successes. They will talk about the unique ways they got to where they are, whether it was through calculated work and gumption or through new and unique innovation.

Organized by the Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation, Women of Color Empowered is a luncheon that occurs three times a year. It strives to motivate and inspire people to follow their dreams beyond the glass ceiling by exposing individuals to amazing female honorees.

THIS LUNCHEON’S HONOREES:

http://nwasianweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/29_03/woc_paula.jpgPaula Boggs
Executive vice president
Starbucks

Prior to joining Starbucks, Paula Boggs was a vice president at Dell Inc. and a partner at law firm Preston Gates & Ellis in Seattle. Boggs currently serves on the Johns Hopkins University Board of Trustees, American Red Cross Board of Governors, Premera Board of Directors, and KEXP Advisory Council.

Boggs earned a Bachelor of Arts from Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.

http://nwasianweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/29_03/woc_rita.jpgRita Brogan
Chief executive officer
PRR, Inc.

Rita Brogan purchased PRR, a public affairs and communications consulting firm, in 1989. Prior to this, Brogan was the superintendent of public transportation development at Seattle Metro and served as chief land use adviser to former King County Executive Randy Revelle.

Currently, she serves on the boards of the World Affairs Council, City University, Northwest Learning and Achievement Group, and the Downtown Seattle Association. She has a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from the University of Washington.

http://nwasianweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/29_03/woc_danielle.jpgDanielle Davis
Director of gaming commission
Snoqualmie Casino

Davis became the executive director of the Snoqualmie Gaming Commission in 2008 and managed the Snoqualmie Casino’s successful opening. She currently serves on the Board for The Face, Heart, and Mind Foundation, which is dedicated to helping children overcome domestic abuse.

Davis attended the University of Washington and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. She earned her law degree from The University of Sydney in Australia.

http://nwasianweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/29_03/woc_donna.JPGDonna Giordano
President
Quality Food Centers (QFC)

As president of QFC, Donna Giordano runs 77 supermarkets in Washington and Oregon. Previously, Giordano was the vice president of sales and marketing for King Soopers, also a Kroger family supermarket along with QFC. She joined King Soopers during college as a courtesy clerk and made her way up to store management. Her specialty is marketing and merchandising for all types of incomes and demographics.

Giordano earned her Bachelor of Arts in Marketing from Metropolitan State College in Denver.

http://nwasianweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/29_03/woc_susana.jpgSusana Gonzalez-Murillo
Vice president
U.S. Bank

Susana Gonzalez-Murillo joined U.S. Bank in 1993. Prior to her work with the bank, she worked with Leader Trade and Finance, Inc., Security Pacific Bank, L.A.B. Airlines, and the Bolivian Embassy in Paris. She is on the board of the Canadian American Society, a business trade and cultural organization.

Gonzalez-Murillo is a graduate of La Sorbonne in Paris, the American Institute of Banking, the University of Portland’s Northwest Intermediate Banking School, and the Pacific Rim Bankers Program at the University of Washington.

http://nwasianweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/29_03/woc_carolyn.jpgCarolyn Kelly
President and chief operating officer
The Seattle Times

Carolyn Kelly joined The Seattle Times in 1977 as a financial analyst. She has held management positions in the circulation, advertising, and marketing departments, and she was chief financial officer from 1989 to 1997. She became president and chief operating officer in 2001. Kelly is on the editorial board of The Seattle Times and is an active member in areas of higher education and community development.

She is a graduate of Gonzaga University and earned a Master of Business Administration from Seattle University.

http://nwasianweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/29_03/woc_elaine.jpgElaine Kitamura
Director of public affairs
Clear Channel Outdoor

In additional to being the director of public affairs at Clear Channel Outdoor, the world’s largest outdoor advertising company. Elaine Kitamura is also involved with the Executive Development Institude (EDI). She is a board member for the Seattle Police Foundation and mentors through the EDI and the National Association for Asian American Professionals.

Kitamura earned a degree in communications from the University of Washington.

http://nwasianweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/29_03/woc_lee.jpgCarolyn Lee
Agency vice president
State Farm

Carolyn Lee is the agency vice president at State Farm. She joined in 1991 as an agent. She has held various company positions, which included being a field consultant, a field executive, and an administrative assistant at the corporate office. Lee is currently committed to recruiting Blacks, Latinos, and Asians into State Farm.

Lee earned her bachelor’s from the University of California in Davis and her master’s from Stanford University.

http://nwasianweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/29_03/woc_nina.JPGNina Odell
Director of federal government relations
Puget Sound Energy

Nina Odell became the director of federal government relations at Puget Sound Energy in 2000. Prior to joining Puget Sound Energy, Odell was responsible for consumer affairs as manager of community and consumer affairs for Washington Natural Gas.

She is a board member of YWCA Seattle, King County, and Snohomish County, and was previously board chair. She is on the emeritus board of the University of Washington’s Business and Economic Development Center.

http://nwasianweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/29_03/woc_mary.jpgMary Pugh
President and chief investment officer
Pugh Capital Management, Inc.

Mary Pugh founded Pugh Capital Management, Inc. in 1991, which currently manages more than $1.3 billion. Pugh has a long history of community service. Among her many roles, she is a board member of the Seattle Foundation and serves on the investment committees of the University of Washington, the YWCA of Greater Seattle, and Seattle Academy of the Arts and Sciences.

Pugh graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.

http://nwasianweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/29_03/woc_viola.jpgViola Riebe
Tribal elder
Hoh Indian Tribe

Viola Riebe is a cultural resource representative for the Hoh Indian Tribe. She taught English as a Second Language (ESL) and math at Forks Middle School (Forks, Wash.) for 27 years. After retiring from teaching, she worked for the Quileute Tribal Head Start Program. She is a member of the Forks Integrated Community Network Steering Committee and an active member of the Olympic Peninsula Intertribal Cultural Advisory Committee.

Viola earned a diploma in Biblical Studies from the Northwest Bible Institute in 1983.

http://nwasianweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/29_03/woc_kb.JPGThe Seattle Storm
Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA)

The Seattle Storm was founded in 1999 and played its first season in 2000. Karen Bryant (shown left), former general manager of the Storm’s predecessor, the Seattle Reign, is the vice president of operations for the Storm. Bryant is of Filipino and Alaskan-native heritage.

In 2004, the team brought a championship to Seattle for the first time in 25 years. Since then, the team has been a consistent playoff contender.

http://nwasianweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/29_03/woc_delena.jpgDelena Sunday
Executive vice president of human resources and diversity affairs
Nordstrom, Inc.

Delena Sunday has more than 26 years of experience with Nordstrom. She joined the company in 1980 as a salesperson and went on to be an assistant buyer, human resources manager, and store manager in several Seattle stores. She has been responsible for the company’s diversity initiatives since 1996 when she was named director of diversity affairs. She became the executive vice president in 2000.

Under her leadership, the Supplier Diversity program has grown from $358 million in 1996 to $571 million in 2001.

http://nwasianweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/29_03/woc_luly.jpgLuly Yang
Fashion designer
Luly Yang Couture

In 2000, Luly Yang opened her own studio to do custom bridal designs before eventually branching out into evening wear and menswear. In 2007, Yang was awarded the prestigious Nellie Cashman Woman Business Owner of the Year award. Each year, Yang organizes a couture fashion show benefiting Camp Korey, a camp designed for children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses.

Yang has a degree in design and graphic design, and was a fitness instructor for 16 years.

MASTER OF CEREMONIES

http://nwasianweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/29_03/woc_leslie.jpgLeslie Jones
Director of diversity
Sound Transit

Leslie Jones leads Sound Transit’s small business and labor relations programs. Jones is the agency’s spokesperson on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Prior to joining Sound Transit, Jones was a regional vice president for Qwest Communications.

Currently, Jones also serves on the board of the YWCA of Seattle, King County, and Snohomish County. She is a member of the Greater Seattle Chapter of Links, Inc.

Jones earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from City University in Seattle. ♦

The Women of Color Empowered luncheon takes place on Jan. 29 starting at 11:30 a.m.  For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.womenofcolorempowered.com.

Shaodan Chen contributed to this report.

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