Women to Watch: 2022 | Profiles
Each year, we like to spotlight women leaders in our communities to speak at our annual Women to Watch Live event. But due to the pandemic, the 2020 and 2021 cohorts did not have the opportunity to be honored in person: both events were cancelled.
We have decided to bring some of these women together for this year’s highly anticipated Women to Watch so that they can take the stage on October 6th at Farm 12 in Puyallup. We are happy to see them again. Get to know this year’s cohort below – and listen to our Women to Watch theme playlist as you read to get into the spirit.
New York Times bestselling author
When Marissa Meyer wrote about a pandemic sweeping the Earth in her issue 1 New York Times best selling book Ashshe had no idea she would experience such a plague nearly 10 years later.
Meyer talked about that and more with South Sound at his writing studio adjacent to his Spanaway home.
Despite the challenges, Meyer started a podcast. On The happy writer, Meyer interviews writers on how to overcome obstacles and bring joy to the writing process. Staying connected to a community of writers has inspired and uplifted her during difficult times.
The podcast recently celebrated two years and acknowledges the challenges, criticisms and rejections authors face, but refocuses on their passion and love for writing. Meyer’s love for storytelling began at age 3. Her mother made booklets of her stories for Meyer to illustrate. At age 5, she received a book of fairy tales from her grandmother.
In 2008, she had the idea of combining fairy tale stories with science fiction, and soon after, the idea for a cyborg Cinderella story came to her in a dream. Ashthe first book in his Lunar Chronicles series, was published in 2012 and became a #1 bestseller. Since then, Meyer has made a name for himself in the YA genre, also publishing the renegades trilogy and several other books. Part of what draws him to the genre is the teenage optimism.
His most recent book is Damnsequel to the bestseller Goldena haunting tale by Rumpelstiltskin.
Meyer is fascinated by the brain science surrounding creativity – where ideas come from and how people of all ages can sustain and increase creativity. “I personally believe that we are all creative individuals; I think it’s part of human nature,” Meyer said.
“Anything you can do to broaden your horizons and get out of your comfort zone will give you more potential for creativity and new ideas,” she added. “Of course, it’s scary to try a new skill or take up a new hobby (or) something you’ve never tried before, but what have you got to lose? I think we are much more likely to regret not trying.
Emmy Award-winning television personality
Kelly Hanson has an impeccable memory for remembering the people she has met throughout her career.
She remembers her University of Montana sorority sisters huddled together in front of the television to watch her first segments on camera. She names former KING 5 news anchors Lori Matsukawa and Jean Enersen as women who inspired her. And she cites her family and their unwavering support more than once.
She also remembers the news director telling her she’d never make it — or, more accurately, saying, “You’ll never be on TV.” You don’t have the look; you don’t have the voice. But it’s a name she politely keeps to herself. “I’ve (heard) so many no’s in my career,” Hanson said. “So many people slammed the door in my face. I kept going because I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.
Hanson is the host and executive producer of KING 5’s flagship YouTube series, Local Goal Seattle. On her show, she takes audiences through Puget Sound to discover restaurants, events and hidden gems.
To date, the KING 5 YouTube page and Local Lens series have over 100,000 subscribers. “Really, more than anything, I want to make people smile,” she said.
“In my career, you always try so hard to be what someone wants,” she explained. “I was trying to be in this box of what I thought someone wanted. With YouTube, what’s been such a breath of fresh air is that I really started to see the success of it when I was shameless myself.
When not creating Local Lens, Hanson works as a production manager with KING 5, directing the heavy lifting behind the scenes when it comes to the design and execution of general news.
If success is the best form of revenge against naysayers, her Northwest Emmy Awards should help Hanson sleep better at night.
Mayor of Tacoma
Growing up in Tacoma in the 1970s, Victoria Woodards aspired to become a flight attendant and travel the world for Braniff Airways.
During the height of the jet age, the now-defunct airline was known for its bold uniforms and outer space “Rain Dome” helmets to keep hairstyles fresh.
This wanderlust followed Woodards until the end of his high school, when impromptu participation in ROTC and promising military test results prompted Woodards to transfer to the United States Army. This, she thought, was where her journey would begin.
Luckily—for the citizens of Tacoma, at least—that enlistment brought Woodards back to the town for which she would eventually be elected mayor.
The entirety of Woodards professional career, in fact, has a similar cadence. Whether it’s a casual call from a woman in her church who says the president of the Tacoma Urban League is looking for an assistant, or speaking out loud about a possible aspiration to become commissioner of parks a few days before the open siege rumor made its way to her, Woodards always found new opportunities to deviate from the path she planned to take.
For this often unexpected and never unwanted journey, Woodards attributes one thing to it all: faith.
“Faith is a big part of who I am and what I believe,” she said, as her dog Genesis jumped into her lap and she began massaging his velvety ears. “(It’s not) about my religion; it’s about my faith, how I act in that faith, and how I use that faith.
Recalling a young friend named Natalie who once brought her to choir practice, Woodards said the Allen AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Church — the oldest black church in Washington state — was the impetus of his faith and the catalyst for a life of service to others. .
“I joined Allen, became active in the church, and even at a young age was able to support community projects; this is where my desire to serve my community and my walk in faith began,” she said.
In the years that followed, Woodards used that faith in myriad ways to serve the city of its destiny.
His efforts revitalized and preserved the Tacoma Urban League. She helped launch the city’s Equity and Empowerment Initiative, which resulted in the creation of the city’s Office of Equity and Human Rights and the city’s first youth commission. town. She was the lead producer for the annual Ethnic Fest event and is a serial board member of several organizations advocating for fairness in transit, education, employment, and more.
Author of Strong like her
Washington-born Haley Shapley has built a career in magazine journalism, launching as a full-time freelancer in 2009 and writing for publications such as Saturday night post, Rachel Ray everydayand Self. In 2017 Shapley signed up for a bodybuilding show – the Tanji Johnson Classic – which turned out to be an intense process, involving nine months of training and programmed eating.
In doing so, Shapley, from Seattle, found herself wanting to learn more about women who lifted weights when it was far less acceptable for them to do so – and paved the way for women like her to continue such competitions today.
But when she started reading about the history of fitness, she was discouraged by how little information she found devoted to women.
“In these books, there would only be a few pages in each chapter dedicated to women,” she said. “I knew that couldn’t be the whole story. There hadn’t been a holistic look at women and physical strength that appealed to a mainstream audience. So I started digging. What she discovered in her research both shocked and motivated her to dig deeper – and this process, originally sparked by personal curiosity, resulted in her first book. Strong like her published on April 7, 2020 and pays tribute to female athletes past and present who have upended expectations and pushed boundaries.
The women featured in Shapley’s book have made room for athletes like Shapley, who in turn are empowering more women through writing that celebrates and normalizes strength everywhere.
“It was interesting for me to see that some people were really excited about it and asked me for details about my training process. But other people were really worried that I was changing my body in a way that wouldn’t wasn’t attractive — that I might get too fat or do something that wasn’t safe,” Shapley said. “We always have these ideas about what women should look like and what is an appropriate activity for them, even though we have gone so far in our ideas of a woman’s role.”
Get your tickets
Join us on October 6 at Ferme 12 in Puyallup for sips, bites, conversations and inspiration at our Women to Watch 2022 live event. Reserve your spot at southsoundmag.com.
HOST OF THE RADIO SHOW MOVIN 92.5
Brooke Fox, co-host of the popular Brooke and Jeffrey morning radio show, is an alumna of Women to Watch 2018, and she will host the 2022 event.