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Businesswomen tour Arlington
ARLINGTON A group of about 20 women toured Arlington, Friday, Oct. 19 with the Northwest Womens Business Centers 4th annual About Town bus tour, which stopped at Penway Printing before arriving at 12:30 p.m. for a welcome from Mayor Margaret Larson.
The NWWBC is a branch of Community Capital Development based at Everett Community College. The participants with the tour included businesswomen from across the county, including Linda Knight, of First Heritage Bank in Arlington and Linda Olsen, of Pre-paid Legal Services, Inc. in Mill Creek.
Lynne Munoz, of Mukilteo, joined the tour because she loves Arlington.
Now director of the EvCC School of Business, Munoz is familiar with Arlington because she owns a cabin at Lake Cavanaugh and has been passing through town for nearly 10 years.
I come to Arlington a lot, she said. I love the quilt shop, and I love the hardware store, Munoz said, adding her boys have bought their fishing licenses there since they were 8 and 11.
They are now 18 and 21.
After Mayor Larson welcomed the group, she shared the floor with some of her staff Vic Ericson, Paul Ellis and Terry Marsh who enjoyed a new audience for celebrating the successes of the recently completed street project.
All three shared their thoughts about how unique it was to see city government and business owners cooperating.
Its all about people, Larson said.
She told the group about projects in the works, such as trying to sell the Transfer of Development Rights program to save agriculture in the valley and redesigning 172nd Street as a grand entry into Arlington.
We have a lot of things in the mix. She also told the women that she didnt really want to be mayor, but now she is running unopposed for a second term.
When I came on board, I was searching for the heart of Arlington. I thought it was the fire department. She said she came to realize its much more complex than that, with all the various groups providing heart.
Following their visit with city officials, the tourists crossed the street and met local businesswoman Jeanne Watanabe, of 360 Home, who gave a tour of her growing office space at the corner of Olympic Avenue and Third Street.
She said that she was in town for the May Hunt three years ago when she saw the empty building and knew it was the perfect location for her business. Originally from Bellevue and now a resident of Silvana, Watanabe knew that downtown Arlington was where she wanted to be.
I rented the unit on the spot, said Watanabe, who was recently elected president of the newly named Downtown Arlington Business Association (formerly the Oldtown Merchants Group), and is now remodeling the upstairs at her building for expansion of office space.
It was a gut reaction, but I knew this was the place for me, Watanabe said, noting her children attend school within a few blocks and walk to her office after school.
She shares a similar view with Mayor Larson.
Im all about relationships, she said.
Watanabe was selected as a destination for the tour for her ability to facilitate young women to become successful. One of the organizers, Dawn Jones, who is business assistance officer at the NWWBC, asked Watanabe to elaborate on her strategy for nurturing new employees.
I see that your gals feel valued. Ive watched them emulate you, Jones said.
Watanabe said that she believes that her successful strategy depends on recognizing the strengths of the individual and allowing one space to be his or herself. She announced that she wouldnt mind adding some guys to her staff, having just recently hired one.
The group then took a short jaunt down the street to visit the famous The Quiltmakers Shoppe, and then went shopping a bit before returning to City Council Chambers for a humorous keynote speaker, Dorothy Wilhelm, who celebrated the accomplishments of women.
My grandmother was one of 24 siblings. she said. My military husband expected to be called sir especially after making love.
The group of women departed Arlington soon after 3:30 p.m. feeling connected.
The message Ive heard here today is that its all about community, said Carolyn Eslick, who is running for office as mayor in Sultan. Ive learned that it takes creativity, not competition, to help government work with the people of the community.