This is one of 12 finalists for The Herald Business Journal’s annual Emerging Leaders awards for 2022. The winner will be named at an event on April 27.
Courtney Wooten, 39
Community Organizer, Suburbia Rising/Stories of Self & Self Solidarity
Courtney Wooten has doubled down on art and creativity this past year.
“Prioritizing joy and creativity is a big part of how I am able to do the challenging work I do,” said Wooten, founder of Suburbia Rising/Stories of Self & Solidarity.
Wooten is an Edmonds-based community organizer and anti-racist educator.
”My art has become not only another outlet for my social justice messaging, but also a praxis for self-care,” Wooten said.
Wooten launched Suburbia Rising in 2017. The consulting firm offers training, workshops and mentoring to promote equity and inclusion.
“I work as a consultant, so I get a chance to go into different organizations and partner with them and learn about their culture,” Wooten said.
“Suburbia Rising has already held so much in just five years — standing-room-only youth showcases at the Edmonds Center for the Arts, intergenerational storytelling events at the library, an array of anti-racist workshops and conference presentations and K-12 curriculum development,” she said.
Wooten has provided community education programs for the Edmonds School District, Communities of Color Coalition, YWCA, Leadership Snohomish County, United Way’s Homeward House and other nonprofits. She has also participated in programs that support the Tulalip Tribes, Sno-Isle Libraries and the cities of Shoreline and Edmonds.
“The past few years have demonstrated that inequity should be a non-partisan issue,” Wooten said. “Our communities are healthier when every person is able to meet their basic needs and is treated with dignity and belonging. As a consultant, organizer and educator, I work to help organizations clarify, then embody, their values.”
Wooten grew up in Oakland, California, and earned a degree in sociology from Stanford University. She has been an Edmonds resident since 2005.
“She is collaborative, selfless and talented,” an Emerging Leaders nominator wrote.
Wooten chairs the Snohomish County Human Rights Commission and is vice chair of the Snohomish County Children’s Commission, whose mission is to help children and families in poverty.
She is also member of the Edmonds School District’s leadership team for the Equity Alliance for Achievement, which advocates for the success of children in the district. She serves on the board of the Edmonds Center for the Arts and Seattle’s Creative Dance Center.
Wooten has helped organize the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day program at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.
The annual Emerging Leaders award by The Herald Business Journal seeks to highlight and celebrate people who are doing good work in Snohomish County. This year’s partners in the award are HeraldMedia, Leadership Snohomish County, Leadership Launch and Economic Alliance Snohomish County. Co-sponsors are Gaffney Construction, Inflection Wealth Management and the Port of Everett.