This is one of 12 finalists for the Herald Business Journal’s Emerging Leaders award, which seeks to highlight and celebrate people who are doing good work in Snohomish County. The winner will be named at an event on April 11. Meet the other finalists.
Name: Dan Kittle
Profession: Attorney, Lane Powell PC
That week, Dan Kittle’s schedule was over the top.
Kittle, an attorney and shareholder at the Seattle law firm of Lane Powell, was preparing for an intense trial.
But that wasn’t the only item on his calendar that week. At the Mukilteo Boys and Girls Club, where he coaches basketball, he was in charge of the team’s practice sessions.
Then there was the promise he had vowed to keep: A high school student that he mentored had asked him to attend a school sporting event.
“I wanted to show the student how proud I was and also show the importance of fulfilling my promises,” said Kittle, who got up early and worked late to fulfill his pledge.
Kittle’s reward was a thankful, grateful student, he said.
Kittle and his wife, Rachel, a 2017 Emerging Leaders finalist, are the founders of Leadership Launch.
The Mukilteo-based nonprofit group mentors youth who want to make a lasting impact in their communities but may face personal or financial hardship.
“The goal of our program is to work with a group of (teen) leaders that can go out and work and empower others,” Kittle said.
Every Sunday, the group assembles at the Kittles’ Mukilteo home to chat, eat a homemade meal and meet with adult volunteers and community leaders.
“Dan picks students up and drops them off. He helps with curriculum and assists students with editing their school papers. He facilitates meetings, and participates in every meeting,” a nominator wrote.
Leadership Launch started with one student in 2015; now the group welcomes 18 teens a week.
Students are paired with mentors from Leadership Snohomish County.
“I love listening to their hopes and dreams. I love working with them. They’re such a diverse group. I think there are at least six or seven languages spoken,” Kittle said.
Last year, the group organized its first big project, “Mobile Dental Day,” which brought dentists, soccer, free music and hot dogs to a park on Everett’s Casino Road.
This year, Leadership Launch is planning an event at the Rosehill Community Center in Mukilteo that it’s calling “We are Culture — Creating Unity By Celebrating Our Differences,” Kittle said.
“There tends to be divisiveness in our community,” he said. “Students want to address that and let people know it’s not us versus them, it’s just us.”
Janice Podsada; firstname.lastname@example.org; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods