Janice Greene, president of NAACP Snohomish County is this year’s recipient of the Elson S. Floyd Award. The award is named for the former Washington State University president who played a key role in establishing the WSU Everett campus. It recognizes a visionary leader who through partnership, tenacity and a strong commitment to community has created lasting opportunities to improve the quality of life and positively impact the regional economy.
Janice Greene has been president of Snohomish County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People since 2008. The local chapter, which includes more than 300 volunteers, was established in 1909.
Greene grew up in Snohomish County and attended Mariner High School. She has a master’s degree in business administration from Antioch University Seattle and a doctorate degree in strategy, project and program management from SKEMA business school.
Her father was stationed at Paine Field when it was an Air Force base in the 1950s and ‘60s. In the late 1940s, he was one of the first Black men in the newly integrated Air Force, Greene told The Daily Herald in 2010.
“I really love this community, and I’m willing, and want to do, what’s necessary to make it better,” Greene said.
“Although I think we made some strides during the Civil Rights era, it seems like we didn’t do enough,” she said. “You do have a good amount of people that do have racist tendencies and are discriminatory, but there’s also a good amount of people that are anti-racist. And it’s not just racism, there’s gender bias and age and LGBTQ bias.
“I think it’s important we make sure that the county is moving toward equity,” she said.
Greene is the recipient of this year’s Elson S. Floyd Award. The award recognizes a visionary leader who has created lasting opportunities in the community to positively impact the region’s economy.
“Dr. Janice R. Greene, has been a leader in the community working out front and behind the scenes to improve the outcomes of BIPOC members of the community in various ways, including economic development and entrepreneurship,” a nominator wrote. “Dr. Greene has spearheaded several micro-level initiatives to build businesses through partnerships and the directing of funds to support these communities. Also as the President and CEO of the Women’s Business Enterprise Council, and as a member of Snohomish County Workforce Development Council, Janice has been a consistent voice in advocating for supplier diversity, and providing equitable economic opportunities for BIPOC members of the community.”
In presenting the award, Paul Pitre, chancellor of Washington State University Everett and an Economic Alliance board member, described Greene’s tireless efforts to promote equity, economic development and entrepreneurship throughout the region.
“She has been a community voice and an advocate of supplier diversity and advocate of the BIPOC community,” Pitre said.
Greene, who retired from Boeing in 2017 after a long career, has been recognized for her role in increasing the diversity of the company’s suppliers. At Boeing, she served as Diversity Education Manager and Supplier Diversity Strategy Intelligence Leader among her other roles. While at Boeing she also helped create a program for women in manufacturing.
Today, Greene is president and CEO of Women’s Business Enterprise Council Pacific, a nonprofit that offers support and training to women business owners and entrepreneurs.
Greene has served on the Conference Board’s Council on Supplier Diversity and the steering committee for the Minority Achievers Program offered through the YMCA of Snohomish County.
Accepting the award at an event last month at Tulalip Resort Casino, Greene said, “It is really hard to do the type of work I do without a community. It takes all of us because we’re entwined and connected.”
Greene recently offered this advice to those who want to better their community through volunteer activities or nonprofit groups.
“Identify your mission and make it clear. Be flexible and patient. Really focus on operating in your strengths. Don’t dwell on faults,” Greene told Adam Mendler during an interview. Mendler hosts the podcast Thirty Minute Mentors.
“You have to love what you do and be committed to the mission,” Greene said. “It’s a lot of work and not often easy because there are so many moving parts.”
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