Christine Stansfield

Christine Stansfield

She’s listening to and learning from diverse communities

Christine Stansfield is helping a south Everett neighborhood take charge of its library.

This is one of the top four of 12 finalists for the Herald Business Journal’s annual Emerging Leaders award, which highlights and celebrates people who are doing good work in Snohomish County. The winner is to be announced during an online event on Thursday. Meet the other finalists.

Christine Stansfield, 39

Volunteer and community engagement coordinator, Sno-Isle Libraries

Christine Stansfield wants everyone to have a voice and a seat at the table.

Stansfield is in charge of Sno-Isle Libraries’ volunteer program, which covers Snohomish and Island counties and includes nearly 700 volunteers. She also leads the Mariner Community Campus Project, which aims to bring a permanent library to the ethnically diverse neighborhood that surrounds Mariner High School in the south Everett area.

In 2017, Sno-Isle Libraries opened the Mariner Library in a storefront.

But plans call for a permanent location.

Instead of “just building it and assuming they will come,” the library district has sought the neighborhood’s input, said Stansfield, who’s in charge of the community engagement portion of the project.

Stansfield has led more than a year’s worth of meetings with community members to discover what kind of facility they would like to see built.

“Each and every person deserves a seat and voice at the table. It is my responsibility to build relationships across racial, cultural and economic lines,” Stansfield said.

It’s a role that’s required her to listen and learn, she said.

“One of the things I’m learning is what it means to be a white person in a community of color, a community that has not traditionally had a seat at the table,” she said. “What I’m learning is to be incredibly humble. I’m taking the opportunity to build a bridge.”

Her greatest hope is to create “warm, welcoming spaces where all people feel welcome,” she said. “My vision is to co-create a world that works for everyone, where we all can thrive.”

A nominator described Stansfield as a person who is “dedicated to all social justice and racial equity work in a deep way.”

Stansfield serves on the boards of Leadership Launch and Open Arms Perinatal Services, a nonprofit that provides pregnancy, birth and early parenting support.

In person, she is effervescent and joyful.

“I believe laughter is the best medicine, and that struggle and joy can and frequently go hand in hand,” Stansfield said.

“My leadership on the Mariner Campus project is resulting in impactful conversations within my own organization — about the need to prioritize equity, diversity and inclusion in our staffing, materials, collection, artwork and more,” she said. “By using the Mariner Campus as an example, change is indeed starting to occur across the entire organization.”

Janice Podsada; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods

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