EVERETT — For Hayley Statema, building a stronger community means being a voice for those who don’t always have a seat at the table.
Statema, 28, who serves as director of development at Washington State University Everett, was named the winner of the Emerging Leaders Award for 2023.
“I grew up here,” Statema said after learning of her win. “It’s so incredible to see so many people reinvesting in the place I grew up. Everyone here deserves to win.”
Statema was one of 12 finalists for The Herald Business Journal’s annual award, which highlights and celebrates people who are doing good work in Snohomish County.
She received the award during a ceremony Thursday at Schack Art Center in Everett. More than 100 people attended the event.
Since its launch in 2016, more than 440 people have been nominated and 84 recognized as finalists. The award recognizes the next generation of leadership for the county, Carrie Radcliff, The Daily Herald’s advertising director, told the audience Thursday.
Radcliff thanked the judges, including Jamila Taylor, director of Leadership Launch, Heather Freeman with Leadership Snohomish County and Raechel Morera with Economic Alliance Snohomish County, for the hours they spent poring through dozens of Emerging Leaders nominations.
It was a labor of love, the judges said.
“We must recognize the importance of leadership in creating a strong and thriving community,” Morera said. “It is more important than ever to have leaders who are inclusive, colloborative and forward-thinking as these Emerging Leaders have demonstrated.”
“All the candidates here tonight have done an exemplary job of showcasing their leadership abilities in the work they do around our county,” Freeman said.
Taylor thanked the nominees for “setting the bar” for service and leadership throughout the county.
Having “a sibling who has different abilities” shaped Statema’s perspective growing up.
“My younger sister has autism,” Statema told The Daily Herald. “You have to step up for people who might not have a voice.”
Statema recently stepped up to ensure that even more are heard.
After a drag show scheduled to play Salty Sea Days was canceled last summer because performers didn’t feel safe, Statema invited the LGBQT+ community to talk about themselves and their concerns at an Engage Everett event.
“After seeing that kind of violence come up, it was important we use whatever we can to talk about it more,” said Statema, a volunteer with the nonprofit group. “Given the right tools, people will usually make good decisions, and they will try to be kind. If we would just break down some of those barriers and communicate a little bit more, more people would have access to the tools they need to succeed.”
Statema attended Cascade High School and Everett Community College through the Running Start program. A first-generation college student, she graduated from Washington State University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in communications.
“WSU Everett graduates have been involved in this (Emerging Leaders) and have been nominated every year. WSU is doing everything it can to grow and impact the community,” Statema said after the event.
Earlier this year, Statema joined WSU Everett as director of development. Before that, she was the donor development manager at March of Dimes and communications specialist at ChildStrive in Everett.
She is a volunteer with Domestic Violence Services Snohomish County and the Providence Hospice Foundation.
This year’s Emerging Leaders Award is sponsored by The Herald Business Journal, The Daily Herald and three partners: Leadership Snohomish County, Leadership Launch and Economic Alliance Snohomish County.
Last fall, The Herald Business Journal solicited nominations of people who are accomplished in their field and are working to make the county a better place to live and work. Dozens were nominated.
Then, a dozen finalists were chosen.
The nominees were then narrowed to the top four: Statema; Heidi Schauble, program operator for Career Path services; Russell Wiita, mayor of Sultan; and Jonnathan Yepez Carino, senior vice president and branch manager at Pacific Premier Bank.
Other finalists were John Michael Graves, high school regional manager for StandWithUs; Lynsey Gagnon, executive director of Community Resource Centers at Volunteers of America; Alexandria Zitnik-McGinty, chief development officer of Integrated Rehabilitation Group; Melissa Siv, vice president and district branch manager of Peoples Bank; Marlena Powers, partner and brand development at AVODAH Business Collective; Michael Adams, founder and executive director of Change the Narrative Granite Falls; Kaitlyn Davis, owner of Moe’s Coffee; and Rilee Louangphakdy, communications specialist at the city of Marysville.
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