Speaker Date Topic
Miriam Barnett Apr 15, 2021
Home At Last: YWCA’s Housing with Dignity for Homeless Families in Tacoma
Home At Last: YWCA’s Housing with Dignity for Homeless Families in Tacoma

In 2008, the YWCA purchased and remodeled the Wilsonion Apartments at 401 St Helens for our domestic violence shelter. When the building opened to clients, every family had their own apartment where they were safe and could begin the process of healing with privacy and dignity. Seeing the difference a beautiful environment made, Miriam Barnett decided that during her tenure at the YWCA, all spaces where clients would seek services would be beautiful. Next came a complete remodel of the old shelter into our an expanded legal and therapeutic children’s program where once again, beauty made a difference on how clients healed. Miriam's  final and largest project ($23.2 million) is Home at Last. Home at Last is 54 apartments for homeless families and individuals and while the shelter is a 90-day stay, this project is permanent housing. Tenants can stay as long as they need and want. The building filled up immediately with over 300 people vying to live in the building. The need is great. The arts play an integral part in all three projects and in our programming.

Miriam started her nonprofit career in 1987 as the Executive Director of Allied Arts of Whatcom County, a position she held for 11.5 years. She moved to Tacoma in 2000 to be the development director of Tacoma Arts Live and then was offered a double position at the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation as the Director of the Fund for Women and Girls and the Marketing and Communications Manager for the foundation.  In 2005, she was asked to become to the CEO of the YWCA Pierce County, a position that in her words, she has been blessed to have for almost 16 years. In July of this year, she will be stepping down to pursue new opportunities and slow down the pace just a little.

Johnna Batiste Apr 22, 2021
Fighting the Good Fight: A Conversations with Sgt. Johnna Batiste, WSP
Fighting the Good Fight:  A Conversations with Sgt. Johnna Batiste, WSP

Sgt Johnna Batiste always wanted to follow her father’s footsteps into law enforcement. One of only 4 females of color in the Washington State Patrol, Johnna loves her job. From Public Information Officer to the Tacoma Freeway detachment to her new position at the Training Academy instructing the most diverse cadet class in history, Johnna has always focused on “leaving it better than she found it.”  Johnna will speak about her own experience as an officer, the challenges facing law enforcement today, and how we all can build the bridge to a better future. 

Laurie Jinkins May 06, 2021
Report from the Speaker of the House
Report from the Speaker of the House

Laurie Jinkins made history on January 13, 2020 when she became Washington state’s first woman and first out lesbian Speaker of the House. She represents the 27th Legislative District in Pierce County, which includes East, Downtown, Hilltop, North, Northeast, West, and part of South Tacoma as well as Ruston and Fife Heights.

She is a native Midwesterner who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and later a Juris Doctor from Seattle University School of Law (then the University of Puget Sound School Of Law). She also completed executive studies at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Laurie started her career litigating child abuse and neglect cases for the state Attorney General’s Office. She then shifted her career toward public health, eventually serving as an assistant secretary of health at the state Department of Health before taking the position of Director of Organizational Initiatives at the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, where she continues to serve. She has also been active in advancing Washington’s anti-discrimination laws both prior to and during her time in the House.

Prior to becoming Speaker, Laurie served on the House Appropriations and Health Care & Wellness committees, and chaired the Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee.

Laurie and her wife, Laura Wulf, live in Tacoma, where they raised their son

Becky Fontaine May 13, 2021
Creating a Culture of Safety
Creating a Culture of Safety

We will hear what all Rotarians need to understand and do to ensure we create a safer environment for Rotarians, friends of Rotary and those whom we serve.

Becky Fontaine has been involved with Rotary Youth Programs since 1999. For several years she was active with the Youth Exchange Program but now serves as the District Youth Protection Officer.  In 2006 she was the sole district representative to a conference when Rotary first unveiled the “Youth Abuse & Harassment Policy.  Over the years, Rotary has made several changes that have impacted how districts around the world not only work with youth, but other vulnerable populations.  Professionally, Becky has worked for various non-profit organizations with over 30 years in senior leadership positions. Today, she works for the American Red Cross and recently was deployed to work on the WA and OR wildfires. Throughout her career she has worked with and supported volunteers in diverse roles.

Lisa Jaret May 20, 2021
Tacoma Creates
Tacoma Creates

Tacoma Creates is a voter-approved initiative to increase access to arts, culture, heritage, and science experiences throughout Tacoma by reducing barriers to access and expanding offerings, particularly for underserved youth. Eligible non-profit arts, culture, heritage, and science organizations are able to apply for funding that helps them expand equitable access to public programs, increase opportunities in neighborhoods throughout Tacoma, expand educational options for youth, and build sustainability for ongoing cultural programs that provide value for people throughout the City of Tacoma.

Lisa Jaret (she/her) joined the City of Tacoma’s Office of Arts & Cultural Vitality as the Program Manager for Tacoma Creates in July 2019. Previously she worked as the Arts in Education Program Manager for the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA), where she supported and strengthened K-12 arts education as part of basic education in Washington State. She served as an ex-officio board member for ArtsEd Washington, as a member and chair of the Arts Education Advisory Group for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, and as a member of Governor Inslee’s “World Class Education” goal council. Prior to ArtsWA, Lisa served as the Administrative Director of Education Programs for Seattle Children’s Theatre.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master’s in Not-For-Profit Leadership from Seattle University.