The Community Involvement Commission (CIC) will ultimately be comprised of 16 equity champions who will work to ensure that our City departments are creating and implementing equitable engagement strategies that lead to more relevant and impactful public participation. They will also provide feedback on the development of City departments’ community involvement plans. All the appointments are subject to City Council confirmation.
Felix Chang is a design researcher at Artefact. He collaborates with multidisciplinary teams and coaches industry-leading clients on design thinking to create innovative, socially impactful solutions. Before Artefact, Felix worked at IBM’s new design division, where he empowered dozens of product teams and Fortune 500 organizations to gain greater empathy for their users. His research in cognitive psychology at Stanford University examined how virtual reality might help reduce social stigma. His passion for creating positive outcomes for people has led to work with education technology labs at Stanford School of Medicine and Columbia University, invited talks at international conferences including SXSW Interactive, and volunteer and program development work with single mothers and aspiring first-generation college students.
What inspired you to serve on the Community Involvement Commission?
During our final meeting, my college thesis advisor asked me, “What are you doing after school? Are you going to just have a job? Or are you going to do work that helps people?” His challenge has stayed with me. I believe that helping to advance equity and inclusion in Seattle, to unite communities and ensure their voices are heard, is the best possible use of time.
We’ve taken to calling our Community Involvement Commissioners “EQUITY CHAMPIONS!” Do you accept this superhero moniker and what does it mean to you personally?
While I definitely think capes are fun, I’m not a superhero, just a Seattleite who will work very hard to engage residents, officials, and departments from throughout the City. I believe that a city cannot truly thrive if it is inequitable – we must ensure that diverse Seattle communities have a seat at the table. That’s something I’m glad to champion.
What is your unique real-life superpower?
As a researcher who talks to people every day to learn what their lives are like, I think my real-life super power is energizing and helping people gain empathy for others. Also, eating lots of ice cream, very quickly.
What do you hope the Community Involvement Commission will bring to the City?
I hope that City officials and departments will have greater empathy and better account for the challenges, needs, and desires of Seattleites not only when evaluating policies and programs, but when creating them. I also hope that Seattle can serve as a model for impactful resident engagement and collaborate with other cities to advance equity and inclusion practices.
Which local organization or person do you consider to be a true superhero and why?
Year Up does great work to promote equity in the workforce. Its programs not only equip young adults from low-income backgrounds with valuable skills and knowledge, they facilitate relationships with mentors and connect students to meaningful professional opportunities.
Learn more about the Community Involvement Commission at seattle.gov/neighborhoods/community-involvement-commission.