Get to know our new External Relations Division Director: Waing Waing

WAING WAING
Division Director for External Relations

 

Where did you grow up: In Gaborone, Botswana. I was born in Burma and when I was five, my family moved to Botswana and I grew up there.

What neighborhood do you call home: I have lived in the Central District since 1998.

What makes your neighborhood special: Well, the Central District has been changing for many years but what drew me to it initially was it being the most diverse neighborhood at the time. The CD has a deep, rich history, is home to many amazing people, and is a quick skip to beautiful Lake Washington.

What did you do prior to coming to Seattle Department of Neighborhoods: Most recently I served as the Executive Director of the Center for Ethical Leadership, a local nonprofit that cultivates inclusive, values-based leadership in service of the common good. We facilitated restorative and collective leadership practices, bringing people from diverse backgrounds together to build understanding, trust, and relationship. Gracious Space and Peacemaking Circles are cornerstones of the Center’s approach to creating empathetic, brave spaces that foster connectedness and promote healing. When this happens, it enhances people’s capacity to work together and tap into their collective wisdom to solve challenging issues.

Why did you want to work for the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods: I was drawn to this department because I value participatory governance and the staff here are serious about working to make community outreach and engagement equitable. As the city grows and changes, we need to make sure public planning processes also include the views and needs of the most affected and vulnerable among us. I’m committed to doing that work.

Describe your role at Seattle Department of Neighborhoods: Right now, I see my role in two parts. One is focused internally to align departmental efforts and build cohesion between the teams and programs in our newly formed External Relations Division. The other is with an external focus to support the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods’ goal of providing all Seattle residents a wide range of opportunities for both meaningful and authentic civic participation. Essential to achieving this is elevating the voices of the underrepresented and underserved communities through our division’s work in Community Outreach & Engagement, Civic Engagement & Leadership Development, and Strategic Initiatives.

What is your favorite place in Seattle and why: I like to take walks along Lake Washington between Leschi and Seward Park. It just feels good.

What are you passionate about: I am passionate about bringing people together to work across boundaries to build a healthy, just and inclusive society. I like developing intercultural leadership and seeing people bridge cultures to bring good into the world.