Directions | WTC Seattle

Puget Sound Economic Summit

The COVID-19 Economy:
Challenges and Opportunities

If we plan accordingly and collaborate regionally, our region can emerge stronger than ever before. Learn how the silver linings of COVID-19 can help advance an equitable and inclusive recovery. We’ll review the latest data and projections including broad regional indicators, unemployment and disparity impacts.


Bookda Gheisar

Sr. Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Port of Seattle

For more than 30 years, Bookda has fought for racial equity and social justice. She is deeply passionate about creating systemic, transformational change, and has a proven track record of grounding her work within communities that are most impacted by racial and economic inequities. Bookda believes that we all have a responsibility to actively repair the harm done to historically oppressed communities, and to do so, we must work collectively to improve opportunities and outcomes for all, while simultaneously addressing the unique needs of different communities.

Before coming to the Port, Bookda served as a Policy Advisor for King County’s Office of Equity and Social Justice. She has also served as the Executive Director of multiple philanthropic organizations, each committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Mayor Jimmy Matta

City of Burien

Mayor Matta served as a labor leader for 20 years. He has served as a manager for minority-owned construction firms for several years in Washington and Oregon.

Mayor Matta's accomplishments in social justice and labor issues span from advocacy for civil rights, democracy, and broad participation in government by the people, and a strong commitment to our constitutional rights.

As a union labor leader, community advocate, and organizer, Mayor Matta has long sought to build bridges between organized labor, business, and our diverse communities of Washington. Mayor Matta has served as President of Carpenters Local Union 41 and President of the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters Regional Executive Board. He is currently a regional executive board member and Vice-Chair of The Latino Civic Alliance. He has served as president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (King County) and Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA).

Chris Mefford

CEO, Community Attributes

Chris Mefford is the President & CEO of Community Attributes, Inc., a Seattle-based consulting firm that transforms data into analysis and strategies for business, government, non-profits and philanthropy. Chris founded CAI in 2005. Chris and Community Attributes are known for bringing data to life in engaging ways to understand business and social challenges. Community Attributes works with organizations and municipalities in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the world on urban planning, economic development and strategic planning. The firm supports the private sector by relating demographics and economic trends to strategic planning and business decisions.

Chris is a father of two and active in many community organizations. He holds a B.A. in Mathematics from the University of Northern Iowa; an M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from University of Iowa; and an M.B.A. from the University of Washington.

Lori Otto Punke

President, Washington Council on International Trade

Lori Otto Punke leads LOP Strategies, a public affairs consulting firm. She also serves as President of the Washington Council on International Trade. Lori previously held various public affairs positions at Starbucks and Microsoft and served as a senior technology policy advisor to U.S. Senate leadership. She is a member of the Seattle chapter of GenNext and was previously a member of the NASDAQ Public Policy Advisory Committee. Lori earned her B.A. from George Washington University and studied international relations and political science in London and Madrid. She is an avid runner and has completed ten marathons and two Ironman triathlons.

Moderated By

Molly Shen

News Anchor, KOMO News

Molly joined KOMO 4 News in 1997. She's won Emmy awards for her live reporting and anchoring and was named the Journalist of the Month by the website Women’s e-news in May 2005. Women's e-news recognized Molly for her work in the community raising awareness for the need for free counseling services for sexual assault victims.

Molly regularly volunteers her time as an emcee for various community groups including Harborview Medical Center, Seattle Children’s Home and LifeWire (formerly Eastside Domestic Violence Program.) She is on the Honorary Board for Harborview’s Children’s Response Center, serving children who are victims of sexual assault or other trauma and is a prior member of the Board of Directors for Starlight Children’s Foundation, serving seriously ill children and their families.

Back to