Reign FC Legend: Jan Levy
We are excited to honor Jan Levy as a Seattle Reign FC Legend at our match on Saturday, June 30. The Legends Campaign — a partnership between Seattle Reign FC and Avanade — honors women from the Pacific Northwest who have set an example of excellence in our community.
Levy is the former executive director of Leadership Tomorrow, a civic leadership development program that brings mid- to senior-level leaders together to address issues facing the Puget Sound region. Levy is especially proud of her efforts to increase diversity within the organization. In her third year as executive director, Leadership Tomorrow moved from 18 percent people of color to 35 percent, and has remained above 35 percent since.
Earlier this year, Levy stepped away from Leadership Tomorrow after 29 years of service. She plans to join the Board of the Rotary Club of Seattle, and is looking forward to finding new ways to continue her legacy of community involvement.
Q: How would you explain Leadership Tomorrow to someone who’s thinking of joining?
A: Leadership Tomorrow is a civic leadership training program, or community leadership training program. It’s not a management training program. We’re not going to teach you how to be a leader within your company. What we do is bring together public sector, private sector, non-profit sector, middle-to-senior level leaders, and they spend nine months together learning about the key issues facing our region. They learn about leadership and stewardship, and hopefully they come out on the other end wanting to be more engaged, more involved, and ready to do more for the region.
From the beginning, the founders thought, “If you were going to be the next president of a bank, or the next head of Seattle Reign FC, or the next director of a big city department, Leadership Tomorrow wants to get our hands on you before you before you get to that position. That way we can help you understand the community and how it works.”
Q: What drew you to the organization originally?
A: I was working at Washington Mutual at the time. I grew up here but had left for many years and returned to Seattle. I decided Leadership Tomorrow would be a great way to really understand the community better. I’ve always been civically involved and wanted to be more so. It just sounded like such a cool idea.
Q: What kind of events does Leadership Tomorrow offer?
A: Once a month, the class is brought together for Challenge Days. Each Challenge Day is built around a different issue. For example, one day might be built around basic needs. One day might be built around health and wellness, one around the environment, one around the arts, the economy, etc. In the middle of the year we have a second overnight retreat focused around race and racism. It’s one of our key focus areas. We examine what a leader’s role is in addressing racism in our region.
Q: What are you most proud of from your time at Leadership Tomorrow?
A: I am most proud of our efforts to diversify the class, and to address issues of inclusion, race, and social justice. When I started at Leadership Tomorrow, the class was made up of about 18 percent people of color. Most of the members of the class came from the Seattle area. When I decided that was not enough, we introduced an initiative to increase that. We moved from 18 percent people of color to 35 percent people of color in the first year.
We’ve stayed above 35 percent ever since then. The class now comes from five different counties in the Puget Sound region.
Q: What are your plans for the future now that you’ve retired from Leadership Tomorrow?
A: I haven’t got a clue yet. I will get involved in some capacity. I am a member of Seattle Rotary and I’m going on to the board of that organization. Beyond that, I don’t know yet. All the advice that’s been given to me is, “Say no to everybody for at least six months.” I might get a dog — I’m thinking an Australian labradoodle.