Our voice is BUILDing
BUILD’s Professional Development & Leadership Support Subcommittee is over-joyed to release our first Leader Spotlight Interview with our own BUILD Chair Megan Matthews!
She has graciously agreed to open up and share some of her wisdom, thoughts, and life experiences. Megan grew up in Tacoma, WA and graduated from Lincoln High School. “In my younger years I lived in Hill Top. I came from little, financially we didn't have a lot growing up, but we had a lot of love, family, and friends. Because of my experiences I'm very compassionate to people who struggle with different issues in their life, because I struggled with different issues even as much having self-esteem being a dark skinned woman. So I bring that lens of compassion and I try not to judge people even while knowing that we are being judged.”
Megan is married with a two-year-old daughter and is pregnant expecting another little girl at the end of the year. She received her Bachelors of Arts from Williams College in Massachusetts and Master of Public Administration (MPA) with focus on Public Policy from Evergreen College. She began her state career in February 2008 with DSHS and started as a child support case worker, Support Enforcement Officer 1 in the Tacoma field office. When asked what skills or background do you have, Megan responded, “The most important thing that anyone can have is the thirst for knowledge and continual learning. At the end of the day what drives me is that I want to continually learn, grow and be better.” Her moto is that we need to approach what we do with a sense of humility and keep the same spirit that drew us to the public sector; the spirit of service.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
“I have no idea, that’s as transparent and sincere as I can be,” Megan said. June 16th she started a new role as Engagement Manager for the Governors' Poverty Reduction Workgroup. Right now she is focusing on learning the new role and finding a way to be of service and work to reduce poverty and eliminate inequity. Megan’s career trajectory is easy to understand “every time I get a position it’s just to learn and do the best job I can do.” She adds, “I need to be mentally challenged and can find ways to make a difference.”
What led you to be in BUILD?
“Honestly, it was knowing the right person. I knew there were gaps that weren’t being addressed with black employees within state government. One of my fellow black coworker told me about the group that was planning to form a Business Resource Group (BRG) for the black community. I was thrilled because I was already familiar with BRGs and had attended some RAIN meetings, which is the LGBTQ BRG. I went to the planning sessions and the rest is history.”
What do you see in BUILD?
“I see energy, I see excitement, I see commitment, I see so much passion! Many people come to me and say it’s amazing what BUILD has been able to do! I say that we wouldn’t have accomplished so much so far if we haven't had such engaged members who want the group to succeed and are willing to provide their time, skills and abilities to make things work.”
Why should people join BUILD?
“Because, one of the most import goals of BUILD is to provide the black perspective and be a voice of the black community and we can't do that unless we have a good representation of voices from the black community in state employment. I don’t want it to be the voice of Megan, I want it to be representative of what the group wants. Probably most of us can relate to being one of the only or few black people in our work environment, this isn't necessarily a good or bad thing, it's just that each experience is different and the BRG provides a place for us to be around each other at work. That's a huge thing that BUILD provides.” Members can engage in a number of ways by joining one or more of our five active subcommittees. Attend our next BUILD BRG meeting, and let your voice be heard!
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