The Privilege to Be Involved

Cares of Washington and the Board.  How did I get involved?  Here’s the thing it was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving in 2013 and I made the short drive from Issaquah to Northgate…and I realized I found somewhere that would make a difference in my life and more importantly I could help make a difference for others around the Pacific Northwest. 

In the Puget Sound there is a strong philanthropic presence within our community, giving time and financial resources, which is incredible.  I felt I was also doing my part, something good, etc. by volunteering time through work and community events.  The catch was I went home and that was it, was I really making as big of an impact as I could. 

With a background in Operations Management and Staffing for two decades Cares appealed to me on how I could make that bigger impact – helping others secure and support employment opportunities.  There are incredible staff members at Cares and clients that work every day together to build on skills to attain employment opportunities and the best part is the role Cares takes to support clients for the long term of their employment. 

A few years back, I had the opportunity to spend a day with an Employment Support Specialist at Cares as she met with clients at their work location.  As we worked from location to location around South King County I noticed that each interaction was a different approach, personalized for each client and employer.  All the interactions were great, though the one image I will never forget is Annie working at Safeway.  As soon as we entered there was a smile from ear to ear, and she had confidence beaming from her through every interaction in the store.  She was working on moving from the front end of the store to the floral department, and her Support Specialist was there every step of the way to build a plan and support Annie with the conversation with the Store Manager. 

As the current Board Chairman I have the privilege to be a part of the long term strategy and influence as Cares of Washington grows the reach of our impact on the Puget Sound community.  Being involved with the organization has given me more perspective how employers, including my own, partner to be more inclusive with their workforce.  There are many more Annie’s out there that Cares and partners around the Puget Sound are working to impact for the future.


Jason Norlin, Board Chair, pictured above.

Jason Norlin, Board Chair, pictured above.

Jason Norlin