CEO & Co-founder
President & Co-founder
The COVID-19 pandemic and related dynamics continued to provide substantial challenges for our communities, workplaces, and lives in 2021. Despite these headwinds sea.citi continued to thrive, doing what we do best, connecting tech and community.
Three years into operations and we continue to grow our reach and impact. This year saw more event attendees than ever as the workforce and community sought to understand the changing region. We teamed up with incredible partners to amplify work on digital equity and the future of communities. In our Tech Civic Survey, tech workers told us remote/hybrid work is here to stay and we shared that message broadly to prepare the region for future shifts.
We are truly in the middle of a historic shift in how people live and work. The pandemic, global inequities, and advancing technology are a forcing function for business, the public sector, nonprofits, families, and individuals to reimagine their lives. This will directly affect how communities function for decades to come.
Never before has cross-sector collaboration been more necessary. Seated at the intersection of tech and community, sea.citi is poised to drive these conversations into the future. With hope on the horizon and impact in our hearts, we invite you to join us in building a stronger, more vibrant, and equitable region for all.
WHO WE ARE
We are building a vibrant, inclusive, and thriving community and innovation economy across the Seattle region.
OUR MISSION: sea.citi is a tech industry nonprofit strengthening our region by promoting civic engagement and building relationships between community, government, and innovation workers.
sea.citi impact since launch
Event attendees from across tech and the community
Member companies representing over 150,000 tech workers
Distributed through sea.citi led initiatives
THE FUTURE OF WORK & COMMUNITIES
2021 has been a year of transition and change for all. What was once expected to be a few month stint of working from home has changed to the norm. The changes we see in the workforce will ripple into the broader community and sea.citi is at the forefront, helping the community prepare for these changes.
Hybrid work is the opportunity to reimagine downtown Seattle, not its demise
“The flurry of changes from our area’s tech companies continues to be misinterpreted as a nail in the coffin for small businesses and property owners positioned to serve a daily flow of workers from outlying areas. True, these shifts will create a lasting impact on our region’s urban centers, but the office is not obsolete in hybrid work. In-person collaboration will still be important, but the flow of workers headed downtown will likely favor Tuesday through Thursday and is unlikely to reach pre-pandemic levels.”
Mapping the Tech Exodus > San Francisco vs. Seattle
Seattle and San Francisco share many similarities in workforce, culture, politics, and topography. sea.citi CEO Nick Merriam met with sf.citi Executive Director Jennifer Stojkovic to discuss how the pandemic is shaping each of these world class tech cities. In the discussion Nick and Jennifer compare and contrast everything from the tech workforce to local economic development, discussing the similarities and differences between the cities along the way.
Investing our way out of the Housing Crisis
Targeted affordable housing is critical to healthy communities and tech has made big investments to ensure affordable housing is available. sea.citi hosted a panel of tech and housing leaders to talk about the different types of partnership they’re creating. Panelists dive into affordable housing and how their funds or products are driving equity in the community and helping the region thrive.
Remote work already changing Seattle permanently, tech worker survey indicates
“Among people who have moved or have considered moving, 70% said they would end up more connected to their new neighborhood or town and less connected to downtown Seattle… “This is significant,” Merriam said. “When people move, they still seek that connection. But they seek it in a new place. What is not as good for downtown might be good for the suburbs or neighborhoods.”
Future of Cities with Crosscut
The pandemic has changed how we live — and want to live. For some this has meant leaving the city and others insist we must redefine urban living, practically and philosophically. Richard Florida, founder of CityLab and author of the recent book The New Urban Crisis, shares his thoughts on this pivotal moment for Seattle, and cities around the world. Moderated by Monica Nickelsburg.
The Future of Work for Local Tech
The Delta variant threw a wrench in many re-opening plans and many companies are delaying full re-opening to the earliest in October and many are planning for January 2022. We’ve kept a close eye on the Puget Sound’s tech companies that have changed their pre-pandemic office hours policies to include hybrid office and work-from-home policies. Here’s how many companies here in Seattle plan to re-open, when they do.
Tourists return to downtown Seattle, but office workers are staying home
“Amazon leads the area in numbers of employees with an estimated 60,000 office workers in the Seattle area, but Microsoft, Google and Facebook all have significant outposts as well. All four of the companies have delayed full office reopening plans, Microsoft indefinitely. Less than a quarter of office workers have returned to downtown as of Sept. 19. It’s a metric of recovery that’s remained stagnant for most of the pandemic, with occasional peaks of 30% to 38%.”
Future of Seattle with Crosscut & Geekwire
Among them, hybrid work models and half-empty offices; economic instability that threatens vulnerable communities and businesses; diverse neighborhoods upended by gentrification and displacement; and rising costs of living that make it unaffordable for artists. We sit down with three leaders taking on these challenges and hear how they hope to rebuild Seattle to be the city we want it to be.
Helping smart voters
Voting locally is the most impactful thing anyone can do in their community. We deliver nonpartisan voting materials to tech, curated to the issue we all care about. Helping voters understand their ballots and make informed decisions ensures a healthy community.
There are 300,000 tech workers in the Puget Sound region, who often appear elusive to the public sector and politicians. Their contributions to our region matter. In an effort to explore the attitudes, community engagement patterns, and demographics of tech workers, whose presence in and financial contribution to the Puget Sound region is growing, sea.citi was pleased to work with EMC Research to explore the opinions of tech workers in the region. The study also delved into how remote work has been transforming those characteristics.
“The city’s urban core and its continued viability as a tech hub has been impacted by a number of factors over the past couple years, not the least of which is the COVID-19 pandemic that turned thousands of office tech workers into remote workers. How many of those workers will return and for how many days a week? What will a hybrid workforce split between the office and home mean for the city’s economy and the small businesses that rely on those workers?”
Voting locally is the most impactful thing you can do in your community. sea.citi’s Candid Candidate November 2021 King County Voter Guide is a video, position, and recent local media get-to-know your candidate guide. We interviewed some of the hottest candidates in this year’s election, asking them tough questions so you can compare and contrast their stances on important issues.
sea.citi supports City Club Mayoral Debates
sea.citi supported the Seattle Mayoral debates held by Washington State Debate Coalition, through City Club. sea.citi staff served on the steering committee to help with content and fundraising efforts. These important debates help shape the focus and future of the community. Tech showed up, including sponsorship of the debates.
Nicholas Merriam, CEO and co-founder of the non-profit sea.citi, said if the early results hold, the election presents a huge opportunity for the tech community. His organization works to connect tech sector employees with civic life.“I think what (the initial results) say is that the business community has a lot to look forward to in collaborating on hard-to-solve problems,” he said. “Tech has a great opportunity to come to the table and be an active participant.”
Growing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion leadership in tech
This year sea.citi launched the “employee affinity resource network (EARN)” to convene employee resources group leaders from across tech. Together, they share learnings that work, problem solve challenges, and get invited to special events. With renewed focus and resources investing in DEI efforts across tech, sea.citi is proud to be working with these outstanding leaders. Participants from across Puget Sound tech joined, representing some of the best companies in our region: Amazon, Expedia, Facebook, Google, Zillow, and more.
“The nonprofit sea.citi recently convened a panel of Seattle tech leaders to talk about DEI efforts. The overriding message emphasized the need for open, honest, supported communication around sensitive racial issues and setting clear goals for improving diversity. The conversation included Kim Vu, global head of diversity and inclusion at the fintech company Remitly, and Neal Myrick, global head of the Tableau Foundation, a philanthropic initiative within Tableau, which was acquired by Salesforce. Stephen Uy, Facebook’s head of public policy and community engagement in the Northwest and vice-chair of the sea.citi board, moderated the discussion.”