Women to Watch Recap

A ladies night out in Tacoma

A mayor, an astronaut, a philanthropist, a restaurateur, a writer, and a singer walk onto a stage…

There is no punchline. Rather, it was the scene at University of Washington Tacoma Thursday night as women throughout the South Sound gathered to hear from six inspiring local women as part of South Sound magazine’s inaugural Women to Watch event.

Speakers included Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland; Korean astronaut Soyeon Yi; founder of Wear Blue: Run to Remember, Lisa Hallett; Lynnae Schneller, owner of Chick-fil-A in Tacoma; author of Never Alone, Tiffany Bluhm; and singer/songwriter Candice Russell.

More than 200 people packed William Philip Hall with their sisters, friends, mothers, daughters, and even several husbands to listen to awe-inspiring women covering issues of female empowerment, resilience, and entrepreneurship. The evening was full of laughs — like when Yi recalled her trip to the International Space Station by playing a video of her singing ballads in zero gravity — and tears — as Hallett recalled the day the U.S. Army notified her of her husband’s death days after her youngest child was born.

After a musical performance of Russell’s powerful Ignite song and a sweet intermission with donuts from the Original House of Donuts, South Sound Editor in Chief, Lisa Patterson, announced a partnership with the YMCA of Pierce County to support future Women to Watch events. The organization committed the next three years to helping grow the event and creating a mentorship component that would pair speakers with young girls in the local community.

Patterson also noted that eco-furniture company, Tree, plans to plant a tree for each audience member in attendance.

The event was sponsored by Bank of America, Alaska Airlines, Tree, Northwest Public Radio, Cascade Eye & Skin Center, Defiance Dental Studio, Olympus Spa, and SAVI Day Spa. Additional thanks go to event partners University of Washington Tacoma, Tagboard, and Original House of Donuts.

Do you know a fierce woman with a powerful story to tell? Tell us all about them by emailing editor@southsoundmag.com and we’ll consider them for future Women to Watch speaking opportunities.


is the managing editor of South Sound magazine. Email her.
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