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HSD Employee Spotlight—Tina Skilton

Headshot of Tina Skilton

What is your role at Seattle Human Services?

I am the supervisor of the Food & Nutrition Unit in the Youth and Family Empowerment (YFE) division. I support our team in operating USDA-funded meal programs for children and youth including the Child Care Nutrition Program that supports meal access in family child care programs, the Afterschool Meals Program that provides meals and meal funding support for after-school programs during the school year, and the Summer Food Service Program which provides free meals in places where children gather every summer.

What made you want to work in human services?

My meandering career path has been a combination of working with kids in various capacities (including operating a home-based preschool program) and working with food, with time in the nutrition field, and time as a pastry chef. HSD’s vision for healthy communities and healthy families is the perfect place for me to use my passion for nutritious and delicious food and well-resourced child education programs.

How has your job changed in recent years?

In some ways, my job stayed very steady during the COVID health crisis as the core of USDA program rules and procedures stayed in place throughout COVID, and in other ways, it has changed greatly. Most everything we do has moved from paper to digital, my engagement with community partners and stakeholders has increased in an exciting way, and the need to pivot and innovate has increased. We have found new ways to implement strict programs in a time of great change and evolving community needs.

What do you love about your job?

I love opportunities to engage with the community the most. I have lots of desk time managing program requirements, so I’m happy when I can get out for site visits, training with our programs, listening sessions, and stakeholder meetings. Really great people work in the food and education world, and I love interacting with them.

How do you contribute to HSD’s overarching goals related to racial equity?

I support my team in keeping racial equity at the top of all our unit meetings and at the forefront of our program planning. We are making great strides in language access, culturally responsive menus, and centering community voices.

What motivates you or keeps you going?

My excitement around program growth and innovation keeps me engaged and invested in my job.

What’s one piece of advice for HSD newcomers or recent graduates in your field?

My biggest piece of advice for HSD newbies would be to get to know your colleagues and the programs they work in and move around in your career here at the City of Seattle. The City offers such a wide range of programming and funding to our community and you can have a really rich career if you explore those programs throughout your career.