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HSD Employee Spotlight—Kimberly Patterson

Headshot of Kimberly Patterson

What is your role at Seattle Human Services?

I provide administrative support to Department Director Tanya Kim. The scope of my work varies from scheduling and event planning, coordinating and editing the HSD Weekly report to the Mayor’s Office, and managing the cadence of executive leadership meetings and timely agenda items.

What made you want to work in human services?

HSD’s portfolio and impact to community encompasses lines of business that I had yet to encounter in my tenure at other City departments. My previous role at the Mayor’s Office focused on political impacts to constituents. My role at SDOT directly impacted citizens where the rubber literally meets the roads/sidewalks used by the public—asphalt/concrete in the case of the Maintenance & Operations Division. HSD’s portfolio and function as a funder and convener assists in determining how the City supports community. I have enjoyed exploring the avenues used to complete this work.

How has your job changed in recent years?

Admins are now required to adapt to increasing levels of meeting technology to increase collaboration. MS Teams and SharePoint are two main tools that assist with project management and collaboration. So much of our work now happens in a virtual environment. And we don’t need paper to print on, file folders to collect and store the work in cabinets, and so many pens, pencils, and paper clips!

What do you love about your job?

Kimberly wearing a bright jacket strikes a fun pose with the HSD Leadership Team for a 2022 holiday card photo on the steps inside Seattle Municipal Tower.

I love interfacing with staff across the department. My work assignments are diverse and fluctuate daily, affording me the unique opportunity to communicate and collaborate with talented folks working on all different kinds of funding portfolios and topics of concern for the community.

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

I contribute by being authentic in my own experiences as a woman of color and bring an open perspective to how I approach my work at HSD. Bringing my “whole self” to HSD allows me to recognize the humanity in others and show empathy which enhances and promotes a cohesive work environment.

What motivates you or keeps you going?

Accomplishing tasks as efficiently as possible and moving on to the next project is what really keeps me going. As a Sr. Executive Assistant, I have the flexibility to complete projects using a variety of tools and use my best judgement, which allows me to be creative (which I love) in a heavily administrative function.

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

Be open to learning a little bit about everything. Random bits of knowledge will serve as resources you’ll use later to problem solve. For example, in a previous role I was tasked to create simple graphics for a print advertisement. Through Google, and by cobbling together a variety of programs, I was able to complete the tasks. That experience allowed me to be more comfortable creating promotional materials and I now look forward to projects (PowerPoint creation/editing) that draw on these skills.