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HSD Employee Spotlight—Gabriel Manriquez

Gabriel Manriquez is a Senior Grants & Contracts Specialist in the Seattle Human Services Department’s Youth and Family Empowerment (YFE) division. He has worked at Seattle Human Services for five years.

What is your role at Seattle Human Services? 

Senior Grants & Contracts Specialist 

What made you want to work in human services? 

A picture of Gabriel wearing snowboarding gear standing on a snowboard on a mountain.

My first job out of college was working with Kinship Caregivers and Foster Youth.  I enjoyed working with people and providing support and resources, and I never looked back. I continued my career and education to align with human service work.   

How has your job changed in recent years? 

The scope of work!  When I started with the City, I was in Homelessness Strategies and Investments (HSI) and now work in Youth and Family Empowerment, with a focus on Youth Behavioral Health.  The work is the same—contracting—but the populations served are very different.  And among all the new systems we use, Masterworks is the latest one. 

What do you love about your job? 

Flexibility! Every day looks different, and it is truly an independent job.  I also love work-from-home (WFH) opportunities—makes for a better work-life balance. Having my dog as my WFH coworker is a perk.    

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

My current work is rooted in racial equity. I oversee contracts that give mainly BIPOC students access to mental health services via student health centers located in Seattle public schools.  This addresses a lack of services but also links students to community organizations that have BIPOC staff who can provide additional culturally relevant services.  Also, I am able to analyze my role as someone within government. With funding comes power and I need to show up, interact with our contracted agencies, and remain accountable to the community. 

What motivates you or keeps you going? 

A picture of Gabriel wearing a blue San Diego Padres hat with a black puffy jacket standing in front of a log cabin.

Three things—a better tomorrow; knowing that all clouds have a silver lining (which I feel can be applicable to work and life in general); and future travel trips! It’s nice to have something to look forward to.     

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

Ask questions if you don’t know. Get clarification if you don’t know. Enjoy the work and don’t forget we work for constituents within this city and support their wellbeing.  Get to know coworkers and network—you will realize you have connections to coworkers and their circles. Seattle gets smaller and smaller every day.