Leadership Eastside selects James Whitfield to be new president

Founding board member takes reigns of leadership program

Leadership Eastside (LE) has selected James Whitfield of Kirkland to be the new chief executive for the Eastside’s premier leader development program, effective January 3, 2011.  Announcing the appointment, LE Board Chair Earl Bell said, “We are very excited to have someone with James’ experience in the community.  The breadth and depth of his leadership in for-profit, non-profit, government and faith-based organizations demonstrates his knowledge of and passion for the community and make him the ideal person to head LE as we move into the next phase of our development.”

Whitfield has served on a number of non-profit boards, including the YMCA Eastside District, Seattle CityClub and Seattle Works, as well as being a founding board member of LE and co-chairing Children’s Institute for Learning Differences’ capital campaign feasibility study.   He was appointed by the White House in 2005 to be the Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and later as Deputy Directory for the agency’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.  Whitfield also was a Senior Officer for Community Relations with the Washington Health Foundation, technology consultant for Fox Industries, and licensed life and health insurance consultant for Kibble & Prentice.

Said Whitfield: “I’m convinced that LE’s innovative Adaptive Leadership approach to leader development is the answer to the challenges we face in our communities.  I am incredibly proud to be part of equipping and connecting leaders to help the Eastside continue to be an extraordinary place to live, work and serve.”

LE’s unique three-year program serves the greater Eastside region by helping participants who live or work on the Eastside to develop their skills and connections to make a difference in their local communities through leadership roles in business, volunteerism and public service. The organization has been a driving force in building community leaders since 2005 when LE evolved out of the former Leadership Institute and Advance Bellevue programs.  Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna, a co-founder of Advance Bellevue, said: "I've known James for many years and am excited to see him step into the role of president, as I know his skills will assure Leadership Eastside's success in the new decade."  State Representative Larry Springer (D-Kirkland) said: “James’ background and skills are just what LE needs to take its legacy of building strong, vital communities on the Eastside to the next level.  These times demand strong leaders and LE has found one in James.”

With more than 400 LE alumni, students and community partners that represent the entire east King County region, LE is making a significant impact on the Eastside.  More than 140 Eastside organizations are currently benefiting from LE members’ volunteerism serving on nonprofit boards, commissions and chambers and 16 program participants who are holding or sought public office.   LE is now taking applications for its sixth class, which begins this fall.

Whitfield is an honors graduate in communication from the University of Iowa and a 2003 graduate of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Leadership Tomorrow program, where he also served on the curriculum committee.  Jan Levy, Executive Director of Leadership Tomorrow said: “James is a great choice for Leadership Eastside!  I look forward to working closely with him as we find new ways to collaborate.”

Whitfield succeeds Stephanie Mapelli, who served as LE’s president for four years.

For more information on Leadership Eastside and its program, visit www.leadershipeastside.com.