“Community’s Choice” Awards Presented At 3rd Annual Leadership Eastside Network “Leni's”


Karen Ridlon, Eastside Baby Corner, Chosen As “Community’s Choice” Award Winner At 3rd Annual Leadership Eastside Network “Leni” Awards

Red carpet masquerade celebrates community leadership in East King County


Over 200 members and supporters of Leadership Eastside gathered Friday night for a red carpet masquerade gala at the Redmond Town Center Marriot Hotel to participate in the 3rd Annual “Leadership Eastside Network” Awards to celebrate the achievements Eastside community leaders.  

Presenters at the awards included Representative Cyrus Habib, 48th District; Jeff Borgida, Republic Services, Jeni Craswell, Imagine Housing, and Matt Bott, Issaquah Chamber of Commerce. 


The 2013 Leadership Eastside Network Awards, or LENi’s, celebrate leadership that brought about significant improvement to one or more elements that make up a healthy Eastside community - Arts & Culture, Basic Needs, Education, Environment, Health & Wellness, Economy, Neighborhoods & Community Building. Awards were given to an individual or organization that epitomizes each of the following categories: Impact, Insight, Innovation and Inspiration.


The Leadership Eastside network was invited to nominate people and organizations on the Eastside in each award category. The staff collected the nominations and organized it for review by a selection committee. The committee was advised that Leadership Eastside’s definition of success is “convening leadership for the greater good”. 


The LENi winner for “Impact” is the KidsQuest Children’s Museum; their mission is to create learning through the power of play and exploration that connects children to their communities and the world. For “Insight”, Marci Muhlstein, Director of OLS at Bellevue College won the LENi. OLS is a two year degree program for students with developmental disabilities and has grown into the only accredited program of its kind in the nation. For “Innovation” LE awarded Nourishing Networks, a model of community involvement working to create a community with a safety net so tight that no one falls through the cracks. Ava Frisinger, Mayor of Issaquah, receives the “Inspiration” Award for being a community leader that truly models the qualities of a dynamic servant-leader for Issaquah and the Eastside. 


Five community leaders were chosen as finalists for the fifth award – the Community’s Choice Award. The finalists were: Kevin Henry, for his diversity work through the City of Bellevue, Sue Baugh for her service to the Eastside Economy, Bellevue Kiwanis for their work with youth, Trina Westerlund with the Children’s Institute for Learning Differences (CHILD) and Karen Ridlon, founder and former Executive Director of Eastside Baby Corner. The attendees voted via text, live at the event, and selected Karen Ridlon to win the distinguished Community’s Choice Award. 


Leadership Eastside, is a local organization known for bringing together leaders from more than two dozen East King County communities.  Its stated goal is to “inform, equip, and connect our community’s greatest assets – its leaders – in order to meet our community’s greatest needs.”