Edmonds International Women’s Day embraces equity

International Women’s Day hosts Alicia Crank and Meghan Wolfe prepare for the day’s festivities.

Recognized in over 80 countries, International Women’s Day (IWD) was celebrated at the Edmonds Waterfront Center, Saturday, hosted by Alicia Crank of Crank’d Up Consulting and Megan Wolfe, executive director of Girls on the Run Snohomish County.

The global theme for IWD 2023 campaign is Embrace Equity, to get people talking about why equal opportunities aren’t enough and need equitable action.

This was the fifth year for Edmonds International Women’s Day, which was founded by Crank in 2019. Saturday’s event, which drew almost 200 people, featured KING 5 anchors Mimi Jung and Farah Jadran, and keynote speaker Michelle Li, co-founder of The Very Asian Foundation.

Lunch included an extensive menu by local female chefs and mixologists with items such as French Onion Tartlett, Chicken Liver Mousse Grougere, Lamb Flatbread Sliders, Spring Pea Soup, Dolce De Leche Tres Leches, Pancit Bihon, Cauliflower Potato Cups, Tamarind Sour, Femme Fatale and Cucumber Mule.

Professional headshots and clothing to rent or buy was offered by Armoire Clothing Rental.

Jen Snow and Shefali McDermott of Amoire Clothing Rental.

Event co-sponsor Megan Wolfe talked about Girls on The Run programs, and said that this year alone the organization will serve 600 kids, and has reached over 3,200 youth in the past eight years.

“At all of our programs,we hit on the physical health of kids and also their social, emotional and mental health,” Wolfe said. “So we teach them key life lessons to give them the power to make choices for themselves.”

Wolfe, who spent her morning training new coach volunteers, added: “It’s all about celebrating the strength and the power and the joy of being a girl and a woman, and we obviously think that women should run the world.”

Wolfe then took the attendees through a guided exercise, asking a series of questions to help them identify the true core of a person’s inner and outer beauty.

After that, KING 5’s Farah Jadran and Mimi Jung participated in a panel discussion with Crank, talking about the importance of representation in the media, being a working mom and diversity issues.

KING 5’s Mimi Jung and Farah Jadran with host Alicia Crank.

Jadran, who helped to launch Syracuse Woman Magazine in New York, said broadcasting has always been her passion. “The news was always on in our house,” she said. “I was raised in the Chicago suburbs and one of my favorite anchors was Robin Robinson – when she would anchor, I would turn around and watch, and I knew then that I wanted to be the person that asks the questions and gets the information for people.”

Jung, who will celebrate 23 years working at KING 5 in April, said her greatest pride and joy is being a mom. “It’s hard being a working mom. “You want to do both really well,” she said. “You want to be your best at work, and you want to be best for your kids, and you don’t always feel like you win either way. But I’m teaching my girls that you can do it, you just have to make sacrifices and have understanding bosses, and it helps to have a female boss.”

Crank asked Jung and Jadran about diversity in the newsroom, and what that meant for them.

“You have to be yourself, you be that catalyst of change,” Jadran said, “whether it’s in journalism or somewhere else because no one else is going to get that point of view or influence you can offer from anyone else but yourself.”

“I agree,” Jung said. “When I first started in this business, I thought I had to wear a certain suit, cut my hair a certain length, and look and sound a certain part. But it’s been a transformation of evolution to get to a point of just being yourself and knowing that what you bring to the table, with the background that you have is so unique and then embracing that.”

Jung added that “the way you grew up, the culture you grew up in, the family you grew up with, to embrace all of that make you unique, and that uniqueness is what a person brings take to any workplace.”

The panel agreed that in media, it’s not just the people who are on air, but the people who are writers, photographers, editors, producers – it’s important that everyone is encouraged to be a part of the media industry.

Alicia Crank with four honorees (L-R): Rose Castano, Tina Castillo, Stacy Wells and Erin Ornes.

Crank teared up when honoring four local women — Erin Ornes, manager of Brigids Bottleshop; Tina Porter Castillo, RN CCRN, PACU recovery room nurse at Harborview Medical Center; Rose Castano, beer and wine steward at Ballinger Thriftway and Stacy Wells, server and bartender at various Edmonds restaurants — who worked on the front lines of retail and health care during the height of the pandemic.

Tina Porter Castillo stood out for Crank, who credited Castillo with helping to calm very frightened people at the beginning of the pandemic.

Castillo was member of Crank’s Women Who Brunch virtual group, and made it a point to dial into the meeting and provide updates and current information about the pandemic.

“I don’t think you understood how much you helped us to feel like we had someone that we knew that ‘was going in it’ and calming us down and helping us know what was happening in the moment,” Crank said. “So many people appreciated you for doing that.”

Michelle Li with Alicia Crank.

Keynote speaker Michelle Li, a former KING 5 anchor who now is an anchor in St. Louis, Missouri, talked about what happened on New Year’s Day after she anchored a newscast in which she discussed what foods different cultures eat for New Year’s dinner.

“We were just finishing up the New Year’s Eve broadcast, and I was talking about the different foods people eat to celebrate the New Year,” she explained. “Pork for progress, greens for wealth and cornbread for coins – and at the end, after checking with my editor, I just added that some Korean people ate dumpling soup. It was a 20-second story.”

Li received several compliments for her inclusion of dumpling soup, but also got a voice mail that criticized her for being “very Asian” and advised her to keep her Korean to herself.

“I was shocked and had a lot of thoughts about if this is what my life is going to be now,” Li said. “I had a lot of anxiety about what that voicemail meant – but that changed for me when I realized that it was gift. I had just been handed a gift.”

The St Louis community as well as people around the globe stood up for her, and that support led to conversations about culture, which included those outside of Asian communities.

The gift was being able to turn a negative comment into a positive viral moment for Li that included a guest spot on The Ellen Show, where she was presented with a $15,000 check to support the Asian American Journalists Association. She also co-launched The Very Asian Foundation, whose mission is to shine a light on Asian experiences through advocacy and celebration.

Mother and daughter Yasna Visamale and Chiemi Yamaoka enjoying Edmonds International Women’s Day. Michelle Li is at left.
Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson, Feedme Hospitality Co-Founder Shubert Ho, Alicia Crank, Mimi Jung, Michelle Li and Farah Jadran.
Edmonds City Councilmember Susan Paine and Edmonds Waterfront Center CEO Daniel Johnson.
Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Paul Thompson, Edmonds Municipal Court Judge Whitney Rivera and Maria Montalvo.

Eventually, Li reached out to the woman who made the negative comment. She did not receive a return call at first, but finally the woman did call back to apologize to Li, who accepted the apology.

Li signed her book, A Very Asian Guide to Korean Food, at the end of the event. It is available at the Edmonds Bookshop.

Cline Jewelers was the Special Anniversary sponsor for this year’s Edmonds International Women’s Day, with presenting sponsors DME CPA Group and the Multicultural Association of Edmonds. Other sponsors included Feedme Hospitality & Restaurant Group, Edmonds Waterfront Center, Morgan and Moss, Walnut Street Coffee, The Agency Sittauer Gouge Group, Rogue, Ombu Salon + Spa, AtWork! and Edmonds Bookshop.

 

  1. Every year this event amazes me. I learn something new and feel rhe love of the community. Thank you Alicia for setting this up.

  2. It was a great event put on by Alicia, Meghan, The Edmonds waterfront center and Shubert Ho. Lovely gathering to celebrate women and get together as a community.

  3. If the focus is on “ equity” they are on the wrong path as there is no such thing in reality. Equity denotes equal outcomes for everyone, while “equality” understands we all have different strength and weaknesses and should be free to pursue each of our best paths. Equity assumes everyone can or should have the same everything at the same time and that has never happened in the history of “humankind” and never will. How about dropping the false god of “equity” and promote pursuing individual excellence ? Equity cannot be given, it is the result of individual hard work innovation and creativity in a social structure that provides the freedom and safety to pursue it.

    1. While I disagree with your consensus of equity, I thank you for sparking my interest to clarify the differences in the terms.

  4. This was a fantastic article, I have read about it for a few years now but this years details and stories told makes me really want to go in person and see these inspirational women in action. My next stop will be to the Edmonds Bookshop to pick up a very Asian guide to Korean food! Yum.

  5. What a fine celebration for International Women’s Day! Edmonds is Alicia’s chosen home and I am grateful for all she brings and contributes to our community. I’ve been delighted for the past five years with this event that acknowledges every woman and women of every age – women who represent many cultures, belief systems, life experiences, gifts and talents. Alicia brings her abundant joy, her experience, her wisdom, her fine skills as an engaging, gracious interviewer and moderator. So many wonderful sponsors participated with her and each of us to make this Fifth EIWD yet again an enriching, fulfilling day.

  6. Our business is a proud sponsor of this event. Thank you to Alicia and the other sponsors for bringing this event to Edmonds and for elevating the voices and experiences of all women.

  7. What an incredible event. I’m still blown away by the food, beverages and speakers. It was absolutely awesome. From start to finish.

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