Photographed on September 7, 2016, in the Olympic Suite at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. Over the years, the 1924 hotel has hosted multiple presidents (including two visits by FDR) and celebrities (from Bing Crosby to Elvis), many of whom have called the suite home.
Every city possesses its own, unique spirit—its zeitgeist. It’s what makes a metropolis move, defines its identity and propels it forward. We owe much of ours to our city’s shapers—those leaders, trendsetters and trailblazers who, over the past 50 years, have transformed the town in extraordinary ways. In honor of Seattle magazine’s 50th anniversary, we’re spotlighting some of these innovators—all nominated by our panel of experts (below). Our list started out much longer and was culled after many hours of debate.
The people on these pages—living legends who have made a major contribution during the past five decades—are influential in their own right, but are also just a representative cross section of the many talented visionaries, big thinkers and risk-takers who have shaped our city into the remarkable place it is.
>> Ed. Note: In 2003, we ran a similar story. Click here to read "City Shapers." <<
Most Influential Advisory Panel 2016
As part of Seattle magazine’s 50th anniversary celebration, we created an advisory panel and invited members to nominate some of the most influential Seattleites from the past 50 years. During a series of meetings, these individuals helped to vet the candidates via some intense and lively debate.
Joni Balter, multimedia journalist and host of Civic Cocktail
Kenan Block, owner, Kenan Block/Media & Communications
Rita Brogan, founder, PRR Inc.
John Cook, cofounder, GeekWire
C.R. Douglas, political analyst, Q13 Fox News
Rebecca Hughes, senior media consultant, Group Health Research Institute
Naomi Ishisaka, journalist and photographer
James Keblas, founder, City Inspired
Alison Krupnick, Seattle-based writer
Diane Mapes, writer/editor, Fred Hutch News Service, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Marie McCaffrey, executive director and cofounder, HistoryLink.org
Mary McWilliams, former executive director, Washington Health Alliance
Steve Scher, part-time instructor at the University of Washington and former host of the KUOW-FM Weekday program
From Seattle and Seattle Business magazines:
Rachel Hart, Virginia Smyth, Linda Morgan, Jennifer McCullum, Jim Demetre, Jessica Yadegaran, Knute Berger, Leslie Helm and John Levesque
Project coordinator: Mandolin Brassaw