Most Influential People

Most Influential, Equity: Travonna Thompson-Wiley

Most Influential, Equity: Travonna Thompson-Wiley

Difficult childhood shapes activist's social justice focus

Travonna Thompson-Wiley is one of Seattle’s 25 most influential people reshaping our region. #mostinfluential   Family matters. It certainly does to Seattle activist Travonna Thompson-Wiley. She is the oldest of six on her mother’s side and one of 10 children on her father’s. Yet, she insists her family is much larger.  “I don’t define family as…

Most Influential, Business: Ryan Metzger

Most Influential, Business: Ryan Metzger

Recycling company Ridwell began as a family affair

Ryan Metzger is one of Seattle’s 25 most influential people reshaping our region. #mostinfluential     Ridwell began as a father/son project in 2018 when would-be founder Ryan Metzger and 6-year-old son Owen recycled and reused everyday household products. Ever the entrepreneur, the elder Metzger urged young Owen to gather reusables and recyclables from neighbors.  The…

Most Influential, Arts: E.J. Koh

Most Influential, Arts: E.J. Koh

The talented Seattle writer E.J. Koh is carving her own niche in the literary world

E.J. Koh is one of Seattle’s 25 most influential people reshaping our region. #mostinfluential   If the writing profession were anything like a game of bingo, Seattleite E.J. Koh would be nearing a fully stamped row, if not an all-board blackout. At 34, she’s already racked up several impressive literary accolades, published a book of poetry…

Most Influential, Business: James Wong

Most Influential, Business: James Wong

Prolific developer wants ‘to do more good for the community’

James Wong is one of Seattle’s 25 most influential people reshaping our region. #mostinfluential   James Wong grew up across the street from Beacon Hill Elementary School with blue-collar parents. His father was a cook at iconic Chinatown International District restaurants Ocean City and House of Hong. His mother was a seamstress.  Instead of simply crossing…

Most Influential, Food & Drink: Emily Kim and Heather Hodge

Most Influential, Food & Drink: Emily Kim and Heather Hodge

Using their dessert-making skills for the greater social good

Emily Kim and Heather Hodge are among Seattle’s 25 most influential people reshaping our region. #mostinfluential   When Emily Kim and Heather Hodge, founders of the Pastry Project, went out for drinks one evening in 2019, starting a business together was the last thing on their minds. The two women, who both worked for Molly Moon’s…

Most Influential, Business: Ebony Welborn and Savannah Smith

Most Influential, Business: Ebony Welborn and Savannah Smith

They saw that few in the maritime sector looked like them. They're out to change that.

Ebony Welborn and Savannah Smith are among Seattle’s 25 most influential people reshaping our region. #mostinfluential   A fascination with the ocean brought Ebony Welborn and Savannah Smith together. A mission to create BIPOC representation in the maritime industry keeps them going. Welborn and Smith are the cofounders of Seattle-based Sea Potential LLC, a company they…

Most Influential, Education: Kate Starbird

Most Influential, Education: Kate Starbird

Kate Starbird spends her career studying and combating falsehoods

Kate Starbird is one of Seattle’s 25 most influential people reshaping our region. #mostinfluential   Kate Starbird sometimes wishes her research focused on happier topics. If she didn’t spend her days devoted to tracking disinformation [false information deliberately spread to deceive people], she wouldn’t witness attempts to unravel democratic elections. She and her colleagues at the…

Most Influential, Politics: Debra Lekanoff

Most Influential, Politics: Debra Lekanoff

‘I just knew that it was always going to be in my walk in life to give back to communities.’

Debra Lekanoff is one of Seattle’s 25 most influential people reshaping our region. #mostinfluential   Her tribal name comes first: Xixch’I See. That’s where Debra Lekanoff’s story starts. With her name, which is passed down through the women’s bloodlines in the matrilineal society of her Tlingit community. To invoke her tribal name before her English name…

Most Influential, Sports: Brian Robinson

Most Influential, Sports: Brian Robinson

He's been fighting to bring the NBA back to Seattle for 15 years. His work may soon finally pay off.

Brian Robinson is one of Seattle’s 25 most influential people reshaping our region. #mostinfluential   Brian Robinson never wore a Sonics uniform. Former Sonics announcer Kevin Calabro never used his signature phrase “Good golly, Miss Molly” to describe Robinson’s crossover dribble, arcing jump shot or spin move. Yet you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in Seattle…

Most Influential, Equity: Pearl Jam

Most Influential, Equity: Pearl Jam

The band’s charitable work is just as impressive as its musical output

Pearl Jam is among Seattle’s 25 most influential changemakers reshaping our region. #mostinfluential   The Vitalogy Foundation, Pearl Jam’s charitable arm, has an organic approach to giving, with all band members supporting their chosen projects as well as collectively deciding which organizations and causes to fund.  So, when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a woman’s right…

Most Influential, Arts: Stevie Shao

Most Influential, Arts: Stevie Shao

The Seattle muralist and illustrator understands the power of public art

Stevie Shao is one of Seattle’s 25 most influential people reshaping our region. #mostinfluential   When the Covid-19 pandemic started, Stevie Shao had never painted a mural. By the time Washington state lifted its lockdown order 15 months later, Shao had become one of the most in-demand public artists and illustrators in Seattle.  What started as…

Most Influential, Arts: Tom Skerritt

Most Influential, Arts: Tom Skerritt

Tom Skerritt remains more committed than ever to the creative economy in the Northwest

Tom Skerritt is one of Seattle’s 25 most influential people reshaping our region. #mostinfluential   Fans were understandably disappointed to learn that Tom Skerritt wasn’t asked to reprise his role as Commander Mike “Viper” Metcalf in “Top Gun 2.” “You can’t beat Tom Skerritt with a gun,” wrote one fan on Twitter. Skerritt has said that…

Seattle magazine's Most Influential People of 2021

Seattle magazine’s Most Influential People of 2021

These innovators took bold actions and big risks during a trying year. From the arts to civic engagement to business, here's a look at those who made a measurable difference across the state in 2021.

Linda Derschang; Black Coffee Northwest owners Erwin and Darnesha Weary; Jon Scholes; Michael Greer; Pallavi Mehta Wahi; Seena Mortazavi; Susanna Ryan; John Tomkowiak; Vivian Hua

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