Seattle Culture

Publisher’s Note: Defining Success, Defying the Odds

A celebration of Seattle's "trailblazing" women

By Jonathan Sposato May 20, 2024

From left to right: Dr. Nwando Anyaoku, Grace Yoo, and Tahmina Watson

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2024 issue of Seattle magazine.

At the time of this issue’s newsstand date, the newest season of Jean Smart’s Hacks will be making its much anticipated season 3 debut on HBO Max. With a hilarious “odd couple” dynamic between a young Gen Z comedy writer and a legendary standup comedian, the series has received critical acclaim and won numerous accolades, including the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing, Outstanding Directing, and Outstanding Lead Actress, as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series Musical or Comedy.

Jean plays Deborah Vance, once the very first female standup comic who shattered expectations for herself, and ceilings for others. The show leads with heart, pithy dialog, and offers at times a frank look at her august career woes. As Seattle magazine writer Heather Lowenthal wrote: “You’ll forget that a show about a 70-something woman who’s powerful but likable, flawed, fearless, funny, and the center of her universe is rare.” More so than any other show on TV, this is the show I’ve been waiting for the most this year.

So, it is highly appropriate that we put the Seattle native, and perhaps Ballard High School’s most famous alum, on the cover of our issue celebrating Seattle’s “Trailblazing Women.” In this Seattle magazine exclusive, Jean delights us with new insights and reflections on her hometown that will not only surprise you, but make you smile. Jean is just one in a series of more than a dozen profiles within Seattle magazine and Seattle Business magazine of highly successful and inspiring leaders at their zenith. All chose the road less traveled.

These women have conquered commercial real estate, venture capital, tech, finance, and many other historically male bastions. Yet like Jean, they are also characterized by unexpected humility and the unf lappable desire to give something of themselves back to us. They appear here in their own words, offering us a glimpse into how they succeeded. Consider this our very own capsule presentation of “How Women Win.” In fact, it’s how we all win.

As always, we also like celebrating the best of our region with decidedly lighter fare. Whether it’s the city’s current “sandwich renaissance,” hot new books for summer, or travel destinations that will leave you refreshed, we think you’ll find something fun to delight your senses throughout the entire issue. It is a pleasure for the Seattle magazine team to bring you an issue once again full of fresh possibilities, whether you choose to enjoy it with a cup of morning coffee or an evening drink.

Regardless of your vice, take it from Jean Smart, who once said, “I have vices too, you know. I like potato chips and chardonnay, just not together.” We think Seattle magazine goes with both.

About the Publisher’s Note Column

Publisher's Note is Seattle magazine owner Jonathan Sposato's highly subjective perspective on the issues that confront our community the most.  Jonathan's mission with the publication is to focus our attention on solutions, and to change the conversation in Seattle to an always hopeful, positive, and productive place.

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