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Port Hires First Senior Director for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Groundbreaking role anchors plan to advance equity in all Port activities
May 8, 2019

Bookda Gheisar The Port of Seattle announced today that Bookda Gheisar will serve as the Port’s first Senior Director for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and lead the Port’s first ever Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, beginning June 12.  Prior to joining the Port, Gheisar served as Policy Advisor for King County’s Office of Equity and Social Justice, in the office of King County Executive, Dow Constantine. 

As Senior Director of the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Gheisar will provide leadership and strategic direction for the Port’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion efforts, both internal and external. She will partner with lines of business, ensuring externally facing equity goals and objectives are incorporated into business plans. The Senior Director will manage the use of the Port’s new equity process tool, overseeing its implementation and use, and evaluating results of the Port’s equity pilot program.  

As a direct report to the Port Executive Director Stephen P. Metruck and as a member of the Executive Leadership Team, she will ensure that equity, diversity, and inclusion is infused in the Port’s culture, strategies, and goals. As part of her duties, the Senior Director also oversees the Port’s Office of Social Responsibility.

“Reversing unconscious bias and institutional racism in any organization requires deliberate change,” said Port of Seattle Executive Director Steve Metruck. “We are very grateful to our community partners. Their feedback and advice helped push the Port to make a groundbreaking institutional change by establishing an Equity Department and shaping our strategy to better reach communities that were too often overlooked.”

Port of Seattle Commissioners have been expanding the Port’s equity platform, most recently by approving a motion to develop and implement an equity pilot program. “The Port is a source of opportunity, but we need to ensure those opportunities are available in all communities,” said Port of Seattle Commission President Stephanie Bowman.   

“The Port’s vision for its role in a more equitable society is ambitious and full of high expectations,” said Bookda Gheisar, the new Senior Director for EDI. “That tells me that the Port gets the urgency of inequity and that small actions will not get the results we need. I’m thrilled to help the Port leadership set a new path for this organization and the communities we serve.” 

The Port selected Gheisar following a rigorous competitive selection process. A panel of six community leaders participated in the process as an External Advisory Panel.  Paulina Lopez, Executive Director of the Duwamish River Clean Up Coalition and a member of the External Advisory Panel said, “We met some of the most talented and passionate professionals working in racial equity during this selection process. Underserved communities see the Port taking more action than ever before.  We are excited to see the Port add even more expertise and expectations to its equity agenda.” 


Peter McGraw | Maritime Media Officer
(206) 787-3446 |

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