Back to School

By Andrea H. Reay CEO/President Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce August is always a busy time at our home. With two young school age children, August is packed with trying to fit in as much summer fun as possible, while also getting ready to head back to school. I remember when I was in school, I couldn’t wait to be done. I looked forward to those few weeks of freedom every summer. What I realize now, that I wish I knew then, was that if we really want to strive for excellence in our personal lives and in our careers, even though we might not still be in school, we can never stop learning. Part of what is so amazing about being part of an organization, like the Chamber, is that you meet so many different people, from different industries, backgrounds and experiences, every day. With every new connection and experience, we learn and we grow. Which is why, with that first day of school and our first State of our School’s Luncheon coming up, I thought I would share my top 3 ways I challenge myself, my kids and our members to cultivate curiosity and be lifelong learners.
  1. Do something that makes you uncomfortable or is challenging every day. Maybe you are naturally introverted and saying hello to a stranger is difficult. Maybe you talk a lot and being quiet and just listening is really hard. Whatever your strength or your weakness, if you challenge yourself regularly, you will be surprised and amazed by what you can accomplish that you never thought you could.
  2. Ask questions. You might know the answer, or think you know, but ask anyway. This is something small children are so good at. As we get older, we assume more and question less. This is unfortunate. The more questions we ask, the more we not only learn. But, the more we challenge ourselves to think critically and analytically.
  3. Change your routine, alter your perspective. We get comfortable in our routines. Our routine impacts not only what we see in front of us, but how we see it. We drive the same route to work every day. Eat at the same place for lunch, park in the same parking spot when we go to the store. It’s amazing how just altering one step in your routine can open you mind and allow you to experience something new with a wider and new perspective.
At the Chamber, we pride ourselves on creating opportunities not only for adult learning–best practice, certifications, career advancement and certifications, etc.—but also for members to learn and grow together with the value of our shared experience as a community. Once such opportunity coming up is our State of the Schools Luncheon. This luncheon is presented in partnership with school districts within the Chamber’s service area of Southwest King County and will feature: superintendent of Highline Public Schools, Dr. Susan Enfield, and Interim Superintendent of Tukwila Public Schools, Dr. Judith Berry. The luncheon will be held on Friday, August 10th, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm, at Embassy Suites by Hilton Seattle Tacoma International Airport 15920 West Valley Hwy, Tukwila 98188. Thank you to our host, Embassy Suites and our Event Sponsors, Alaska Airlines, Crain Photography and South King Media. Space is limited at the luncheon so don’t forget to register early to reserve your seat. Register online here: or call the office during regular office hours (206) 575-1633. I invite everyone, to challenge themselves, stay curious and become a lifelong learner. I hope you’ll join us and do just that at our State of Our Schools Event.
Andrea H. Reay is the President/CEO of Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce – “A voice for business, a leader in the community.” Seattle Southside Chamber has served the communities of Burien, Des Moines, Normandy Park, SeaTac and Tukwila since 1988. For more information on the Chamber, including member benefits and resources, please visit

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