Strength of Community – Leaning into Disruption

By Andrea H. Reay
President/CEO of the Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce

Our Chamber was founded on the belief that we are better and stronger when we work together. The recent COVID-19 health crisis outlines just how important community is and how dependent we are on each other. As has been reported from the department of health, the only way we will tackle this health crisis is by working together. This is an extremely stressful time in both our personal and professional lives as we navigate the economic and human impact of interrupting “business as usual.” Yet, as seen throughout the course of human history, often the best—and sometimes the only—way to create positive and necessary change is to lean into the disruption caused by events such as this.

There are plenty of other examples of when leaning into disruption has been the best course of action, the Women’s Suffrage Movement being one such example. March is Women’s History Month and 2020 is the 100-year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. This is the time to stop and reflect on how many of our rights and liberties we take for granted today were hard fought for by those who came before us. Then and now, we should do well to remember that education, awareness, and disruption can, and often do, lead towards change. It takes collaboration, and often disruption, to change the course of history and stop the spread of disease.

Of course, any time we are challenging the status quo or interrupting the equilibrium of our daily routines, it can be jarring and anxiety-inducing. This is especially so when we are confronted with the reality of economic and human loss. Our hearts go out to the families that have lost loved ones and the dozens more that have tested positive for coronavirus. Know that when we work together, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.

I’m reminded of the scene in Finding Nemo when Dory is caught in a net with a school of fish. Their fate seems inevitable as they panic as individuals, however, when they “keep swimming together” they realize the power of community. They break free and find freedom and safety, but only through collaboration, and only by working together. Watch the scene here:

Let’s all follow Nemo’s advice; please don’t panic—instead, focus on planning ahead and working together. Practice good hygiene habits, like washing your hands frequently and covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Support our local businesses however and wherever you can. Show compassion and support for individuals and communities most closely impacted and anyone who might be sick. Speak up if you hear, see, or read any stigmatizing or harassing comments or misinformation.

Our Chamber will continue to plan for future events, such as our Women in Business Lunch and learn on April 2nd where all are welcome to this panel discussion on the Future of Women in Business. At this event, we’ll deep-dive into the challenges and opportunities (and disruption) that women face in the professional world. More details can be found at:

Of course, the only constant in this world is change, and we’ll be ready for it here at the Chamber. We will plan to share all of the latest updates and recommendations we receive from King County and the Governor’s office. Here are three ways for Seattle Southside community members to stay informed:

We hope you do so and remember, if we work together as a community, we can come out of this crisis better and stronger together.

This article was written by Andrea H. Reay, 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 about the Chamber, including a full list of member benefits and resources, please visit their website at

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