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We are so excited to officially announce that our new CEO is community leader and Native pillar Colleen Echohawk (Pawnee, Athabascan)!
Colleen is woven into the fabric of Eighth Generation. She and our founder, Louie Gong (Nooksack) have a friendship and professional relationship that goes back over a decade. They have worked together on projects, initiatives, and more over the years. When Colleen was the executive director at Chief Seattle Club, Louie designed their new logo. When Louie presented in front of the Pike Place Market leadership on the importance of Eighth Generation’s flagship store being in the market, Colleen was one of the community advocates who spoke on our behalf. (Skip to 5:40 to see Colleen https://youtu.be/fr1rkobEiiU.) We are so excited for Colleen to join Eighth Generation on this next step in our journey.
Colleen presenting to the Pike Place Market board in support of Eighth Generation
“When I sold Eighth Generation to the Snoqualmie Tribe in 2019, we began talks of who would succeed me as the next CEO,” said Gong. “Right from the start, we considered Colleen. Her connection to community and strong drive are a great fit, but it’s her own proven commitment to service that aligns her perfectly with Eighth Generation's own values. Colleen is the leadership Eighth Generation needs to go global.”
"I'm just a huge fan of Eighth Generation,” shares Colleen. “I have all the products! And more importantly for me, this is the next step in ensuring that Native people and prosperity are lifted up in our community.”
Colleen and Louie after presenting in front of the Pike Place Market board in 2015
Colleen has a long history uplifting Native people and prosperity in our community and beyond. For the past two decades, she has dedicated her professional career to serving the most vulnerable people living in the Greater Seattle area, serving as the Executive Director of the Chief Seattle Club, founding the Coalition to End Urban Indigenous Homelessness, and sitting on dozens of community boards. She has been recognized for her efforts with numerous awards, most recently the King County Martin Luther King Jr. Medal of Distinguished Service (2020) and the Adeline Garcia Community Service Award (2018). She was named one of Seattle Met’s “most influential people” (2021), one of Seattle Magazine’s “most influential people” (2020 and 2019) and one of Seattle Met’s “fifty most influential women” (2018).
Colleen is an enrolled member of the Kithehaki Band of the Pawnee Nation and a member of the Upper Athabascan people of Mentasta Lake. She was raised with the belief that “if there’s a problem you can fix, you jump at the opportunity to help.” She and her family have been proud to call Seattle home for twenty years and believe “Seattle is the best city in the world.”
Five fun facts about Colleen:
Colleen will join Eighth Generation as our full time CEO on February 1. Welcome, Colleen—we’re so glad to have you here! Please join us in congratulating Colleen in the comments.