Commerce Director Lisa Brown to step down

OLYMPIA, WA — Washington State Department of Commerce Director Lisa Brown announced today she will be stepping down, effective March 3.  Appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee, Brown began serving the agency in February 2019.

Director Lisa Brown

Lisa Brown

“Commerce has undergone enormous change in the last few years, and Lisa has been an exceptional leader throughout it all,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “During COVID-19, Lisa deftly guided the agency to pivot quickly to administering unprecedented levels of relief and assistance funding for local governments, Tribes, small businesses and nonprofits, youth development programs, people needing housing and rent assistance, and more. Lisa is a trailblazer in her own right who has shattered glass ceilings and looks for ways to clear the path for others to succeed, within the agency and among the communities that Commerce serves. Our state is better for her leadership and I wish her all the best in her next endeavors.”

“Lisa and the Commerce team helped us weather the pandemic with strong advocacy for international trade. She partnered with us in Seattle to promote the Korean-American business community and in Paris, Tokyo and London with Washington’s aerospace, maritime, and clean tech industries,” Seattle Port Commissioner Sam Cho said.

Brown expanded Commerce’s Community Engagement and Outreach team and launched the Small Business Resiliency Network with public and philanthropic funding to support small businesses and entrepreneurs from historically marginalized communities with in-language and culturally relevant assistance and resources. Thirty trusted messenger organizations are now partners in the network across the state, from the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber of Clark County to the Carl Maxey Center of Spokane.

Brown said: “Strengthening communities is Commerce’s mission. We have a short name and a big toolbox of programs, grants and technical assistance to deploy. I want to thank the dedicated Commerce employees partnering with local governments, businesses, and non-profits to foster good jobs, infrastructure and access to broadband, sustainability and resiliency, housing and community capital facilities, and support for families and businesses in every region of the state. I am proud of our work over the last four years and confident that this team will continue to excel in equitable community and economic development.”

Prior to her appointment as Commerce Director, Brown represented the 3rd legislative district in Spokane for 20 years. She served as Senate Majority Leader, Chancellor of Washington State University, Spokane and taught at Gonzaga University and Eastern Washington University.

Commerce’s commitment to the mission of strengthening communities has never been stronger. We thank Director Brown for her dedicated and skilled leadership.

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