I wasn’t expecting an adventure when one of Northwest Asian Weekly’s reporters invited me to mentor a group of young professional women at The Vine. Drama unfolded as I walked in.
“Is this that condemned building in Belltown?” I asked the host, after seeing the steel bars on the 25-story building at 2500 and Vine. Its appearance is as messy as the lawsuit between the builder and the developer.
“Yes, it is,” the host replied.
There were more than 20 women in the lounge, many of them movers and shakers in the community. The National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington was the organizer of the event. Burien Mayor Joan McGilton, Burien Deputy Mayor Rose Clark, and SeaTac City Councilmember Mia Gergerson (who is of Asian descent) were all present. No one looked concerned about the building.
OK, I thought to myself, it should be safe for the next few hours at least.
How it worked was that mentors would sit with our backs against the side of the wall, and different mentees would come up to us for advice. Mentees switched every five minutes — that’s why it was called speed dating.
“What’s your question?” I asked my first mentee.
Then I read her business card.
She was an executive vice president.
“You want to switch places?” I said, laughing.
My next mentee was Sherry Krainick, who is running for state representative in the 1st legislative district. I may not have run for office before, but the Weekly has covered numerous political races.
“So what did the Burien mayor advise?” I asked her. I was curious.
“She said to put an advertisement in your paper,” said Krainick.
“That’s funny. She must have read my mind.”
I don’t remember meeting Mayor McGilton before this event, but she told me that we first met during a meeting more than a decade ago.
A frightening question came next.
“Looking back, what are some of the things you would have done differently in your business?” my next mentee asked.
This is a polite way of asking what mistakes I’ve made in the past two decades.
My excuse for them is that I was not able to see the big picture. To carry out tough decisions, I have to be mean. Seeing the big picture is the one thing that I have failed to master after all these years in business.
By the time I left, The Vine was still intact. And yes, the city has sided with the developer. The building will be demolished, and that will possibly take place at the end of the year. In the meantime, you can still visit The Vine to enjoy a drink. ♦