Washington’s Employment Security Department welcomes Suzan “Suzi” LeVine, former U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, as its new commissioner Monday.
LeVine will kick off her first several weeks on the job with a series of town halls across the state, introducing herself to the agency’s more than 1,500 employees, learning more about them and the work they do. She’s also traveling to Yakima Tuesday to celebrate the third anniversary of the agency’s YesVets partnership with the state Department of Veterans Affairs and others. YesVets recognizes employers who hire veterans. During her travels, LeVine will also meet with ESD partners, stakeholders, employers and labor organizations to learn how the agency can continue to improve relationships.
LeVine, 48, comes to the agency with extensive experience in workforce development, apprenticeships and the future of work. She’s a dedicated mom, wife and community member who — twice during her career — stayed home to care for her family. She also co-founded two non-profits during that time.
“Throughout my life, I’ve kept a laser focus on impact,” LeVine says. “I’m proud of the work the Employment Security Department does to help people find their way out of unemployment, to help employers find the workforce they need to thrive, and to help youth, veterans and other workers find the power of a rewarding career—the Power of a Job. All of this aligns perfectly with my desire to make a difference in this world. I’m excited to join the dedicated team at ESD.”
As ambassador for President Barack Obama from 2014-2017, LeVine was instrumental in collaborating with more than 30 companies to expand the Swiss style apprenticeship model into the U.S. LeVine served as a member of Inslee’s Career Connect Washington Task Force and as a delegation co-chair of Inslee’s study mission to Switzerland last year with representatives of ESD and other public and private sector leaders.
Her previous private and non-profit sector positions focused on education, technology, community, innovation, travel, social responsibility and youth outreach. In a professional capacity, she worked at Microsoft as a director of communications for Education and Student Developer Strategic Partnerships, and at Expedia as a vice president for Sales and Marketing in Luxury Travel.
During her time as a stay-at-home mom, she co-founded two non-profit organizations – an innovative Jewish community model, The Kavana Cooperative, and an advisory board for the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences (ILABS) at the University of Washington.
“Suzi is a respected thought-leader in redefining and rethinking our education and workforce systems to ensure economic security for our workers and companies,” Inslee said when he selected LeVine for her role as commissioner. “ESD has done tremendous work incorporating Lean improvements and creating a customer-focused culture that I know Suzi will take to a new level. She’s also fully committed to ensuring all ESD employees feel welcome, respected and supported, which is absolutely crucial to the agency’s success.”
Since her ambassadorship ended January 2017, LeVine and her husband, Eric, have spoken around the world about the essential role that apprenticeships can play in the economic growth of the U.S.
LeVine is a member of the Markle Foundation’s Rework America Task Force, a board member for CareerWise Colorado, and an international advisory board member for the Center on the Economics and Management of Education and Training Systems at ETH Zürich.
She earned her Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering with aerospace applications and Bachelor of Arts in English from Brown University in 1993. She also received an Honorary Degree from EPFL, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, October 2017.