Submitted by Association of Washington Cities.
The Association of Washington Cities (AWC) Board of Directors announced that Deanna Dawson has been appointed as the association’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Dawson is AWC’s sixth CEO, and first woman CEO, in its 89-year history.
“AWC has a rich past and great reputation for delivering outstanding advocacy, education, and services to Washington’s cities and towns,” said AWC President Kent Keel, Councilmember of University Place. “Deanna has a proven track record of inspiring, nonpartisan leadership. I look forward to watching AWC continue to flourish under her leadership.”
“Local leaders across Washington state are tackling the great challenges of today,” said Dawson. “It is an honor and a privilege to be selected to serve as the CEO of AWC. I am thrilled that in this new role I can continue to give our leaders the guidance, technical assistance, and support they need to move from aspiration to action, and to create vibrant, livable communities.”
Dawson steps into the role with more than 20-years’ experience serving local governments, building coalitions, and bringing stakeholders together around a shared vision. She has served as an elected official, association director, county executive director, and director of diversity initiatives. Born and raised in eastern Washington, she has deep roots throughout the state.
“Deanna’s background demonstrates a passion for public service rooted in forging partnerships and bridging divides,” said Soo Ing-Moody, AWC Immediate Past President and Mayor of Twisp. “Her ability to find common ground will serve our membership well – from the largest cities to the smallest towns across our state.”
Dawson was born and raised in Spokane, Washington. She holds a law degree from the University of Washington School of Law and has practiced law in both the private and public sectors. Dawson was elected to the Edmonds City Council in 2001 and reelected in 2005. She currently serves as Executive Director of the Sound Cities Association (SCA, formerly the Suburban Cities Association), where she works on behalf of 38 King County cities and their more than one million residents to create regional solutions through advocacy, education, and mutual support. All members of SCA are also members of AWC.
“I am thrilled that AWC has chosen Deanna as their first female CEO,” said Sound Cities President and Redmond Mayor Angela Birney, who is also a member of the AWC Large City Advisory Committee. “In SCA, we’re proud that all cities work together for great results. And with Deanna’s proven leadership, all cities in Washington will now benefit from her ability to create strong coalitions statewide. The Sound Cities are fortunate that we’ll continue to work with her in her new role, as we’re all members of AWC.”
“I have seen firsthand the tireless work Deanna has performed for SCA. Because of her efforts, SCA has become a regional force for cities and a go-to place for electeds who are committed to equity and inclusion,” said Ed Prince, SCA Immediate Past President, Chair of the SCA Equity and Inclusion Cabinet, and Renton Councilmember. “I am excited for her to expand the amazing work she has done for cities in King County to the entire state. AWC is getting a leader and collaborator of the highest caliber.”
Dawson follows Peter B. King, who served as the association’s CEO from 2015 to 2021. She will assume the role on June 13, 2022.
AWC serves its members through advocacy, education, and services. Founded in 1933, AWC is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan corporation that represents Washington’s cities and towns before the state legislature, the state executive branch, and with regulatory agencies. Membership is voluntary. However, AWC consistently maintains 100 percent participation from Washington’s 281 cities and towns. AWC also provides training, data and publications, and programs such as the AWC Employee Benefit Trust, AWC Risk Management Service Agency, AWC Retro Program, AWC Drug and Alcohol Consortium, and AWC GIS Consortium.