Staff Profile: Cindy Brooks
Tuesday, September 04, 2018
How long have you lived in Skagit County?
What is your favorite thing to do or eat?
Both, like eating huckleberries along the trail while hiking.
What can you suggest for someone new or familiar to Skagit County to try?
Slow down and look around, get outside, visit the parks, like Howard Miller Steelhead Park, the Cascade Trail, or Kukutali Reserve.
What were you doing before you started working for EDASC?
Finishing an MBA in Sustainable Systems.
Why is economic development important for you?
I’ve owned and run small businesses most of my adult life. Through this experience I’ve come to understand that the entrepreneurial mindset is critical to cultivating vibrant communities that evolve in changing times. Conscious economic development can foster community resilience through programs designed to assist and retain a diversity of local, small businesses. Engaged small businesses, providing goods and services that are relevant in the unique landscape of place can create meaningful work and contribute to the quality of life many people seek.
What drew you to work in economic development?
I grew up in Seattle during decades of urban sprawl. Many small, urban, wild places I played in as a child disappeared under pavement as strip malls were built. I’ve long had curiosity about how humans can see themselves as a part of natural systems and sustain life and vitality while creating livelihoods, rather than considering ourselves separate from our environment and using commons as a place from which to extract resources or manage for our benefit. What would it be like to co-evolve with nature rather swing between the two poles, heavy use and protection?
How have you seen the county change since you moved here / started working for EDASC?
Although new to Skagit County, I have lived in counties nearby. In Skagit I have heard discussions concerning the value of shoreline for carbon sequestration, which I have not heard other places.
Also, I’ve witnessed generosity and healing at the ceremony for the sculpture installation Valley of Our Spirits in downtown Mt Vernon. The piece, according to Jay Bowen, is intended to be a working piece of medicine, bringing unity between people in our Skagit Valley ecosystem. I visit the installation regularly.
How do you see the county changing in the next ten years?
I anticipate the need for greater public/private collaboration and sharing of resources to adapting to changes in climate and the economy. Key issues like affordable housing will demand that we be innovative, flexible and entrepreneurial.
What have you learned about EDASC or the county that has surprised you?
I’ve experienced the spirit of collaboration, and sincere friendliness from Skagit residents. EDASC inhabits a field of support orgs that provide great value for the health and quality of life on people in the county. I look forward to learning how to work better together.
What are your day-to-day activities?
I provide free business advising for small businesses.
What successes have you seen in Skagit County?
Interesting business concepts taking root in service, food and agriculture, retail, maritime, technology and health! I've also observed interest in developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem such that our community can access resources easily, find capital and connect with each other around building a network of place based businesses that support the Skagit community.
Category: Staff Profile