Thembela Mavuso is the newest member of the Alliance team, joining the organization as Marketing Manager in early 2020. This month she reflects on her first year with the Alliance, the amazing work she’s been part of and what she is looking forward to in the months ahead.
You joined the Alliance team in March of 2020, right as the organization begun working from home. How have you remained connected to Pioneer Square while working from afar?
I was excited for the new challenge, joining the Alliance at such an uncertain time was a little nerve-racking. I worried about being able to connect and learn about the neighborhood while creating a bond with my new team from a distance.
Getting to meet and know the different stakeholders and individuals that make our neighborhood special, albeit virtually, has been very crucial during these past few months. From business owners, to the residents and the residents council to City partners and more, Pioneer Square is blessed to have people who care about the neighborhood and want to put heads together to make it even better. This coupled with in-person visits to the neighborhood, connecting with the team regularly and sharing updates on the daily happenings in Pioneer Square, have all been invaluable in having and keeping that connection.
What has been your favorite project or program that you’ve been involved in in the past year and why?
There have been so many exciting programs implemented this past year that it is really hard to pick a favorite one. We’ve had beautiful murals, a brand new online marketplace, financial assistance programs, and in all very impressive list of projects and programs in support of Pioneer Square during what has most certainly been a challenging time. And all of it working on Zoom!
The one project that has personally been lots of fun for myself and the community at large, has been telling the many stories of the neighborhood. From stories about amazing business owners to tracking the history of the neighborhood’s most iconic buildings and telling stories about the often forgotten LGBTQ history of Pioneer Square, it really has been an education I’ve appreciated getting. Did I also mention creating and shooting our summer/holiday advertising campaigns?.
What motivates you day-to-day in your role?
Whether it’s helping promote what neighborhood businesses are up to, providing information to help residents fully experience the neighborhood or sharing the good news coming out of Pioneer Square with different folks throughout the city of Seattle, supporting the neighborhood and those who live, work and play here is always top of mind and a daily priority for my role.
The Alliance for Pioneer Square is truly a champion for the neighborhood and everyone I have the privilege of collaborating with on this team exemplifies that in their work. We are all constantly striving to be better stewards of that mandate and knowing that what I have been tasked with somehow contributes to its fulfillment is all the motivation I need.
With several private and public investments occurring in the neighborhood, what are you most excited for in the future of Pioneer Square?
The opening of the Pavilion in Occidental Park was really special. It was a great way to signal the return of live music in the park, excited kids in the play area, park activities and so many other things adding life and joy back into the neighborhood. I can hardly wait for all the amazing events and activations planned in Occidental Square this summer.
This last year has really been tough and our neighborhood, just like many others, has really been tested by the pandemic. However, it’s the subtle signs like the return of First Thursday, a vibrant Occidental Park on a Saturday afternoon, the return of March to the Match, daily sold-out underground tours and so many more that indicate a great recovery and exciting next few months for the Pioneer Square.