Employee training spurs life changing decision

FINAL AKing County is inspiring. Its beauty, its people and its mission inspire King County employees to make a difference in their communities. It has even inspired outgoing employee Autumn Salamack to make a difference far away in Mascota, Mexico, about 2 hours east of Puerto Vallarta. She has taken her work with equity and social justice to heart and will soon leave King County for an adventure in the Peace Corps.

Since August 2013 Autumn has served as the Sustainability Program Coordinator for King County Metro Transit. Her role soon grew to include leading the Metro’s Equity and Social Justice (ESJ) Coordination team, including training to become an ESJ trainer. It’s here that her new passion began to bloom.

“I was in a training that focused on race and the illusion of power when the idea came up that it was difficult to understand different people and different cultures when you surround yourself with people like yourself,” she said.

Autumn explains how this idea stayed with her, and prompted her to rethink her own personal values.

“That class and these little nuggets of truth stuck in my head,” she said. “I really love this job, but I think I could do a better job to enhance my cultural understanding.”

With this Peace Corps opportunity, Autumn will get to blend her experience working with the King County Equity and Social Justice initiative with her background in environmental sustainability. She looks forward to this new time in her life and appreciates the solid foundation King County has given her to advance her career.

“This experience is going to push me to grow in new ways and I’m going to embrace it,” she said. “I love my job and King County has definitely given me many opportunities for growth.”

“Even people’s reactions to the news was so supportive. I felt so loved and I really appreciate that.”

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