Equity and Social Justice pioneer Paula Harris-White retiring April 6

At 12:30 p.m. today, County leaders, employees and friends will celebrate the career of King County Workforce Equity Manager Paula Harris-White, and the impact her decades of public service have had on the county’s efforts to advance equity and social justice  efforts. 

Paula, through challenging and groundbreaking work, has helped embed Equity and Social Justice into the very fabric of King County through her knowledge, determination and passion. She has served the people and employees of King County in a variety of capacities, and is often considered the resident Diversity and Inclusion subject matter expert.  

She began her career here as an Administrator nearly 20 years ago. In 2012, she became the Department of Executive Services Equity and Social Justice Manager. Next, she assumed the role of the County’s Diversity Manager in 2015. In her most recent role, Workforce Equity Manager, Paula has been serving as a subject matter and technical expert in the areas of workforce equity, racial justice, fairness and opportunity in the Human Resources Division. 

Paula helped draft the County’s current Equity & Social Justice ordinance and strategic plan, devised the ESJ Training Program and the EEO/AA Plan, leads and manages the work of the Employee-Based EEO/AA Committee, has led an ESJ training design team, serves on the ESJ Interbranch Team and Planning Committee, and is a certified volunteer mediator for the County’s Alternative Dispute Resolution program. 

“I was fortunate enough to work for great managers who encouraged and allowed me to pursue my passion for justice through my work,” said Paula. “I was given the opportunity to connect with diverse and creative county employees who shared my passions for an inclusive, fair, innovative and challenging workplace. As a mediator, I worked with employees from the City and other jurisdictions who were committed to developing a fair and just mediation program.” 

Paula leaves behind a legacy of working for a fair, justice, caring and equitable King County.  

“Paula’s graciousness, integrity, and ethical practice set the standard for how we promote and support equity and inclusion in everything we do,” said Jay Osborne, Interim Human Resources Director.        

Although Paula is retiring, she’s not slowing down. 

“I am going to take some time off, reconnect with family locally as well as in Texas and New York, and travel to Washington, D.C. to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture,” said Paula. 

Congratulations, Paula! You will be missed, but your works will continue to inspire!