2020 Innovation Award for People honorees

The King County Innovation Awards seek to honor employees and teams whose projects, improvements, and ingenuity deliver exceptional, measurable results. These honorees have considered challenges within their delivery of services to King County residents, and developed solutions that address an important need. These honorees met each challenge in a creative and forward-thinking manner that reflects our True North values.

This year’s People Innovation Award recipient is the Department of Human Resource’s Mental Health Initiative.

“With the twin public health crises of COVID-19 and racism, it became imperative that we were taking care of not only the physical health of our employees, but their mental health as well,” shared Whitney Abrams, Chief People Officer of King County.

After conducting employee listening sessions, the team developed a multi-pronged, culturally responsive approach. Among other things, this included trainings to recognize signs of mental health and distress, support groups for frontline and first responders, and advocating with our health plans to diversify their mental health providers and make that transparent to employees.

“The efforts were recognized nationally by Mental Health America with a Platinum designation – its highest honor,” Abrams added, “Congratulations to the DHR Team for their extraordinary work and firm commitment to take care of the people who are making King County a welcoming community where every person can thrive.”

Due to the pandemic, the Executive and other leaders at King County congratulated the 2020 honorees by video.

Congratulations to the Project Team: Brooke Bascom, Heather Steffensen, Janna Wilson, Jena Scott, Karla Clark, Mary Norman, Megan Jourdan, Michele Ritala, and Shawna Johnson.

Executive’s Performance Excellence Awards series

The Innovation Awards are part of the Executive’s Performance Excellence Awards series, honoring employees and workgroups at King County for their exceptional contributions to performance, leadership, and innovation.

“As we build a best-run government at King County, these awards recognize individuals and teams who have gone above and beyond to look at how they can do things differently to better serve our customers and employees,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Learn more about the King County Performance Excellence Awards