City hires first community engagement specialist

Kellie Stickney beat out at least 29 other applicants to be named the city’s community engagement specialist – a new position that aims to help Bainbridge Island do a better job of telling its story.

The advertisement for the opening boasted an annual salary ranging from $62,595 to $78,499.

Stickney, 31, comes to the island with 10 years of experience working with nonprofits and cities such as Lynnwood and Sea-Tac. For the past four years, she has worked as the marketing and outreach director for Seattle’s SustainableWorks, a nonprofit general contractor and energy efficiency program.

“It is an honor to have the opportunity to use my skills and experience to serve the residents of Bainbridge Island as their community engagement specialist,” said Stickney, who will start her new job March 10. “I’m looking forward to working with residents and city staff to build an even stronger and more connected Bainbridge community.”

Stickney, who was born and raised in Hermiston, Ore., earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Gonzaga University in 2004 and a master’s of public administration from the University of Washington in 2009.

Kellie Stickney starts working as the city of Bainbridge Island's first community engagement specialist March 10.
Kellie Stickney starts working as the city of Bainbridge Island’s first community engagement specialist March 10.
Bainbridge Islander, City Hall

About Ethan Fowler

Ethan Fowler has more than 20 years of journalism experience with 19 years of daily and weekly newspaper experience covering news, features and sports, as well as being an editor for 14 of those years. He has won several writing awards over the years in Washington state, Virginia, Texas and Georgia, including award-winning investigative journalism. Fowler was paid by the Review & Herald Publishing Association in 2009 to co-author a book, "Brushed Back: The Story of Trevor Bullock," with his wife. The book details the real life of a top minor league pitcher in the Philadelphia Phillies organization and his Christian faith. "Brushed Back" has sold more than 2,000 copies since its release.

4 thoughts on “City hires first community engagement specialist

  1. Why do we need a “community engagement specialist,” who, with benefits, will cost us over $100,000 per year?

    1. Michael,
      Although the price may seem high for employing a community engagement specialist, the city of Bainbridge Island really does need to do a better job of telling its story.

      Since I started covering the city in September, I’ve been amazed at how many people have a negative attitude about the city. Simply put, Bainbridge — like many other cities — has a lot more going right than wrong. But many people wouldn’t know that because unfortunately a lot of media outlets that cover the island only report on the negative and the community engagement specialist will be able to help turn that tide.

      As City Council member Steve Bonkowski told me in January when the new community engagement specialist position was posted, “The council in the last two years has said an improved ability to communicate with the public and all the social media attendant to that is a priority. We need to make sure we have someone that does that in a coordinated and professional way.”

      I’d say try to reserve your judgment on Bainbridge’s community engagement specialist Kellie Stickney. She has a decade of experience working with cities a little larger than Bainbridge (Sea-Tac and Lynnwood) and knows how to use communications strategies that connect communities.

  2. I had several friends and colleagues apply for the position and they weren’t selected, but good luck to her. It can only benefit us to ensure a fuller story is being told, and the community – even better engaged. Other communities can be served by a similar strategy given society’s increased focus and attention on bad news, tragedies, and what is wrong. Those are certainly realities to be faced and ameliorated, but not to the exclusion of building upon what’s working.

    1. Registered Voter,
      I couldn’t agree more with you and I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

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