December 9, 2022

Q&A with Mariko Lockhart

Mariko Lockhart recently joined the Evans School as a Professor of Practice and will teach public service leadership and management courses. Prior to joining Evans, Mariko has been serving as the Deputy Director for the City of Seattle Department of Education & Early Learning and served as the Director of the City of Seattle, Office for Civil Rights for four years.  

The Evans School spoke with Mariko as she settled into this new role within our community. 

Evans School: What drew you to this opportunity at the Evans School? 

Mariko: I was excited to have this opportunity to draw on my experience and lessons learned as a public and nonprofit sector leader and share with Evans students. It feels like the perfect next step in my public service career. The commitment of the Evans School to advance on its journey to becoming an anti-racist organization is very compelling to me and I welcomed the opportunity to support the school in these efforts. My role as Director of the Seattle Office for Civil Rights during the height of the COVID pandemic and throughout the racial justice protests following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police required adaptation, learning, and growing as a leader. This was also true for us as a city government overall. I am looking forward to engaging with students on the kind of hard questions about how to operationalize anti-racism in government that have been front and center for us at the City of Seattle these past few years. 

Evans School: Of the many different professional experiences you’ve had over your career, which have been most impactful on the leader you’ve become? 

 Mariko: While I have learned and grown from each of my professional experiences, the most impactful and transformative for me was my tenure as Director of the Seattle Office for Civil Rights during the incredibly tumultuous period I’ve referenced. It was truly a time with no roadmap or precedent that demanded adaptive leadership, a willingness to learn and grow, and deep humility. For me, the learning and self-reflection journey toward an anti-racist practice is both humbling and transformational. I was fortunate to work alongside an incredible leadership team and staff. I am a strong believer in collaborative leadership, an approach that is deeply aligned with anti-racist values. We couldn’t have made it through that period without having built trusting relationships with each other and the ability to lean into each other for support. 

Evans School: Which skills and capacities are most needed for those going into public service employment today?   

Mariko: Certainly, excellent communication, organizational, and management skills are the foundational for public service employment, but a strong set of personal and professional values are what will continue to guide you throughout a career in public service. The values that guide my actions are integrity, humility, courage, and compassion. 

Evans School: How will you bring your voice, experiences, and insights into the classroom? 

Mariko: I look forward to engaging with students in the classroom and bringing case studies and scenarios from my own experiences and that of other public sector leaders into my courses for students. Real life scenarios are such an engaging tool to explore ways to confront highly complex and nuanced situations in government and the non-profit sector. I am also looking forward to recruiting guest lecturers from my network of amazing public and nonprofit sector leaders.

Evans School: Which classes will you be teaching this academic year? 

Mariko: I will teach Capstone in the Winter and Spring quarters and Executive Leadership in the Spring. 

Evans School: We are excited to have you join the Evans faculty and community – thanks for chatting! 

Mariko: I appreciate the warm welcome and support I have already received from colleagues and students!