BDA Member Spotlight:
“I think we sometimes lose sight of Downtown's future focusing on all the brand-new buildings, exciting as they are. Equally important are the people who live and work in the buildings, eat in the restaurants and play in the parks. They are the ones who make up the culture, the vibe and the fabric of our community."
- Trinity Parker, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Public Affairs at Symetra
An established national player in financial services and a key BDA sponsor and partner, Symetra is striving to live its values for its customers and communities by weaving vocal support for local nonprofits, recreation, sports, transit, and civic leadership through an equitable, inclusive lens.
We spoke with Executive Committee member Trinity Parker, Symetra’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Public Affairs, to understand how their longstanding commitment to community activation and volunteering goes hand in hand with championing the #HeartofBellevue now and into the future.
Together, our members support us in a collaborative mission to build lasting connections in the Downtown neighborhood and strengthen our urban core.
BDA: What impactful changes have you noticed on your street at Symetra Center or in the core more broadly?
Trinity: Rewind to 20 years ago and after 5 p.m. Downtown Bellevue looked and sounded like a ghost town. But every year since, new tenants, residents and stakeholders have transformed the Downtown area into a burgeoning destination that offers more than just corporate businesses. Over the past decade, we've seen plenty of cultural diversity and expansion in our local culinary scene and night life that have accelerated robust growth and fueled new construction and possibilities on every corner. A great example is Meydenbauer Bay Park, which has had phenomenal traction with locals and visitors — and completing Eastlink in 2023 will be an incredible addition to the sustainable transit opportunities available here.
Trinity: Equity and inclusion are the common threads that drive Symetra’s local engagement and community activation. Our partnerships with the Seattle Kraken, Seattle Storm and Climate Pledge Arena are proof positive of that focus. Uplifting women’s athletics and supporting the Climate Pledge Arena’s environmental sustainability goals are tangible expressions of our commitment to community.
BDA: What kind of growth and investments would you personally like to see for Bellevue in the years ahead?
Trinity: I think our first priority should be to ensure that all people feel welcome and included in the gatherings we have and the conversations we hold on important issues – that those conversations are inclusive.
For our teachers and our healthcare workers, we need to have a strong commitment and focus on transit-oriented development in connection to affordable housing. A better mix of housing in Bellevue will help drive accessibility and economic and cultural diversity in our Central Business District and the neighboring areas. Symetra is committed to engaging in and driving these conversations forward.
Public amenities that add to a thriving downtown — like outdoor public spaces, EasTrail, the Grand Connection pedestrian corridor — inspire greater synergy between culture, gathering and creativity that add to our collective experience.
I think we sometimes lose sight of Downtown's future focusing on the growth and all the brand-new buildings, exciting as they are. Equally important are the people who live and work in the buildings, eat in the restaurants and play in the parks. They are the ones who make up the culture, the vibe and the fabric of our great community. How can we make a great experience for all people who live in or visit Bellevue?
BDA: How has an active hand in Downtown's future altered your outlook on community?
Trinity: Through our Symetra Empowers Communities initiative, we're focused on our commitment to address systemic issues like racial inequality and gender disparities, and to show up for our BIPOC communities and at-risk youth.
Grants and advocacy are an important part of our work, but at its heart our efforts boil down to standing shoulder to shoulder with all of the people we serve. It's important that we leverage our voice, advocate for local community interests, and put our words into action. In Bellevue, that can mean supporting critical service organizations like Sophia Way and Bellevue LifeSpring, providing scholarships to students from BIPOC and immigrant communities, or funding a summer meal program in aid of families facing hunger and food scarcity.
Above all, we have amazing employees who are incredibly community minded, contribute thousands of volunteer hours, and serve on the boards of 30 Puget Sound organizations, including eight here in Bellevue. By adopting COVID-19 measures, this year we were able to expand our annual Symetra Week of Service to a full Summer of Service. This allowed employees to take time from their workday to volunteer virtually or in person at projects across the country and locally at organizations like the Bellevue Botanical Gardens and Youth Eastside Services.
BDA: Is there anything else you'd like share with the Downtown community?
Trinity: For several years now we've been supporting partners of the Bellevue Downtown Ice Rink and take pride in promoting that local tradition and creating special memories for Bellevue residents, the workforce and visitors to our neighborhood. In December, we're looking forward to hosting an exclusive skate night for our nonprofit partners!
Over 260 members have helped advance our commitments to empower a thriving Downtown through advocacy, member events and marketing campaigns. We invite you to join the growing number of members who fuel Downtown Bellevue as an exceptional place to live, work, play and visit. Interested in becoming a new member? Learn more or contact us!