Our Values

Emerging Design Consulting is committed to racial justice, social equity and the elimination of institutional racism. We strive to improve relationships across culture, class and race. This work applies to all aspects of how we operate:


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Building Equitable Partnerships

We invest in the communities we reach – contracting with grass-roots groups and leaders.

Build community capacity through training and equitable partnerships.

We are committed to authentically capturing community voices, and letting people speak for themselves.

Bonnie Olson

Facilitating Community Planning

Multi-cultural competency - Consciously design meetings to include cultural styles of expression, various learning styles, and make space for different values and viewpoints to be heard.

Principles of inclusion:

  • Include different stakeholders and viewpoints,
  • Those impacted by decisions - constituent groups, consumers, residents
  • Diverse cultures and languages. Conduct sessions in native languages

Bonnie Olson

Effective Outreach

  • Convene consultant team with roots in the communities
  • Connect with communities through how they organize themselves

“Bonnie is a great listener, and can help focus your project to get the information you need. Her collaboration was most helpful in developing and implementing a strategic approach to my project.”

Evelyn Boykan, Human Services Manager, City of Tukwila


Sample Projects


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Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) Business Plan Inclusive Outreach

Organized community sessions in five geographic regions to get input from historically underserved communities, regarding SPU’s Strategic Business Plan. Compiled a team of multi-lingual and multicultural contractors to recruit, facilitate and record notes in six languages: Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese, Cantonese and Khmer. Also conducted sessions in English for African-American, general low-income residents and seniors. Provided input in agenda design, managed implementation and produced summary report.

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Local Hazardous Waste Management Program

Designed focus group agenda, recruited and conducted focus groups in south King County in Spanish, Tagalog (Filipino), Vietnamese and Korean. African-Americans were also surveyed in individual interviews. Purpose was to gauge knowledge about hazardous materials and proper disposal, usage of Hazardous Waste Disposal sites and attitudes and beliefs relevant for community education efforts. Prepared a summary report.

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City of Seattle, Mayor’s Office

Immigrant and Refugee Community Engagement Project - Conducted 12 focus groups and 100 interviews in ten languages. We gathered customer knowledge and experience with a broad range of city services, need for and access to bi-lingual services, needs of grass roots organizations and gathered community advice for civic engagement methods for their community members. Cultural groups included: Spanish-speaking, Iraqi, Asian: Chinese, Vietnamese, Khmer, and African: Oromo, Amharic, Tigrinya, and Somali.

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City of Tukwila, Human Services Department

Produced a Strategic Human Services Plan for the City of Tukwila. Scope of responsibilities included: designed scope of issues, conducted research, established multidepartment team and engagement process for key stakeholders, including the Human Services Commission, the South King County Council on Human Services, and key funders. We produced draft policies, prepared a final report and presented the Human Services Plan to the City interdepartmental team and to the Mayor and City Council.

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Mason County Economic Development Council, Mason County, WA

Facilitated the planning and implementation of a future search conference – a method of community-wide systems change. The conference was titled “Economic Summit: Creating the Economic Future of Mason County”. The conference include over 80 stakeholders, including business leaders, developers, environmentalists, government staff and elected officials, human services, civic organizations, and educators. Cross-sector strategies developed in the conference are still active today, more than 6 years after the convening. City of Seattle – Community Voices

Convened a team of bi-cultural and bi-lingual colleagues to gather input across major city service departments from Immigrant and Refugee communities, about their experiences with direct city services and policies. We conducted over 100 interviews and 10 focus groups – in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Amharic, Oromo and Somali. Summary report was presented to the City of Seattle City Council and a broad City Interdepartmental Team. Community-wide systems change initiatives

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Health Funders Partnership of Orange County, California

A Call to Action: Fresh Ideas on Food and Fitness for Orange County Kids
Assisted with design and co-facilitated a future search sponsored by major California foundations to address issues of child obesity in Orange County. Addressed systemic issues including food in schools and food availability in low income neighborhoods, exercise and health promotion, and new models of philanthropy emerged that support community activism.