About Marilyn

Marilyn Brings A Global Perspective To Local Issues

The daughter of a soldier and an immigrant, Marilyn was born in Seoul, Korea. Her family moved to Tacoma in 1967 when her father was stationed at Fort Lewis. Marilyn grew up in South Tacoma and attended school at Edison, Gray and Mount Tahoma. An urban pioneer, Marilyn has lived downtown for more than a decade. She has also lived in Seattle, Portland, Atlanta and has traveled to Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia.


Marilyn earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington, where she majored in Sociology and spent a semester in London as an exchange student. She later earned an MBA from Clark-Atlanta University.

From a Fortune 500 company to local government, Marilyn has a broad range of professional experience in both the private and public sectors. She has held management positions with Starbucks Coffee Company, JayRay Communications and the Tacoma Public Library. She recently served as Interim Director of Marketing & Communications for Bates Technical College.


As a member of the Tacoma City Council, Marilyn is respected as a thoughtful and decisive leader. She serves as Vice-Chair of the Public Safety, Human Services & Education Committee, and is a member of the Government Performance and Finance Committee. She also represents the city on the board of 
Safe Streets  and the Pierce County Regional Council.

Some of her accomplishments as an elected official include adding education to the scope of the Public Safety and Human Services Committee; advocating for a farmer’s market in the South Tacoma business district; traveling to Gunsan, Korea to represent the City of Tacoma; working with federal legislators to secure funding for local infrastructure projects; working with state legislators to promote economic development policies; and sponsoring legislation to support the Boys & Girls Clubs Regional Center, the William Factory Small Business Incubator and gang prevention programs.


Marilyn has a long history of community service. She is a member of the Tacoma Pierce County Black Collective, a former trustee of the Tacoma Public Library and a supporter of the Korean American Coalition of Washington State. She has also served on the boards of the Grand Cinema, The KBTC Public TV Association and was selected by the Chamber of Commerce to participate in the Creative Cities Leadership Project. She is a volunteer with the YWCA’s Project Empower and Employ and sits on the advisory board of the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department’s Project ACHIEVE.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS – Business, Government and the Arts

As a marketing manager for Starbucks Coffee Company, Marilyn was responsible for analyzing information and making forecasts for staffing, inventory and marketing for a line of business with $20 million in annual revenues. She developed strategic partnerships with online retailers. She also managed initiatives for Starbucks’ first Internet presence, customer loyalty programs and e-commerce efforts.

When Tacoma Public Utilities was anticipating the impact of deregulation, they turned to JayRay Advertising & Public Relations to evaluate their lines of business (Tacoma Power, Tacoma Water, Tacoma Rail) to remain competitive. They also needed a brand identity for a new venture. After conducting focus groups with customers, clients and employees, TPU launched Click!Network – the nation’s first municipally owned communications network. Marilyn served as the Senior Account Manager, working with the client and agency to coordinate these efforts.

A strong supporter of the arts, Marilyn served on the Board of Directors for the Grand Cinema where she was chair of the committee that conducted a national search for an executive director. She also served as chair and chief organizer of the inaugural Tacoma Film Festival, which showcased documentaries and films from local, national and international artists. The highly anticipated annual event is now a Tacoma tradition, is well attended, and culminates with the Grandie Awards.

A lifelong user of the library, Marilyn believes in empowering people through literacy. As Development Officer with the Tacoma Public Library, Marilyn collaborated with the founder of Under the Roof Reading Begins, and helped organize efforts to provide home libraries to more than 100 Habitat for Humanity families in greater Tacoma. These home libraries included dictionaries, atlases, books for children and information about acquiring library cards.