Annual Mixer * December 1, 2020 * 4-5 p.m.

Zoom Link (Passcode: 832721)

Join Historic South Downtown at our Annual Mixer to elect new and returning members of our Board of Directors.

Below are bios and video statements of HSD Board Candidates. Thank you to all the candidates and to everyone who votes in 2020 to ensure our leadership reflects the two dynamic and resilient South Downtown communities of Pioneer Square and Chinatown-International District.

Position 1: Pioneer Square Business Development
Candidate:Karen True*


Karen True has worked for the Alliance for Pioneer Square for eight years, currently serving as Economic Development Director. Karen is also a longstanding member of the Thriving Communities Committee for ULI Northwest and former member of the King County Library System Foundation Board of Directors. The focus of her work in Pioneer Square – and the 20+ years before – is harnessing the power of strong communities to build vibrant places where people – and businesses – love to be.

Statement: It’s an honor to be associated with HSD staff and fellow Board members. The commitment to work together to do what needs to be done to preserve and promote the health and cultural identity of the Pioneer Square and Chinatown-International District neighborhoods is inspiring. Sometimes it’s about advocating and persevering through projects that span years. Other times, like in 2020, it’s all about being agile and responsive in times of emergency.

Position 2: Chinatown-International District
Business Development

Candidate: Diane Le

Diane Le is one of the 3 sisters behind Phnom Penh Noodle House (PPNH) located in Little Saigon.  She leads the marketing and business development aspects of the business.  She managed and coordinated the entire buildout efforts of their relocation, which opened this past March. 

Diane grew up in the Chinatown-International District (C-ID).  Her parents immigrated from Cambodian and opened the original PPNH on Maynard St., across from the Hing Hay Park in 1987.  Her fondest memories are: 

  • Feeding and chasing the pigeons with her sisters at Hing Hay Park. 
  • Visiting with her grandma at the Bush Hotel. 
  • Going to Chinese school at Chong Wa, then walking to Mon Hei for sweet treats after class. 
  • The annual Dragon Fest where she got her face painted, watched her father carve & arrange his fruit art and viewed her sister’s performance with the Chinese Girls Drill Team. 

The C-ID holds a very special place in her heart.  Diane is mommy to 6-year-old twin boys and a 10-year-old shih tzu named Macchiato.   Her favorite beverage is the Signature Milk Tea with boba from either Young Tea or Seattle’s Best Tea. 

Position 3: Pioneer Square

Candidate: Azar Koulibaly*

Statement: Azar Koulibaly is a corporate attorney with over 13 years of experience acting as a trusted legal advisor to technology companies. He is currently a Senior Attorney at Microsoft Corporation where he acts as counsel for the Microsoft Store organization. In this role, he regularly negotiates complex multinational distribution agreements with content owners and oversees the Microsoft Store’s response to regulatory inquiries around the globe. 

Azar has extensive experience serving on and chairing nonprofit organization boards. He currently serves as Co-Chair of the Alliance for Pioneer Square Board and as Vice President of the Historic South Downtown Community Preservation & Development Authority Board. He also regularly volunteers his time with a variety of non-profits at the local and national level. 

Azar graduated from Northern Arizona University with a B.S. in Political Science and earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law. Prior to joining Microsoft, Azar was a Senior Associate in the corporate group of Cairncross & Hempelmann, P.S. in Seattle, Washington. 

Position 4: Chinatown-International District
(Voters please choose one)
Candidate: Tuyen Than

Statement: Tuyen is no stranger to Chinatown-International District, having spent 6+ years as a resident, 5+ years as a small business owner, and 4+ years as a community organizer/volunteer at various nonprofits.

Prior to starting her creative studio, Drag & Drop Creative, with her partner in 2016, Tuyen has spent 5 years as a freelancer and media producer at Highline College.

Tuyen is also the event producer for the Chinatown-International District Block Party, a biannual event celebrating Asian American music, culture, and food. 

Drag & Drop Creative was a finalist for the Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year at King County Executive’s Small Business Awards in 2019. 

Tuyen holds a BA in Cinema Studies, American Ethnic Studies with a minor in Diversity from University of Washington. 

Candidate: Anitra Freeman

Statement: I have moved a lot in my life, but most of it has been in and around Seattle. From 1996 to 2010 I lived in Pioneer Square. Since 2010 my husband and I have lived at International Terrace in the CID.

I’ve been an activist all my life. Since a period of homelessness in 1995 my activism has centered on homelessness and related issues – and everything is related. The forces that leave some people out on the street are pushing us all. I’ve seen small businesses disappear from Chinatown/International District and homeless encampments increase. We all need to work together to build a community in which we all flourish.

One of the organizations I am involved with, working for a better community for all, is Real Change, with an office in Pioneer Square. I have been a volunteer since 1995, and I was on the board for 12 years. Another is SHARE/WHEEL homeless organizing effort, where I have been a board member since 1996. I have also been, at different times, on the board of the Low Income Housing Institute, the Resident  Action Council of Seattle Housing Authority residents, and the resident council at my own building, International Terrace.

I would love to work with Historic South Downtown to preserve the special character of Pioneer Square/Chinatown International District and help this be a community where everyone thrives.

Position 5:Pioneer Square

Candidate: Shava Lawson*

Statement: Shava is Director of Fiscal Services at the Seattle Parks Foundation and has served on the HSD Board for one year. Shava joined Seattle Parks Foundation in 2012 to oversee all financial operations of the foundation, including managing finances and handling reporting for our network of fiscal partners. Shava is a Seattle native, born here but raised on the Olympic Peninsula. She is a graduate of the University of Washington, where she received her bachelor’s degree in art and metal design. Shava has more than 20 years of experience in finance with small businesses and nonprofits. During her time off, Shava works on HSD’s Finance Committee and likes to hang out at Seward Park, bike or hike with her family.

Position 13: Local Legislative
King County

Candidate: Stephanie Pure*

Stephanie Pure
Government Relations Administrator
King County Metro

Statement: Stephanie serves as Government Relations Administrator for King County Metro, located in Pioneer Square. Prior to joining King County, Stephanie was Senior Director of Community and Business Relations at Northeastern University – Seattle, as well as the External Relations Director at AIA Seattle, the seventh largest urban chapter of the American Institute of Architects, where she focused on marketing, sponsorship, and public affairs. Stephanie was previously Legislative Aide to former Seattle City Councilmember (and now Port Commissioner) Peter Steinbrueck. She has served on a variety of boards and commissions, including the Vera Project, Seattle CityClub, the Pike Place Market Historical Commission, and Historic South Downtown. Stephanie is a graduate of Leadership Tomorrow has a degree in Political Science from the University of Washington. She lives in Fremont neighborhood with her husband Dave and their dog, Laika.


Join the fun during HSD’s Annual Mixer Online! Follow this link: to claim your bingo card (just enter your name). We recommend printing the card in advance, or opening a new tab for the card to toggle back and forth while you play. During the event, we will go into zoom rooms where we can meet one another and find other guests who have done something that is described on the cards. First one to call Bingo will receive a $30 Gift Card From Damn the Weather in Pioneer Square!