On January 29, 2016, over 400 civic leaders, philanthropists and Leadership Spokane supporters gathered together to celebrate servant leadership at Leadership Lights The Way. The 2016 gala, held at Northern Quest Resort and Casino in Airway Heights, WA, is the organization’s 5th annual gala in support of community leadership.

The evening began with a VIP Reception in the resort’s Impulse Lounge, open to key event sponsors and program alumnus.  Leadership Spokane Executive Director Brian Newberry welcomed guests and thanked the Kalispel Tribe of Indians for their financial support of the gala and of the programs that Leadership Spokane provides to the Spokane community.

Guests were welcomed into the Pend Oreille Pavilion with a champagne reception and silent auction.  From 6-7 p.m., guests bid on silent auction items and participated in a wine cork pull.  Gala volunteers circulated in the room selling opportunities for a diamond necklace draw, sponsored by Tracy Jewelers.  Gala attendees also donned beach hats, shades and flower leis and popped into the Entertainment Warehouse photo booth for candid snaps, generously sponsored by Washington Trust.

As guests were seated, they were greeted by KREM morning news anchor Laura Papetti.  Spokane Mayor David Condon also greeted the record crowd, and shared an official proclamation with the audience recognizing the accomplishments that Leadership Spokane has achieved since 1982.

The evening program included the presentation of two awards:  the King Cole Luminary Award and the Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award.  The 2016 King Cole Luminary Award was presented to Scott Morris, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Avista Corporation. Morris is the fourth recipient of this annual award.  Leadership Spokane created the King Cole Luminary Award to recognize exceptional servant leadership that lights the way within the community. In March 2013, the first award was made posthumously to King Forrest Cole. Cole is known as the “father” of Expo ’74, which revitalized the downtown, resurrected the Spokane River environs and led to the creation of dozens of other initiatives, including Leadership Spokane. As President of Expo ’74, Cole was its main spokesman and promoter, but his real skill was his ability to get people to come together to achieve the impossible.

Scott Morris is a Spokane native whose focus has always been people. His out-front leadership and philanthropy, which are felt throughout the community and beyond, and his involvement and significant support for local, regional and national organizations and initiatives, earn him praise from many. Early in his tenure, Morris led the way in developing and implementing the first-in-nation tariff to provide enhanced energy assistance funding, lessening the burden for those most in need. Morris continues in his objective to provide value for customers, showcased by the customer satisfaction ratings exceeding 90 percent for the last 14 years, and demonstrates openness and transparency to help build employee confidence and trust in company leadership.

Contributing to the strength of the Spokane community, he led the development of the Avista Foundation and is committed to the sustainability of the partnerships Avista forges for the betterment of dozens of communities, not just Spokane. Morris’ dream for giving something of significance back to the community was fulfilled in the Gathering Place Plaza, given to the City of Spokane, and he will expand his vision through a permanent and sustainable relocation of the Mobius Science Center for a $1-per-year lease, and proximity to some of the most spectacular scenery and learning opportunities in Spokane. His personal philanthropy has been equally large as he has provided significant support for organizations, including the Salvation Army, Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, SNAP and Gonzaga University.

The second award of the evening, the Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award, was created to honor the many contributions of the more than 1,100 graduates of the program since its inception in 1982. This award recognizes alumni who are the embodiment of Leadership Spokane’s mission of delivering dedicated leaders that collaborate in order to grow an active and diverse network that serves and strengthens our communities. The 2016 Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is Gloria Ochoa-Bruck.

Gloria Ochoa-Bruck, a 2012 Leadership Spokane graduate, was appointed by Mayor David Condon as the Local Government and Multi-Cultural Affairs Director for the City of Spokane in 2013. She is an adjunct professor at Gonzaga University School of Law. Ochoa-Bruck sees beyond education, social, economic, ethnic and political boundaries to create programs, processes and solutions that benefit individuals and the community as a whole. She is a member of the Hispanic Business Professionals Association, the Latina/o Bar Association, the Spokane County Bar Association’s Diversity Committee and Washington Women Lawyers. She also is the staff liaison for the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Multi-Cultural Affairs.

Ochoa-Bruck is the first of her family to graduate from college and law school. Coeur d’Alene Living Magazine named Ochoa-Bruck as one of the top lawyers in Spokane in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Catalyst Magazine named her one of their Twenty Under 40 in 2012. A graduate of both Spokane’s and Tri-Cities’ leadership program, Ochoa-Bruck is the embodiment of serving others, most recently immeasurably strengthening the Latino Hope Foundation, which provides scholarships to Latinos to attend higher education in the local area. Her distinguished record across the state is far reaching. Mayor Condon writes: “Gloria has done outstanding work on criminal justice reform, intercultural communications, and much more during her time here.”

The final segment of the evening’s program featured two future Spokane leaders – Annette Singleterry, Youth Leadership Spokane Class of 2015, and Megan Curran, Class of 2016.  Guests were then invited to open their wallets and give generously through the paddle raise, or by bidding on one of five unique live auction items.

In 2014, the Leadership Spokane gala raised $13,000 in support of leadership programs for Spokane citizens.  In 2015 the organization raised $16,000.  As gala attendees hit the dance floor to the sounds of Folkinception, presented by Global Credit Union, the event was close to raising $20,000.  Funds raised at the 2016 gala will support leadership programs for nonprofit executives and provide monies for the Leadership Spokane endowment.