Downtown Team gets a new manager

Cris Beattie will lead Team Winslow as executive director. - RYAN SCHIERLING photo
Cris Beattie will lead Team Winslow as executive director.
— image credit: RYAN SCHIERLING photo

Yes, Cris Beattie has helped plan a small-town parade. A boat parade, too.

It was her experience in the sphere of community non-profits, though, that helped earn her the directorship of the Team Winslow downtown organization.

“I’ve been pretty much community-minded for the past 15-18 years,” said Beattie, an island businesswoman and resident since 1987. “I’ve worked on pretty much every non-profit on the island.

“I just felt Team Winslow had a lot of what I see everyone on the island working toward, keeping our downtown vibrant.”

Beattie’s curriculum vitae is a roadmap for volunteerism and community development – fund-raiser and event planner for public school programs, the West Sound Baseball Club and the Kitsap library system; board development chair for the Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council, and special events committee chair for Bainbridge Performing Arts; parent association president at Hyla Middle School; Bainbridge group president and fund-raising chair for the Pacific Northwest Ballet League.

Professionally, she has made a career in design and marketing, with her own firm of Cristine Beattie Design Associates, and as a consultant for an array of Seattle and Kitsap-area firms. Past clients have included the Space Needle and the Stroum Jewish Community Center.

Beattie’s selection as Team Winslow director was announced this week. She succeeds Sandy Martin, who stepped down in April to pursue other opportunities.

The position drew considerable interest – nearly three dozen applications from around the island and Kitsap County, Team Winslow board president Barbara Tolliver said. The field was narrowed to six, and it was during a second round of interviews that Beattie – who had worked with the Team Winslow organization a decade ago, under the directorship of Shelly Halligan – really shone.

“It was as if Cris was already in the job,” Tolliver said. “We felt so incredibly fortunate.”

Beyond her lengthy resume as volunteer, the selection committee was wowed by Beattie’s acumen in promotions and marketing, small business management, and design and art.

Her experience, Tolliver and others felt, suited Team Winslow’s mission of “Main Street” revitalization – creating, in Tolliver’s words, “an atmosphere in which people want to be downtown.”

The organization is generally known for such events as the Halloween parade and holiday merchant promotions. Its other projects have included improved tourism signage at the ferry terminal, pedestrian lighting, art projects, street plantings, and traffic and construction alerts to help merchants and shoppers survive roadwork.

“What is ‘Main Street?’” Tolliver said. “It’s not a ‘theme’ street. It’s a comprehensive philosophy for community development.”

Beattie knows small towns; she grew up in Burien, a community she remembers as looking much like the Winslow of the day – “a block long, and half a block wide.”

She earned a degree in art and design at the University of Washington, close enough to home that she returned one summer to help organize the town’s Fourth of July Parade.

She and husband Rob Beattie settled in California, then returned to Kitsap County in 1979. Her husband is a partner in the Silverdale law firm Beattie Russell.

Her community involvement revolved to a certain extent around her children’s activities. Her son Jason graduated from Bainbridge High School in 1996, and last year from UCLA. Daughter Maegen is a 2001 BHS graduate now attending the University of Washington.

Their leaving the nest gave Beattie – who likes “to have three or four things to be working on at the same time” – the chance to consider new opportunities.

“I never would have taken a job like this if my kids were still in school,” she said. “I wasn’t actively searching for anything, but the stars were aligned.”

Beattie’s skills will be put to the test overnight, as Team Winslow’s signature events – the Island Days festival, and the July 3 street dance – draw nigh.

“I feel like I just transferred into this class,” she said, “and the finals are coming up in a little more than a month.”

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