Meet Rebecca Chatfield

Dec 21, 2020 | Members News, News

Returning to the role of Director of Finance & Operations (DFO) is an unexpected but welcome twist. I held the DFO position at East Shore Unitarian Church from 2013-2015. I had an amazing experience! When the door opened to return to the DFO job, I sprinted back through. I am excited to reconnect with everyone from before, meet new people, and learn about ESUC as it is today.

So, what have I been up to these past few years? I took a deep dive into the field of emergency management. I enjoy teaching others how to prepare for disruptions like storms, earthquakes, and prolonged power outages—and recently, pandemics. You can watch me in action giving presentations, now posted online. Here is a recent talk with general tips on plans and kits. Here is one called Your Increasingly Online Life about basic cybersecurity, and this one is on community engagement. At Bellevue College I taught a course on regional hazards and risks, the psychology of disasters, customized emergency kits to store food and water long-term, and seismic retrofitting of buildings.

Most recently I was one of five members of City of Bellevue’s Office of Emergency Management. I served as Duty Officer (a rotating 24/7 response role). I had an insider view of Fire and Police, supporting first responders during COVID-19 response and civil unrest. I worked as Deputy Manager in the Emergency Operations Center coordinating response activities with Bellevue city leadership. I managed 150 specialized volunteers, including auxiliary radio communications and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) activities. Here’s one project I’m especially proud of: this summer I directed 30 volunteers who distributed 40,000 free cloth face masks to the public as part of the city’s COVID-19 outreach.

As you can tell, I enjoy working on big and complicated projects that require clear communication, collaboration, and actionable results. I had entrepreneurial success in organizational and IT consulting, facilities and event management, and real estate. I served on the Boards of multiple nonprofits. I know how to set up and run businesses ethically, plan and follow budgets, manage teams of employees and volunteers, scope out projects and resources, stick to the mission, and get the job done.

On a more personal note, I met my husband Carl while earning my PhD in Sociology at the UW. We were married at University Unitarian Church in Seattle, where he was a member. We have three grown children. Our oldest son is in law school at Willamette University. Our daughter is a behavioral specialist who works with autistic children. Our youngest son studies Economics and Biology at Whitman College. I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest forever and I definitely prefer cool rainy days over hot sunny ones. When I’m not on the computer, you might find me outside walking our family’s sweet old dog, or at the barn hanging out with my horse.

Excited to work with everyone!

Rebecca Chatfield, Director of Finance & Operations

Links for referenced presentations:

  1. Make a Plan: Emergency Preparedness, December 2020, with City of Newcastle and King County Library System
  2. Your Increasingly Online Life, Disaster Ready Washington, July 2020, with WA State Emergency Management Department (starts at 31:42)
  3. Community Engagement, Re-Prepare Webinar, September 2020, with WA State Emergency Management Department (starts at 42:39)