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Seattle City (spot)Light: Charlotte Dorrity, Director of Safety, Health and Wellness

The Basics 

How long have you been at City Light? Three years.

Division: Safety, Health and Wellness (SHaW)

Tell us about your role: I am the director of the SHaW group, and the biggest part of my job is culture change. Inside the safety group, this means building the team and driving a collaborative working relationship within ourselves and the organization as a whole. What does that entail? Maybe a bit of everything? I am what I describe as a “working director.” Because I have experience in safety and in organization development, I can roll up my sleeves and help with technical issues and challenges across the utility, as well as support my team in recognizing and evaluating hazards. I am also able to look at behavioral safety, leadership, and culture in the organization, applying social science concepts to improving safety. One minute I may be evaluating respiratory protection requirements and the next I may be championing human performance.


Hometown: Good question. My dad was in the military, so I lived in five different places before second grade. Mostly, I grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas, but a job took me to California in my early twenties. I spent most of my adult years there, mostly up in the Mayacamas Mountains north of Santa Rosa.

Alma Mater: I got my bachelor’s degree and a master’s in organization development at Sonoma State in California. I went back a few years later and got my master’s online in safety through Columbia Southern University.

Area of study: Chemistry/liberal studies, organization development/psychology, and safety and environmental management.

Tell us about your family: I have three kids, all grown up: a son in northern California, a daughter in Colorado, and a daughter in Washington state. I have a brother in Hawaii and sisters in Washington, California, and Texas.

Just for Fun

What was your first job and what did you do? My first real job was working in the oil field as a mud engineer. I worked on a group of artificial islands off Long Beach, California, testing and managing drilling and completion fluids for oil wells. Then I became a roustabout (a laborer in an oil field or refinery) and worked with the mechanics on the production side.

What is the most rewarding part of your work at the utility? Seeing my team grow and impact the safety culture here. We have a lot of good safety people who put their hearts into providing support to all groups to improve our safety management and culture. I see them leading by example and looking for innovative ways to improve occupational safety, communications, and psychological safety, and I see the respect and recognition that they are earning across the organization. This makes me feel great.

What would we most likely find you doing on the weekend? It depends on the season. During the rainy season, you will find me reading. (I am a total bookworm.) During spring and summer, I love working in my garden and exploring outdoors. I love to hike and enjoy nature.

If you could use two words to describe yourself, what would they be? Caring and focused.

What’s your favorite sweet or savory treat? Unfortunately, I have way too many favorites! Anything Cajun, from blackened red fish to bread pudding with pecans and caramel sauce.