Who's Who of Professional Women

JOSEPHINE TAMAYO MURRAY

Josephine Tamayo Murray

Josephine Tamayo Murray, MSW, retired executive director for the Communities of Concern Commission based in the state of Washington, has intentionally dedicated most of her life to public service. Proudly hailing from a Filipino family that immigrated to the United States, she was inspired by the clear example of her parents instilling in her the immeasurable value of giving to their community. Thus, from a young age, Ms. Tamayo Murray was active in civil rights and women’s rights movements. Impressively, she was still in high school when she began advocating for social justice causes and laying the foundation for her future career.

After first gaining experience in the for-profit sector, Ms. Tamayo Murray soon realized she was meant to fulfill her primary, clear career calling to serve others and transitioned to working for nonprofit organizations. For more than a decade, she worked with the Catholic Community Services of Western Washington, where she held numerous positions and served as a champion for the poor. On behalf of the Catholic Church, she ran the organization’s housing unit, oversaw community services, and held the role of vice president for public policy. In 2016, Ms. Tamayo Murray became the executive director of the Communities of Concern Commission, which operates as a collective of dozens of nonprofit organizations largely serving people of color in the state of Washington. Until her departure from the Communities of Concern Commission in 2023, she took great pride in securing state investments, building community centers, constructing cultural centers, and establishing affordable housing.

Moreover, from 2023 until her retirement, Ms. Tamayo Murray served as chair of the Washington Economic Development Finance Authority. In this key capacity, she conducted regular meetings, worked with the executive director on financial transactions, and ensured access to jobs that pay a living wage across the state of Washington. Still committed to promoting sustainability, Ms. Tamayo Murray believes strongly in encouraging, mentoring, and coaching young professionals and women of color. As a retired executive and board member of the Washington Economic Development Finance Authority, she feels an obligation to create the next generation of leaders. In this vein, prior to her retirement, Ms. Tamayo Murray was involved with the BIPOC ED Coalition of Washington State. She knows from vast, firsthand experience that there is immense power in collective action.

In preparation for her esteemed career as a public servant and nonprofit administrator, Ms. Tamayo Murray graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology in 1973. She also completed the executive program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Then, in 1978, she concluded her higher education at the University of Washington, earning a Master of Science in Social Work. Demonstrating deep caring for her community, she has been affiliated with Holy Names Academy and St. James Cathedral, both in Seattle, Washington. Throughout her career, she earned multiple honors, including the Presidential Award from the Filipino community in Seattle, Washington. Further, Ms. Tamayo Murray earned a Housing Development Consortium Award and the Alumni of the Year award from Holy Names Academy.

In moments throughout her life, Ms. Tamayo Murray has found being the only woman or person of color in a room to be a lonely experience. To help ensure her experiences are not repeated by others in the future, she remains devoted to mentoring women of color for leadership positions. Above all, she strives to be an active listener and to value people’s contributions. Ms. Tamayo Murray loves bringing people together to work toward a common goal and is grateful for the varied and significant opportunities she had during her storied career, including securing housing for previously unhoused families. She notes that she will never forget the joy on the children’s faces when they were finally able to enjoy secure housing. Yet, outside of working to develop the next generation of leaders, in her leisure time, Ms. Tamayo Murray enjoys golfing, playing the piano, and spending time with her cherished high school friends.

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