After earning her high school diploma from St. John Endicott High School, Sommer Kleweno-Walley embarked on her studies at Washington State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in speech and hearing sciences in 1995, followed by a Master of Arts in speech and hearing sciences in 1997. That same year, she joined Harborview Medical Center as a speech-language pathologist, a role she held until 2017. Drawn to work in leadership in addition to her health care role, she pursued a master’s degree in health administration at the University of Washington, graduating in 2009. In 2013, she began working with administrator patient care services at Harborview Medical Center and became the senior associate administrator for surgical, emergent and integrated clinical services in 2017.
Having cultivated considerable expertise in both speech pathology and health care administration, Ms. Kleweno-Walley achieved the post of chief executive officer of Harborview Medical Center in 2020. Throughout her career, she has made a name for herself as someone who was incredibly driven by and passionate about the mission of Harborview Medical Center, and becoming chief executive officer was the ultimate culmination of her dedication as it is truly a dream role for her. While her career path within the medical center has been something of a nontraditional one, Ms. Kleweno-Walley has accomplished much over the course of her career. Her current duties revolve around strategic and capital planning, budgeting, philanthropy, quality assurance and patient safety.
Notably, one of Ms. Kleweno-Walley’s major roles is program oversight for a number of programs under the auspices of Harborview Medical Center that are focused on helping people from underserved populations who are dealing with behavioral health issues, substance use disorder, and other socioeconomical comorbidities. Through these programs the medical center helps to provide care for individuals who are living in shelters or sobering centers throughout the country. Above everything, Ms. Kleweno-Walley considers the highlights of her career to be the times she has been able to help Harborview Medical Center navigate difficult and complex situations, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and stay financial solvent while also ensuring the safety of all patients and staff.
Looking toward the future, Ms. Kleweno-Walley’s immediate plans revolve around capital planning to manage the $1.74 billion bond they received from the voters of King County, Washington, and ensure that their goals are achieved in the next five to eight years. A major part of this is a large capital expansion plan for the Harborview Medical Center campus and she is keen to see that vision through to fruition. Over the course of her career, Ms. Kleweno-Walley has attributed much of her success to the work ethic instilled in her by her parents as well as the continued support of her husband and colleagues.
Ms. Kleweno-Walley was born to parents Patrick and Daryl on a small wheat, barley and cattle farm in eastern Washington state. One of four children, she was raised to believe in working for the common good and spent many of her early days helping out on the farm and in the fields. Her oldest brother, Brock, is a chef and manager working in restaurant information technology management; her younger brother, Connor, is an orthopedic surgeon at Harborview Medical Center; and her younger sister, Mariana, is a talented actress, known for her role as Carissa Porter in the popular Showtime series “Dexter.” Today, Ms. Kleweno-Walley is happily married to her husband, Aaron, who does commercial lending for U.S. Bancorp, and is the proud mother of two children, Luke and Eden. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, reading, spending time with her children, and giving back to her community through volunteer work, such as the time she has spent as a volunteer basketball coach with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.