When Jennifer Leavitt first worked as a marketing intern at Bellevue-based Kemper Development Co. in 1985, she did all her work on a typewriter, and Bellevue Square was just starting to take shape as an enclosed shopping center. Since then, she’s seen the company experience unbelievable growth, with the addition of Bellevue Place, Lincoln Square, and Lincoln Square South. As vice president of the department, Leavitt oversees all of marketing, from public relations to special events to web development. As you might expect, no two days are alike, which is what’s kept her with the family-owned development firm for the last 34 years.
Photos by Jeff Hobson
Being a Working Mom
Leavitt, who now has two college-aged sons, appreciates that she has been able to maintain a highly involved career and still be involved in her kids’ lives.
“Frankly, one of the reasons it’s important to me is I believe I’m actually better at my job with kids,” she said. “You have to become a better creative problem solver after juggling a family and work.”
A Three-Decade Milestone
Four years ago, Leavitt was honored with a 30-year Milestone Award from the company, an honor given to employees at each five-year mark. “When you work somewhere more than half your life, that’s kind of an odd thing to say these days,” she said.
Leavitt’s office is essentially a museum for Kemper Development. She often saves artifacts from events, including these illustrations by local artist Blair Breitenstein, who crafted the promotional materials a few years back for the company’s annual Bellevue Fashion Week.
An Archive of Snowflake Lane’s History
Kemper Development works with Seattle-based Greg Thompson Productions for the company’s Snowflake Lane event. Since its inception roughly 15 years ago, Thompson has been creating mock-ups of the event, from the stages to the costumes. This cutout drawing is an early rendering of the Jingle Bell costumes worn by the performers.