• Enthralled With the Evergreen State

    FROM THE Fall 2022 ISSUE
    Photo credit: Patrick Tak

From making her kids’ Kraken Halloween costumes inspired by Seattle’s National Hockey League team to chasing the sun in eastern Washington looking for spots to camp, Kelly Saling’s love for the Pacific Northwest is apparent in all aspects of her life—including her career. Promoted to senior vice president and chief sales officer at Visit Seattle in September 2021, Saling pulls from this personal appreciation to plug people into the region’s array of venues, natural landscapes, and everything in between. Seattle has long been an epicenter for groups to host their next event, and Saling is using genuine curiosity from her experience in hospitality to give visitors a chance to explore all the area has to offer. 

“Every day that goes by, we’re seeing more and more recovery in our region and in this city that we love,” Saling says. While the region booms in things to do and places to see, Saling reflects on how her work with Visit Seattle is more than just work—it’s a reflection of everything she values. “I think that those of us who have made this our career … it’s a very interesting blend between your professional life and also your personal life,” she notes. For her, the great outdoors is a prime example of this blend. 

Saling grew up in Colorado, and the resulting familiarity with Mother Nature pulled her toward the Pacific Northwest—specifically Seattle—which she has called home for more than 20 years. From taking Amtrak train rides along the Pacific coast to walking along the beach in late summer, Saling explores the surrounding natural world as much as possible—and she encourages groups to do the same. “You have this intense summer heat balanced by green everything—trees everywhere, and then there’s the water. … The city’s a stunner,” she says. 

Whether you’re looking for the best Pacific Northwest venue for your gathering or a lively activity to get your team outside, Seattle is home to just about anything one can imagine to promise an extraordinary event. And Saling? She has just the right expert advice—informed by her own fondness of the Evergreen State—to accomplish exactly that.

In the early 1990s, Washington communities and activists had a vision of maintaining green wilderness and creating space where people could embrace the outdoors near urban cities like Seattle. “We’re all better and healthier when we’re connected to nature,” says Caroline Villanova, community and partnerships manager at Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust.


Visit Seattle, in partnership with the King County government, will host “Cloudbreak: Seattle’s Revive Live Music Fest,” in support of Seattle’s music community. 


As the story goes for millions around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic put plans and work on hold for Ray Maestas when it first hit in 2020. Promptly, the restaurant Maestas was working at closed, and he suddenly had extra time on his hands.