Riza AlmanzaRiza Almanza
Business & Finance Officer for 4Culture
Riza moved to Seattle from the Philippines when she was 13. Here, she attended a public high school, before graduating and studying art at the University of Washington. As she told me about her time there, her memory wavered fondly to the weaving studio, where she recalled spending hours upon hours working, even driving up on weekends to devote extra time to projects. She took weaving classes for two of her four years at the university. Working with textile became part of a lifelong love of what she calls “arts and crafts” or, folk art.

While in college, she also worked seasonally for King County Detentions. After graduation, a permanent part-time position opened up with them and she applied. Due to a quirk in the application process for the county, her application was sent to Detentions, as well as 4Culture (then the King County Office of Cultural Resources) who was also seeking to fill an administrative position. After two weeks in her new job with Detentions she was offered the position at 4Culture – she gave her two weeks’ notice and accepted. Growing up in a very pragmatic household, Riza never thought she would end up doing work that related to her passion and degree, but with 4Culture she saw an opportunity to do just that.

When asked what skills she brings to her team, Riza took a moment to think. Finally, she explained that her strengths were: Pride in her work, and a willingness to help. She thrives on making a difference. Knowing what she does here (in no small way) helps artists and fosters community, results in a drive that allows her to motivate not only herself but also the rest of her team; devoting attention every day, to making things a little bit smoother and a little bit easier.

Riza describes herself as a private, quiet person, but the one thing she wanted people to know about her is her passion. Once, an artist wrote a letter praising Riza for her assistance through boundless loops of harrowing paperwork. She remembered being surprised, as she hadn’t noted her interaction with that artist as being any different from the work she strives to do every day. She admits, it can be a struggle to see your own impact from the background – but she finds her ways. She reads the Scope of Service for every contract she’s working on, so she can connect her work to what artists and organizations are doing in the community. And overall – she added in her soft, signature tone – she tries, and hopes she succeeds, every day to do her absolute best.

And we think she absolutely does!

This is the second in a regular series of posts introducing 4Culture staff. We want you to know who we are.