SU Voice Alumni Blog

Get your Phone in the Fight Against COVID: Launching WA Notify

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 4:13 PM PST

a profile photo of Carey Evenson standing next to a brick wallCarey Evenson, ’00, majored in journalism and mass communications with career aspirations of working in the public relations field. After graduation, she landed her first agency job and realized just how challenging the field of public relations really was. “I quickly realized that I wanted to work with clients that I cared about. I wanted to work on projects I was passionate about and wanted to spend my time and energy on projects that I believed in,” said Evenson. With the tools of reflection and discernment and backed by the mission driven, community focused, social justice education she received at Seattle U, Evenson made the career decision to put all of her energy towards projects that were meaningful and would make the world a more just and humane place.

Evenson navigated career moves from PR to client and account management and in 2018 had the opportunity to launch an integrated creative and content team as the VP for Creative and Content for C+C. C+C works with public and private clients to leverage the power of marketing to inspire behavioral change, creating meaningful, result-driven campaigns across media platforms. Her company has worked with clients such as the US EPA Energy Star Program, King County Metro, Puget Sound Energy and Seattle Colleges on campaigns that cover everything from recycling and energy efficiency to regional transportation and education accessibility.

Most recently, her work has focused on helping the Washington State Department of Health reduce COVID-19 infections across the state, flattening the curve. “We have done a series of public awareness campaigns and advertising campaigns. Much of what you have seen around COVID-19 from the Department of Health, our team has had a hand in creating,” said Evenson. Their latest behavioral change project, WA Notify, is another COVID-19 notification tool that supplements contact tracing in Washington. 

When the app is downloaded, or notifications are enabled, you can receive anonymous alerts if you have been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive for coronavirus. The app also connects you with resources if you have been exposed. “You might not even know who you were near that was infected. It could be someone that you were standing in line next to or someone that you were sitting by on the bus. This private and secure tool helps further the impact of tacking the virus,” said Evenson. To date more than 1.64 million  Washington adults have downloaded or enabled WA Notify. “People are always looking for another thing they can do to help stop the spread and get closer to ending the pandemic, and this is a really tangible way to help with that effort.”

“The state’s commitment to equity and inclusiveness from the Department of Health has been impressive. We have worked to develop the campaign in 36 languages. There is a real desire to make sure every Washingtonian has access to this information and the tools to help stop the spread. The inclusive aspect of this project has been really gratifying to work on,” said Evenson. Since the start of the pandemic, Evenson and her team have been working around the clock to develop messaging, create digital and print media and review campaign materials with partners. “We are hoping to save lives. That is our motivation. The work that we do can actually make a difference.”

“It’s not often in your career you have a chance to work on something that has the potential to impact so many people and potentially change the course of history and save lives. I feel so fortunate to be able to do this hard work,” said Evenson. 

The next campaign she will be working on with her team is vaccine information as Washington receives and rolls out vaccines across the state. “It’s really exciting,” said Evenson. They are laser focused on getting the messaging and messengers correct. “We want to work on developing a message strategy where trusted messengers are taking the lead. Hearing from leaders in their communities and doing the work right is so important to us.”

Find out more information on WA Notify and how it works by visiting the Washington State Department of Health website.