Katoya Palmer (pronoun: she/her)
ToyBox Consulting was founded in 2008 by dba Katoya Palmer when she began freelancing advertising management skills. In 2012, services expanded and began serving non profits and small business leaders of color in restaurant, professional sports, retail, and entertainment entities. ToyBox Consulting and Management relaunched in 2020 with a new and improved set of operations oriented consulting options serving the virtual workplace with project management and strategic planning. Beginning in 2021, TBC&M operates as ToyBox Consulting and Management, LLC.
Katoya began her career as an Account Executive at a Fortune 200 real estate finance company Household Finance, now HSBC in 2001 after dropping out of Arizona State University after a series of traumatic events stemming from sorority hazing. There she established a passion for educating clients, learning enterprise systems, policy and compliance, and managing teams. Many years later, after some troubled times as a result of PTSD leading to lived experiences revealed in her presentations and public speaking engagements, determined to beat the system, and live her “American Dream” of self sustainability “ToyBox'' was established in 2008.
ToyBox evolved from a personal brand into a business over time. The name is a combination of her name and symbolism, but more of an euphemism. Traditionally, a toy box holds a variety of playful things for children. In this case, it represents the expansiveness of her Brilliance as a Black woman and community leader. She’s always related to the cliché “Jack/Jill of all trades” and was determined to shy from minimizing herself in professional spaces. After establishing a name in Seattle's entrepreneurial community through event planning and strategic partnerships, she decided to complete her B.S. Marketing Management degree in hopes of posturing ToyBox for the next level at relaunch.
She then began working with Seattle Schools as a math tutor through a college work study program while at Western Governors University. During that time she became involved with the PTSA and was elected Vice President at Madrona K-8. Additionally she served as a Code.org class facilitator and middle school volunteer basketball coach, and eventually became a substitute Special Education Assistant residing at Stevens Elementary.
In 2016, she began working at the YMCA of Greater Seattle's Meredith Mathews branch where she served community selflessly and was promoted from a lifeguard, to pool manager, to Aquatics Director, then finally Senior Program Director assisting her Executive Director, UW Husky Football Hall of Famer Greg Lewis in fundraising and operations in addition to providing her Association leadership support in Aquatics. Of her accomplishments, launching a “learn to swim program” for Black children is the hallmark. During her time at the Y, she taught dozens of lifeguard and swim instructors and hundreds of children how to swim (including her CEO, Loria Yeadon).
As result of several unfortunate events, in September 2021 she left the Y with renewed vision in connection to her dream of self sustainability. Embracing her expansiveness, she recommitted to her 2020 relaunch of ToyBox Consulting and Management, LLC. During her time at YMCA of Greater Seattle, she was selected a World YMCA change agent, YMCA of the USA Network Partner serving as a Drowning Prevention Thought Leader, Y Local and National diversity course instructor/workshop facilitator, and YMCA of Greater Seattle African American employee resource network co-chair. During her tenure as an African American Resource Network Co-Chair she was a co-creator of Healthfulness with Darnesha Weary of Black Coffee Northwest and Rahel Schwarz.
Her community first mindset offers 30+ years of youth development as a peer formerly, and now a mentor and coach. She is a former competitive swimmer and All-American & Junior Olympic Water polo player, that experience led her to coach the girls and boys swim team at Garfield High School in Seattle's historical Central District for 3 seasons, ending in fall of 2021 after relocating to live in Bellevue Washington. She now coaches boys Water Polo for Bellevue school district at Sammamish and Interlake High Schools.
She additionally served as an inaugural member of WGU Alumni Advisory Board and briefly worked with fundraising and equity committees at Association of Washington Student Leaders. She is an alumni of their teen leadership camp Mt Adams at Cispus Learning Center where she was a participant then Jr. Counselor a teen and young adult. She plans to continue serving as a Sr. Counselor when camps resume post pandemic.
In spring 2021, Katoya was invited to the Board of Directors at SPLASHForward. Their goal is to raise awareness on the importance of access to aquatics. The partnerships they create will be the beginning for what we envision at a new public State of the Art aquatics regional facility in Bellevue, Washington. Aquatics Pathways are the hallmark of her work at this organization. Aquatics Pathways to embrace our marginalized communities in hopes of eliminating barriers to teaching them water safety.
Most recently, she joined the founding board of directors at KEEP (KIENAN ELLIS EDUCATIONAL PROJECT). KEEP aims to prevent unequitable punitive action to BIPOC students in King County by deploying civil rights attorneys to represent their cases.
Katoya is an activist and community advocate passionate about ending systemic racism in all communities through building shared languages, reexamining policies, and creating systems of accountability. Her additional social justice efforts are committed to criminal police, education, and housing reform due to her experiences with those systems.