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Upcoming Events

June 8, 2019 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
ALFO Class 35 & 36 GRADUATION Hosted by NW Natural 220 NW 2nd Avenue | Portland, OR 4th Floor, Hospitality Suite 5pm - 7pm
June 22, 2019 @ 6:00 pm
American Leadership Forum of Oregon REUNION Saturday | June 22, 2019 | 6PM The Nines 525 SW Morrison St. Portland, OR For tickets visit: https://alfo.ejoinme.org/REUNION2019 Questions? Contact Kimberlee Pierce-Sheng at

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Class XXXV Biographies

Michelle Binker

Legislative Assistant/Chief of Staff, Oregon State Legislature, House District 3, Salem

Born in Nevada, I grew up in suburban Denver. We moved a few times, and I attended five elementary schools between kindergarten and sixth grade. I attended University of Colorado, Boulder, graduating in 1995 with BAs in Geography and Anthropology. In 1996, I married a Southern Oregonian whom I met while working in Alaska. We purchased property near Cave Junction and have two sons.  I took a reporter position with our local, weekly newspaper in 2003. I co‐founded a news website in 2011 and started a public relations business. In 2014 I took a position in the office of our State Representative, where I currently work. I’ve served on the boards of the Chamber of Commerce, a park association, a private school, the high school booster club and a museum board. I’m a charter member of our Rotary Club and a graduate of the Ford Family Leadership Institute Illinois Valley Cohort 1.  My husband built our first home which was destroyed by fire in 2009. Afterward, we were able to recover due to an incredible outpouring of neighborly generosity. I learned that this deep reservoir of support was in no small way attributable to the time I’d spent in service to the community.

Beth Burns

Executive Director, p:ear, Portland

I was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, the daughter of a Chicago Police Officer and Chicago Public School Teacher. From a young age, I witnessed the outcomes and effects of the inequities and injustices of our society. It wasn’t until early adulthood, and working at Sisters of the Road, that I started to understand the underlying institutional and systemic oppression that motivated and controlled society. This informed my commitment to helping people end their personal suffering while finding ways to engage in work that informed policy change and practices and challenged the dominant cultural norms and paradigm. After having aspired to teach, my took and unexpected path to a journey learning aside homeless youth. Working with homeless youth the past 20 years continues to be an incredible gift. I am challenged personally, professionally and spiritually and asked to constantly show up with integrity, understanding and compassion. I have witnessed profound tragedy, live lost to the streets, violence, and suicide; and I have witnessed breath-taking exuberance when a young person discovers their beauty. I have learned to fall with more grace, pick myself up with more humility, seek redemption, cry when there’s a reason and laugh when there isn’t one. I believe we all want meaning, a sense of purpose. Human connection brings complex value to our lives and it’s inside the crucible of these relationships that our character is forged: that we learn what it means to be human, fallible, hopeful and courageous. I love to camp, ski, mountain bike, paddle, explore and learn in the outdoors with my family and friends.

Megan Capper

Regional Policy Program Manager, Eugene Water & Electric Board, Eugene 

I am a native north westerner. I grew up in Eugene and came back after about 16 years. While away, I received my undergraduate degree from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon and my Masters of Business Administration from the University of Washington. I worked for the Bonneville Power Administration in Portland Oregon and Seattle Washington.   Since moving to Eugene I’ve been employed with EWEB in multiple capacities including power trading risk management, IT project management and regional policy affairs.  I am married with three children. My husband works from home which has enabled me to travel with my job.  I have two freshmen in college and one freshman in high school.  My sister and her husband own a local jewelry store and have two older children.  We have been fortunate to have raised our families with the help of our parents.

Matthew Chancellor

Regional Business Manager, Pacific Power, Central Oregon 

Matthew  Chancellor  is  the  regional  business  manager  for  Pacific  Power  in  Central  Oregon  covering  Jefferson,  Deschutes,  and  Crook  counties.  In  this  role  I  work  with  the  entire  community  as  well  as  manage  the  accounts  of  Pacific  Power’s  large  commercial  and  industrial  customers. Passionate  about  energy,  Chancellor  worked  for  MidAmerican  Energy,  Pacific  Power’s  sister  utility  in  the  Midwest,  for  15  years.  He  served  in  distribution  engineering,  system  operations,  and  key  accounts  where  he  managed  a  team  for  the  company.  My  wife,  two  children  and  I  love  the  outdoors,  fishing,  biking  and  this  is  a  great  opportunity  to  be  part  of  communities  that  share  our  passions  and  enjoy  amazing  histories  and  equally  compelling  futures.

CM Hall

Co-Director; DeafBlind Interpreting National Training & Resource Center

Adjunct Faculty-Sociology & Deaf/Professional Studies Department Western Oregon University

Certified Sign Language Interpreter

CM Hall is a proud native Oregonian and gleefully makes her home in Newport. She has long been a community activist, committed to equity and social justice. Professionally, CM manages dual careers in both the field of interpreting grant administration and teaching. She is a nationally‐certified sign language interpreter, having earned a Bachelor's in Interpreting from Western Oregon University and a Master's in Education with an emphasis in LGBTQ and Gender Studies from Oregon State University. CM is the Co‐Director for the DeafBlind Interpreting National Training and Resource Center interpreter training grant and teaches DeafBlind Culture, Communication & Guiding as well as LGBTQ sociology courses at Western Oregon University. Among her professional accomplishments, CM co‐created DiscoverInterpreting.com, to encourage those considering a career in interpreting. She also created and runs an active Facebook group of the same name. CM regularly provides training and workshops on topics related to interpreting and for several years provided ongoing professional development for the sign language interpreters on Guam and Saipan.CM has worked as a fundraiser and political strategist for nonprofit organizations and campaigns, and also leads social justice‐themed and fundraising how‐to workshops.   CM has been recognized for her advocacy work by Basic Rights Oregon, Pride Northwest, and the Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest, Campus Pride, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Oregon Association of the Deaf, the Oregon Deaf & Hard of Hearing Advisory Committee, and the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, and Western Oregon University’s Stonewall Center. CM is proud of these honors as they represent projects and collaborations with many individuals over the years. In 2015, she was invited to present at a TEDx on the topic of linguistic access as a social justice issue. CM is actively involved with Central Coast NOW, Oregon Coast PFLAG, the Central Coast UU Fellowship and The Lemonade Project at the Newport Farmers Market. CM is a member of the Newport Budget Committee is a graduate of the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Lincoln 2018 class. She is also a candidate for the Newport City Council. 

Leslie Heilburnn

Director of Customer Engagement, Portland General Electric, Portland

Many people seem perplexed when they hear that I work at the electric utility and also served as Executive Editor of Seventeen Magazine. When I go on to explain that I am far happier working at Portland General Electric (the utility) than I was in the magazine business, they often get even more confused. I get it. Seventeen is glitzy, high profile, influential, and offers an aspirational world that most people know has been a touchstone for at least one female in their life. The utility? Not so much. What most people don’t realize is that I didn’t get into the magazine business for the glamour or status; I got into it because I wanted to make a difference by helping readers understand the world around them so they could make informed decisions as they go about day-to-day life. Leading a meaningful and fulfilling life has been a consistent motivator for me-and it explained my jagged career path, as well as mu decision to move across the country to Oregon 10 years ago with just two bags, my dog, no career prospects, and only two vague acquaintances from college who I hadn’t been in touch with for nearly 20 years. It also explains why I’ve stayed.

Alyssa Macy

Chief Operations Officer, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Warm Springs

As the Chief Operations Officer, Ms. Macy provides leadership, management, and vision to tribal operations. In this role, she leads continuous improvement of operational controls, administrative and reporting procedures, and allocation of people and resources. She reports to the Secretary-Treasurer/CEO. Throughout her career, Ms. Macy has served in numerous professional positions in communications, public relations, governmental affairs, economic development and advocacy at the local, state, national, and international levels. Prior to returning home, Ms. Macy played a key role in mobilizing indigenous People’s participation in the first ever United Nations World Conference on Indigenous Peoples held in 2014. Ms. Macy was recognized in 2014 by the National Center for American Indian Economic Development as of the Indian Country’s emerging leaders making significant contributions in business and communities with it’s prestigious “40 Under 40” award. Ms. Macy is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. She received her bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and is finalizing her master’s degree from the University of Minnesota. She is involved in a variety of community based and non-profit activities focusing on youth, culture, and art.

David Martinez  

Deputy Director of Internal Operations, Latino Network, Portland 

David Martinez is the Deputy Director of Internal Operations at Latino Network. He began his role in October 2017 and oversees Human Resources, Finance, Data & Evaluations, and Business Operations. Prior to joining Latino Network, David was the Diversity Manager for Student Recruitment & Retention, at Oregon Health & Science University. With over 20 years of higher education experience, David has an extensive background in the areas of student recruitment, retention, student development, community outreach and diversity at both private and public colleges and universities in Oregon. These include Western Oregon University, Willamette University, Portland State University, Linfield College (Portland Campus), and Portland Community College. In early 2000, David took a break from education to serve as the Policy and Constituent Relations Manager for Multnomah County Commissioner Maria Rojo de Steffey. David has held policy roles for the Oregon Primary Care Association and for the Oregon Education Investment Board. David is a past board member of Cascade AIDS Project, Portland-Guadalajara Sister City Association, Latino Network, and Outside In. He was the past Chair of the Annual Cesar E. Chavez leadership Conference (the largest Latino High School Youth Leadership Conference in the Pacific NW). He was a founding board member of Portland’s Q Center and co-founder of Portland Latino Gay Pride (now known as PDX Latinx Pride). David has served on the City of Portland’s Human Rights Commission and Charter Review Commission. Past honors include. 2009 Basic Rights Oregon Equality Champion Award (Portland/Metro), 2012 Q Center/GLAPN Queer Hero NW Award, 2012 PCC Cesar Chavez Distinguished Service Award, and 2013 Unid@s LGBT Visible Project Honoree.    

Betsy Stark Miller 

Executive Director, CASA for Children of Mulnotmah, Washington, and Columbia Counties, Portland  

Betsy Stark Miller joined CASA for Children in May of 2014 as Executive Director.  Ms. Stark Miller is responsible for leadership and management of CASA for Children, Oregon’s largest and longest serving CASA organization.  In this role, she oversees all programs, services, activities and facilities and ensures that all program objectives are met.  Since joining the organization, she has excelled in understanding and overseeing all aspects falling under general management, fundraising, public relations, and board support and leadership.   At the time of her hire, CASA for Children served two counties: Multnomah and Washington. On January 1, 2015, CASA expanded service coverage to include Columbia County— becoming CASA for Children of Multnomah, Washington, & Columbia Counties. This expansion came about after the standalone CASA organization in Columbia County was forced to close its doors and dissolve due to insufficient financial and volunteer resources resulting from a lagging local economy. As a tri‐county CASA, the organization is now responsible for serving 30% of Oregon’s children in foster care. This expansion has brought access to increased and improved training opportunities to Columbia County, as well as a renewed dedication to recruitment of CASA and excellence in services to the foster youth served. Growing the program in a decentralized rural county experiencing great economic and social stress has proved challenging and rewarding.  Today, we are seeing growth in new CASAs trained and children served. Stark Miller has overseen the growth and implementation of a key program— Fostering Futures/Educational Outcomes – this program realized a new focus on programmatic excellence and outcome measurements. Educational Advancement/Fostering Futures Program is a new initiative for foster children of all ages that takes CASA a step beyond the traditional emphasis on safety, wellbeing and permanence for children, and adds training and support aimed to help children at every age achieve more in early childhood development, and in primary and secondary education.  An integral part of her work has been an increased investment in staff, including expanded budget and opportunities for training and professional development. During her brief tenure the organization has added 12 new hires and 8 new board members. Stark Miller spearheaded an organization wide commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. She led an Equity Task Force that produced a board approved Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan that is now actively implemented across the organization to increase cultural competency and improve outcomes for children served. As part of this commitment, all CASA staff took part in two day ‘Knowing Who You Are’ a Casey Family Programs’ anti‐bias training.

Chris Quaka 

President & CEO, Benton Community Foundation, Corvallis

Chris Quake grew up on a farm in rural Illinois where he learned the value of a hard day’s work. After the death of his older brother in a farming accident, Chris was determined to attend a University and improve his employment opportunities away from the family farm. After graduating from Southern Illinois University in the spring of 2001, Chris was accepted into the AmeriCorps national Civilian Community Corps program. In October of that year Chris travelled to Washington DC, just a few weeks after the September 11th attacks to start his year of national service. After the NCCC and short career in sales, Chris decided to change his focus to improve the communities he lived in. Since 2006, Chris has traveled across the United States to help local communities thrive. For the past eight years Chris has worked with Oregon non-profits focused on helping children and providing resources to families experiencing poverty. Today, Chris is the President of the Benton Community Foundation in Corvallis, Oregon where he is an active volunteer and resides with his wife Emily, and their children Logan (7), Cady (5), and Ellie (5).

Nathan Rix

Director of Executive Projects, Oregon Department of Human Services, Portland 

Nathan Rix is the Executive Projects Director with the Oregon Department of Human Services and leads a team   of   professionals   to   implement   priority   improvement   projects.   His   passion   is   improving government through systems thinking and project management. Previously, he established Oregon’s Recreational   Marijuana   Program,   where   he   won   several   awards   in innovation,   and   ran   statewide business   improvement   projects   with   Oregon’s   Chief   Operating   Officer.   He   also   teaches   Global Political   Economy   and   Public   Economics   with   George   Fox   University   as   an   Adjunct   Professor   and serves on several non‐profit boards in the greater‐Portland area. He holds a Master’s in Public Policy Analysis   from   the Gerald Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, a Masters in Educational Leadership from the City College of New York, and a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Organizational Communication from Pepperdine University.   Nathan and his wife live in Portland and enjoy dancing the Lindy Hop (a form of swing dancing), hiking, and   serving   vulnerable   Oregonians   with   their   LGBTQIA   inclusive faith   community,   Christ   Church: Portland​

Jeanette Shaw

Director of Government Relations, Forth, Portland

Jeanette leads Forth’s state and federal advocacy work. Previously, Ms. Shaw was President and CEO of Techolicy which assisted new economy companies with proactive legislative and regulatory hurdles. Ms. Shaw has held a variety of leadership roles from Executive Director at a non-profit and a research association in addition to Worldwide Vice President of Government Relations at a Fortune 500 semiconductor company. Ms. Shaw has worked in the public sector for two elected officials and a County Commissioner. Ms. Shaw was chosen by Venture Capitalist John Doerr (Partner- Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Beyers) to serve as a loaned executive and establish a public policy organization named Technology Network (TechNet). Ms. Shaw served as the first Vice President of Public Policy and developed TechNet’s public policy roadmap, its logo, and web presence, and hired its first office personnel and public policy professionals. Jeanette holds an Executive MBA from Stanford University and a Master of Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Paul Southwick 

Counsel, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, Portland

Paul  Southwick  is  an  attorney  in  the  Portland  office  of  Davis  Wright  Tremaine  LLP.  He  concentrates  his practice  on  complex  commercial  disputes,  with  a  focus  on  corporate  governance  matters.  Paul  also represents  LGBTQ  clients  in  civil  rights  matters,  including  before  the  U.S.  Department of Education and the U.S.  Department of Justice.  Paul  speaks  frequently  on  legal  issues  relating  to  sexual  and  gender minorities,  particularly  in  the  areas  of  employment  and  education.  ln  2016,  Paul  ran  for  the  Oregon House  of  Representatives  and  was  endorsed  by  President  Barack  Obama  and  U.S.  Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley. Paul  was  born  in  Bend,  grew  up  in  rural  Clackamas  County  and  now  lives  with  his  husband  in  the  St.  Johns neighborhood of Portland.  He  graduated  from  Clackamas  Community  College,  George  Fox  University  and the  University  of  Michigan  Law  School,

Melanie Spraggins

Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Bonneville Power Administration, Portland

Melanie is the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer at the Bonneville Power Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Energy, headquartered in Portland, Oregon.  In her current executive leadership role, she provides guidance and strategic direction for several critical support functions, including: Human Resources, Information Technology, Security, Safety, Supply Chain and Workplace Services.  She also directly manages a program management office that includes the agency’s sustainability program, and project and change management support for the CAO organizations.  Melanie started her career with Bonneville in 2001 as an Environmental Specialist immediately following graduating from Oregon State University.  She moved to the Office of General Counsel in 2002 and became an Attorney-Advisor in 2004 after graduating from Lewis & Clark Law School.  Melanie continues to be an active member of the Washington Bar Association.  She is a Zumba (dance fitness) instructor and enjoys traveling with her husband.

Andrea Zielinski

Community Outreach Coordinator, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Roseburg

Andrea Zielinski is the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, where she supports the mission of DCSO by engaging and connecting with the residents of Douglas County through the use of social media, outreach events, Neighborhood Watch programs and crime prevention education. She collaborates with community groups and the public on various local public safety issues with the goal to problem solve and enhance communication between law enforcement and local residents. She has worked for DCSO for 18 years. Giving back to her community is something Andrea is very passionate about. She serves on the board of directors for the Greater Douglas United Way, Family Development Center, and Music on the Half Shell, Umpqua Valley Republican Women, and UCC Strong. She also volunteers for many community groups. In addition, Andrea was elected and currently serves as Roseburg City Councilor representing Ward 2. When not busy trying to make the world a better place, Andrea enjoys spending time with her very patient and supportive husband of 24 years, Scott. Together they have a son, Jake, who recently graduated from Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York.

Alice Gates

Associate Professor of Social Work; Director, Social Justice Program, University of Portland, Portland

I grew up in Oberlin, Ohio, a small college town surrounded by corn and soybean fields in Northeast Ohio. My commitment to social justice was shaped by my parents’ activism in Central American solidarity movements of the 1980s. I was 8 years old when we welcomed a family of Salvadoran refugees into our home for six months while they awaited a decision on their asylum case.This early experience helped me understand my connection to people and communities far away and invited me to consider how we respond to human suffering in the face of violence and oppression. After graduating with a B.A. in sociology and women’s studies, I volunteered for 10 months as a human rights accompanier in a community of returned refugees in rural Guatemala. I returned to the U.S. with a renewed interest in understanding how marginalized and disenfranchised communities resisted oppressive regimes and organized for their own self-determination. In 1999 I moved to Oregon to work with Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN), Oregon’s farmworker union, located in Woodburn. As a field organizer and later a community organizer with the Portland Schools Alliance, I supported campaigns designed to increase opportunities for workers and parents to have a meaningful voice on the job and in their children’s schools. In 2005 I left Oregon to study Sociology and Social Work at the University of Michigan. In the process of completing my M.S.W. and Ph.D., I helped to found an immigrant worker center in Southeast Michigan that provided services and organizing support to recent immigrants in low-wage jobs. My scholarly interests grew out of these experiences in community-based work with largely undocumented immigrant communities. In 2011 I accepted a position with the Dorothy Day Social Work Program at the University of Portland, where I teach undergraduate social work courses in policy, cultural diversity, social justice, and community organizing. Since 2015 I have directed our interdisciplinary Social Justice Program. I enjoy cycling and hiking in Oregon’s beautiful outdoors; indoors I’m an avid cookbook reader and baker.

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