Director of Resource Management and Operations, Office of Enhancing Student Opportunities, Oregon Department of Education, Portland
Mayra currently works at the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) - Office of Enhancing Student Opportunities as Director of Resource Management and Operations. Her role centers on fiscal management and disbursement of federal funds, data centric collections and reporting as well as creating and implementing office systems and procedures.
Before ODE, Mayra worked at Prosper Portland, where she was the Director of Equity, Governance, and Communications. Her primary focus was to foster organizational advancement of equitable outcomes and culture change throughout the agency. She managed a cross-functional team dedicated to the development, implementation, and improvement of agency-wide strategies and initiatives
Prior to her role at Prosper Portland, Mayra led the Community Collaborations and Investment team at the United Way of the Columbia Willamette (UWCW). There she directed grant-making investments, worked with key partners, and fostered collaborations across sectors in Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas (OR), and Clark (WA) Counties.
She also worked in Oregon’s rural communities at Rural Development Initiatives (RDI), focusing on leadership development and small business enterprise in rural Latino communities across the state, and the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs (OAME).
In addition to these roles, Mayra has served as a member of various Board of Directors and Councils, such as the Women’s Foundation of Oregon, the Oregon Housing Stability Council, the Human Rights Commission, the OAME Advisory Board, the United Way of Columbia Willamette Board and the Teatro Milagro Board. She holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Portland State University.
Mayra was born and raised in Mexico, and came to the US as a young professional. She lives in Portland with her children, Lucas (12) and Bianca (8), her partner Emily and their dog Shasta.
Executive Director, Verde, Portland
Candace Avalos (she/her) is a first generation American “Blacktina”, daughter of Black Americans from the south and Guatemalan immigrants. Originally from Virginia, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Modern Foreign Languages, with a focus on Spanish and Italian, and Master of Education degree in College Student Personnel Administration from James Madison University. Prior to her venture into the nonprofit world as the Executive Director of Verde, she worked at Portland State University for 8 years providing civic engagement education and advising support for student leaders. She lives in NE Portland and is an active member of her community, such as a co-founder of the Black Millennial Movement, serving on the Citizen Review Committee and Charter Review Commission for the City of Portland, as well as on the boards of Portland: Neighbors Welcome and Street Roots. Her hobbies include watching cooking shows, reading social justice literature, playing outdoor sports, and walking and biking around Portland.
Superintendent WCCF, Oregon Department of Corrections, Lakeview
Jeremy began his career at Snake River Correctional Institution (SRCI) in 2009 as a Correctional Officer. He promoted through the security ranks to Correctional Lieutenant in 2017. During this time, Jeremy also became a member of the Statewide Honor Guard Team for the Department of Corrections (DOC). In July of 2021, he accepted an out of class opportunity at Warner Creek Correctional Facility (WCCF) as the Institution Security Manager.
Before working for DOC, Jeremy served four years in the U.S. Navy on the USS Peleliu as a work center supervisor, receiving an honorable discharge in 2007. He studied Criminal Justice at Treasure Valley Community College. Jeremy worked on several statewide projects at SRCI while assigned to Special Housing and Snake River Correctional Minimum.
Jeremy enjoys spending his free time with his wife and children. He also has a variety of hobbies including working on home projects, hunting, fishing, and working on classic vehicles.
Executive Director, Homeplate Youth Services, Portland
Starting with $3,000, a community need, and a vision, Bridget Calfee has been the director of HomePlate since its founding in 2005. Today, the organization is among the leaders in addressing homelessness and housing instability among youth in our region. Bridget holds a Masters of Social Work from Portland State University.
She hails from Wisconsin and when not working she can be found outside doing any variety of outdoor activities with her spouse Jeff and three sweet/energetic kids.
Senior Policy Coordinator, Portland Housing Bureau, Clackamas
Jennifer’s public and nonprofit service career over the last three decades has focused on improving housing and health opportunities for marginalized communities. She has over 20 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector where she led efforts for resource development, health education, policy advocacy and evaluation. She is currently Senior Policy Coordinator at the Portland Housing Bureau and leads policy implementation for Portland’s Housing Bond, Supportive Housing, Homeless Services and COVID-19 Emergency Rent Assistance.
Jennifer is involved as a board member of APANO (Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon) Communities United Fund, serving as Chair since July 2020.
Executive Director, Josephine County Educational Fund, Grants Pass
Quin currently serves as the Executive Director of the Josephine County Educational Fund, a 501c3 providing scholarships and grants to students, schools, and youth-serving organizations throughout Southern Oregon. In this role, she develops partnerships and creates investments that make an exponential impact in communities.
Quin is an active member of the community and current member of the Grants Pass School District 7 Budget Committee, Grants Pass Kiwanis Club, and the Rotary Club of Grants Pass. She currently serves on the Boards of the Nonprofit Association of Oregon, Neighborhood Partnerships, the Rotary Club of Grants Pass, and the Three Rivers Community Orchestra. When not working and volunteering, Quin enjoys exploring Oregon - rafting, camping, and traveling with her husband Greg.
Community Engagement Director, Oregon Legislature, Portland/Salem
If the dictionary had a definition for Portland Community Engagement, it would feature a picture of Lakeitha Elliott. From her dedication to leadership development and mentoring with organizations like the Portland African American Leadership Forum to her tireless work advocating with and for young people and marginalized communities with organizations like the Oregon PTA and The Urban League of Portland, she is a force to be reckoned with. Her ongoing involvement shows a commitment to the region she calls home. In the whitest major city in the country; being a brilliant, forward thinking, bridge building, proactive black woman is often penalized rather than rewarded, but that doesn’t deter Lakeitha from doing the work that needs done. Her broad connections, pursuits, and accomplishments show incredible depth and breadth of character and commitment. In addition to deep connections in Portland’s African American community, she has relationships and connections in both Portland’s non-profit community and in Political Circles.
Lakeitha currently serves as the Community Engagement Director in the Oregon Legislature’s House Majority Office and as the Executive Director of the Gordly Burch Center for Black Leadership and Civic Engagement.
Executive Director, Emerge Oregon, Portland
Annie Ellison is the Executive Director of Emerge Oregon, the state’s premier training program for Democratic women that recruits, trains, and builds a powerful network for women to run for office and win. Annie Ellison has criss-crossed the country working on campaigns for progressive Democrats from statewide to statehouse offices, City Council and Congress in the Midwest, South, East Coast, Oregon and California.
Before joining Emerge, Annie worked with women candidates up and down the ballot, including Sen. Wendy Davis in Texas, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan, Assemblywoman Joann Downey in New Jersey, and in 2020 managed the winning campaign of Secretary of State Shemia Fagan in Oregon.
She also served as spokesperson in the Capitol Hill office of Congressman Ami Bera (D-CA-07) following his tough 2016 re-election, and as communications director for Mayor Ted Wheeler’s first successful Mayoral campaign.
When her laptop is closed, Annie is most likely playing soccer, reading the news or speaking loudly on the phone, probably about or with women running for office.
Annie’s favorite quote is “Just Win, Baby” (Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 2018).
Dr. LM Alaiyo Foster
President and CEO, Black United Fund of Oregon, Portland
A ‘born here’ Oregonian, Dr. LM Alaiyo “Dr. A” Foster, EdD, NCC, QMHP, CCHW (she/they), fell in love with nonprofits when she was only a child. Inspired by her parent’s insistence on volunteerism at an early age, she quickly developed a deep passion for charitable work, education, and what we now term JEDI work. Dr. A remembers volunteering at the Black United Fund of Oregon as early as age 10, and counts it a blessing to come full-circle to visionary leadership for the Foundation.
This resolve stuck through high school and college, leading to an earned bachelor of science in Sociology from Portland State University, along with a second BA in Black Studies with a focus in Community Development, and graduate degrees in Education & Community Counseling, Nonprofit Management and Development, and a doctorate in Leadership along with Administration credentials from Lewis and Clark College Graduate School of Education & Counseling. Although a full-time employee during/since high school, her first professional post-secondary position was as a Classroom Teacher and also Lead Counselor at the former Portland Street Academy program of the Urban League of Portland.
Exploring their affinity for peer-based education models, Dr. Foster now has over 25 years of experience both locally and nationally, educating, creating, and revamping educational programming. In addition to being an Adjunct Professor, Department of Black Studies in the School of Gender, Race & Nations at Portland State University, Dr. Foster now heads the dynamic team at the Black United Fund of Oregon and is happy spending her days visioning and ushering the Foundation through its current Renaissance and displaying her own presence has power.
Director of Legislative Advocacy, Oregon State University Foundation, Corvallis
Andrew Foster is the Director of Legislative Advocacy at the Oregon State University Foundation, where he oversees the Beaver Caucus alumni advocacy group. Prior to joining the Foundation he worked in communications, market research and video production with clients including the British Labour Party, the Oregon Nurses Association and Nissan. His previous volunteer work includes four years as a volunteer firefighter/EMT with the Corvallis Fire Department. He earned a degree in Political Science from Oregon State.
Education Services Coordinator, Douglas County ESD, Sutherlin
Jeneen is a systems entrepreneur with more than 25 years progressively responsible experience in leading non-profits focused in philanthropy, education transformation, asset-based community development, public policy, and the arts. She has strong grassroots experience in organizational development and community communications and an established track record in developing strategic partnerships to build efficacy and capacity in organizations. Jeneen is an instigator of innovation, engagement, and quality improvement.
Jeneen was born and raised just north of Minneapolis, Minnesota. She graduated the public school system and earned a BA from St. Olaf College in American Racial and Multicultural Studies and Studio Art. After working on human needs legislation in Washington DC, including the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, Jeneen moved to Seattle, Washington to launch a teen-center as part of an innovative community design project called Holly Park. From there, she moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts to earn a MEd in Education with a focus on community education. She spent five years in education, including starting the first public charter school in Lee County, Florida before spending 13 years as a program officer for several family foundations throughout the United States.
Jeneen moved to Oregon in June 2014 to launch the youth development and education portfolio for the Ford Family Foundation in Roseburg, Oregon. She currently is in the middle or her third school year as an Education Services Coordinator at the Douglas Education Service District where she serves as a Network Capacity Builder for the county's Regional Educator Network, enhancing career and technical education programming, and building the youth development program within the organization. Her youth development work includes elevating the voice of youth within the community and leading a growing youth mentor program to ensure every youth has a meaningful adult in their lives to help them complete school with a plan for their future.
Jeneen lives on eight acres in Sutherlin, Oregon with her recent Miami-transplanted partner, Edouard Gluck. Together they make space for three rescued foster-fails (a Hound, a Chow, and a true Mutt), one geriatric Irish Jack Russell Terrier, one old rodeo horse, three sheep, and eight chickens. They raise table grapes, Asian pears, apples, and whatever vegetables the deer do not eat for friends and the local market.
Principal, Holt Strategies/Kathleen Holt Consulting, Portland
Kathleen Holt (she/her) is an organizational and leadership development consultant who guides and supports organizations in their efforts to achieve equitable outcomes and nurture inclusive organizational cultures. As part of her consulting practice, she recently served as an interim ED of APANO and also Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. She specializing in facilitating processes that change organizational culture and embedding equity and inclusion into organizational policies and practices. Kathleen was raised in post-colonial Hawai’i and identifies racially as Asian American and Native Hawaiian. These lived experiences inform the rigorous power analysis and social justice approach she brings to her work as a consultant, community member, and parent. She lives with her spouse and two teenagers in Southeast Portland.
Tribal Relations Director, City of Portland, Portland
Laura John, a descendent of the Blackfeet and Seneca Nations, began work as the City of Portland’s second ever Tribal Relations Director in 2017. She brings over 20 years of experience working in Indian Country. She is a former State Policy Fellow with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and was formerly the State-Tribal Policy Analyst for the Montana Budget & Policy Center, working closely with Native American state legislators and elected tribal leaders in Montana.
Laura holds undergraduate degrees from Portland State University and Haskell Indian Nations University, and graduate degrees from Washington State University and the University of Montana.
As the City’s Tribal Relations Director, she will assist the Mayor, City Council, and all City bureaus in strengthening relationships and coordinating overall policy development with Tribal Governments and the Portland Native American community.
Laura was born and raised in Portland and is honored to have the opportunity to serve her community in this role.
Program Manager, Rural Engagement and Vitality Center at EOU, La Grande
Julie Keniry is leading the Rural Engagement and Vitality Center, a joint venture of Eastern Oregon University in La Grande and Wallowa Resources, a community-based non-profit located in Enterprise. This program serves to build capacity in eastern Oregon through connecting people and resources to the university and beyond, supporting a diverse array of collaborative projects that all seek to bring opportunity to eastern Oregon and amplify the voice of rural people.
Julie was raised all around the west coast in Oregon, Washington, California, and Idaho, finally settling in La Grande in 1999 where she has raised three children and built a career that began as a fisheries scientist and, through a lot of twists and turns, has led to the work of sustainable economic and community development in eastern Oregon.
Policy Advisor, Office of Governor Kate Brown, Corvallis
Tony attended Humboldt State University earning a B.S. in kinesiology and political science while also working in Residence Life, founding a chapter of the Roosevelt Institute, being elected to student government, and serving in the Army National Guard. He went on to earn his Master’s in Public Health from the Oregon State University; in the program, he was able to combine his passions for health and policy to further learn how to create proactive change to improve the health of a community. He has gone on to serve his community on various state and local boards including being elected to the Linn-Benton Community College Board of Education and recently joining the Benton Community Foundation Board. He is passionate about bringing an intersectional lens to policy development and looks forward to learning more about ways we can work together to create change in our communities.
Executive Director, El Programa Hispano Católico, Clackamas
Edith Quiroz has served as Executive Director of El Programa Hispano Catolico (EPHC) since 2018. Under her leadership, EPHC has experienced significant growth with a 60% growth in it s operating budget and a 61% growth in the number of community members it serves. As well as growing from 65 staff members to 100. In the last four years, Edith has led the implementation of core administrative services to EPHC including an Human Resources, Development, Information Technology, Facilities, Communications and Finance Departments. Previously, those services were administered by Catholic Charities. She has also restructured the management and leadership structure of EPHC to support the rapid growth and capacity of it’s programs and services.
Edith possesses over 20 years of leadership experience in the non‐profit, higher education, business and government sectors. Prior to joining EPHC, Edith founded ThinkMujer, a Women Business Enterprise (WBE). ThinkMujer supports the professional development and entrepreneurial success of Latina women. Through her consulting practice she has also helped government and nonprofit leaders to implement vision, achieve organizational effectiveness and advance leadership.
Edith is bilingual in English and Spanish and is actively involved in the community. In 2004 she founded the Tonalli Radio Talk Show on Portland’s Community Radio Station‐ KBOO 90.7 FM. and has served on numerous non‐profit boards. Edith was born in Mexico City and grew up in The Dalles, Oregon where her parents worked in the fields as seasonal farm workers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Sociology from Oregon State University. Edith lives in Clackamas county and loves to be outdoors with her three beautiful daughters ages 13 and 11 year old twins.
Sales Executive, Propel Insurance, Medford
Lance is responsible for leading the delivery of employee benefit brokerage and consulting services for his clients. He has over 22 years of experience in the healthcare field and now focuses on advising large employers on the unique benefit, talent, and compliance challenges they face in today’s emerging markets. Prior to joining Propel he worked as a Senior Business Development Executive with Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon where he gained valuable experience solving complex needs for many of Oregon’s largest employers.
Reyes has strong ties to Southern Oregon and has developed a deep understanding of the challenges and needs of its diverse communities and organizations. Lance moved to the Rogue Valley in 2000. As his insurance career matured, he found his volunteer community work, serving on various Boards and Committees, awarded him the greatest energy and fueled his passion. He has always loved organizational and community learning combined with personal growth opportunities and has been involved with many adaptive leadership initiatives.
Current board leadership includes Gordon Elwood Foundation, United Way of Jackson County, and Resolve Center for Dispute Resolution and Restorative Justice.
Racial Justice Council Policy Advisor, Office of Governor Kate Brown, Beaverton
Linda Sarai Roman Marquez is the proud daughter and first-generation Oregonian. Her parents are from El Salvador and Mexico. She is a mission driven leader that believes that systemic change is infinitely possible and resides within our collective wisdom. She currently works as the Racial Justice Council Policy Advisor in the Office Of Governor Kate Brown.
Roman joined the Governor’s office in 2018 and has held multiple roles, more recently serving on the Governor’s pandemic response team as the Health Policy Advisor, Deputy Legislative Director and Deputy Health Policy Advisor. Previously, she held leadership roles with the Oregon Latino Health Coalition and the Oregon Health Equity Alliance where she spearheaded policy campaigns including to expand health care coverage for undocumented children and adults. Linda’s collaborative nature is anchored around people and her passion for tackling complex issues. She’s experienced in leading culture shift strategies that are rooted in meaningful engagement to build community power in government, campaigns and intersectional coalitions.
She graduated with honors from the Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University and is the recipient of the Portland Business Journal Health Care for the Future and Innovation 5 under 40 award and recipient of the Center for Women’s Politics and Policy Leadership Award. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, exploring gardens and traveling.
Director of Fundraising, Swaim Strategies, Portland
Sama (he/him) believes the solutions to our biggest challenges lie within us--that by coming together and elevating each other's voices, we can build the community we seek. An eternal optimist and a native Oregonian, he is driven by personal connection and a dedication to making this state a place where all feel empowered to share their talents. Sama has worked in the nonprofit sector for 15 years in both programming and development. At Swaim Strategies since 2017, where he is currently Director of Fundraising, he partners with nonprofits everyday to grow their reach and deepen their life-changing impact on our communities. Prior to Swaim Strategies, he worked at the YMCA of Greater Seattle, New Avenues for Youth and supported a capital campaign at Community Vision. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of Oregon Walks, having previously been President of the Board from 2018-2021. He lives in NE Portland with his wife and dog, where they can be found cooking together in the kitchen, tending the vegetable garden, and doing anything out in this beautiful state.
Founder, Oregon Kids Read and Freelance Writer, Portland
Angela Uherbelau is the founder of Oregon Kids Read, a grassroots literacy and racial equity group dedicated to ending our state’s literacy crisis where over 50% of 3rd graders aren’t reading at grade level. She is also a freelance and opinion writer whose work has appeared in Portland Monthly, Newsweek, Marie Claire, Writer’s Digest, Seattle Times, Oregonian and the San Francisco Chronicle.
For six years, Angela served on the Board of Emerge Oregon which trains Democratic women to run for office. She currently serves on the board of Street Roots, a Portland non-profit that publishes a weekly social justice newspaper sold by people experiencing homelessness and poverty to earn an income. In 2021, Angela helped launch the Irvington Westminster Community Learning Hub which offered free in-person support for students whose families were experiencing financial difficulties during the pandemic.
Angela is a graduate of Smith College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She worked on Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign in Little Rock, Arkansas, served as Rhode Island state director for Al Gore's campaign in 2000 and managed her mother Judy Uherbelau’s successful runs for the Oregon House of Representatives. Having worked as a professional actress, she is a long-time member of Screen Actors Guild/AFTRA. Angela has lived and worked in England and South Africa and now resides in Portland, Oregon with her husband Curtis Robinhold and their daughters, Beatrix and Mirabel. Angela’s writing can be found at angelauherbelau.contently.com.