Our People

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People are the heart of the Foundation. From our enthusiastic members, to our esteemed Legacy Circle, to our visionary Board of Directors, to our dedicated staff, we are an organization of women for women. 

Board

Jessica Arzate
Jessica Arzate
Jessica Arzate is the Senior Director of Impact at Greater Than (formerly “I Have a Dream” Foundation of Oregon), an education nonprofit working in partnership with the Reynolds School District. As a member of the leadership team at Greater Than, she drives decisions and strategy for the organization’s Impact Model. In addition to her leadership at Greater Than, Jessica serves as the first elected Latina on the Multnomah ESD School Board for Zone 4 (East Portland) and as Co-President on the inaugural School Board Members of Color Caucus with the Oregon School Board Association.
Pooja Bhatt
Pooja BhattVice Chair Position 1
Pooja Bhatt (she/her/hers) is an experienced policy professional driven by a sense of cultural humility, curiosity, and belief that individual people, institutions, and systems must operate in ways that allow historically under-resourced communities to determine and actualize what they need to thrive. As a Senior Policy Advisor for Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz and Education Policy Advisor for Governor Kate Brown, she translated her values into action through policy levers and funding to remove barriers and close opportunity gaps, and by creating more inclusive work environments in the public sector. Her 15+ years of professional experience is rooted in Oregon, and has taken her to India to support the efforts of security guards organizing to create better working conditions for themselves. Pooja earned a Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan, with a focus on social policy.
Sirius Bonner
Sirius Bonner
Sirius Bonner is passionate about social justice and has made that the center of her career. Sirius’ work focuses on the intersections between social justice issues such as racial oppression, reproductive justice, queer rights, anti-fat bias, educational equity, poverty, sexism, and liberation; recognizing that as we begin to untangle one issue, we can untangle them all. Her work was recognized in 2014 with the Compass Award for achievements in equity and inclusion efforts.

Sirius currently works at Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette as the Vice President of Equity and Inclusion, bringing her leadership on equity initiatives. Previously, Sirius was the Special Advisor to the President for Diversity and Equity at Clark College, directed diversity recruitment at PSU, and worked at Reed as the director of multicultural recruitment in admission, a major gift fundraiser, and coordinator for the Multicultural Resource Center.
Shadiin Garcia
Shadiin GarciaChair
Shadiin Garcia is Chicana and Laguna Pueblo from New Mexico and has lived in Oregon for 16 years. She has worked for over 20 years as a teacher, as a public school administrator, researcher, a policy analyst, Indigenous education leader, and as a consultant. She has a Bachelor's Degree from Yale University in English with a specialization in education; a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership and a PhD in Critical and Sociocultural Studies in Education from the University of Oregon. She currently runs her own consulting company, Shoreline Consulting.
Courtney Mersereau
Courtney MersereauTreasurer
Courtney Mersereau is a Financial Advisor with Vision Capital Management, a women-owned, independent firm in Portland. As a CFP®, she is passionate about providing her clients the opportunity to make smart, confident financial decisions. She’s a founding member of Ninety-Nine Girlfriends, loves playing just about every sport and hanging with her Wire Fox Terrier, Dexter.
Gilda Montenegro-Fix
Gilda Montenegro-Fix
Gilda Montenegro-Fix is a Costa Rican woman, mother, wife, world traveler and global citizen. She represented her country in two Olympic Games (Barcelona ‘92 and Atlanta ‘96), in the sport of whitewater slalom kayak, being the only woman from all Latin America to compete in this discipline. This was the culmination of an international 10-year career in outdoor adventure leadership.

Gilda studied Psychology at the University of Costa Rica, worked as a bilingual/bicultural family advocate with multicultural families for 10 years in Hawaii and Medford. Ms. Montenegro-Fix is the founder and senior consultant of Celebrate Diversity! a consulting and training company in Cultural Agility successfully providing services to a variety of organizations in Oregon. Having worked in the fields of outdoor leadership, social work, early childhood, cross cultural communication and EDI (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion), she is passionate about facilitating understanding, cultivating harmony and building bridges that connect us all.
Laura Rodriguez
Laura RodriguezSecretary
Laura Rodriguez is a first generation Cuban-American. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Florida Atlantic University and a Master’s degree in Social Work in Community Organizing, Planning, Policy and Administration from Boston College. Laura is currently pursuing a PhD from Portland State University. Her research will focus on improving health care systems’ ability to provide equitable services to children who have special needs and who hold multiple intersecting marginalized identities.

Laura’s professional experience includes service coordination, supervision, program management, full-scale program direction and management, and systems analysis. She has had the privilege of working with multiple populations, including run-away homeless youth, homebound elderly, and children/youth with special health care needs, in addition to spending several years in the reproductive health field. In her free time, Laura likes hiking with her wife and their dog, and is obsessed with watching foreign detective dramas.
Brook Shelley
Brook ShelleyVice Chair Position 2
Brook Shelley lives in Oakland, CA with her cat Snorri, and works for Slack. Her writing has appeared in Queer Quarrels, The Toast, Lean Out, Transfigure, and the Oregon Journal of the Humanities. She speaks regularly on queer and trans issues, and is also on the board of Basic Rights Oregon.
Amy Sample Ward
Amy Sample WardPast Chair
Amy is the CEO of NTEN, a membership organization of nonprofit technology professionals. A speaker, author, and trainer, she has worked with groups and spoken at events around the world. In 2013, she co-authored "Social Change Anytime Everywhere: How to Implement Online Multichannel Strategies to Spark Advocacy, Raise Money, and Engage Your Community" with Allyson Kapin.

Staff

Emily Evans
Emily EvansExecutive DirectorThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
“Working alongside a visionary board of directors to build a new foundation, from the ground up, is the opportunity of a lifetime. I’m delighted to be part of this work, in part to help realize my grandmother’s long-held ambition that women in ​Oregon would ​break new ground in equality and achievement. I believe our foundation is the missing link that will transform the generosity of Oregon women into lasting change for women and girls ​across the state.”

Born and raised in Ashland, Oregon, Emily was formerly​ the​ Lead Development Officer at the Forum for Youth Investment, a nonprofit think tank in Washington DC. During her five-year tenure, ​Emily directed an annual multi-million dollar fund development effort and partnered with national and local foundations all over the country. Prior to her work at the Forum, ​Emily helped launch the Women’s Leadership Institute in Washington DC as Interim Director of Partnerships and Advancement. While there, she secured the largest board member gift in the organization’s history and helped produce events featuring notable women leaders including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, NPR’s Linda Wertheimer, and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar. While completing her Master’s in Public Administration at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, she was president of the Maxwell Women’s Caucus. ​Emily’s undergraduate degree is from Bryn Mawr College. ​​Emily lives ​with her partner and two kids in NW Portland.

Marilou Carrera
Marilou CarreraInterim Grants ManagerThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Marilou Carrera (they / siya / she) is a health equity advocate, community health practitioner, and cultural worker. Their experiences as a Filipina and Japanese person who immigrated to the U.S. as a child, as well as their time practicing as a registered nurse, advocating for communities of color / community-driven decision-making, and promoting public health and reproductive justice have long persuaded them of the importance and imperative of sharing power, sharing stories, and centering communities to influence policy and affect systems change.

Marilou is based in the area currently called Portland, OR and Multnomah County, which are also known as the stolen lands of the Multnomah, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Tumwater, Tualatin Kalapuya, Wasco, Molalla, Cowlitz and Watlala bands of the Chinook, and many other Tribes who made their homes along the Columbia River.

Martha Lawrence
Martha LawrenceAdministrative Support SpecialistThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Martha has been a high-level assistant supporting C-suite executives for over 20 years within both the corporate and non-profit sector. Particularly skilled at interpersonal verbal/ written communication and client relations, she has additional experience in recruiting, customer service, fundraising and donor management.

Upon graduating from Boston College, Martha relocated to California for many years, spending 17 years in San Francisco and 5 years in San Diego. She recently moved back home to the Greater Boston area, currently residing in Salem, MA with her boyfriend and 2 spunky cats. Martha is a creative, flexible and innovative team player with a great sense of humor.

Legacy Circle

  • Verna Bailey
  • Lynne Bangsund
  • Kaaren Beaver
  • Alice Bergman
  • Anne Booth
  • Dorothy Boothe
  • Coventry Boucher
  • Patty Brandt
  • Nancy Bryant
  • Leslie Cable
  • Joanne Carlson
  • Valri Chiappetta
  • Susan Corey
  • Dotti Cowart
  • Kim Cunningham
  • Kim Curtis
  • Nicole Deering
  • Nancy Delbrueck
  • Mary Edmeades
  • Kris Elliott
  • Marna Elliott
  • Lura Elsen
  • Julie Falk
  • Joan Foley
  • Marybeth Fossati
  • Trish Gallus
  • Linda Girard
  • Cathie Glennon
  • Linda Kilham Goebel
  • Michele Goodman
  • Nancy Graham
  • Sharon Graver
  • Brenda Grootendorst
  • Karen Holce
  • Joan Horstkotte
  • Lynnette Houghton
  • Beth Hutchison
  • Cobi Jackson
  • Jean Josephson
  • Mary Kalafatis
  • Stephanie Knight
  • Carolee Kolve
  • Laura Krum
  • Hazel Larpenteur
  • Catherine Lingas
  • Priscilla Wold Longfield
  • Laura Luthi
  • Christine McClave
  • Marcella McGee’
  • Lora R. Meyer
  • Austin Moller
  • Ginny Morthland
  • Katy Neill
  • Karen Nelson
  • Anne Noall
  • Susan Palmiter
  • Lynne Parker
  • Sandy Patchin
  • Carol Petersen
  • Jeanette Pippin
  • Dana Plautz
  • Lee Ragen
  • Diane Redd
  • Debby Rhoades
  • Daneal Louise Richards
  • Mary Roberts
  • Traci Rossi
  • Jeannie Santos
  • Molly Schank
  • Laurie Pickett Schulte
  • Elinor Shanklin
  • Kimberlee Sheng
  • Rita Silen
  • B.J. Simmons
  • Barbara Spence
  • Molly Spencer
  • Carrie Stevens
  • Christy Stockton
  • Sue Sullivan
  • Chris Swanson
  • Gale Swanson
  • Jeanne Teisher
  • Mary Kay Tetreault
  • Deborah Thomas
  • Julie Vigeland
  • Sue Walcutt
  • Beth Warner
  • Megan Wentworth
  • Cheryl Wideman
  • Barbara Wilkinson
  • Janet Williamson
  • Kathleen Wilson
  • Kathy Wilson
  • Lynda Wonacott
  • Sonia Worcel
  • Charlene Zidell
  • Marilyn Zook

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