Addressing the Issues:Diversity Economic Empowerment Day
Harold Williams II, master of ceremonies
Corliss McKeever, African American Health Coalition; Gale Castillo, Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
Clara Padilla Andrews, El Hispanic News
Cyreena Boston, Democratic National Committee
and Scott Hatley, Incight

Oregon ’s up-and-coming professionals and entrepreneurs of color gathered for Portland's first ever Diversity Economic Empowerment Day, held Sept. 12, 2006 at the Hilton Portland and Executive Tower.

The event, hosted by PDX Confidential, sought to provide young professionals from diverse backgrounds a toolkit to advance their professional and personal goals, while also harnessing their talents to help sustain Portland’s economy. “PDX Confidential seeks to build upon our community’s foundation and enrich the future by adding ‘flavor’ to the mix,” said Harold Williams II, who served as master of ceremonies at the event.

Williams shared advice on setting professional and personal goals, while Melanie Davis, VP of Marketing at El Hispanic News, shared her views on the folly of exclusionary anti-immigrant rhetoric, particularly English-only ballot measures. Cyreena Boston, Constituency Director for the Democratic National Party of Oregon, talked about the importance of harnessing political capital and urged attendees to become more involved in the political process.

Diversity leaders in the public and private sectors were honored for their contributions to advancing Portland’s civic and business communities.

  • Individual Diversity Award
    Carmen Rubio, Office of Mayor Tom Potter
  • Group Diversity Award
    Alliance of Minority Chambers  
  • Unsung Hero Award
    Dr. Billy Flowers
  • One Step at a Time Award
    Clara Padilla Andrews, El Hispanic News

Panelists participated in a roundtable discussion focusing on leadership succession. Those participating in the discussion were: Vincent Woods, PDOT; Opio, 1480 KBMS; Amil Christopher Bowles, Portland TrailBlazers; Corliss McKeever, African American Health Coalition; Gale Castillo, Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce; Joe Nunn, African American Chamber of Commerce; Cyreena Boston, Democratic National Committee; and Scott Hatley, Incight.

The event was intended to serve as an avenue for rising business leaders from diverse backgrounds to come together and discuss important issues. Hispanic Chamber executive director Gale Castillo delivered one of the most profound words of advice to up-and-coming professionals. Addressing the question, “When do we get the keys to the car?” Gale says:

“When you learn to drive, I won’t only give you the keys to the car, I will help you buy a car. But in order to 'drive the car,' you need to look at your education – assess that, are you there? Assess your skills – are you there? And then also assess your personal style. We are all marketing ourselves. If you understand marketing, you know that you have to understand your audience. You don’t hear the same ads on the classical station that you hear on a hip-hop station. When you’re playing with your friends, you have a personal style. When you’re in a corporate board room, you have to adjust your style. It doesn’t mean that you’re selling yourself out; it doesn’t mean that you’re less than you really are. It means that you understand your audience.”

- Photos by Maileen Hamto

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