family biz





In Her Own Words: Tiffani Penson, City of Portland Minority Evaluator Program

Winter 2011 - We have realized that if we keep doing the same practices, we will get the same results. So by doing something different and implementing such an inclusive program we are sure to get different results. In addition, this is also a great way to make people/small businesses aware of the contracting opportunities available at the city with the hope of attracting more diversity of the businesses bidding on city projects.


Q&A with Liani Jean Heh Reeves, Oregon Commission on Asian Affairs

Winter 2011 - "Community may be disenfranchised or not able to access government for a variety of reasons. It could be mistrust of government, or language barriers, or maybe lack of understanding of how the process works. We try to work with government agencies to make sure they’re addressing those types of issues, so the community feels or understands that they can access government in a way that’s not threatening. We try to work with community-based organizations to educate the community about different rights, such as voting, or how to lobby the Legislature. The Commission, along with its community partners, tries to break down some of those barriers to accessing government and services." more

In Her Own Words: Nita Shah, Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon

Summer 2010 - Our focus is to provide assistance to low-income business owners. Businesses we serve must be established, and at a critical point where they’re either going to take off, or shut down. MESO works really well in these situations, because we give one-on-one support to the client.

The way we help our clients is by really understanding their needs. We don’t force a single “formula” for success.


Clarence Belnavis: Focus on Labor and Employment Law

Spring 2010 - "It’s important to have somebody from a diverse background advising folks on how to address the issues, and helping make decisions. I spent a lot of time over the past year, working at companies dealing with workforce reductions. One of the things I did was to look at who was selected for layoffs, to make sure that no particular group was selected or targeted for the reductions. It’s important to make sure that the system has integrity, no matter what system is used for layoffs. It was not a project that I enjoyed the most, but it was an important thing to do to make sure that no one group was affected adversely." more

Q&A with Tricia Tillman, Director, Office of Multicultural Health State of Oregon

Fall 2009 - I really love that I meet and the people that I work with. My story tends to be a mix of professional and personal experiences. It seems that people who want to work in health disparities bring a personal passion to the issue. That fuels them in making a difference.

The people engaged in this work have a commitment to social justice: they’re not in it for the money, or work from 8 to 5, then go on about their lives. They tend to be in it for the purpose of making their families and communities better. It’s really nice to work with people who have a deep sense of purpose and passion for their work. more

Toward A Health System that Works for Everyone

Fall 2009 - The Archimedes Movement has three objectives: influence policy being discussed at the state level; influence what’s being discussed at the national level; and build a movement that will shift the debate about health reform from a question of “How do we find the money to pay for health care as it becomes more and more expensive?" to “What must we do to improve the health of all Americans?"

We can't just focus on how we pay for insurance. We must also talk about what we are purhcasing and how we organize and deliver care. more

Q&A with Sheryl Dash, President, Blacks in Government, Salem Chapter

Fall 2009 - Our mission is to be used as a resource among agencies that are interested in offering professional and competent services. We want to make sure that our black government employees are paired up with mentors who will cater to their needs. To help them prepare for promotions be successful, and be included in all aspects of the organization. We also want to empower black employees in order to help educate others around them to better understand a culture that is often misunderstood -- to get past the stereotypes and myths that surround our black culture. more

Jeri Williams, City of Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement

Spring 2009 - My role in the City of Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement ties in with my life. I came onboard two years ago, after doing community organizing work for about 5 years ago.

My entire experience in community organizing has been about communities of color issues, particularly environmental justice. Part of my work at the city is to do outreach in a lot of different communities and get more people involved in diversity and civic leadership projects. more

Minority Contracting Improvement Partnership Advocates for Small Businesses

Spring 2009 - MCIP provides training opportunities designed to help minority contractors secure work, successfully manage construction projects, and develop their capacity and skills to continuously improve their businesses. more

Asian American Youth Leadership Conference Trains Emerging Leaders

Spring 2009 - “There is a prevailing notion that there are no disadvantaged Asian students,” says Paul Van Mai, AAYLC Chairman.

“The truth of the matter is that many Asian students come from refugee and first-generation immigrant families. These students struggle to overcome language, cultural and prejudice barriers in order to excel in school and become more active members of their communities.” more

Focus on Gretel Ness, Immigration Lawyer

Spring 2009 - "I feel really privileged and lucky to be doing immigration law. From the beginning, you start off on the positive. Clients want to either get a work visa, become a permanent resident, or a U.S. citizen.

You’re helping them start a process in their life that could have far-reaching impacts on the future generations of their family. I feel really lucky being in a profession I really love, while making a difference in somebody’s life." more

Regence Builds Stronger Relationships with Latino Community

Winter 2009 - "The Latino population is the fastest growing group in the U.S., and it is estimated that by 2010, the Latino population in Regence's service area will reach 1.5 million people. There are a total of 24,626 Latino owned businesses in Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington, and 60 percent of business owners are of Mexican origin." more

Kaiser Permanente Northwest Grooms Diverse Leaders

Fall 2008 - The Diversity Leadership Program was piloted in 2006 to address this gap, says Vicki Guinn, program manager. The program matches high-potential employees of color, people with disabilities and those from the LGBTI community to work with mentors, most of whom are vice presidents or directors at Kaiser Permanente Northwest. more

Oregon League of Minority Voters Champions Political Participation

Summer 2008 - The Oregon League of Minority Voters’ vision is based on the ideal that communities of color ought to have representation when it comes to public policy formulation. more

City Employees Work Toward Enhancing Workplace Diversity

Summer 2008 - Diverse and Empowered Employees of Portland (DEEP) is an employee-led group aims to enhance the city efforts in diversity, job recruitment, professional development, customer service, and employee mentorship by drawing on the cultural competencies and networks of the city’s own employees. more

Q&A with Lydia Muñiz, Governor’s Advocate for Minority, Women and Emerging Small Businesses

Winter 2008 - "Competition is healthy and makes one a better businessperson; you’re constantly evaluating and analyzing your services and operations.

The challenge for small businesses is that they are competing with larger businesses now. The pressures are much greater for our business communities of color."

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Oregon Assembly for Black Affairs seeks to involve more blacks in political process

Summer 2007 - "Blacks continue to deal with residuals of institutionalized racism and discrimination. While it is commonly quoted that since the Civil Rights Movement, we have made great progress and there are many people who have opportunities in the workforce. But there are still many others who are facing bias, and not receiving opportunities, when opportunities clearly exist." read more

Rural Entrepreneurship Boosted by Efforts of Statewide Collaborative

Spring 2007 - Connecting Oregon for Rural Entrepreneurship (CORE) encourages entrepreneurship in rural Oregon by assessing needs and resources, as well as expanding services to help entrepreneurs start and grow successful rural businesses. read more


ODOT Offers Opportunities for Small Contractors to Thrive in State’s Burgeoning Construction Industry

Spring 2007 - For Big J Construction, based in Medford, Ore., good fences also provide good business opportunities. Owner Jesse Williams III, who established his firm in 1997, is delighted with the opportunity to double his workforce, increase Big J’s revenues and build upon future contracting opportunities through the state’s bridge program. read more

Mercy Corps NW Enables Growth for Local Small Businesses

Winter 2007 - Managing capacity with limited resources isn’t easy for any fledgling business. Mix in the challenges of expertly juggling time and other finite resources, and it’s a wonder how small business owners get past the initial hurdles to sustain growth. For Lina Garcia and husband Edgar, owners and operators of La Puntada Loca, a custom embroidery shop, obtaining financial support from Mercy Corps NW came at the right time to enable their business to move forward. read more



ONABEN Fuels Entrepreneurship Among Native American Communities

Fall 2006 - Through programs that link would-be entrepreneurs and small business owners with knowledge and resources, ONABEN has served as the catalyst for Native American entrepreneurs to move their ideas forward. read more

Diversity Economic Empowerment Day

Fall 2006 - “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. read more



Governor: State Works for Small Business

Fall 2006 - Addressing an audience of small business owners and entrepreneurs, Gov. Ted Kulongoski highlighted Oregon’s economic recovery and emphasized that there’s plenty of good news for businesses across the state. read more

Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce

Summer 2006 - Led by executive director Gale Castillo, who has years of experience in the public and private sectors, the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber assists members with a wide variety of business issues, from business plan development to enhancing bookkeeping and accounting systems, to assistance and support with obtaining financing. read more

Groups promote business networking among Asian-Americans

Summer 2006 - The Portland area is home to a diverse community of Asian Pacific Americans. It’s no wonder there are plenty of business networking opportunities for APA entrepreneurs and professionals or those who are interested in making connections with Asian business leaders. read more

City of Portland Bureau of Purchases

Summer 2006 - From construction projects to professional services, the City of Portland actively seeks opportunities to work with minority-owned, women-owned, and emerging small businesses, said Loretta Young, Contractor Development Supervisor. “Our primary role is to work with different bureaus in the City of Portland to assure that opportunities are provided to women- and minority-owned firms and emerging small businesses and entrepreneurs,” she said. read more

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