We forge collaborative relationships with the business community, non-profit organizations, and government. Rather than prescribe our own solutions, we listen to community leaders to determine where our business voices can be most helpful to their essential work.
Board of Directors
mara zepeda, Chair
Mara Zepeda is the CEO and Co-Founder of Switchboard, a software and strategy company that partners with colleges, universities, and independent schools to make meaningful connections between students and alumni. She is the founding board chair of XXcelerate, a fund and educational program for Oregon women entrepreneurs. She’s also a co-founder of the Zebras Unite movement, which is building an ethical and inclusive startup culture.
She’s been recognized by Conscious Company as 30 world-changing women in conscious business; Portland Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” and Business Insider as one of the 20 hottest startups founded by women. An award-winning journalist, she previously reported for Planet Money, Marketplace, The Boston Globe and NPR as an economic reporter. She graduated with honors from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and Reed College with a degree in Russian.
jenn lynch, treasurer
Jenn Lynch is a General Partner at Portland Seed Fund, an early stage venture fund focused on Oregon-based companies. Prior to PSF, Jenn managed her own fund, Upstart Labs, after a career as a software product manager and product marketing manager with companies such as Dachis Group, Unicru, BrassRing, and Yahoo. In addition to BBPDX, Jenn sits on the boards of Oregon Public Broadcasting, Schoolhouse Supplies, and the Oregon Alliance for Gun Safety. She was recognized on the Portland Business Journal's Forty under 40 list in 2013. She has earned an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School and a B.S. in Journalism from the Medill School at Northwestern University.
Kristen Gallagher, Secretary
Kristen Gallagher is an organizational strategies and learning designer. She is the founder and CEO of Edify, a learning strategy consultancy that solves people operations problems for growing companies. She has architected and delivered onboarding programs for companies bringing on just one person a quarter to 100+ people a quarter. Specializing in onboarding systems, manager development, and knowledge management, Gallagher delivers programs that are designed to evolve and scale with rapid changes. She brings over eight years of learning and development and business partnership experience to Edify. Prior to founding Edify, Kristen worked in nonprofit educational programming and museum education, both designing and teaching learning programs for children and adults.
Hillary is the Director of Strategic Initiatives for Burgerville, LLC. Headquartered in Vancouver, WA, Burgerville is a 41-unit restaurant chain in the Pacific Northwest with a commitment to regional stewardship. She leads the company’s Regional Restoration initiative, emerging opportunities for the long-term health of the Pacific Northwest. Prior to joining Burgerville, Hillary was the Policy Director for Renewable Northwest, a regional renewable energy advocacy non-profit. From 1999-2014, she served on the staff of US Congressman Earl Blumenauer. Hillary holds a B.A. from Reed College in English. She loves cooking, gardening, and exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her daughter, Piper.
Amy is the Director of Organizational Development at Boly Welch. She has spent her career in talent acquisition, professional training/ facilitation, D&I, and business development which have honed her skills in leading change, building culture, and fostering environments where people can achieve their full potential. Bringing individuals together to create collaborative relationships that enhance personal and organizational performance is her passion! Her BA is in Sociology from Western Washington University.
She also shares her time as a Rotarian within their Under40 Leadership cohort, on the board of the Construction Financial Management Association Education Committee, while participating on panels for the National Diversity Council - Oregon, PDXWIT, EPOP, Clackamas Chamber of Commerce, PNDC, Linkage Institute, and Partners in Diversity’s Young Professional Program… Peers and partners alike describe Amy as dedicated, tenacious, a “connector” and most importantly… caring.
Tamara Kennedy-Hill, CMP, is the vice president of destination management, equity and community affairs for Travel Portland. She provides strategic oversight to the organization's long-range destination management strategy and is most proud of overseeing Travel Portland’s work in producing its first ever Tourism Master Plan. Kennedy-Hill seeks to align the values of Portland with the benefits of the tourism economy in order to deliver a quality visitor experience. Kennedy-Hill serves on the boards of Black United Fund, Business for Better Portland, Explore Washington Park and Transition Projects, provides staff leadership to Travel Portland’s Community Action Committee, and is a co-founder of My People’s Market™, an equitable marketplace of the future.
Prior to joining Travel Portland, Kennedy-Hill was the executive director for the Green Meeting Industry Council, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting sustainability in the meetings and hospitality industry. She is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), holds an MBA from the University of Portland and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Marylhurst University.
Pamela Kislak is the Managing Director of LEVER Architecture. Prior to joining the firm, she spent 20 years leading marketing, strategy, and operations for growing companies. Pamela holds an MBA from the Haas School at the University of California, Berkeley and a BA from Dartmouth College.
Anna is the Founder and CEO of Avenue, a digital marketing agency that amplifies the impact that purpose-driver companies have in the world through results-led digital marketing. Prior to founding Avenue, Anna held a variety of executive leadership roles at regional digital and full-service agencies, her work spanning digital marketing leadership, agency operations, sales, account services, talent recruitment and mentorship.
She is passionate about having a meaningful impact on our community through volunteerism, and in addition to her work at BBPDX, she has served on the Statewide Board of Directors for SMART (Start Making A Reader Today), as the Engage Conference Director on the Board of Directors for SEMpdx (Search Engine Marketing Professionals of Portland), and the Board of Directors for the Cascade Academy Foundation. She is also a speaker and instructor for organizations such as the American Marketing Association, SEMpdx, ACT -W, Clark College and Portland State University on the topics of digital marketing, entrepreneurship and women in technology. Anna was also recognized on the Portland Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 Award List for 2017.
Associate Board of Directors
Anatey is a rare native Oregonian, born and raised in Portland and graduate of Benson Polytechnic High School, followed by coursework in Business Administration at Portland Community College.
With an entrepreneurial spirit and a never-say-die work ethic, Natey successfully assumed management of a family business in 2013, Eastside Remodeling and Construction, along with his brother Afina Ayaribil. Special business ventures include design and construction of a Hospitality House in Ghana, West Africa, and signature remodels throughout East Portland.
Natey’s hobbies include world travel and family time in his own backyard. His life goal is to remain a positive role model for his two-year-old son, Marcello, leaving the community a better place for him to grow up.
Abby is an HR Recruiter + Consultant for Boly:Welch, a local women-founded employment agency, where she is connected to the Portland community both professionally and personally. She’s seen the world growing up in a Navy family, and established that there is no place better than Oregon. She’s a double Duck from the University of Oregon, a member of the Oregon bar, an active Rotarian, and avid David Bowie fan. As a member of the BBPDX Associate Board, she’s driven to involving businesses to make Portland a more equitable, diverse, thriving, and prosperous place for everyone.
Gabby is an attorney at Barran Liebman LLP where she counsels clients on a variety of employment matters with a focus on employee benefits. After receiving her undergraduate degree from the University of Portland, Gabby fell in love with the Portland community and has since committed herself to supporting the businesses and organizations that make Portland so unique.
In addition to her legal practice supporting Portland employers, Gabby isactive in the Multnomah Bar Association, serving as a member of the MBA Young Lawyer Society’s Pro Bono Committee. She is also a member of Oregon Women Lawyers where she strives to ensure justice and equality by advancing women and minorities in the legal profession. In her spare time, Gabby enjoys riding and competing with her horse, Apple, in Three-Day Eventing.
Akasha lawrence Spence
Akasha Lawrence Spence is the founder and principal designer of Fifth Element, a conscientious real estate development firm helping small businesses own their own buildings/units. Her mission is to act as an incubator for economic growth— creating ecosystems in which collaboration and a hybridization of work foster self-sustaining resilient communities. She is committed to empowering entrepreneurs that already enrich the social fabric of our communities while prioritizing those historically under-represented in and marginalized from property ownership.
She is also the founder of Melanated a women of color group, over 250 members strong, focused on financial empowerment, community stewardship, and wellness. Recently appointed to the Planning & Sustainability Commission, she plans to use her design and advocacy background to bring visibility to our city’s political process while advocating for equitable legislation that creates a Portland where we all thrive.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland and raised in Portland, Oregon, Noah helps run two staple-tech companies in town; he works as the Director of Business Development at Pop Art, Inc. and is also the co-founder of Above The Fray Design, Inc. Both organizations have a focus and dedication to not only improving the lives of their colleagues and clients, but their extended communities as a whole. Business should be a vehicle for good, and this core value informs all of their professional actions and transactions.
Outside of the technology world Noah likes to relive his olden days as a DJ, getting the ill-informed clued in to the superiority of hip-hop’s first 25 years. Every chance he gets he grabs a paddle to chase some whitewater, and is always looking for friendly invites to river runs across the globe. He’s patiently waiting for the day he can take his newborn son Mateo out on the rapids.
Patrick (he/him/his) is a Relationship Banking Officer at Heritage Bank. He has been in the financial services industry for over 20 years and has focused on business development and relationship management for public sector, nonprofit, and commercial businesses. In addition to BBPDX, Patrick serves on the Metro Investment Advisory Board, the Portland Area Business Association (LGBTQ+ chamber) Board of Directors, the Association for Financial Professionals of Oregon and SW Washington Board of Directors, and is a Certified Treasury Professional.
Patrick has lived in the Midwest, Southwest, and Pacific Northwest of the United States and enjoys a diversity of people and food. His greatest joy is spending time with family and is currently eating his way through vegan PDX. Patrick loves to volunteer with organizations that better our communities through hard work in equal rights, housing instability, the environment, and financial education.
Mike Westling is a senior account manager at Brink Communications, where he helps government agencies, nonprofits, and start-ups advance innovative public policy, build communities, and connect people to complex issues. Before coming to Brink, Mike was the press secretary for U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley. His political career includes roles with Obama for America, the 2008 Presidential Inaugural Committee, and the office of Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and journalism from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Michigan.
Mike recently served as a member of the City Club of Portland's Affordable Housing Research Committee and the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Centers and Corridors Parking Study Stakeholder Advisory Committee.
Shannon heads up outreach, business development and career services at Alchemy Code Lab, where she’s really grown the community for students, graduates, and the greater tech community. Their mission is to diversify tech and be a place for students to get advanced training so they are able to secure rewarding positions that allow them to financially thrive in the city as it grows. Prior to Alchemy, she’s been in a number of marketing and leadership roles, and has been a speaker at AMA PDX, PDX Women in Technology, Technology Association of Oregon, and ACT-W. While she grew up in Pennsylvania and lived a long time in the DC Metro area, she has loved calling Portland home since she moved here in 2008. In her free time, you can catch her on a trail, at an early morning workout, enjoying a good book, or spending time with great company.
Bevin runs the marketing and communications efforts for College Possible Oregon, a nonprofit that makes college admission and success possible for students from low-income backgrounds through an intensive curriculum of coaching and support. Being able to work in education equity and increase access to higher education is a dream come true. She’s lived up and down the west coast and has devoted most of her career to inspiring young professionals to take action in their communities. Most recently she’s done this by building the Emerging Leaders program at United Way in Seattle and as a program manager for the employee giving campaign at Microsoft. Her favorite things to do outside of work involve baseball (or softball if she’s playing), swimming in any body of water (though a beach is preferred), and exploring new places with her friends and family.
Ashley leads the organization’s efforts to engage Portland’s business leaders in the civic processes that shape the direction of the city. She is passionate about ensuring that our community’s business leaders are connected with strategic opportunities to bring greater shared prosperity to all Portlanders. Just five months after launching BBPDX, the organization was recognized by the Portland Business Journal as one of the region’s Top 25 Chambers of Commerce. Ashley was also personally named as “One of 18 To Watch in 2018” by the Portland Business Journal.
Her work prior to BBPDX has been at the intersection of the business, civic, nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. Her areas of focus have included community development, affordable housing, impact investing, climate and renewable energy policy, and fish and watershed restoration. She’s worked with leading organizations such as Climate Solutions, Stoel Rives LLP, Oregon Business Association, and Oregon Trout.
Ashley is a Senior Fellow with the American Leadership Forum of Oregon. As a singer, she has produced shows at notable venues such as The Doug Fir and Jimmy Mak’s to raise funds for local nonprofits The Wetlands Conservancy and My Voice Music.
Member Engagement Director
David Muller is an experienced professional in nonprofit membership development and sustainability consulting. A 15-year Portland resident, David is committed to civic engagement and collaborative efforts to make Portland a great place to live for all its residents, now and in perpetuity. He believes in the power of business to change Portland, and the world, for the better.
For the past 3 years, David has worked as a consultant to various companies and organizations in and around the global sports industry, helping them both implement and communicate holistic commitments to sustainability as a core operating principle. Most recently, he was in-house Sustainability Consultant to the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, designing the Sustainability Strategy for the Games, as well as producing a Sustainability Impact Report and Legacy Playbook/Toolkit for future organizers, in concert with the USA Games Organizing Committee. Prior to that, as the founding Membership Director for the Green Sports Alliance, David was the primary point of contact for the its broad member network. Acting as an advisor, researcher, connector, writer, promoter, and much more, David was primarily responsible for the growth of GSA membership from 25 members in October 2011 to nearly 400 in May 2016, with a 98% renewal rate.
David serves on the Oregon Environmental Council’s Emerging Leaders Board, the Street Trust’s Revenue Committee, and as a founding member of Sport and Sustainability International. He earned his MBA in Sustainable Business from Presidio Graduate School (nee Bainbridge Graduate Institute).
Outside of work, David enjoys taking in nature, music, sports, and most of all spending time with his 5-year-old son, Noah.
Operations & Communications Manager
Wendy brings over a decade of success leading collaborative approaches to business and community engagement to her work with Business For a Better Portland. As the former Executive Director of The Rogue Initiative for a Vital Economy, she led food system innovation and collaboration in Southern Oregon prior to moving to Portland in 2018. Her masters in nonprofit management is from Southern Oregon University.
As a self-described database nerd and event addict, she’s honored to be putting her skills to use helping businesses use their strength to make the world a better place. When not at work, you may find her knitting or checking out the Montana State University pole vault scores where her son competes as a decathlete. She is taking her diagnosis as a recovering serious person seriously and is currently training to become a certified InterPlay Leader.
Civic Engagement Manager
Adrienne Leverette deepens the engagement of our members on the issues of equitable transportation and housing policy. She has lived in the Metro area since childhood, and believes that Portland is at a rare moment of opportunity to grow into the city it dreams of becoming.
An architect and graphic designer by training, she uses systematic thinking and creative insight to forge solutions in both the physical and policy realms. Her experience with complex decision-making processes gives her a unique perspective on how subsurface barriers to consensus can be dissolved by goals-focused issue framing, data-driven policy development, and collaborative relationship building.