By: Molly Mayo
SE Uplift’s Executive Director
July was an exciting month at SE Uplift! I have had the pleasure of meeting community members and new members of our board of directors during my first month of independently serving as the organization’s executive director since the retirement of Anne Dufay on June 30. The SE Uplift staff have proven to be extraordinarily knowledgeable and helpful, and I give them profound thanks. I would like to welcome Muz Afzal, Community Engagement Coordinator, to our team, and to congratulate Jay Derderian, SE Uplift’s Administrator, on the birth of his daughter on July 31th. (Leah Fisher, Neighborhood Planning Program Manager, continues on maternity leave after the birth of her daughter May 5th.)
On July 10th, the SE Uplift Board of Directors held annual elections. In addition to delegates from the 20 neighborhoods within our coalition area, four community organizations, five at-large members, and two business association representatives joined the board. Last year, the SE Uplift board had made it a priority to ensure that representatives on our Board of Directors included, in addition to our dedicated neighborhood association members, community organizations, business associations and “at-large” members who are committed to serving all of SE Portland. The purpose of the expanded board is to more effectively represent diverse perspectives and interests, with the goal of many voices combined to make SE Portland the best it can be. A board committee, with the support of SE Uplift staff, conducted extensive outreach, and the following board members were elected for these seats:
- Soren Impey (Portland Tenants United)
- Brenda Kinoshita (Raphael House of Portland)
- Toma Solano (The Village Coalition)
- Mari Tamiyasu (Impact NW)
- Catherine Davila (At-Large)
- Taizoon Doctor (At-Large)
- Terry Dublinski-Milton (At-Large)
- Susan Gershwin (At-Large)
- Nate Smith (At-Large)
- Iris Hodge (Main Street Alliance of Oregon)
- Matthew Micetic (Foster Powell Business Association)
Additionally, SE Uplift would like to congratulate our new officers who were elected July 10th. The board elected Reuben Deumling and Terry Dublinski-Milton as co-chairs, Yashar Vasef as vice-chair, Paul Willey as secretary (continuing from last year) and Jennifer Tamayo as treasurer. Congratulations to these dedicated individuals who have stepped forward to facilitate increased community involvement!
For the three weeks of July following SE Uplift elections, I met individually with over 20 SE Uplift board members who shared their ideas for our organization and identified skills they are able to bring to our mission of creating communities that are safe, livable, socially diverse, and vital. These visits were inspiring and informative, and I am convinced that the passionate leaders who serve on our board are well-equipped for further developing a healthy and robust SE Uplift.
In tandem with the recent announcement from City Hall that the new director of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement will be Suk Rhee, SE Uplift is ready for our future! A new SE Uplift Board of Directors, new officers, new executive director, additional staff, and new leadership at ONI will make for an exciting and productive year at SE Uplift. We hope you will be part of it!