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August 30, 2017

Better Together: Research, Evaluation and Stakeholder Engagement with Employees with Disabilities


Workshop Description

The Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE), the DCM Evaluation and Research Unit (ERU), and the AdAPT ERG at Multnomah County are collaborating on a project to better understand the experiences of county employees with disabilities, including the experience of the accommodation process. This project is based in part on the 2015 Countywide Employee Survey, which showed that employees with disabilities are experiencing lower satisfaction in several areas, including work climate and job satisfaction.

A key part of this project is stakeholder engagement – namely, since this project focuses on better understanding and then improving the experiences of people with disabilities, ensuring that employees with disabilities were key stakeholders throughout this project was imperative.This session will give a broad overview of the project and then offer tools and lessons learned from our work together.

We invite you to bring project ideas of your own to work on and discuss the ways stakeholder engagement can be used/strengthened during our time together.

About the Presenter(s)

Barbara Robertson

Barbara Robertson’s experience with disability rights, advocacy and culture go back over the past 30 years. She grew up in the Portland area, earned her Bachelors degree at University of Massachusetts at Boston, and has ABD (all but the Dissertation) in social psychology from University of Minnesota. She taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago in their Disability Studies program, and participated in Society for Disability Studies conferences. More recently, she is a member of AdAPT, Multnomah County’s Employee Resource Group for employees with disabilities and allies. Her main goal in this work is that disability access not be seen as each individual’s responsibility to figure out; rather, it should be universally built into our policies, procedures, structures, and design.

When not at work, Barbara is “rag chewing” on amateur radio (call sign: KI7KZU), sampling IPAs in area brewpubs, traveling as much as possible, crocheting, dabbling with microelectronics in a community “maker lab”, or cooking/fermenting concoctions in the home lab. She is always looking for a kombucha culture if you have a spare.

Alison Sachet

Alison Sachet serves Multnomah County as a Senior Research and Evaluation Analyst in the Department of County Management Evaluation and Research Unit. Before joining the County in 2016, Alison worked as a social science researcher for over 15 years and taught psychology courses at Williams College and the University of Oregon. She earned a doctoral degree in Psychology from the University of Oregon in 2013, focusing primarily on the development of children’s imagination and understanding of social relationships. This training has come in handy with her young daughter, who has two imaginary companions. In addition to informing her approach to parenting, Alison’s education has prepared her for her current role at Multnomah County, where she performs research and program evaluation to better understand the experiences of Multnomah County employees and issues of equity across the county. Most recently, Alison has been collaborating with the Office of Diversity and Equity and the AdAPT Employee Resource Group to better understand the experiences of employees with disabilities. She has learned a great deal from this project and has personally enjoyed the deep collaboration with stakeholders – she looks forward to sharing her experiences with this project with fellow public employees in this workshop. Outside of work, Alison enjoys spending time outdoors playing with her family.

Katherin Flower

Katherin is the granddaughter of Cora and Jack and wishes she had paid attention more when they tried to teach her things.  She spent most of her childhood in upstate New York, and misses New York pizza, buffalo wings and the family camp in the Adirondacks. But she does not miss the upstate New York winters and rusty cars from the road salt.

Her formal education includes studying Spanish and when she discovered she could not be an interpreter for the U.N. (she still can’t roll her r’s) she switched to Sociology.  When she couldn’t pay back her student loans from undergrad, she went on to grad school where she focused on Sociology and then did a post doc and completed training in trauma informed care. She has used her training and passion for social justice work in a range of areas including child welfare, criminal justice, early learning and child development. Currently, she works as the Research and Evaluation Analyst in the Office of Diversity and Equity for Multnomah County and promotes approaches that engage stakeholders and honors community wisdom. She also advocates for equity and empowerment to be the foundation for all County practices and policies.

When Katherin is not working on a research and evaluation project for the County, she’s probably listening to Latin Music and wishing she could carry a tune (and dance), attending a pow wow with her daughter or working toward her encore career as a comedy writer for Trevor Noah.

Emily Purry

Emily Purry is a Multnomah County Employee of nearly four years. She is part of the AdAPT employee Resource Group and is passionate about making a difference in her community. She recently completed the Multnomah Leadership Academy working on a Countywide Internship Program. She is currently part of the Disability Arts & Culture Leadership Institute and actively participates in the Portland Commission on Disability conversations and subcommittees.

Emily has recently started facilitating trainings around disability, equity and intersectionality to companies and organizations in Portland and hopes to continue doing so to better equip the workforce in working beside and with people with disabilities.

Emily is also a busy mother of three who are very active in sports and music. Family time is spent camping, traveling and many hours at the pool, wrestling mat or soccer field. Emily’s husband also works for Multnomah County assuring that our Veterans are receiving their much needed benefits. They work hard to better their community and set a positive example for the kids.



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