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2016 Robert Phillips Regional Diversity Award Now Accepting Nominations

Robert Phillips’ name graces this award due to his tireless advocacy of inclusion, diversity, equity, and equal opportunity. Phillips expanded the focus of this conference to include multiple jurisdictions and agencies, growing it into one of the most important diversity events for public employees in the region.

In keeping with the spirit and commitment of Robert Phillips we are seeking nominations where extraordinary contributions have been made in relation to inclusion, diversity, equity, and equal opportunity. This award will honor an employee, work groups, teams or departments that have demonstrated exemplary respect and commitment to inclusion, diversity and equity that went beyond the requirements of day-to-day job performance.

Help us identify and nominate individuals and/or work groups who have raised the bar in supporting, promoting and implementing efforts to bring diversity, equity and inclusion to your government organization. Award recipients must be current, regular employees in good standing of one of the partnering municipalities/agencies.

The Selection Committee is comprised of at least three members of the Northwest Public Employees Diversity Conference Planning Committee and who represent various municipalities. The winner will be notified in advance and will be presented with the award at the conference.

Please fill out the nomination form and submit your nominations no later than end of business Friday, September 9, 2016 to be eligible. We appreciate your assistance in identifying this year’s recipient of the Robert Phillips Regional Diversity Award.

Download the award letter.



Reason for the Award

This award is named in recognition of Robert Phillips, Multnomah County Affirmative Action Officer, who has worked in the area of equal employment opportunity for over 25 years and has a long history of involvement in the civil rights field. As Director of Multnomah County’s Affirmative Action Office, Robert was responsible for the development of policy initiatives, plans and programs that promoted respectful work environments for diverse employees and assisted the organization in meeting its equal employment opportunity and affirmative action obligations. Additionally, Robert served as a commissioner for the Port of Portland’s Civil Service Commission where he has served for 10 years. His community service includes appointments to the Nike Corporation’s Minority Affairs Advisory Board; Gubernatorial appointments to the State Commission on Black Affairs and the State Board to Register Clinical Social Workers; and service on the Oregon State Bar Affirmative Action Committee.

In 1996, the diversity program he managed for the City of Portland was recognized as a best practice model by People Management Resources, a division of Watson Wyatt Worldwide. Robert was also responsible for initiating the first national conference on performance measures for diversity programs, sponsored by the National Quality Institute. In addition, Robert was a recipient of the 2009 Arthur Flemming Award by the Multnomah County Managers of Color, the Oregon assembly for Black Affairs Political Development Award, the Northwest Conference of Black Elected Officials Leadership Award and the 2009 Northwest Public Employees Diversity Conference Robert Phillips Regional Diversity Award. He was the first public sector African American graduate of the Center of Creative Leadership’s African American Leadership Program.

The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners proclaimed February 28, 2012, as Robert Phillips Appreciation Day in Multnomah County, Oregon. In retirement from Multnomah County, Robert has an encore career during which he will serve as a member of the NW Renal Patients Advisory Board; the Oregon Assembly for Black Affairs Political Convention Planning Committee and the Port of Portland Fire Department Civil Service Board.

This award was created to honor his many contributions in the field of equity for all.



Past Recipients

Procurement Services

2015 – City of Portland, Procurement Services: 2015 Award Insert










2014 – Victoria Cross: 2014 Award Insert



Carole Smith







2013 – Carole Smith: 2013 Award Insert










2012 – Loretta Young: 2012 Award Insert











2011 – Donny Adair: 2011 Award Insert











2010 – Vera Pool: 2010 Award Insert











2009 – Robert Phillips: 2009 Award Insert



Registration Opening Fall 2016


Leadership Today: Creating Inclusive Organizations

Executive Session Description

What are some of the best practices in moving large systems to become representative of the communities that they represent and serve? How can public sector leaders create structures and processes that include diverse voices in identifying challenges, problem-solving, and making progress in creating equity? In this Executive Session with the Honorable Cherie Buckner-Webb, the first elected African-American state legislator in Idaho, there will be dialogue and strategy-sharing with leaders from all nineteen jurisdictions supporting this year’s Diversity Conference. The desired outcomes of this presentation and dialogue include:

  • identifying the value proposition, for both the individual leader and the organization, of building inclusion within organizations and communicating that value proposition with force and intention;
  • articulating the critical leadership skills for working across difference within diverse communities; and
  • becoming conscious of how privilege works and how leaders can use the privilege of their position to advance progress.

Led by Cheri Buckner-Webb

In a difficult economic climate Cherie Buckner-Webb chose to effect change in a new arena by running for public office. Elected to the Idaho House of Representatives in 2010 and the Idaho Senate in 2012 and 2014 by wide margins, Cherie’s message in the Statehouse reflects the same collaborative and visionary goals she emphasizes in her life and work.

Cherie Buckner-Webb is the founder and principal of Sojourner Coaching, “Supporting highly motivated women and men to navigate the waters of their lives with purpose.” A certified professional coach and consultant, Cherie brings a breadth of experience to the practice.  Her extensive international business background includes positions in program management, diversity consultation, sales and marketing, business and organizational development, operations, and e-commerce.  Her expertise includes cross cultural collaboration, leadership development, facilitation, consultation and coaching for individuals, teams and organizations.

Additionally, Buckner-Webb is a respected motivational speaker who uses her voice to raise awareness about leadership, diversity, inclusion and human rights topics.  She is in high demand for her presentations addressing purpose, success, and responsibility.

Cherie’s credo, “leave a legacy,” underscores her work in every area of activity and to that end she donates countless hours to a variety of community organizations. She is the winner of numerous awards including 2013 American Mother of the Year (American Mothers, Inc.), the Joyce Stein Memorial Award (WCA), Hewlett Packard Jefferson Award for Public Service, Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award for Peace (Morehouse College), Women Making History Award (Boise State University), the Hewlett Packard Award for Distinguished Leadership in Human Rights,  and NAACP Heritage Hall of Fame Award in acknowledgement of her history of commitment and devotion to volunteerism and equality in the community.

Buckner-Webb is an accomplished gospel, jazz and blues vocalist who has performed in venues across the U.S. and internationally and received the Award for Excellence in the Arts at the 2004 State of Idaho Governor’s Awards in the Arts Celebration.

Cherie earned a Bachelor of Science in Management and Organizational Leadership from George Fox University, and a Masters of Social Work in Management/Community Planning/Social Work Administration from Northwest Nazarene University.




Volunteer Opportunities Opening Fall 2016


Volunteer Assignments

General Assistance: Provide a wide range of volunteer assistance before, during, and after the conference, including filling in for missing volunteers. Can volunteer for AM, PM, or both.

Meet and Greet: Greet conference goers as they enter the Oregon Convention Center, assist with directing individuals to registration tables, meeting rooms, restrooms, etc. M&G volunteers must be available for entire “Pre Conference preparation” period from 6:30am 8:45am.

Registration: Arrive early (6:30am) to set up the registration tables and organize conference packets and bags. As conference goers arrive, the Registration volunteers sign people in and hand them their folders. Registration volunteers must be available for entire “Pre Conference preparation” period.

Workshop Room Monitor: Arrive 15 minutes prior to the workshop to help with set-up, let participants into the room, and prevent the room from filling above capacity. Additionally, Room Monitors may be asked to introduce the presenters using the provided biographical information. New to the conference this year is the participants’ ability to register for their workshops and Room Monitors will be checking names at the door.  Can volunteer for AM, PM, or both.

Room Technician: Ensures that rooms are equipped according to the preferences of the presenters (with pens, paper, flip charts, etc.). These volunteers will be responsible for transitions between sessions according to the supply list provided to them. Can volunteer for AM, PM, or both.

Lunch Volunteer: Will be ushering conference-goers into the Portland Ballroom, with the goal of filling up the front tables before the back.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When will I be notified that I am a volunteer?

A: You will receive an email confirmation when you have completed the online volunteer registration form. You will be notified by our Volunteer Coordinator once you are assigned as a volunteer.

Q: Will I be notified if I have not been selected as a volunteer.

A: Yes, you will be notified by our Volunteer Coordinator if you have been waitlisted.

Q: Do I have to register for the general conference if I am a volunteer?

A: No. Once you are a confirmed volunteer, you do not have to register for the general conference (opening Monday, September 14, 2015). If you are on the wait list, at this time it would be best to register for the general conference if you wish to attend.

Q: During my volunteer off hours at the conference, may I attend workshops?

A: Volunteers have a complimentary pass to the conference luncheon and keynote address, as well as access to the full day of activities at the conference when you are off duty. Although volunteers do not register for workshops, they are allowed if room permits.


Social Determinants of Wealth: Building a Culture of Equity and Inclusion

Workshop Description

This workshop will give participants an opportunity to learn how to use the history of the region to find holistic, inclusive and responsive approaches to maximize opportunity, build social and organizational cultures of inclusion, and realize equitable outcomes for generations to come.

A Public Health approach to organizational development will allow us to define and adapt theories of equity, diversity and inclusion to the Portland context. Tools for small group analysis – such as maps, charts, and data – will be distributed to increase participant’s understanding of the social ecology model, the intersectional impact of the Social Determinants of Health on populations, and how to use

Our shared understanding of Oregon’s context will form the starting point from which we will work to identify robust strategies for monitoring and strengthening our state-wide equity, diversification and inclusion initiatives. Given the urgency, our common goal will be to work to promote the greatest opportunity and most equitable (fair) outcomes for all of our residents.

About the Presenter(s)

Cat Goughnour is an Oregon born human rights advocate with a specialization in equity policy. She holds an MSc Sociology: Race, Ethnicity and Post Colonial Studies from London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London (2009); and a BA Liberal Arts: Social and Political Philosophy from Portland State University (2008).

Cat is deeply committed to helping Oregon’s communities understand how issues of diversity, inclusion and equity affect all of us, and uses this grounding to innovate mutli-systemic, sustainable and equitable Public Health interventions to foster community cohesion and empowerment. She employs a solution-focused approach to address and redress the root causes of disparity and catalyze impactful social change.

Her policy advocacy is an exercise in personal-empowerment-cum-pilot-project for meaningful social transformation. Cat employs a data-driven approach to identify and tackle the root causes of inequity and disparity through policy making and advocacy, social narrative reframing, and base building for the most impacted.




The Portland Development Commission’s Equity Council Work Plan: How to Turn Ideas into Action

Workshop Description

The PDC Equity Council operates in a manner that builds inclusion in the the workplace and its work plan contains projects, which will be described, that intend to increase inclusion and equity at PDC. The presenters will review the PDC’s Equity Council journey from learning about institutional racism to developing a plan to take the first steps to dismantle it.

Attendees will walk away knowing one case study of how an organization chose to approach equity and how to develop a work plan around it. They will take away knowledge of a process that moves from identification of a vision, to obstacles, to goals in the development of an internal equity committee.

About the Presenter(s)

Jeff Fish is a member of the Equity Council at the Portland Development Commission, which is composed of almost equally of management and non-management staff. Multiple members of the PDC Equity Committee will share in the presentation of this workshop.

Other members – John Cardenas, Damian Crowder, Lene Hopson, John Jackley, Katherine Krajnak, Dan Spero, Patrick Quinton, Patricia Weekley




Authentic Inclusivity: Reimagining and Creating a Counter-Narrative

Workshop Description

The theme of this year’s conference is “Building Inclusion” – the scope of this workshop explores the ways we, at work and in social spaces, set barriers to inclusion and attempts collective re-imagination to dismantle said barriers. This is an interactive workshop to engage participants in developing practical opportunities to create more substantially inclusive work and social spaces.

Participants will walk away with a definition of their Personal Operating Paradigm (TM) which is allows for deeper self reflection and analysis. In addition, they will leave with concrete action steps to create and maintain authentically inclusive work and social spaces.

About the Presenter(s)

Alison Allen-Hall is a social scientist interested in exploring and realising the potential of the liminal spaces between scholarship and practice. She has several years’ experience serving as associate faculty in Social Sciences at various colleges and universities in the United States. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she is Managing Director of LynxSE, an organisational equity coaching consultancy based in Portland, OR and she has designed and developed the Un.fil.teredSM Platform of Programmes in service of dismantling the racialised social structure in which we live and replacing it with wholly reimagined and reimaged society that is authentically inclusive and universally hospitable. She continues her academic research and is ABD in pursuit of a PhD in Conflict Analysis and Resolution.




Managing Disturbing Emotions in Inclusive Settings: Reaction, Awareness, Reflection

Workshop Description

This workshop will help individuals contribute to equitable and inclusive work environments with more awareness and less emotional reactivity. The session will offer concepts, tools, and processes for relating to diverse people from a place of emotional intelligence and self-knowledge. As a result of the workshop, participants will be more open and less guarded as they reach out to diverse colleagues and co-create fully inclusive and mutually respectful work environments.

About the Presenter(s)

Yvonne Chang is an Executive Coach and Inclusive Mentor who has worked with a wide range of clients, including many people of color, in both the Portland area and The Netherlands. Yvonne’s approach gives her clients a whole new lens to discover their unlimited self, while integrating their professional, personal and cultural identities. Yvonne’s programs reflects her own experience as a Chinese-American growing up in the Bay Area followed by two decades living and working as an immigrant in The Netherlands, where she founded the Executive Human Development & Leadership School for executives and young professionals at management consulting firm, KOAN B.v.

Yvonne’s background includes experience as a professional dancer and business executive, a M.A. in Transpersonal Psychology and Eco-psychology and certification as a Pathwork® counseling Helper and as a facilitator in The Natural Step™. Her professional training also includes 30 years of training in somatic mind-body methods and mindfulness practices which she integrates effortlessly with practical coaching techniques to empower the modern professionals to succeed in the workplace.

Yvonne heads up a new initiative, “Women of Color Empowerment Series” and was asked on as the Program Manager for the 2015 Women of Color Empowerment Conference sponsored by the Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce and Portland Business Alliance. Recently she trained the Portland Parks & Recreations’ City Nature Division and the young mentors of their Environmental Employment Pipeline program, as well as Pacific Islander participants for PSU and OHSU’s Build EXITO program aimed at supporting research career pathways for undergraduates from underrepresented communities. You will also find her contributing to many groups and their programs locally such as the Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce of Portland, League of United Latin American Citizens of Southwest Washington, ASTRA Women’s Business Alliance, Pivot Job Corps, Connecting Communities Coalition’s Leadership Academy, Asian and Pacific Islander Community Leadership Institute. As founder of Yvonne Chang Consulting, she feels proud to offer her services locally, regionally, and internationally.





Connecting Communities and Nature: Innovative Approaches to Co-creating Partnerships, Programs and Projects with a Focus on Underserved Communities

Workshop Description

Through this workshop participants will learn about two innovative programs in which Metro and local community-based organizations are working together to develop new methods to improve inclusivity in creating nature based programming, designing park facilities, and facilitating opportunities to connect with regional natural areas.

a. Through a variety of equity initiatives, Metro is demonstrating its commitment to ensuring that its tagline—Making a great place—applies to all who call the region home. Metro’s Natural Areas program has launched a number of programs to connect with diverse communities in the region and build lasting relationships. This session will showcase two approaches to bring community representatives to the table from the beginning and as key decision makers.

b. The Partners in Nature program builds partnerships with community-based organizations (CBOs) representing underserved communities to provide culturally-relevant opportunities for their constituents to experience nature. Metro and CBO staff work together to co-create programming that increases utilization of Metro parks and natural areas as places of stewardship, learning and recreation by youth from low-income families and communities of color, and improves capacity within partner organizations to lead educational and culturally-relevant programming in Metro parks and natural areas.

a. Case Study: Latino Greenspaces
Latino Greenspaces is a 3 way partnership between Latino Network, Hacienda CDC and Metro with the goal of increasing the utilization of Metro parks and natural areas as places of stewardship, learning, and recreation by youth from low-income Latino families. Working primarily with middle and high school aged youth, this partnership has cocreated programming during spring and summer breaks as well as during school year afterschool sessions.

b. Connect with Nature focuses on identifying nature based activities, designing park facilities, and creating outdoor places in partnership with traditionally underserved communities. Metro is working with a project team that includes landscape architects and Community Based Organizations with knowledge and experience working with underserved communities. The project team will work with local communities to conduct a series of site-specific design workshops to identify activities and facilities relevant to the local community.

About the Presenter(s)

Sheilagh Diez is the Community Partnerships Program Project Manager within the Parks and Nature Department at Metro. She has developed and led natural science programming for over 15 years across the greater NW Oregon region. Sheilagh has extensive experience working with culturally diverse communities both in the region and abroad. She has a particular interest in exploring the many ways that people develop a personal connection with the natural world. Sheilagh currently acts as partnership manager and lead educator for several partnerships.

Olena Turula is a landscape architect on Metro’s parks and natural areas planning team. She works on projects that enable people to experience Metro’s natural areas, ranging from park master plans to play area details. Olena is particularly interested in understanding how people learn about and experience nature. Through her work on Connect with Nature, she focuses on exploring innovative ways that all can share in the benefits of the region’s natural areas.

Other presenters – Jaclyn Hoy, Expresiones Program Manager, Hacienda CDC – Alice Perry, Director of Transformational Youth Opportunities, Latino Network




Internalized Sexism and White Privilege: White Women’s Position in Equity Work

Workshop Description

As we work in multicultural partnerships, it is important to examine the unique dynamics of our socialization around gender and race. While white women are often challenged with experiences of gender oppression, we also benefit from white privilege. In what ways do these two phenomena work together to create misunderstandings, missed collaborations, and unintentional barriers to equity? The facilitator will guide a dialogue about the experiences of white women to gain insights into learned patterns of behavior and strategies to better collaborate in work to build inclusion. Although this session centers around white women, all conference participants are invited to attend.

About the Presenter(s)

Ilsa Govan, Co-founder of Cultures Connecting (, has extensive experience as a facilitator, consultant, writer, and social justice activist. She has led conversations about racial equity at workshops and conferences across the country and volunteered on the planning committees for the White Privilege Conference and Seattle Race Conference. Prior to Cultures Connecting, Ilsa worked as an Equity and Race Specialist for Seattle Public Schools. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education from Western Washington University and her Master’s Degree in Bicultural Human Development from Pacific Oaks College Northwest. Ilsa is deeply invested in examining how her own identity as a white woman influences her interactions with others, particularly through the lens of privilege and oppression.