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2017 Robert Phillips Regional Diversity Award Recipient Som Nath Subedi


Som Nath Subedi


Som Nath Subedi is the Parks for New Portlanders Engagement Coordinator.

Since 2015, Som has served in this full time position. Som is a respected leader in the community, who brings passion and voice to the challenges, hopes, fears, and determination of people who have been displaced due to war and strife in their home countries.  Som received his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences from Tribhuvan University, in Kathmandu, Nepal and is currently pursuing another Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Portland State University.

Som has received numerous recognition for his work. This year, he received the Park Champion Award from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). In 2015, he received the Spirit of Portland Award for Innovative City Leader. He is also a two time recipient of the Portland Immigrant of the Year, and in 2013 he received the New Portlanders Award by Portland City Council.

Since his arrival in Portland in 2008, Som has been a tireless advocate for many immigrant and refugee communities in Portland and across the United States. Som came to Portland under the US Refugee Resettlement Program after being one of around 100,000 victims of The Kingdom of Bhutan’s “One Nation, One People” policy, which expelled his family from their homeland a quarter century ago. For almost two decades, he and his family lived in a Nepal refugee camp.

In his work, he has assisted new refugee families from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe transition into Portland neighborhoods, schools, and community networks.

The impact of Som’s efforts and contributions extend well beyond Portland. In his short time at Portland Parks & Recreation, he has created numerous community events such as Portlanders Stand with Refugee and Immigrants held on St. Patrick’s Day in East Portland that had over 1,000 attendees. He later organized the Walk with Refugee and Immigrants this August that had over 2,000 Portlanders come and affirm their desire to create a compassionate and welcoming Portland.

His work outside of the city include developing replicable models of successful integration of refugee and immigrants. One example of his work to empower newcomer communities struggling with the wounds of war and displacement, he has created an immigrant integration model that has become a national best practice and is being replicated among resettlement agencies across the US.

Aside from his devotion for his family, one of Som’s proudest moments was becoming a US citizen in 2013 – in the ultimate expression of immigrant optimism – he voted in local, state, and national elections for the first time. He even voted YES on the Parks Bond Measure. In Som’s words “I arrived to this country with only a plastic bag of clothes, 10 dollars in my pocket. I did my best to catch up with my American-born peers. I slept less, investing those hours into trying new things, inside of three years I bought a new house and a red new mustang. I learned about Portland’s vigorous mainstream and the city’s energetic ethnic minority communities and cultures, and built partnerships to add to the diversity of our great state.”


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








2016 – Kory Murphy: 2016 Award Insert



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 for Conference Sessions and Workshops Now Closed

Registration is now closed.

Registration for the NWPEDC is not open to the public and is available for our sponsoring organizations, or any outside public agencies who have made special arrangements to attend.

Look for your organization’s internal announcement for more information and instructions. For questions, please contact the appropriate planning committee member as follows:

Multnomah County – Victoria Cross:

Clackamas County – Emmett Wheatfall:

City of Portland – Diane Avery:

Prosper Portland – John Cardenas:

Washington County – Mary Rojas:

Metro – Nyla Moore:

Clark County – Leslie Harrington Smith:

Portland Public Schools – Phu Dao:

Department of Environmental Quality – Susan Korn:

Home Forward – Rebecca Koon:

TriMet – Monika Johnson:

City of Hillsboro – Tami Cockeram:

Oregon Health Authority – Beth Sanders:

City of Gresham – Sylvia Cossar:

City of Tigard – Brandi Leos:

City of Lake Oswego – Megan Phelan:

Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District  Kylie Bayer-Fertterer:

Beaverton School District – Sho Shigeoka:

Bonneville Power Administration – Maria Mondragon-Almy:

City of Tualatin – Debra Bullard:

Oregon Department of Corrections – Katie Stewart:

City of Beaverton – Matthew Halderman:

All Other – Carolyn Lee:


Portland United Against Hate: Lessons from a Community Led-Initiative and City Partnership to Combat Hate

Workshop Description

Portland is a tale of two cities; one that historically experiences a veil of privilege and protection and another which has a history of being, and continues to be, negatively targeted and selectively excluded by institutional and structural barriers. In 2016-17, hateful acts and crimes towards people of color and faith dramatically rose. In a community initiated partnership, community based organizations, faith based entities, and ONI are building a rapid response system to build capacity, train community and collect and analyze data to protect and support our communities in need in this uncertain era. The development of Portland United Against Hate provides an enlightening learning opportunity on bold, diverse, and intentional collaborations to combat hate.

Session participants will acquire these learning objectives and materials:

  • A shared knowledge of Portland past and recent hate history and its perpetrators.
  • Community engagement and focus groups best practices for communities color.
  • What communities of color are saying they need and want from their community organizations, faith centers, and government jurisdictions.
  • Advocacy; the inside and outside game.
  • What does the data tell us about hate behaviors and hate crimes.
  • What a government jurisdiction can do to support and resource systems of change in a City.
  • Receive a resource list of best practices and ways to combat and disrupt hate.

About the Presenter(s)

Linda Castillo, MS

Linda Castillo is a bilingual, bicultural first generation Latina of Mexican heritage. Her parents are from the Zacatecas and Michoacán. Born and raised in Northern California as the eldest daughter of farm workers, she was the first in her family to graduate from high school, attend college, and complete graduate school with a Masters in Clinical Psychology. Her upbringing was filled with experiences of and addressing poverty, violence, sexism, discrimination, social justice, protests in the streets for Chicano civil rights, civic engagement, community organizing, the power of resilience, authentic connection and trust building in communities of color. She is blessed to have a 26-year history working in local government in Clark and Multnomah County, as mental health consultant, program manager and director, and additional years, in nonprofits and in direct service to communities of color and managing, providing technical assistance to diverse teams who work with diverse communities in the Bay Area, Chicago and the Pacific NW. Currently, she works at the City of Portland’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement New Portlander Program whose charge is immigrant and refugee integration and equity in practice.  Last Spring, she was sworn in by Gov. Brown as a Commissioner on the Commission on Hispanic Affairs and serves as Vice Chair.  Currently, she is a board member of the Oregon Latino Agenda for Action and was key in developing the first “Latinx Institute for Public Service” Training for newly elected and appointed public service leaders.

She is a one of the founders of Latino Network, Bienestar de la Famila and other programs. She helped lead the team that developed the Communities of Color Organizational Assessment tool for Cultural Competence and has given input on the Assessing Cultural Responsiveness tool.  She has served on the Board’s of Milagro Theatre, Portland Schools Foundation/All Hands Raised and Latino Network and, for several years, as the President of MANA de Oregon, a Latina organization. Independently, she works as a diversity & equity consultant, facilitator, and mental health cultural specialist. She was in Class 7 of the Portland State Leadership Fellows Program in the Hatfield School of Government and was in Class 1 of the EMERGE Program which prepares women for elected office. As a staff member at Latino Network, she served as program manager for Unid@s Leadership and Civic Engagement Programs. She has served as co-chair, along with Lee Po Cha, of the New Portlander’s Policy Council of the City of Portland, along with a multitude of refugee and immigrant leaders, to improve the lives of our growing and diverse communities.

Originally, from Northern California, she has long ties in Portland, Oregon where she raised twin daughters and survived the life of a ‘soccer mom’.  She enjoys art, music, dance, foreign films, foodie adventures, team sports and relays. Her passion is the convergence of art, equity, and social justice. Her mission and vision is capacitating healthy community, sharing relevant education and opportunities for growth & advocacy, and effective recruitment of grass roots & grass tops leaders to take pivotal & influential roles in the determination of their own futures and that of their representative communities.

Shweta Moorthy, PhD

Shweta is the research director at the Coalition of Communities of Color. She joined the CCC in March 2016 after a three year tenure as faculty at Northern Illinois University where she conducted research on forced migration. Being an immigrant woman of color, Shweta uses a transnational lens to understand and participate in ‘local’ social justice spaces, and brings her expertise in empirical research to those conversations. She earned her Masters from Jawaharlal Nehru University, India, and her doctorate from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.




Culturally Competent Communications That is Truly Diverse and Inclusive

Workshop Description

In the face of #BlackLivesMatter, a divided election cycle, and a more diverse audience of constituents than ever before, how do public employees engage with citizens in a manner that is just,  equitable, and inclusive? Diversity and inclusion is often an afterthought, not on ongoing process in developing equity within organizations – especially in the world of marketing and communications. When “diversity” is seen as a separate area or something to be included into imagery rather than something that is embedded into all areas of the organization, the effort will never be successful. This workshop will examine successful – as well as unsuccessful attempts at creating a truly inclusive marketing practices that doesn’t isolate or tokenize diverse audiences. Case studies, personal stories, and examples of what to do/what not to do will be provided.

About the Presenter(s)

Simon Tam is an award-winning musician, author, entrepreneur, and self-proclaimed troublemaker.

He has been a performer, presenter, and keynote at TEDx, SXSW, Comic-Con, The Department of Defense, Stanford University, and over 1,200 other events across North America, Europe, and Asia. He has set a world record by appearing on the TEDx stage 12 times. He is best known as the founder and bassist of The Slants, the world’s first and only all-Asian American dance rock and anti-racism band. His work in the arts has been highlighted in over 3,000 media features across 200 countries and territories, including BBC, NPR, TIME Magazine, and Rolling Stone. He was called a champion of diverse issues by the White House and worked with President Barack Obama on a campaign to fight bullying.

Simon recently helped expand freedom of speech through winning a unanimous victory at the Supreme Court of the United States for a landmark case in constitutional and trademark law (Matal v. Tam). He designed one of the first college-accredited social media programs in the United States. Bloomberg Businessweek called him a “Social Media Rockstar.” Forbes says his resume is a “paragon of completeness.”

Recently, he was recognized as a Freedom Fighter by the Roosevelt Rough Writers, named Citizen of the Year from the Chinese American Citizens Alliance Portland Lodge, Portland Rising Star from the Light a Fire Awards, received a Distinguished Alum Award from Marylhurst University, and has earned 34 awards for his marketing campaigns work.

He is the board chair board for the APANO United Communities Fund and serves as a board member/advisor for Know Your City, Color of NOW, and the Cultural Resource Centers Advisory Council for Portland State University.




Volunteer Registration is Now Closed

Thank you for choosing to be a volunteer at this year’s conference. Please note a majority of volunteer positions will be needed for the full day of the conference.  It is critical that you verify with your superior your availability to serve this day. It is extremely difficult to replace a volunteer assignment due to a volunteer withdrawing once the position has been filled.

If you are interested in volunteering at this year’s conference, please complete the Volunteer Registration Form.

You will not be registered as a volunteer until you submit the form. Volunteer positions are limited and filled on a first-come, first-served basis.  If all positions are filled, there is a waiting list available. If you have any questions regarding volunteering at the conference, please contact Brandi Leos with the City of Tigard at

Conference Schedule

7:30 am – 1:00 pm Registration Open (Portland Ballroom Lobby)
8:00 am – 8:20 am Welcome and Opening Announcements
8:20 am – 8:30 am Ted Talk
8:45 am – 10:15 am General Sessions Period 1
8:45 am – 11:45 am Executive Sessions
10:30 am – 12:00 pm General Sessions Period 2
12:00 pm – 1:40 pm Lunch Service with Award and Keynote Speaker
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm General Sessions Period 3

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 7:30am 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.

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. May include other duties during this time.

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 25, 2017). 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.


United By Differences: Valuing Inclusive Leadership and Diversity!

Workshop Description

Change is the only constant we can count on with total certainty! In our 21st century global world, change is happening faster than ever before in history, almost overnight. This changing and diverse world must be reflective inside our departments, agencies and organizations if we are to remain relevant and equitable in our services. From county to state level, Oregon recognizes the value of preparing and equipping its citizens to become inclusive & culturally competent leaders and capitalize on the opportunities that diversity brings. To embrace and value the diversity our state, country and world have to offer, we must first embrace and value it in ourselves. It’s time to understand and live up to the reality that diversity and unity do not have to be mutually exclusive.

About the Presenter(s)

A true social entrepreneur, Lou Radja continues to work tirelessly to help individuals and teams thrive at the intersection of success & significance. A recognized and award winning Motivational Speaker and founder of Lou Radja Enterprises, Mr. Radja’s trainings on leadership, personal growth, diversity and service inspire and equip audiences around the world, to Be More and Give More. As Founder and Executive Director of EduCongo, a U.S. based nonprofit organization; Lou’s energy is also devoted to generating awareness and support to provide quality education for over 2,000 underprivileged children in the Congo. A graduate of Portland State University where he studied International Affairs with a focus on development challenges and opportunities in today’s globalized world. Lou is a member and Past President of the Portland Pearl Rotary Club, an active member of the World Affairs Council of Oregon. Lou and his wife Stacy are proud parents of two boys, Yenga and Senda!




Why You Should Do More Than Just Talk About Workplace Diversity: Getting Clear on How to Take Personal and Organizational Actions to Cultivate a More Inclusive and Welcoming Workplace

Workshop Description

Do you want to cultivate a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DEI) workplace, but find yourself struggling with where to start? Want to learn about the importance and necessity of building a more inclusive organization? Are you just generally confused about terminology and what diversity, equity, and inclusion mean? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this facilitated discussion is especially for you. Together, we will create a brave space for professionals interested in gaining greater awareness about themselves and their organizations, and to specifically understand why DEI is essential for the health and well-being of your organization, and how to cultivate it. Participants will have an opportunity to learn about and discuss what DEI means, why these concepts are important, and how to take personal and organizational actions through a mini-lecture, small-and large group activities, and a self-assessment activity. Participants that develop empathy, awareness, and skills are more effective collaborators in creating an organization that is truly inclusive of the needs of different people, communities, and ideas, which has the potential to transform your organization into one that is more welcoming and inclusive. The topics discussed work particularly well with professionals who would like to expand their knowledge and leadership skills.

About the Presenter(s)

Rhodes Perry, is an award winning social entrepreneur and a nationally recognized LGBTQ thought leader with nearly two decades of experience innovating solutions to complex LGBTQ diversity, equity, & inclusion challenges in large government, non-profit, and for-profit organizations. Rhodes is the founder and CEO of a global strategic management consultancy where he helps executives, HR, and diversity leaders build more inclusive and equitable organizations through executive coaching, mentorship, consulting, and public speaking engagements. Rhodes also hosts the podcast, The Out Entrepreneur, a weekly program offering mentorship to LGBTQ entrepreneurs, and those aspiring to take the entrepreneurial leap. Formerly, Rhodes founded the Office of LGBTQ Policy & Practice at the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, and previously served as the founding Director of Policy at PFLAG National. He cut his teeth serving as a Program Examiner at the White House Office of Management & Budget working on health and human services programs designed to support low-income communities. Rhodes earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Gender Studies from the University of Notre Dame, and a Master of Public Administration from New York University. He spends his free time bicycling world-wide and hanging out with his family in Portland, Oregon.

Rhodes Perry Consulting (RPC) is a global strategic management firm helping executives, HR, and diversity leaders build more inclusive and equitable organizations through executive coaching, mentorship, done for you consulting, and public speaking engagements. The firm is led by Rhodes Perry, an award winning social entrepreneur and a nationally recognized LGBTQ thought leader with two decades of experience innovating solutions to complex diversity, equity, & inclusion (DEI) management challenges in large government, non-profit, and for-profit organizations. RPC offers specific solutions to support leaders ready to deepen their practice around managing DEI programs and initiatives, and offers an exclusive mentorship program for HR and diversity leaders looking for results in creating more inclusive cultures for LGBTQ stakeholders



1) General Session Handout Packet


Who Talks? Who Listens? Who Decides?

Workshop Description

When a group of people gets together some people are almost automatically given respect. For example some people are allowed to finish speaking before someone else speaks. Some people’s ideas are almost automatically accepted while other people feel left out.

How can you help make sure that the ideas and contributions of everyone in your group, team or organization are treated with respect and given an equal chance? Who gets to make the rules about how decisions are made and who decides what is a good process for making decisions (what counts as “ good data” for example) and who gets to weigh in on what the final decision is?

How can an awareness of status, length of time in the organization or the profession, gender, race, language, help us to make up for old habits in our organizational lives? Old organizational habits can leave people out and missing out on hearing great ideas can hold organizations back and discourage people from trying to contribute in the future.

This session will cover some of the policies, practices and tools that anyone can use to change the ways we all participate and contribute in the workplace.

About the Presenter(s)

Alanna Hein has a training and consulting and executive coaching practice that was established in 1991. Her work focuses on valuing diversity, building high performing work teams, planning for and managing change, and conflict resolution. Her consulting clients have included: City, County and Federal government agencies, private non-profit organizations, and corporations of all sizes. Alanna taught graduate and undergraduate courses in the business and management department for many years at Marylhurst University. She has been a Director of Human Resources, and was an Auditor. Her training, consulting, and coaching are recognized as exceptionally effective, and her jokes are almost always funny.




Purifying the Poisoned Well: Changing the Consciousness of Racism

Workshop Description

If you live in a town with a single well from which to drink, and it gets poisoned, everyone is getting poisoned.  Similarly, if you live in a society with a toxic thought system, everyone will harbor it in their conscious and/or unconscious minds. The belief system of racism that enabled America’s white founders and immigrants to commit or collude with genocide, slavery and indentured servitude is passed along, both overtly and covertly, through the generations and continues to this day. This system of racist beliefs harms not only people of color, but White people as well. Public employees have an opportunity to dismantle systemic oppression in every area in which they work, by becoming agents of change. Being a change agent involves awareness of one’s own racist ideology or internalized oppression and an active commitment to change. Public employees can help their organizations become more inclusive, and ultimately more effective and innovative, by addressing their own perspectives, behaviors and relationships regarding race. This workshop is one step in a life-long journey of purifying the poisoned well.

About the Presenter(s)

Danette C. Gillespie-Otto, LCSW, is a therapist, facilitator and public speaker. She obtained a Master’s of Social Work from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, in 2000, and became licensed clinical social worker in 2007. She has worked in the areas of research, higher education, diversity training, mentoring, community mental health and private practice, quality improvement and administrative leadership. She served as the Clinical Director of the OHSU Avel Gordly Center for Healing for over 6 years, and most recently worked in the Multnomah County Mental Health and Addictions Services Division, prior to starting her own business. In her practice at Communion Counseling & Consulting, LLC, Ms. Gillespie-Otto uses interpersonal neurobiology and cognitive behavioral therapy as her primary modes of supporting clients in their journey towards well-being. Ms. Gillespie-Otto believes that deep personal transformation, embedded in caring relationships and guided by compassion, is the foundation of both personal and collective healing.




How to Talk About Race at Work

Workshop Description

This workshop will focus on how public employees can facilitate authentic and healthy conversations about race at their organizations in order to create a racially inclusive climate. It will clearly addresses the need for a common language in public service in order to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion in the public sectors. Techniques discussed include Courageous Conversation Protocols and the Racial Equity Lens Tool.

About the Presenter(s)

Phu Dao

Phu Dao works for Portland Public Schools as an Equity Training Consultant. His work centers on inter/intra racial dialogue amongst PPS central office staff. He facilitates racial discussion using Courageous Conversation About Race protocol, collaborating with staff to uncover implicit institutional implicit bias through a racial equity lens. During five years as a School Social Worker at Madison High School, he served its most vulnerable students while also creating and implementing equity-focused programs and processes. Phu has strong convictions about equity and believes courageous leaders are needed to create an inclusive environment where everyone thrives.

Matti Girardi

Matti Girardi is an Equity Training Consultant for Portland Public Schools. She provides equity-focused professional development and administrative coaching support to central office department leadership, staff, and the District’s families and community partners. Matti has extensive experience as a teacher, facilitator, administrator and lecturer, garnering awards for both her academic and professional work in social justice. She holds a BA, Honors, in Cultural Anthropology from McGill University, and an MA in Culturally & Linguistically Diverse Education from CU-Denver.



1) How to Talk About Race at Work