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Announcing this Year’s Winner of the Robert Phillips Regional Diversity Award


Victoria Cross

Multnomah County Health Department

Since she started working in Health Department in 2000, Victoria Cross has worked to link immigrant and refugee employees, as well as immigrant and refugee communities, to Multnomah County programs that serve them.

Born in Russia, Victoria graduated from the Moscow State University of Culture with a B.A. in Library & Information Science, and a minor in Nursing.  She was chief librarian for the central library in a large Russian city.  She also worked in a joint training center involving the Former Soviet Union, the United States, and various countries of Europe, Asia and Africa.

Victoria moved to Oregon in 1998 with her husband, Richard, and her daughter, Olga. She quickly realized that reading American literature and watching American movies and television shows can only educate immigrants so much about what is in store for them in the Amercian workforce.  Refugees and other displaced people often experience hardships adjusting to their new culture, particularly at work. They face language gaps, along with different rules and customs.

In 2011 Victoria founded, and remains the Chair of, the Multnomah County Employee Resource Group for Immigrants and Refugees.  The group’s purpose is to identify challenges and opportunities faced by this diverse cohort; advance their knowledge about the American workforce and its culture; assist the group’s members in achieving their full potential through career development, celebrations, education, and mutual support; provide Multnomah County with a critical linkage to the diverse communities from which these employees come; and help prepare Multnomah County to meet future needs of this diverse workforce.

In June 2014, her Employee Resource Group won an Achievement Award from National Association of Counties for creating safe space for immigrants and refugees employed by Multnomah County, enabling them to share experiences, support and suggest opportunities to improve their experience in the workforce. The group is the first of its kind in the United States and it serves as a teaching tool for other counties to increase awareness about immigrant and refugee experiences in a work environment, as well as out in the community.

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.

Partnering Agencies:  Multnomah County, City of Portland, Clackamas County, City of Hillsboro, Portland Development Commission, Washington County, Metro, Clark County, Portland Public Schools, Home Forward, Department of Environmental Quality, Port of Portland, the Oregon Lottery®, City of Beaverton, Oregon Health Authority, TriMet, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, Bonneville Power Administration and Portland State University.

Download this year’s Robert Phillips Award Letter.


Past Recipients


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 is Now Closed


To view your registration confirmation visit:

Enter the appropriate information in the “Already Registered?” box on the lower left hand side of the page. To locate your ID number refer to the email confirmation that was sent at the time of registration.

Note: Registration for the NWPEDC is only 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 – Rasheeda Webber:

Clackamas County – Emmett Wheatfall:

City of Portland – Snow Buchanan:

Portland Development Commission – Wendy Wilcox:

Washington County – Michaelyn Seals:

Metro – Jan Jung:

Clark County – Harold Rains:

Portland Public Schools – Robin Mack:

Department of Environmental Quality – Sid Moore:

Home Forward – Martha Armstrong:

Port of Portland – Dorothy Clingman:

Oregon Lottery – Kim Nelson:

TriMet – Nina Jones:

City of Hillsboro – Tami Cockeram:

Oregon Health Authority – Helen Hoang:

City of Beaverton – Nancy Bates:

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue – Tina Quintal:

Bonneville Power Administration – Lidia Somilleda:

Portland State University – Sara Saltzberg:

All Other – Carolyn Lee:


Executive Session: Succession Planning for the Diverse Workforce of the Future

Executive Session Description

Public sector agencies face a common and daunting challenge—the wave of Baby Boomer retirements—potentially leading to loss of institutional knowledge and unfilled critical positions. But this challenge also creates an unprecedented opportunity to re-imagine the diverse workforce that public sector agencies need to serve our multicultural communities. This reimaging includes pro-active strategies and noticeable shifts in organizational culture to realize these ideals. It’s no secret to those of us living in the northwest there are multiple challenges to hiring and retaining a racially diverse workforce. How then do we identify and surmount these challenges?

In this three-hour Executive Session with Caprice Hollins, Psy.D. of Cultures Connecting, participants will identify their succession planning needs and challenges and exchange promising strategies to create the diverse workforce of the future. Three major areas will be explored: organizational readiness for a more diverse workforce; recruiting and interviewing diverse candidates; creating an inclusive and welcoming work environment.

About the Facilitator

Dr. Hollins, co-founder of Cultures Connecting, LLC received her doctorate degree in clinical psychology with an emphasis in multicultural and community psychology in 1998 and became licensed in Washington State in 2000. She has over 14 years of experience teaching graduate courses, working with historically marginalized populations, researching, studying, and facilitating race related conversations. Her experience includes opening and directing the Department of Equity & Race Relations for Seattle Public Schools, developing and implementing district-wide and school-based trainings, while utilizing her background in psychology to assist district leaders and staff, institutionalize change to promote equity and social justice. She currently serves as a part time core faculty in the counseling psychology department at The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology.



Visual Facilitation

Provided by Nitya Wakhlu of Drawbridge Innovations LLC –












2014 NWPEDC Agenda and Workshops


7:30 am – 1:00 pm        Registration Open (Portland Ballroom Lobby)

8:00 am – 8:30 am        Welcome and Opening Announcements (Portland Ballroom)

8:45 am – 10:15 am      Workshop Period 1

8:45 am – 11:45 am      Executive Session (By Invitation Only, Portland Ballroom 252)

10:30 am – 12:00 pm    Workshop Period 2

12:00 pm – 1:45 pm      Lunch Service with Award and Keynote Speaker (Portland Ballroom)

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm       Workshop Period 3


EXECUTIVE SESSION (By Invitation Only)

The Executive Session is limited to invited elected officials, executives, department and bureau directors.

Workshop Period 1 through 2:  8:45 am – 11:45 am Portland Ballroom 252

Succession Planning for the Diverse Workforce of the Future – Caprice Hollins, Psy.D., Cultures Connecting


WORKSHOP PERIOD 1: 8:45 AM – 10:15 AM

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Well-Being – Page2Stage Express (Touring Wing of Jewish Theatre Collaborative)

CELs as Your Outreach Go-To-Guys – Ronault Catalani, City of Portland

Equitable Outreach + Engagement = Really Representative Community – Multnomah County Citizen Involvement Committee, Jenn Burleton, Founder and Executive Director of TransActive Gender Center and Lee Po Cha, Associate Director of IRCO and Director of Asian Family Center

Diversity 101 – How Did We Get to this Place; and Where are We Going? – Donny Adair, Donny Adair Consulting

A Fair Chance for All: Housing and Employment – Patty Katz and Pegge McGuire, Oregon Action and Fair Housing Council of Oregon

Race, Bias and Dissonance: Understanding How They Intersect With Inequity – Greg Taylor, Community Connection Consulting

The Power of Mentoring – Cindy Fritz and Elizabeth Higley, 4Results Mentoring at Columbia River Mental Health Services

Developing Formal Tools to Further Equity in Public Transit – Jake Warr, TriMet


WORKSHOP PERIOD 2: 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Well-Being – Page2Stage Express (Touring Wing of Jewish Theatre Collaborative)

Keeping it Practical: Three Equity in Practice Model Partnerships – Ronault Catalani, City of Portland

Pathways to Allyship: How and Why to Ally – Alanna Hein, Hein Consulting Group

Diversity 101 – How Did We Get to this Place; and Where are We Going? – Donny Adair, Donny Adair Consulting

To Affinity and Beyond! – Rasheeda Webber and Sonja Hendrix, Multnomah County

Race, Bias and Dissonance: Understanding How They Intersect With Inequity – Greg Taylor, Community Connection Consulting

Codeswitching and the Language of Social Media: How to Develop Culturally Competent Communications – Simon Tam, The Slants LLC

The Native American Mascot Issue Local and National Movement – Sam Sachs – The No Hate Zone, Seahdom Edmo – Shoshone-Bannock, Nez Perce, Yakama, Jacqueline Keeler – Navajo/Yankton Dakota Sioux


WORKSHOP PERIOD 3: 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Equity 101 – City of Portland Equity Framework Basics – Koffi Dessou, City of Portland

From Seclusion/Exploitation to Inclusion: Developmental Disabilities Past and Future – Mary Strehlow and Darla Helt, Clark County

Viva la Differances! How You Can Apply the Principles of Effective Communication and Negotiation to Enable Deeper Understanding Across Race, Gender, Age, and Sexual Orientation – Karen M. O’Keefe, Advanced Negotiation Strategies and Jill Nelson, The INUS Group, LLC

Mentorship for Personal Mastery, Cultural Agility, and Organizational Moxie – Yvonne Chang, Yvonne Chang Consulting

The Equity Issues of the Future: Understanding Inclusivity, Deep Identity and Invisible Culture – Shariff Abdullah, Commonway Institute

Building Community: An Equitable and Inclusive Approach – Cat Goughnour, Radix Consulting Group, LLC and Stephanie McBride, Resolutions Northwest

Internalized Sexism and White Privilege: White Women’s Position in Equity Work – Ilsa Govan, Cultures Connecting

Learning from Each Other: a Discussion about Inclusion at Work – Multnomah County Health Department Diversity and Quality Team



















Learning from Each Other: a Discussion about Inclusion at Work

Workshop Description

Popular education is an educational approach that collectively and critically examines everyday experiences and raises consciousness for organizing and movement building, acting on injustices with a political vision in the interests of the most marginalized.~ Paulo Freire

Popular education comes from Latin America where popular means “of the people.” Popular education is based on the idea that, no matter our occupation and level of formal education, we all know a great deal as a result of our life experience. It is a proven approach to engage individuals with the understanding that regardless of what our differences are, we can embrace and respect each other’s knowledge, background, culture and skills. Because we are a result of our own unique experiences, we can learn from one another. Our workshop will demonstrate the benefits of Popular Education in which participants engage with each other and the facilitators to reflect on the issues of inclusion in their workplace.

About the Presenter(s)

The Diversity and Quality Team (DQT) of Multnomah County Health Department is a voluntary committee composed of a broad-representation from across various levels of the Health Department. The group monitors the progress of the Health Department’s strategies around diversity, quality and equity, makes recommendations on Health Department policies, programs and initiatives and supports the development of an increasingly culturally competent Health Department workforce. Members serve on DQT for a two-year term.


  • Facilitate Health Department understanding of diversity, quality, equity and cultural competence
  • Lead or participate in cross-functional work teams that use outcome-based goals to promote the Department’s values of diversity, quality, equity and cultural competence
  • Evaluate department-wide measures of achievement, as needed or requested, toward realizing the Health Department’s core values of diversity and quality
  • Promote a diverse representation of talent and foster the development of such talent at all levels in the department
  • Establish and maintain a culture within the Health Department in which differing points of view are sought out, heard, and respected in which diversity is valued and appreciated
  • Leverage the diversity with the Team to drive creativity in design, implementation, and support of all DQT activities
  • Cultivate relationships with county and non-county groups to support diversity and quality



Mentorship for Personal Mastery, Cultural Agility, and Organizational Moxie

Workshop Description

This workshop introduces a new framework for thinking about and practicing mentorship. It is a framework that has particular resonance for people of color because it emphasizes three areas of development that emerging minority-culture leaders need in particular: personal mastery, cultural agility and organizational moxie.

The workshop will empower participants to understand and begin to experience and reflect on this framework through two main phases of activity. The first phase will consist of an interactive presentation, with visual support, on the content of the framework itself. This will shed light on distinctive focus areas, functions, structure and methods of mentorship and how these elements relate specifically to the needs of emerging leaders within minority-culture communities.

The second main phase of the workshop will center on activities in which the participants step into the framework and apply it to their own career experience and their current workplace. The activities in phase two will anchor to the framework introduced during phase one and will highlight both the challenges and potential of mentorship in culturally diverse settings.

About the Presenter(s)

Yvonne Chang is a radiant power coach who brings cultural sensitivity to coaching professionals on two continents who seek to access their full potential so that they can lead with confidence and presence. Yvonne’s approach gives her clients a whole new lens to discover their unlimited self and enlarge their professional capacities. Yvonne’s programs reflects her own experience as a Chinese-American growing up in the Bay Area followed by two

decades living and working in The Netherlands, where she founded the Executive Human Development & Leadership School for executives and young professionals at management consulting firm, KOAN B.v. Working with women of color and other historically marginalized groups is especially important and gratifying to Yvonne. Her cultural roots hold the example of her great grandfather, who helped lead the Chinese Nationalist Revolution. Yvonne’s quiet revolution for deep change is expressed through her devotion to each client’s fullest empowerment as they stand for their highest dreams.

Her background includes experience as a professional dancer and business executive, a M.A. in Transpersonal Psychology & Eco-psychology, certification as a Pathwork® counseling Helper and a The Natural StepTM facilitator, plus intense studies in Feminine PowerTM. As an active member and consultant to the Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce of Portland and SW Washington, Yvonne is heading up a new initiative, “Women of Color Empowerment Series: Purpose-Driven Practices,” and has recently served as a facilitator at the 2014 API Cultural Awareness Workshop. You will also find her contributing to many groups and their programs locally such as the League of United Latin American Citizens of Southwest Washington, ASTRA Women’s Business Alliance, Pivot Job Corps, Connecting Communities Coalition’s Leadership Academy and Her Financial Way’s education series. Yvonne brings a richly holistic background to her coaching and training, and feels privileged to have earned the trust of many clients, of different ages, cultures, genders, and occupations. Yvonne Chang Consulting is based in Portland, Oregon, USA. Yvonne is pleased to offer her services locally, regionally, and internationally.


Mentorship for PersonalMastery,CulturalAgility&OrganizationalMoxie-Worksheet


Viva la Differances! How You Can Apply the Principles of Effective Communication and Negotiation to Enable Deeper Understanding Across Race, Gender, Age, and Sexual Orientation

Workshop Description

One of the beautiful things about the world we live in is a richness in our diversity. We all have different perspectives on life and work based on our experiences, the way we were raised, our race, gender, age, and sexual orientation. While we celebrate our diversity we often find that our differences can create barriers to understanding each other. The Viva la Differances! workshop prepares attendees with communication and negotiation skills and techniques that allow you to cut through barriers to help develop leaders and strong teams. Effective Communication = Inclusion

About the Presenter(s)

Karen M. O’Keefe is the founder and president of Advanced Negotiation Strategies, a management consulting firm helping companies achieve competitive advantage by improving their organization’s negotiation performance. She works with executives, business owners and their teams in the development of overall negotiation strategy, to prepare and plan for negotiations, and to build managers’ negotiation skills through custom training.

Prior to launching her firm Ms. O’Keefe enjoyed a successful 25 year career with several large manufacturing firms where she held operations and financial responsibility for performance in the logistics, transportation, and supply chain functions managing a multi-million dollar logistics spend.

Ms. O’Keefe negotiated contracts with providers of international and domestic services to support the long and short range goals of the firms where she worked. It was during this time that she recognized the value of the mutual gains approach to negotiation. From this real world experience and based on this philosophy she created the Negotiate~With~Confidence System ™, a 5-step process that ensures great deal design and personal and company-wide negotiation performance.

Ms. O’Keefe is a professional member of the Institute of Management Consultants and the International Association of Contract and Commercial Management. In the past she has served in leadership roles for the Electronics Manufacturers Association, the National Association of Rail Shippers, the Pacific Northwest Association of Rail Shippers, and the Oregon Ports Advisory Committee.

She is a volunteer Business Advisor for the Albina Opportunities Corporation, a non-profit Community Development Financial Institution that provides loans to small business owners. For the past three years Ms. O’Keefe has had the pleasure of serving as a volunteer judge in the Lewis & Clark Law School negotiation competition. She also served as a volunteer Arbitrator for the Better Business Bureau.

Jill Nelson is a business coach and consultant. Prior to founding The INUS Group, LLC Ms. Nelson worked as a management consultant and in managerial capacities for companies in several different industries. She has served on numerous not for profit boards in executive capacities. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Portland Area Business Association, the LGBT Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Nelson holds an MBA from Drake University in Des Moines, IA and a Masters of Divinity from St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, MO. She is trained in relationship and organizational systems coaching.




The Native American Mascot Issue Local and National Movement

Workshop Description

This workshop will give a history of the use of Native American Mascots in Oregon and on a National Level. Since the early 1970’s there has been a movement to eliminate the use of Native American Mascots in schools k-12, College programs and in the professional sports teams. In 2012 Oregon became the first state to eliminate the use of these images and names in high schools, making the Oregon Board of Education’s decision the strictest in the country. In 2014 The Oregon Legislation overturned the Board decision through Senate Bill 1509.

About the Presenter(s)

Sam Sachs has served as a Human Rights Commissioner for the City of Portland Or since 2013. He currently is the Chair of the Human Rights Commissions Nominating Committee and Chair of The Community Police and Relations Committee.

Mr. Sachs graduated from Portland State University with a degree in Black Studies. During his senior year at PSU Sam served as an intern in the Oregon State Legislature for former Oregon State Senator Avel Louise Gordly. In 2009 Sachs successfully lobbied the Oregon State Legislature to pass a landmark bill, House Bill 3118 or “The Rooney Rule” which requires the interviewing of at least one qualified minority applicant when hiring a head coach or athletic director at any of the Oregon State funded university’s.

In 2012 Sam became involved in the efforts to eliminate the use Of Native American Mascots in all Oregon K-12 Schools. Mr. Sachs has worked closely with members of the Native American community and its Organizations to successfully lobby the Oregon Board of Education to vote 5-1 to eliminate the use of Native American Mascots by 2017. He has been an instructor of Diversity with The Department of Public Safety Standards and Training and presented at  National Caucus of Black Legislators conference, and presented at the City of Portland Diversity Conference in the past.





Codeswitching and the Language of Social Media: How to Develop Culturally Competent Communications

Workshop Description

In the current age of instant communication, it’s all-too easy to treat our communication tools the same: email, social media, websites, blogs, press releases…we often forget that each of these have their own best practices to get a message across.

The same idea applies when developing culturally competent communications, except that we need to be even more sensitive to how our communication tools can help or hurt our efforts in equity. From font types to choosing images and phrasing, this panel will teach techniques to become better communicators, especially with social media.

Several case studies of public institutions – colleges, city planning committees, law enforcement, etc. – will be included to show the strengths and weaknesses of our online and offline tools. You’ll learn how to create more effective and more equitable messages to better serve your constituents

About the Presenter(s)

“Marketing Rockstar” with over a decade in marketing, brand management, entrepreneurship, and public relations. Featured by TIME Magazine, NPR, BBC, CBS, MTV, The Oregonian, USA Today, and thousands more for marketing strategy, community outreach, and leadership expertise.

Simon Tam



To Affinity and Beyond!

Workshop Description

To Affinity and Beyond is a workshop that will explain the benefits of having employee resource groups in the professional workplace. It will talk more in depth about Multnomah County’s ten employee resource groups, highlighting their remarkable successes, strengths, and challenges. At the end of this workshop, participants will be confident in having the right tools and tips to create successful employee resource groups in their workplace.

About the Presenter(s)

Rasheeda Webber is the Employee Resource Group (ERG) Coordinator in Multnomah County’s Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE). She maintains the ten actively diverse ERG’s that Multnomah County has. Her day to day work functions include scheduling, facilitation, event planning, participating in community events, Lunch & Learn assistance, and other assignments as they come. As an active employee, Rasheeda has been seen around different departments; presenting at board meetings, new employee orientations, job fairs, in the county’s newsletter, and various events. Last October, she attended the ERG Conference in Washington D.C and has been able to create new solutions for maintaining ERGs.

Before coming to the county, Rasheeda worked as a human resources assistant at Kaiser Permanente and as a pharmacy technician at two major retail pharmacy chains. She is the recipient of Portland State University’s Diversity Scholarship, President’s Equal Access Scholarship, and is currently enrolled in Trio at PSU. Her focus is on marketing, advertising, and design management. In addition to her work as a full-time student and employee at the county, she gives back to her community and volunteers for Hands on Portland.

Favorite Martin Luther King Jr Quote- “Almost always the creative, dedicated minority has made the world better.”

Sonja Hendrix has been a Multnomah County Employee for the past 13 years, who started working in the Health Department as a favor to a friend “for one week only”.  As luck would have it she was hired permanently in 2005, following the birth of her son James.  After working as an office assistant/receptionist, and back up assistant to the Department Director in the Director’s office for a couple of years, she moved to Business Services to assist the Deputy Director of Operations as her Administrative Assistant.

Sonja has been a member of the Employees of Color (EOC) Employee Resource Group (ERG) for the past three years, where she has taken on the role as this ERG’s recording secretary.  In this role she has been able to participate in many county cultural events, some of them sponsored by EOC and some sponsored by other ERG’s.   Sonja is a strong advocate for EOC’s mentorship plan and in building dialogues with the Office of Diversity and Equity to ensure a countywide use of the Equity and Empowerment Lens with a Racial Justice Focus.  Sonja double majored in Psychology and Sociology and has an interest in not only what makes individuals do and say what they do, but also “group-think” in general.  She is always analyzing and evaluating the dynamics of the relationships around her at the Health Department.  She is always looking to change things for the better.