Staff Advisory Board

The Center for Women’s Leadership’s success is driven by the tireless efforts of many people including volunteers, donors, grant recipients and the community at large. These efforts are guided through the work and dedication of our Advisory Board and our staff.


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Teresa Alonso León MPA

State Representative, District 22

What roles have you experienced in your life that meant the most to you, and why?

In my family took on the role of interpreter, translator, financial advisor, and much, much more in addition to the title of “daughter.”

The additional responsibilities I had as a child often weren’t easy, but they did teach me how to advocate for myself and the people that I care about at a very young age.

 
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Alison Arella

Corporate Social Responsibility, Cambia Health Solutions

Why is it important for you to be on the board of the Center for Women’s Leadership?

I don’t just want to talk about doing something, I actually want to do something! Being engaged on the board at CWL gives me an opportunity to put change into action by supporting the next generation of female leaders. 

 
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Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici

Congresswoman, 
Oregon's 1st Congressional District

When making a challenging decision about a future opportunity, how do you prepare?

When I make a challenging decision about a future opportunity, I prepare by reading and learning as much as possible. I try to weigh advantages and disadvantages, and always strive to consider every possibility. And importantly, I have conversations with family, friends, and if a professional or career opportunity, with co-workers. It's usually impossible to be 100% sure about a decision, but the more I learn and discuss, the more I am confident with what I decide.

 
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Brenda Buratti

Director of Creative Services & Programming, KGW Media Group

What's the best advice you've gotten, or you would give, that has made a difference in your life?

I’ve received came very early in my career from my mother.  She told me to act as though you already have your next opportunity. Dress as though you’ve got it. Speak as though you’ve got it.  Project an image of confidence in everything you do. I’ve used this advice to guide my actions throughout life.

 
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Nicole Frisch

Senior Director, Community Engagement, First Tech Community Credit

What's the best advice you've gotten, or you would give, that has made a difference in your life?

Stop leading from behind – and start leading from the front. What that means is get out of the weeds and stop micro-managing (at work, in your personal life, wherever); instead lead with your vision and values. Leading from the front is freeing – when you’re true to yourself and trust your gut, you’ll be surprised at the things you can achieve.

 
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Michelle Giguere

Partner, Summit Strategies

Ms. Giguere has 35 years of experience in government affairs and has delivered strong results for a wide range of private and public sector clients.  As a founding partner of Summit Strategies LLC, she provides strategic advice and outcome-oriented plans to Summit’s diverse set of clients.  She plays a lead role coordinating projects that relate to House and Senate appropriations, public works, transportation and infrastructure, economic development and local, regional and state governments in Oregon and Washington. 

 
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Rachel Gowland

Fundraiser, Hilltop Public Solutions

What's the best advice you've gotten, or you would give, that has made a difference in your life?

Don't take the challenging times as a sign that you're not meant to lead. Understand that these moments are actually your teachers. It's my personal belief that if you envision a particular future for yourself, life will the throw specific obstacles in your path meant to shape you for that future. Keep going.

 
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Carrie Hinton Ritchie

Owner, Good & Gold Marketing

What's the best advice you've gotten, or you would give, that has made a difference in your life?

My mother told me at a young age, “The definition of insanity is doing the same things and expecting different results.” Meaning, if you want something different out of life you need to change the way you are doing things. That thinking has been a key component  in some of the most pivotal and rewarding changes in my life.

 
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Jane Paulson

Partner, Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC

What's the best advice you've gotten, or you would give, that has made a difference in your life?

I don’t know if it is the best piece of advice, but it is one of the most important things to learn to be successful: The idea that “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” and that it is okay, and actually essential, to fail sometimes. I have always held onto the story about Babe Ruth and his saying of “never let the fear of striking out hold you back.” Babe Ruth had the record for the most home runs in a season (1935, until Hank Aaron broke it in 1974), but few people know he also set the record for the most strike outs in a season (1923 — when he batted .393 and 41 home runs — a record he held until 1964 when it was broken by Mickey Mantle).

 
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Annette Price

Director of Government Affairs, Pacific Power

What's the best advice you've gotten, or you would give, that has made a difference in your life?

The best advice I’ve gotten that has made the biggest difference in my life was from my parents. Here it is in a nutshell: 1. Be respectful 2. Be kind 3. Be present for others 4. Do the right thing, even when no one is looking 5. Make time 6. Be a mentor 7. Set an example 8. Give, even the smallest of jobs, your all 9. Laugh 10. And, most important, love.

 
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Commissioner Loretta Smith

Commissioner, Multnomah County

Smith graduated from Oregon State University in 1987 with a communications degree, and began working as a staff member for then-U.S. Rep. Ron Wyden. She continued to work for now-Sen. Wyden as his Multnomah County field representative until her election to the county Board of Commissioners in 2010. During her term on the county Board of Commissioners, Smith has put her passion for helping young women and men into practice by leading the Summer Youth Connect program and organizing an anti-bullying summit at Grant High School. 

 
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Barbara Spencer

Chair, Oregon Commission for Women

What's the best advice you've gotten, or you would give, that has made a difference in your life?

A frame on my desk tells me “You are exactly where you should be.  You are doing exactly what you should be doing.” After a lifetime of bridging my personal and professional lives with its ups and downs, it reminds me not to be afraid of choices, to take risks but also to be at peace with decisions.

 
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Bobbi Stedman

Chief Administrative & Equity Officer, Port of Portland

What person influenced you the most in your leadership style?

I’ve worked with some great leaders in my career, and one that was not-so-great, and I have been influenced by all their leadership styles.  Ross McMullin, the past-President of adidas-America taught me about leading with grace in the face of unimaginable adversity. He touched so many lives in his short 48 years.

 
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Kellie Torres

Business Development & Strategy, Portland Parks & Recreation

Why is it important for you to be on the board of the Center for Women’s Leadership?

Nearly every leadership role I’ve had—from my teens to now—has been championed and supported by other women. I feel impassioned to effectively continue this cycle. Unity in support of impactful individuals is important and gratifying work. The Center for Women’s Leadership board connects me with diverse women in my community with a similar mindset and intention.

 
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Anne Udall

CEO, Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette

What's the best advice you've gotten, or you would give, that has made a difference in your life?

"Watch your feet."  The moment I heard that, the lightbulb went off. It is not what I say, it's what I Do.  What are my actions?  Do my word and actions reflect what is important or meaningful?  My actions are the best indicator of what is most important to me--my values and beliefs.  

 
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Dr. Constance Tucker

Vice Provost of Educational Improvement and Innovation, OHSU

What person influenced you the most in your leadership style?

 My grandfather, William Jones, was a Buffalo Soldier and prisoner of war (POW) in the Korean War.  He influenced my leadership by being an example of a humble servant leader.  As a Buffalo Soldier, the mottos of “we can and we will” kept him alive as a POW and “ready forward” influenced his career as an entrepreneur meeting the needs of his community.  As I lead, I hope to follow his example of perseverance in difficult situations, creative solutions when problems seem too complex, and a willingness to humbly serve all.

 
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Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson

Commissioner, Multnomah County District Three

When making a challenging decision about a future opportunity, how do you prepare?

I make sure to reach out to some key friends, mentors, and family members for advice and perspective. I always consider the impact the decision will have on my kids. And I reflect on what opportunity will bring the most joy and purpose to my life – after all, we’ve only got on shot to live it right!

 
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Lisa Watson

Deputy Director, Our House Of Portland

When making a challenging decision about a future opportunity, how do you prepare?

When I have a tough decision to make, I follow this process:

Get somewhere where I can be alone, no distractions, phone calls, or interruptions. I close my eyes and make one decision with all my heart, then live in it in my imagination and get really aware of how I feel. Then I do the same thing with my other option(s). The right decision becomes clear.

 
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Pia Wilson-Body

President, Intel Foundation / Director, Corporate Affairs Group - Greater Americas

What's the best advice you've gotten, or you would give, that has made a difference in your life?

A quote from Maya Angelou has stuck with me during my life’s journey “ When you learn, teach and when you get, give.”  It’s important to me to pay it forward, the returns are tremendous.