The Committee comprises 10 to 12 volunteers committed to engaging Portland young professionals with world affairs. Each volunteer is responsible for organizing/assisting with events and for general advancement of the program.
Controls Lead, Hyster-Yale
Besides his primary job, which involves developing control systems for automotives, Raj is involved in running an NGO in India for kids with special needs, presides over a cricket club, volunteers with refugee families, and is involved in various other shenanigans in Portland and beyond. Raj grew up in India but moved to the United States for this education in his teens and holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in electrical engineering, specializing in controls and robotics. He left the U.S. after this Master's degree to live and work overseas in Brazil, China, Germany, and the Netherlands, but currently resides in SE Portland. His interests include traveling, photography, sports, home improvement projects, and cooking.
Direct Response and Midlevel Giving Strategist, Mercy Corps
Beth joined the Young Professionals Steering Committee in 2015 after working for the World Affair Council of Oregon as its Administration, Membership and Special Events Manager. She currently works at Mercy Corps in the Resource Development department. Prior to moving to Oregon in 2014, Beth lived in Washington, DC and worked at the U.S. Department of State and the International Republican Institute, where she managed civic engagement and governance programs in Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia. Beth grew up in Arizona and has her M.A. in Social Justice and Human Rights from Arizona State University, but she will always be a Jayhawk at heart after attending the University of Kansas where she received a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology.
Development Associate, Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization
Taylor Gibson is a Development Associate at the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization, a community based organization that provides wraparound services for immigrants and refugees living in Oregon and SW Washington. Prior to joining IRCO, she spent several years working for various nonprofits, focusing on issues including gender and human rights. Taylor also serves on the board of Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, a non-profit children’s dance troupe that teaches West African dance to children in the Portland community. She has an MA in International Human Rights from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, and a BA from Alma College.
Programs Officer and Community Outreach Coordinator, African Road
Jennifer has served on the Young Professionals Steering Committee since 2012. Raised on two continents, cultural exchange has long been a part of her life. She works at African Road, a Portland-based NGO that partners with local leaders in East Africa for community-led development. Prior to African Road, she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Rwanda. Jennifer holds a BA with honors in Political Science & International Relations and Chinese from the University of Western Australia and studied abroad at Zhejiang University and the Beijing Institute of Education in China.
Senior Editor, Quantified Self
Steven Jonas joined the Young Professionals Steering Committee in 2013. He works for Quantified Self, an international collaboration of users and makers of self-tracking tools. He has given talks on his forays into self-experimentation in Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Amsterdam and Cologne. Steven became interested in international affairs as a result of memorizing country facts as a part of an experiment on optimizing memory retention and recall. Before moving to Portland in 2006, Steven was involved in filmmaking, living in New York City and Los Angeles. He interned in the creative department at the Donners’ Company, makers of the X-Men movies, and was nominated for an Emmy for his work as an editor at Major League Baseball. He holds a BA in English and is from Cottonwood, a small town in northern California.
District Staff, Congressman Earl Blumenauer, U.S. House of Representatives
Jason Little has been a member of the World Affairs Council of Oregon, Young Professionals Steering Committee since 2011. Previous to joining the Steering Committee he was a Council intern and volunteer. Prior to working for Congressman Earl Blumenauer, Jason worked for the Portland Business Alliance, Portland’s regional chamber of commerce, where he coordinated membership development and engagement strategies. A graduate of Wilson High School, Jason is a native Portlander. He attended Linfield College, obtaining a B.A. in business marketing.
Owner, Sol Lento, LLC
Michael was born in Portland, raised in Southern Italy around the city of Lecce, and moved back to Oregon in ’97 to complete his higher education studies in International Business and Marketing. He spent most of his professional career at Intel, approximately 13 years in various roles and in recent times he transitioned to be the owner of Sol Lento, LLC a small business specialized in Southern Italian cuisine. In his spare time Michael enjoys reading philosophy, sailing and helping the WAC's YP steering committee.
Development Associate, Robert Glavin, Inc.
Libby is a development consultant for nonprofit organizations. She holds BAs in Anthropology and Public Health from the University of Rochester, and spent a semester studying international health and development at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. She has worked with medical NGOs in Uganda, Guatemala, and Cambodia. She previously interned as the Volunteer Coordinator with the World Affairs Council before joining the Steering Committee in 2015.
Digital Inclusion Manager, NTEN
Leana is passionate about connecting marginalized communities to the tools and resources that can empower them, which is a perfect fit for her current role at NTEN. Previously, Leana was the Digital Action Campaign Manager for World Pulse, where she developed international initiatives aimed at delivering grassroots women leaders' testimonies and visions to influential forums. She is an international development professional, who has recently relocated back to the Pacific Northwest after 7 years working in Latin America for the non-profit, academic, and government sectors. Leana is experienced in designing and managing international cooperation programs in areas ranging from poverty alleviation and social entrepreneurship to volunteer exchange. A native of Ukraine, she speaks Russian, English, Spanish, and Portuguese, and holds a BA in Spanish and Latin American Studies from Pitzer College, as well as an MA in International Studies from the University of Chile.
Senior Budget Analyst, Multnomah County
Before joining the County, Jeff helped to found an economics research center at Portland State University where he worked on projects related to carbon pricing, property taxes, and the intersection of economics and public policy. Jeff received an MS in Economics from Portland State University and an undergraduate degree from Santa Clara University in Politics and Philosophy. He has lived and worked in England, China, and South Africa and continues to travel as often as he can. In his free time, he enjoys running and reading, is a dedicated urban cyclist, and brews beer with his father and brothers, but spends most of his time goofing off with his wife and son. Jeff runs the YP Discussion Group and regularly hosts International Visitor Program dinners at his home.
Development Assistant, Oregon Community Foundation
Jackie graduated from the University of Puget Sound with a degree in International Political Economy. After working as a Legislative Aide for a state Representative, she joined the World Affairs Council in 2011 serving first as Office and Membership Manager. During her time at the Council, Jackie coordinated events which included some of the world’s leading international figures. In 2014 Jackie transitioned into work as the Council’s Development Officer and Manager of Events, working alongside the Vice President to broaden the Council’s donor base and develop its strategy. Since March of 2015, Jackie has worked as a Development Assistant at the Oregon Community Foundation, an organization that works with individuals, families, businesses and organizations to create charitable funds to support the community causes they care about.