A graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, Elizabeth started her career at Population Services International (PSI) in Washington, DC. While there, she worked on a variety of social marketing projects for malaria prevention, clean water and HIV/AIDS prevention in the developing world.
Elizabeth earned a Master’s of International Affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) in 2001. She then devoted the next five years in the pharmaceutical industry at Bristol-Myers Squibb. As Product Manager in the company’s Virology Division, she marketed HIV/AIDS products in the United States. She successfully led the development and execution of marketing, training and public relations tactics for Reyataz, a leading protease inhibitor for HIV/AIDS. She was also responsible for leading the Virology Division’s Women’s Initiative and African American Initiative to better understand and address the impact of HIV/AIDS on these populations.
Elizabeth relocated to her hometown Portland, Oregon, in 2006 with her husband and two daughters and has held non-profit management positions at two organizations. Most recently, as the Vice President of Community Relations at Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia Northwest, she led all of the agency’s marketing, public relations and communications. Prior to this she served as the Executive Director of Marathon Education Partners, a Portland-based non-profit that seeks to improve low-income children’s awareness of and access to college.
Through her previous experiences, Elizabeth brings strong nonprofit management and marketing skills to her new role. In all facets of her career, she has demonstrated an ability to work successfully with numerous stakeholders and to achieve quick, yet sustainable results. Most importantly, she is driven by a passion to do what she can to make this world a better place for children, especially girls.
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Helen Cotton-Leiser, Director of Development
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Carolyn Manke, Director of Programs
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Megan Kovacs, Director of Community Relations
Megan joins Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest as Director of Community Relations after more than a decade working in Portland-area non-profits to promote social justice, sexual and reproductive health, gender equity, and prevent dating and sexual violence. Megan served for 4 years as chairs of the Multnomah County Family Violence Coordinating Council's Prevention and Public Awareness Committee and the Attorney General's Sexual Assault Task Force's Prevention and Education Committee. She sits on the Oregon Youth Sexual Health Partnership, and the Legislative and Public Policy Committee of the SATF. In 2015, she was awarded the Judge Stephen B. Herrell award for Outstanding Collaborative Efforts to End Family Violence. In her spare time, Megan serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for Bitch Media, and volunteers on the Northwest Abortion Access Fund hotline.
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Kit Stuber, Operations Coordinator
Kit Lorraine Stuber has been active in service work in Portland since 2001. Her passions for social justice and the well-being of women and girls arise from what she personally encountered growing up female, queer, working class and as a first generation college graduate. A graduate of Portland State University’s Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) Program, Kit focused much of her research and learning on affirming and reinforcing the strengths embodied by LGBTQQ homeless youth in Portland. The WGSS Program also provided Kit with the opportunity to critically reflect on her socialization so as to recognize her own areas of internalized oppression and begin to expunge them.
The professional positions Kit has held revolve around health and wellness, music and education, and increasing access to these resources in under-served communities. For five years, she worked at Ethos Music Center, a non-profit dedicated to the promotion of music and music based education. Additionally, she volunteered as a trained birth doula supporting women during labor. To be invited to perform this critical role is a great honor and has served to further empower her. Kit has also been a volunteer with p:ear, Artists For The Arts, Bark, Oregon NARAL, Oregon Nursing Mother’s Counsel. Kit is committed to informing herself and others of the intricacies of socio-economic status, race, gender, sexual orientation, and additional factors which influence the well-being of women, girls and all people with diverse backgrounds and identities.
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Dorian Volpe, Executive Assistant
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Ellen Walkley, Grants Manager
Ellen Walkley is pleased to contribute to Girls Inc.’s mission of making girls strong, smart and bold. Since moving to Portland, she has written grants for the Community Justice Corps, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Centro Cultural of Washington County, In Mulieribus, and the Milwaukee Museum, among other social service and arts organizations. In other guises, she is an editor, lecturer, and dramaturg.
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Tara Porchia, Volunteer Engagement Coordinator
After serving two years in AmeriCorps with Campus Compact of Oregon, Tara was propelled onto a career path of creating a more equitable and just society for all of its members. Building on her educational background in Intersectional Feminism, Tara seeks to close the opportunity gap for historically oppressed groups through education and youth empowerment. She firmly believes that community service and civic engagement are powerful and necessary tools in achieving social justice, and so she is deeply committed to recruiting passionate and dedicated volunteers in order to empower and embolden the girls in Girls Inc. programs. In her spare time, Tara volunteers for a number of causes such as reproductive rights, immigrant and refugee rights, and the movement for black lives.
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Lakia Davis, Eureka! Program Manager
Lakia grew up in the Bay Area. She is the second member in her family (after her mother) to grow up participating in a Girls Inc. program of Alameda County, CA. It was a place in which she could go after school and in the summer to meet new people and grow as an individual. She moved to Southern California and gained her Bachelor's in Psychology and Dance. She carries a Master's in Clinical Psychology with an LGBT-affirmative emphasis and is interested in working so that all are treated with equity. Prior to this position, Lakia was involved in political campaigns and social justice movements. She is excited to inspire girls to be strong, smart, and bold!
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Eileen Schmidt, SW Washington Manager
A native of Colorado, Eileen brings a diverse cross-cultural background in business, education and nonprofits, with a strong passion for helping girls be their best selves. Eileen started her career at IDS American Express in training and development in Minnesota. After relocating to Portland she joined Nike, successfully creating and delivering leadership development programs across all levels of management, co-creating Nike’s first global performance management and succession planning system and eventually managing the Footwear Production HR function for both the US and Asia.
As an entrepreneur, she has provided leadership and organizational development services to both local and global businesses. Her most recent business partnership was focused on strategic planning, executive development and the development of women leaders in manufacturing in Asia.
Through her avocational work, Eileen found a passion for working with women and girls (from coaching girls soccer to volunteering at Raphael House to running workshops and authoring articles for Full Esteem Ahead, a grassroots organization focused on developing self-esteem in girls.
A lifelong learner, Eileen holds a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis on both school counseling and corporate training and organization development. In addition, has a Master's in Teaching with a focus on social justice and equity in education. Her non-profit work includes case management and leading a post-secondary success program at Open Meadow Alternative Schools (now Open Schools) as well as program management at Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Eileen is excited to be part of the vibrant SW Washington community and leading the effort to make. SW Washington is a vibrant community and she looks forward to forging meaningful partnerships.
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Special Lovincey, Program Coordinator
Special Lovincey kick started her passion for working with youth when she began volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters and NW Outdoor Science School, during high school. She continued her work in community engagement throughout her time studying at Linfield College mentoring 8th grade girls and coordinating college students to mentor middle school students. Special spent much of her college experience organizing students to stand against campus inequalities by providing a safe space for students to voice concerns regarding gender, race and their intersections. Before joining the Girls Inc. team, Special worked in a number of cities across the country as a grassroots organizer fighting on campaigns for a more just economy, access to affordable healthcare and other issues concerning women, jobs and the environment. Special is thrilled to be able to provide her experience to the team and work alongside such passionate individuals.
Contact Special at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Zengel, Program Coordinator
Sarah grew up on the Jersey Shore, where she started an educational company as a teenager. This business afforded her the opportunity to attend Temple University in Philadelphia, where she received her bachelor's degree in public health. Sarah began working with several organizations that sought to serve disadvantaged communities with health education. The work with those organizations included traveling to Jamaica to work with The Women's Centre of Jamaica as well as the Girls Inc. of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. After moving back to New Jersey, Sarah focused her attention on her homegrown business and integrating STEM curricula into local schools. She recently moved to Portland and found herself eager to work with another Girls Inc. affiliate. Sarah pairs her previous work with Girls Inc. and passion for providing quality programming to girls in her position here in the Pacific Northwest.
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TIFFANY GANIR, PROGRAM COORDINATOR
Born in the Philippines, and raised on the island of Oahu, Tiffany grew up participating in after school programming such as Boys and Girls Club, and mentoring in Big Brothers, Big Sisters. From her interactions with adult role models, she was inspired to move to Oregon and became the first in her family to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in Community Health Education at Portland State University.
As a student, Tiffany spent her time mentoring first generation students of color, facilitating workshops around identity and advocated for support services for women, and Asian- American & Pacific Islander students. She facilitated for the EUREKA! Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering (STEM) Summer Camp for two summers and was motivated to come back to continue the Girl's Inc. mission; to empower girls to be Strong, Smart and Bold.
Tiffany continues her activism in the Portland community through volunteering with Planned Parenthood's Equity & Inclusion, and politically organizing through Anakbayan Portland Chapter and, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) and Portland State University.
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Jesse Mojica, High School aPrograms Coordinator
A graduate of Portland State University with a focus in Community Engagement and Literature, Jesse has been working regularly with youth and in education for close to a decade. Driven early in her teens to pursue equitable education experiences, she developed her first after school program at a family transitional home for the youth living there. Since then, her passion to continue to create more equitable access to educational experiences for any and all people has led her to teaching overseas, fundraising and creating a traveling photo documentary project with small SE Asian Non Profits, jump started and built curricula for a SUN garden club at a local Portland Title 1 elementary, becoming a Community Health Educator at Zenger farm where she focused on outdoor STEM and nutrition curricula development, and finally now as a member of the High School Programs team at Girls Inc. PNW. She loves to decompress by riding long distances on her bike, continue her yoga practice, and cook in her tiny kitchen. Her main goals in life will continue to be to create brave and safe spaces for young women to grow, thrive, and rise.