We are very pleased and excited to have these talented people join the Oregon iSector to help us advance our mission. They bring a wealth of knowledge and experience that will be of great value as we work to build Oregon’s capacity to address some of our most pressing issues through working partnerships across the public, private, civic, and philanthropic sectors.
– Chris Carlson, Board Chair
New Board Members
Brenden serves as the Vice President Community Development Officer for Oregon & SW Washington at Umpqua Bank. He is focused on leveraging financial and skilled volunteer resources, grants, investments and lending to build more resilient and inclusive economies throughout the state of Oregon. Beyond his work with Umpqua Bank, Brenden has worked for more than 20 years in the nonprofit sector in Oregon, Maryland, and internationally. He is passionate about bridging the divide between the nonprofit and the for-profit sectors and does this by leading with empathy and reciprocity to support meaningful action. Brenden is proud to serve the state where he was born and raised.
Margaret is a former Oregon State Senator who served in the Senate for eight years where she acted as President Pro Tempore, and in the Oregon House of Representatives where she served for fourteen years. She is the first African American woman to be elected to the Oregon State Legislature, retiring as a State Senator in 2009. Margaret has served as President and CEO of the Urban League of Portland, and in 2006 served as President of the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women. She has also served as Deputy Director for Human Services Programs at the Oregon Department of Human Services. She holds many awards such as the 2006 Oregon Statesman of the Year Award from the Oregon Business Association, the 2010 Legislator of the Year Award from the Oregon Library Association, the 2010 OSU Alumni Fellows Award, and in 2020 was honored by USA Today and the Statesman Journal as one of ten Oregon “Women of the Century”. Margaret has a long history in supporting economic development in underserved populations and she is highly focused on enhancing community engagement. She serves on the Board of the Oregon Historical Society and continues to volunteer at the Albina DHS and at Portland Community College in their area skills center, now named the Margaret Carter Skill Center.
New Special Advisors
Avel is an Oregon native, activist, community organizer, and former Oregon politician who in 1996 became the first African American woman to be elected to the Oregon State Senate. She also served three terms in the Oregon House of Representatives, representing parts of north and northeast Portland. Avel’s legislative record includes an array of initiatives that focus on cultural competency in education, mental health, and the administration of justice. She is credited for the Governor’s Task Force on Environmental Justice that is now enshrined in law and a nationally recognized initiative still serving Oregonians. Avel is a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum of Oregon and co-author with Portland State University history professor Patricia Schechter of her memoir, “Remembering the Power of Words, the Life of an Oregon Activist Legislator and Community Leader” published by Oregon State University Press. In 2008, Oregon Health Sciences University opened the Avel Gordly Center for Healing dedicated to culturally specific mental health and psychiatric services. In 2009, Albina Head Start recognized Avel’s championing of funding for their programs state-wide by renaming its administrative headquarters in her honor. Avel and her sister Faye Burch are the co-founders of the Gordly Burch Center for Black Leadership and Civic Engagement. Additionally, Avel is a former Associate Professor of Black Studies at Portland State University, where in 2017 she received an honorary doctorate. Avel has received many impressive awards throughout her career, a few being the Urban League of Portland’s Edwin C. Berry Lifetime Achievement Award and the Legislative Leadership Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Newspaper Publisher’s Association.
Margaret Van Vliet
Margaret formed Trillium Advisors in 2019, a consultancy focusing on strategy development, organizational improvement, project management, and cross-sector facilitation. Her specialties are housing and homelessness, as well as wildfire recovery. Trillium Advisors is an Oregon-certified women-owned business. The firm is also named as a qualified professional services provider by the Association of Bay Area Governments/Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Portland area’s Metro Regional Government, and the Multnomah County Joint Office of Homeless Services. Margaret is a long-time public sector affordable housing leader who began her career in banking and commercial real estate finance. In Sonoma County, California, she oversaw the Housing Authority and Redevelopment Agency during and after the 2017 North Bay wildfires that destroyed 5,300 homes. She also led the team that created the Housing Recovery and Renewal Plan adopted by the County in the wake of the disaster. Previously, Margaret served under two governors as director of Oregon Housing and Community Services, led the City of Portland’s Housing Bureau, and served as Chief Operating Officer for the Housing Authority of Portland (now Home Forward).
The iSector Board
Whitney Grubbs, Vice Chair
Dr. Ernesto Fonseca
Dr. Gina Nikkel
Avel Gordly, Special Advisor
Margaret Van Vliet, Special Advisor
Greg Wolf, Executive Director