Manuel Castañeda is the President of PLI Systems, Inc., a construction firm specializing in soil stabilization. Founded in 1986, Manuel has grown his company to a staff of more than 45 people, recognized worldwide for its skill and technology.
At age 14, Manuel emigrated from a remote village in Mexico and would become the first in his family of 12 siblings to graduate from high school. While building his company, Manuel has also served his community as a trustee for Pacific University, a mentor with the Port of Portland Mentor Program, and in leadership positions with both the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce and the Washington County Business Council. Manuel is a father of four and lives in Beaverton, Oregon.
Serena Cruz is the Executive Director of the Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation, where she oversees fundraising, public relations, advocacy and community partnership activities in support of the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center. Virginia Garcia is the largest nonprofit Federally Qualified Health Center in Oregon, providing comprehensive, culturally appropriate, high quality health care to over 48,000 individuals in Washington and Yamhill counties every year.
Serena also serves as a Founders Circle Member of ninety-nine girlfriends and a board member for the Oregon Historical Society and Foundations for a Better Oregon (Chalkboard). She served eight years on the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners representing North and Northeast Portland. Serena was educated at Lewis & Clark College (BA), Harvard University (MPP) and the University of California at Berkeley (JD). She lives in Northeast Portland, where her 11-year old daughter attends Tubman Middle School.
Melissa Erlbaum is the Executive Director of Clackamas Women’s Services (CWS), the most comprehensive service provider in Oregon serving survivors of domestic and sexual violence, elder and vulnerable adult abuse, trafficking and sexual exploitation, and stalking.
Melissa has worked in the field of public safety, criminal justice, victim services and homeless services for over 20 years, beginning as a volunteer at St. Luke’s Rape Crisis Center in New York City. Melissa holds a Master’s Degree in Public and Nonprofit Administration from San Francisco State University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology, Women’s Studies and Energy and Environmental Policy from Hunter College, City University of New York. Melissa is an alumna of Emerge Oregon and works to diversify and expand women’s participation in civic engagement and leadership.
Dr. Steven Holt
Dr. Steven Holt is the lead Pastor of Kingdom Nation Church, a congregation in Rockwood, Oregon, and the founding principal of “Try Excellence,” a consulting and facilitation firm that works to improve community and customer relationships.
In the 1970s, Dr. Holt was involved in a program that bused African-American kids from their inner city neighborhoods to predominately white suburban schools, an experience that proved instrumental in his ability to communicate across many lines. He is a founding member of the Freshwind/11:45 movement which addresses the need for mentorship and gang intervention in the Portland metro area, working with prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys, law enforcement and other local pastors to strategize best practices for gang impacted youth. Dr. Holt is a native of Portland Oregon.
Mitch Hornecker is a lifelong Oregonian and has lived in Portland since 1983. He is a co-founder of New Avenues for Youth and currently serves on the boards of New Avenues, Meyer Memorial Trust, Center for Homeless Research, and the California Casualty Insurance Company. He is also a member of the Allocation Committee of the Portland Children’s Levy.
From 2008-2016, Mitch was a partner at Howard S. Wright Construction. Prior to joining Howard S. Wright, Mitch was a shareholder for 22 years at Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt.
Mitch is married to Elisa de Castro Hornecker and has three children.
Mesha Jones is the Community Property Manager for a multi-family residential apartment complex in the City of Gresham and has worked in property management since 2012.
Through lived experience both as a renter and landlord in Oregon, she has seen the impact of a continually changing rental and housing market in Multnomah County. Mesha brings experience in Oregon landlord tenant law and fair-housing. Born and raised in Oregon, she would like to see the implementation of more affordable housing options for the community she serves. Mesha earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Oregon University. She lives in Gresham with her two children and husband and is a big Seattle Seahawks fan.
Jenny Lee is the Deputy Director for the Coalition of Communities of Color.
Her recent experience includes the roles of Advocacy Director at the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), Advocacy Director at the Coalition of Communities of Color, and Housing Policy Director at Neighborhood Partnerships, where she helped convene the Oregon Housing Alliance. She also served as the Public Policy Director for Hawai‘i Appleseed in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. Throughout her work, Jenny has engaged in extensive coalition building, legislative advocacy, campaigns, and policy research on a range of social, economic, and racial justice issues. Her previous background includes work in disability rights, domestic violence, racial justice, and mediation, as well as a year serving as an AmeriCorps member at a SUN School in Southeast Portland. Jenny holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Oregon.
Ed McNamara has over 45 years of experience in construction, community development, real estate development, and asset management in Portland. Ed has developed and operated more than 1 million square feet of residential and mixed-use buildings including more than 1,100 units of affordable housing (many with supportive services).
Before starting Turtle Development, Inc. in 2002, Ed’s experience included work as a building contractor, as Executive Director of REACH CDC, as Director of Development for Prendergast & Associates, overseeing a HOPE VI project for the Housing Authority, and as a Policy Advisor to the Mayor. Ed is a native of Philadelphia, attended Reed College for a year in 1970, and attended Harvard University as a Loeb Fellow in 1995.
Steve Rudman’s local public service career spans over 35 years in affordable housing and community development. He served as Executive Director of Home Forward (formerly Housing Authority of Portland) from 2001-14 and as Director of the City of Portland Bureau of Housing and Community Development from 1993-2001.
Steve has been an active board leader with many community organizations, including being a founding member of Portland Youthbuilders, Portland Housing Center and REACH Community Development. He attended Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government as a Fannie Mae Foundation Fellow, holds a master’s degree in public policy from Claremont Graduate School and a bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University. Steve is semi-retired and works as a part-time consultant locally and nationally. He enjoys traveling, gardening, music and baseball.
Bandana Shrestha is the Director of Community Engagement for AARP Oregon. She leads AARP’s statewide community and volunteer engagement efforts to secure quality of life for all as we age. Bandana also leads AARP’s livable community work in Oregon, including growing and supporting the Network of Age-friendly Communities in the state, advocating for policies and program that enhance affordable and accessible housing options, and expanding transportation and mobility options for all.
She has a BA from Linfield College and an MFA from the University of Oregon. She serves on the board of Asian Pacific Islander Network of Oregon (APANO) and 211Info. Bandana lives in Clackamas and admits to being a reluctant outdoors enthusiast and an avid crafter.
Andrew Tull is a Principal Planner and Urban Designer at 3J Consulting where he leads the residential development arm of the company with more than 15 years of experience.
He holds a Master of Landscape Architecture from Washington State University and a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from Kansas State University. Andrew sits on the Portland Homebuilders Board of Directors and the Government Affairs Committee and is a National Director with NAHB. Andrew is also actively involved with the Westside Economic Alliance, the Clackamas County Business Alliance, the American Planning Association’s Oregon Chapter, and the Oregon Chapter of the National Association for Office and Industrial Providers. Andrew lives in Beaverton and is an average but avid golfer. Someday he hopes to hold season tickets for a Major League Baseball team in Portland. “Go Wet Socks!”
Tia Vonil was born and raised in Chicago and attended the University of Notre Dame and the United States Naval Academy before living abroad in Paris for eight years. Upon returning to the U.S., Tia joined the IBEW Local 48 electrical apprenticeship and became a licensed electrician in 2017.
She has worked in both the public and private sector, as well as in residential, commercial, and industrial applications across multiple states including Oregon, Washington, Montana, and North Dakota. Tia currently works as a union electrician for the Port of Portland and serves on the IBEW Local 48 Political Action Committee. Tia previously served as a board member for Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc from 2013-2018. She lives in Clackamas with her partner and one-year-old puppy.