We joined PWA because we believe in the power of helping young people find their paths to a satisfying careers. We stay because the positive impact is addictive.


Executive Director
Susan Nielsen (she/her)
(503) 577-6177

Susan Nielsen has more than 25 years of experience working in education and public policy in the Northwest, previously as a journalist and editor. She joined PWA in 2014. She lives in Southeast Portland with her spouse and two children. Career advice: Envision the life you want, then find work that propels you toward that life every day.


Partnerships Director 
Katrina Machorro (she/her)

Katrina Machorro joined PWA in 2021. A Portland native and an education access enthusiast, she has a decade of experience in providing educational opportunities. This spans from teaching English abroad, college academic advising and higher education data analysis, to building direct-service intern and volunteer programming. Katrina, her partner, and cat live in Northeast Portland.


Program Manager 
Kari Smith Haight (she/her)
(503) 415-0579

Kari Smith Haight joined PWA in 2017. She manages the ACE Mentor Program and supports student and volunteer experiences. She has experience working with youth in a variety of roles including managing robotics teams, volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, and working in Career and College Centers in high schools. Kari and her husband live in Southwest Portland and have two children.


Communications & Program Coordinator
Sophie Hauth (she/her)

Sophie Hauth joined PWA in 2021. A Northeast Portland native, she attended Grant High School and graduated from Barnard College, where she studied sociology, education, and women’s and gender studies. Sophie worked for two years at Barnard’s career services office, where she developed a passion for helping students access career opportunities. She also interned at College Possible Oregon and worked as an Inclusion Assistant for Portland Parks & Recreation.




The team members of the Portland Workforce Alliance are responsible for organization, communication, administration, outreach and other responsibilities necessary to fulfill PWA’s mission. Their goal is to inspire students by providing them with quality work experiences and creating career-learning opportunities that help students make informed college-and-career choices after high school.



Founder Emeritus
Kevin Jeans Gail

Kevin Jeans Gail is the retired founding executive director of PWA. He had more than 25 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector as a leader and community organizer, worked in the construction industry, and was chief of staff to a Portland city commissioner. He lives with his wife in Northeast Portland and has two grown children.

Career advice: Never forget that there’s a place for you in the world, but it takes work to find it.

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Together, we can engage all students to graduate and make more informed, coherent career choices after high school or college.