The Portland Workforce Alliance heads into its 14th year as a builder of business-education partnerships with a new slate of officers and a new executive director.

On June 13, at the final meeting of the current fiscal year, the nonprofit’s governing board elected three Portland business leaders with experience in energy, human resources and construction management to take the PWA helm during the 2018-19 year.

Brooke Berglund, who works in local government affairs at Portland General Electric, will serve as board president; Anna Yates, director of people operations at the Swift marketing and advertising agency, as incoming president; and Matt Hanson, a preconstruction manager at Fortis Construction, as vice president.

Brooke Berglund
Anna Yates
Matt Hanson

The trio will join two incumbent officers: Lori Mueller of the Oregon Health Care Association as treasurer; and Gabby Riley of ZGF Architects as secretary.

All will work closely on policy and partnerships with new Executive Director Susan Nielsen, who had served in an interim role since last fall when the agency’s founding executive director, Kevin Jeans Gail, took an extended medical leave. Nielsen joined PWA in 2014 and had served as program and communications director before moving into the interim executive director job, leading a staff of four.

Berglund said she is excited to take the helm as board president. “We have had an incredible year of growth and changes with new board members joining us, more career learning opportunities for the students we serve, and a new executive director,” she said. “This next school year will continue to bring great things as we continue to grow and I can’t wait to get started.”

Jane Williams of Multnomah County, who has served as board president this year, will continue in an auxiliary leadership role as a member of PWA’s executive committee. The executive committee oversees strategy, governance and finances for PWA, which strives to build collaborative partnerships between high schools, post-secondary educational institutions and the Portland business community.

Working with three school districts as contract partners in Multnomah and Clackamas counties and drawing on 1,500 adult volunteers, PWA seeks to provide high school students with career-learning experiences that help prepare them for success in college and career.


Susan Nielsen
Susan Nielsen

At the June 13 meeting, two veteran board members transitioned off the board: Sandra Banister of Portland General Electric and Lori Boullet of Columbia Sportswear.

New board members for 2018-19 come from the technology and sports apparel industries: Marcus Carter of Cloudability and Rachelle Thurik of Nike. (Click here to read more about Marcus, Rachelle and PWA’s new vice president and president-elect.)

The PWA board has about 30 members drawn from various industry sectors, including business, energy, education, construction, health care, technology and the arts.


New Officers and Executive Director to Lead PWA in 2018-19
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