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Honored Guests

Gretchen Kafoury

2010 Honoree ~ Gretchen Kafoury

Gretchen Miller Kafoury is a passionate public servant with a heart for social justice both home and abroad. After attending Whitman College, she served in the Peace Corps, training in Iran and learning Farsi. During the 1970’s, Kafoury turned her interest to domestic social justice issues, dedicating herself to the second wave women’s movement as it emerged in Portland, Oregon. She served as a lobbyist for a variety of groups, advocating on behalf of the Equal Rights Alliance and the Oregon Medically Needy Coalition, among others. Her work as an advocate for social justice and champion of the under-represented lead her to a career in elected politics, where she turned her advocacy into policy. First as an Oregon state representative (District 13, 1977-1983), then as a Multnomah County Commissioner (1985-1990) and City of Portland Commissioner (1991-1998), Kafoury gained mastery in the policy issues related to health care, affordable housing, mental health, and homelessness.

After leaving elected office, Kafoury applied her knowledge and passion in the classroom, first by receiving her MPA and then by serving on the faculty of Portland State University from 1999-2008, where she continued her long service as an advocate. She was a founding Board member of NEW Leadershipä Oregon, and currently serves as a Board member of the Oregon Housing Authority, the Oregon Center for Public Policy, and the American-Iranian Friendship Committee (Oregon).

Kafoury is beloved in the Portland metropolitan region for her passion for social justice, her unwavering commitment to mentoring public servants coming up behind her, and for her willingness to “speak truth to power.”

Melody Rose

2010 Honoree ~ Melody Rose

Melody Rose is the Founder and Director of The Center for Women, Politics, and Policy at Portland State University, where she is also Professor and Chair of the Division of Political Science. The Center houses NEW Leadership™ Oregon and Teens Lead, public service leadership training programs for college- and high school-aged women in Oregon. Her research is focused on the descriptive and substantive representation of women in American government, and she has authored a number of award-winning books, articles, and chapters on the presidency, social policy, women & politics, and elections. Her third book, Hillary Clinton’s Race for the White House: Gender Politics and the Media on the Campaign Trail (with Regina Lawrence) was published in 2010 by Lynne Rienner Publishers. She is a regular political analyst on local, state, and national media on matters of elections, voting, party systems, and women’s political action. In 2007, she was chosen by the Northwest Women’s Journal as one of the “100 Most Powerful Women” in the Northwest. In 2008 she was awarded the PSU Alumni Association’s Distinguished Faculty award for excellence in research, teaching and community engagement. In 2009 she received the selective International Women’s Forum Fellowship – a year-long honor and professional development program provided to 25 women from 9 nations. She currently serves as President-Elect of the City Club of Portland. Dr. Rose’s professional and volunteer commitments center around civic engagement and access to higher education; this passion stems from the fact that she is the first member in her family to receive a college degree. She and her husband Eric Butler live in Portland, and are the proud parents of four children, ages 8 – 16.

Latricia Tillman

2010 Honoree ~ Latricia Tillman

Latricia Tillman assumed the role of Administrator for the Oregon Office of Multicultural Health and Services in May 2009. A native Oregonian, Ms. Tillman graduated from St. Mary’s Academy in Portland. She received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Catholic University of America in Washington, DC and her master’s degree in public health from Boston University. She earned a prestigious Martin Luther King Fellowship from Boston University as well as a public health fellowship through the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

Ms. Tillman’s goals throughout her career have been to promote a highly qualified, diverse workforce, to engage communities experiencing disparities in promoting health and well-being, and to reduce social inequities. She has worked in various capacities in maternal, child and community health over the last 17 years, coordinating efforts to improve the health of culturally diverse communities in Arizona, Massachusetts.

She returned to Oregon to serve as a program manager at the Multnomah County Health Department. She initiated and managed the county’s Health Equity Initiative and the African American Sexual Health Equity Program. Her work helped created a mandate for policy makers and elected officials to support policies and programs that reduce avoidable and unfair health inequities experienced by communities of color, immigrants and refugees.

To date, in her role as Administrator of the Office of Multicultural Health and Services, Ms. Tillman has increased funds awarded to empower communities of color, immigrants and refugees to promote health and well being, created opportunities for individuals representing Oregon’s diverse communities to serve in policy leadership roles, and advanced the creation and implementation of policies that promote equity in health and human services.

Tricia enjoys watching her 11 year-old son play soccer and lacrosse, as well as dancing salsa, skiing, and supporting urban farming.

S. Renee Mitchell

Emcee ~ S. Renee Mitchell

S. Renee Mitchell is an award-winning former newspaper journalist, who was nominated – twice – for the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. In 2008, she was named as THE No. 1 columnist in five Western states by the regional Society of Professional Journalists.

Renee is also a performer, singer, spoken-word poet, actress, playwright and inspirational public speaker. In October 2008, Renee left her high-profile position at The Oregonian to reinvent herself as a creative healing griot, who nurtures hope, empowerment and motivation in the lives of women and young girls. Her tireless community service was rewarded with her being named as the 2010 Josiah Hill Public Health Hero for Multnomah County.

Secretary of State Kate Brown

Awards Presenter ~ Secretary of State Kate Brown

Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown was born in Torrejón de Ardoz, Spain, on June 21, 1960. After spending most of her childhood in Minnesota, Brown earned a B.A. in Environmental Conservation with a certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She earned her law degree and Certificate in Environmental Law from the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR.

Brown has taught at Portland State University, and practiced family and juvenile law. She was appointed to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1991 and in 1996, after winning election to two more House terms, won election to the Oregon Senate. Two years later, she was elected Senate Democratic Leader and in 2004, senators made her the first woman to serve as Oregon’s Senate Majority Leader. In 2008, she was elected Oregon’s 24th Secretary of State and subsequently was appointed by Governor Kulongoski to chair the Oregon Sustainability Board.

In her legislative career, Brown led successful efforts to make Oregon’s state government open and accessible by taking legislative committee meetings to communities around the state. She also ensured funding for a comprehensive review of Oregon’s ethics laws, spearheaded legislation creating a searchable online database of campaign contributions and expenditures and reformed Oregon’s initiative process to reduce fraud and protect the citizen’s right to petition their government. In a recent effort to make registering to vote more accessible to Oregonians, Brown oversaw the development and implementation of an on-line voter registration system.
Secretary Brown lives in Portland with her husband Dan.