alphabetical order by last name
- Yee Won Chong, Senior Strategy Consultant
- Jamee Greer, Community Relations and Resource Development
- Cynthia Lin, Trainer & Organizer
- Jen Lleras Van Der Haeghen, R.A.C.E. Program Director
- Steve Mayes, Director of Finance and Operations
- Nolan Pleše, Development and Communication Intern
- Aimee Santos-Lyons, Director of Programs
Kelley Weigel brings a passion for justice to her decades of community organizing – a plus when looking at her resume of front line efforts to fight the right in the Pacific Northwest. Kelley started with the Center in 2002 and has been instrumental in the Center’s multi-issue approach to working for social justice. Organizations credit the Center’s support in advancing their own wins and successes for racial and gender justice.
She is a graduate of the Center’s first intensive leadership program, the Western Institute for Leadership Development. WILD clinched Kelley’s commitment to organizing. She developed skills with Community Alliance of Lane County and then the Rural Organizing Project. Kelley also has worked on ballot measure campaigns proactive and defensive.
Kelley is a lifelong learner and that keeps her feeling fresh in this work. Having a seven year old son also keeps her on her toes.
- Superhero power to fight social injustice? The power to have individuals recognize that small and incremental change is just as powerful as splashy media moments.
Phone: (503) 893-3812
Before becoming a consultant, Yee Won was the Development and Communication Director for Western States Center from February 2008 to April 2014. During Yee Won's first four years on staff the number of donors grew by 500%. Yee Won introduced new methodologies, changed the internal organizational culture and revamped the communication strategies at the Center. Yee Won translated these direct experiences into trainings and workshops to help grassroots organizations in various ways including storytelling, using new technology and centralizing relationship building in fundraising efforts.
In 2012, Yee Won presented "Beyond the Gender Binary" at TEDx Rainier in Seattle about growing up in Malaysia, being an immigrant and transgender. Before moving to the Northwest, Yee Won was the Development Specialist of United for a Fair Economy and Development Director of Haymarket People's Fund. Yee Won is currently on the board of directors for Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training.
Phone: (503) 893-3811
Jamee joined Western States Center in 2014. Previously, Jamee worked at the Montana Human Rights Network for six years as Organizing Director. He was the lead organizer on the campaign to pass Montana’s first LGBT nondiscrimination protections through the Missoula, Helena, and Bozeman municipal governments, and provided technical assistance to similar efforts in Butte and Billings. Jamee served as lobbyist for three legislative sessions in Montana, working on policy related to LGBTQ rights, reproductive and economic justice, immigration reform, racial equity, expanding access to health care, and countering the far right.
Jamee has experience in HIV/AIDS counseling, testing, and prevention with the Montana Gay Men’s Task Force and was appointed to the Governor’s HIV/AIDS Advisory Council. Jamee has served on the Board of Directors for ACLU of Montana and NARAL Pro-Choice Montana.
- Your theme song while fighting social injustice and why? People Have the Power by the poet Patti Smith. Because she's right.
Phone: (503) 893-3803
Cynthia gained her organizing experience in the eight years she lived in Madison, Wisconsin, prior to moving to Portland. She worked with Freedom Inc., an anti-violence and youth organizing group and Operations Welcome Home, a volunteer organizing collective that struggles against homelessness and the criminilization of poverty. She was a social justice educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Multicultural Student Center and is the co-founder of the Institute for Justice Education and Transformation. Cynthia has consulted with several grassroots groups, mostly in Wisconsin, on leadership development, evaluation and participatory action research.
Cynthia has a joint Master's degree in Environmental Studies and Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is currently working on a PhD in Civil Society and Community Research also at UW-Maddison. She has a background in environmental engineering and found her entre into social justice work through environmental justice and anti-globalization struggles.
-Superhero power to fight social injustice? I would want to be able to knock my head against a brick ceiling like Super Mario and access abundant sources of sustainable social justice funding.
Phone: (503) 893-3810
Jen joined the Center in April 2012 as the Trainer & Organizer. Jen attributes a great deal of her leadership and organizing skills to Western States Center.
Before joining Western States Center, Jen worked at Basic Rights Oregon as the Project Coordinator on collaboration with unions. This project, the first of its kind in the nation, worked to build community understanding and support among unions and the LGBTQ community and to increase leadership skills of LGBT union members.
Prior to BRO, Jen was the Organizing Director at the Oregon Student Association, where she led campaigns to ensure students receive affordable and accessible college education. Jen graduated from the University of Oregon with double major in Ethnic Studies and Spanish.
- Superhero power to fight social injustice? The ability to communicate in any language. I don’t want language barriers to hinder my ability to organize communities.
Phone: (503) 893-3809
As the Director of Finance and Operations, Steve has been able to help the Center cut costs and implement new accounting systems that streamline our financial reporting work.
Steve joined the Center in 2010. Prior to coming to the Center, Steve was the Financial and Administrative Manager for Oregon Action a state-wide organization dedicated to building new leaders from underrepresented community members. In 2003, he began to focus on organizations devoted to social and economic change. Steve has assisted large and small businesses with fiscal management, technology, high level management and board consulting. He has served as treasurer on several nonprofit boards and currently volunteers for the local performing arts theaters.
In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, relaxing in a mountain cabin, hiking trails and cycling. You can always find him at the Alpenrose Velodrome enjoying cycling events put on by the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association.
- Theme song while fighting social injustice? Public Enemy's “Fight the Power” because the song is completely damning the systems of overt power, it’s also a statement of intent of wiping the social injustice slate clean, not only for black people but for all people.
Phone: (503) 893-3807
Nolan joined the Center as an intern in November 2013, after being inspired by the Center’s work on equity issues.
Prior to joining the Center, Nolan had worked on numerous political campaigns. His first was in 2008 with the Obama campaign. In 2010, he interned for former Secretary of State Bill Bradbury’s campaign for governor. While working on his undergraduate studies he worked for former Congressman David Wu’s campaign in 2010, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici’s special election campaign, former Rep. Jefferson Smith’s campaign for mayor, and volunteered on numerous campaigns and ballot initiatives through the Oregon Bus Project.
Nolan graduated from Portland State University with a BA in Political Science in 2012. Nolan spends his free time with his friends, family and girlfriend, exploring all Portland and the Pacific Northwest has to offer. He enjoys any excuse to get outside, even in the rain. In his spare time, Nolan has been taking survival skills classes with Trackers PDX.
- Theme song while fighting social injustice? Michael Franti’s “I Know I’m Not Alone” because even when things seem impossible or difficult to achieve, I know I will never be alone in the fight for equality for all people.Phone: 503-893-3816
Aimee joined the Center in 2007 and has since helped many grassroots groups to understand and claim their voices in public decision-making. As the Project Manager for Strong Families Northwest, Aimee is working with organizations in Washington to re-frame how to define a family to be more inclusive. In 2011, Aimee has helped Idaho's Women of Color Alliance to push through a bill prohibiting female prisoners from being shackled during childbirth. Aimee is also a superstar fundraiser and brought in the most donors during the Center's first online campaign.
Aimee brings 12 years of both U.S. and international experience in both social development and humanitarian concerns, with a special emphasis on gender equity, reproductive health and gender-based violence.
Educated in the U.S. and the Philippines, Aimee holds a Masters in Public Health from Columbia University. She comes from a large family and has three kids.
- Superhero power to fight social injustice? Read minds like Marvel girl, Phoenix.
Phone: (503) 893-3805