Portland Meet Portland's staff and board bring an array of experience, diversity and knowledge to serve their mission.
Manuel Padilla, Executive Director
Manuel Padilla holds a BA in Philosophy from Portland State University and an MA in peace, conflict, and development studies from the UNESCO chair for the Philosophy of Peace. He has done peace building and conflict transformation work with Refugees, IDP’s, and Immigrants in Washington D.C., Haiti, Chad, Cameroon, and Oregon. Manuel is passionate about creating opportunities and fostering dialogue for more just, vibrant, participatory, and integrated communities. He feels indebted to the beautiful refugee and immigrant individuals and communities that continue to educate him, challenge, and influence his work in cultivating cross cultural relationships and trust. The mission of Portland Meet Portland immediately called to him in its alignment with his core values and in his desire to bring together the global and the local toward complicating narratives and perspectives through shared human experience. In his free time, he jumps at chances to travel, be in nature, to bike, to explore the food landscape of Portland, play music, and to succumb to the peer pressure of his friends and sneak away for beers and community building. As Executive Director, Manuel is deeply grateful for the chance to learn from and work with his colleagues at Portland Meet Portland. He is eager for both the hard work and the celebration that are crucial for the seeds that PMP plants and grows, one relationship at a time.
Janell Lee, Program Director
Janell Lee has extensive experience developing training programs and a passion for cultivating robust learning environments. Whether its in the physical classroom, or online in the virtual classroom, she strives for meaningful and effective learning opportunities for learning, by integrating experiential learning, brain-based learning, and participatory principles of adult learning. She began teaching ESOL as a volunteer at SE Works and at PCC SE Campus in 2014, and working specifically with the Myanmar community since 2015 when she was awarded an EPNO grant to provide citizenship training. Her recent experience teaching at IRCO exposed her to the array of newcomer refugees and asylees arriving in Portland from around the world, and the many language, cultural and economic challenges they face. Janell traveled to Egypt in 1996, and India in 1997 and 1999 on personal trips. Between 2011-2013, her work took her to Turkey, Nepal, Cambodia and Thailand; in 2012 she also visited Myanmar. Janell has always been passionate about social justice, and learning and is excited to join Portland Meet Portland and further its mission.
Susi Steinmann, Development Director
Susi is the Co-Founder and former Executive Director. She is now focusing her efforts on development for PMP. Susi grew up in Switzerland in a bilingual and multicultural household. She immigrated to the United States as a high school student and has personally experienced the adjustment challenges to a foreign, complex cultural and new language system in the United States. Like most newcomers, she never fully gave up her foreign identity and has pursued a lifelong passion for community building and working for the last thirty years with culturally and linguistically diverse populations – overseas in Africa and the Middle East, and currently in “her back yard” in the Portland area. Since 2008, Susi has worked with culturally diverse communities in Portland and has supported mutual the cross-cultural learning of immigrants and refugees in partnership with inspiring mentor-volunteers who have welcomed, educated and empowered newcomers from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. She believes that mentors together with their immigrant or refugee families build trusting relationships with are our community’s most important and least understood human assets for real community integration, development and peace.
See Yo Htoo, SummerWorks Intern
See Yo, has worked with PMP since February 2016. During that time she has interpreted for Karen citizenship classes, organized fundraisers and participated in 2016 SummerWorks Youth Leadership Intensive. She came back for 2nd years as an intern with SummerWorks because she wanted to gain administrative skills. See Yo offers the cross cultural perspective and is driven to succeed that many refugee youth bring to our community. See Yo and her family arrived in Portland in June 2008 from a refugee camp in Thailand, where she was born. Her family came to the refugee camp from Karen State in Burma/Myanmar in 1992. See Yo just graduated from David Douglas High School and is going to PCC this fall and transferring to PSU after 2 year to study in Criminal Justice.
Kay Reid, Co-Founder and Interim Board President
Kay Reid has devoted much of her life to seeking out and recording the unknown stories of individuals and organizations—what they have given this world, what they’ve fought for in bad times and good. She’s recorded and written the stories of legislators, oyster growers, and refugees. She’s told the stories of those who live on the town’s periphery and those in its centers of power. Kay has often worked in what Jane Addams called “the social claim” to achieve justice, fairness, and peace. She has directed several major oral history programs in the Pacific Northwest, including Great Tribal Leaders of Modern Times thorough the Hatfield School of Government, Portland State University. She has great admiration for individuals and families who have built their lives, dreams, and neighborhoods against unlikely odds.
Raihana Ansary, Board Secretary
Raihana works on public policy issues related to economic development, land use, transportation and education. She has done extensive community-based work in the public, private and non-profit sectors and with civic and business leaders. She earned a Master of Urban and Regional Planning and a Real Estate Development Certificate from Portland State University where she was also a Sidney Lezak Fellow. She received her bachelor’s degree in international studies and political science from the University of Oregon. As a Portland native who is also bi-cultural, Raihana is passionate about fostering healthy and diverse communities and is pleased to support the mission of Portland Meet Portland to create opportunities for mutually beneficial mentoring between established and newcomer communities.
Mullu Terefe, Board Treasurer
Mullu Terefe arrived in the United Sates as a refugee from Ethiopia in 1991.She first settled in Texas and then moved to California where she had family and access to better educational opportunities. There she initially found a job as a Medical Technical Assistant and subsequently completed her degree in accounting and business at San Jose State University. She relocated to Portland and currently works as a career counselor at PCC/Worksource. She comes to the board of PMP because she agrees with the mission that newcomer immigrants and refugees bring many assets and yet benefit tremendously from individual mentoring for language and professional development. In her work, she sees the gaps in current employment services and believes mentoring with PMP can fill an important void. Mullu also is on the board of the Oregon Ethiopian Community Organization and has volunteered at Lutheran Community Services in the refugee resettlement program.
Qudsia Ashan, Board Member
Vincent Chirimwami, Board Member
Vincent Chirimwami is a native Congolese who immigrated to the United States in 2004. He was naturalized United Stated citizen in 2012. Many of the things that he has accomplished include receiving a B.A. in Liberal Studies from Portland State University and two Master's degrees in Education and Conflict Resolution from Portland State University. For the past 7 years, he has been working as secondary teacher at Beaverton School District and has co-published book chapters and journal articles related to dialogue and reconciliation process. Equally important, he is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Public Policy and Administration with a focus on Public Management and Leadership at Walden University. He is excited to join the Portland Meet Portland Board to contribute to its mission of welcoming and befriending newcomer refugees/immigrants from around the world in a sense that they feel at home.
Jeff Cole, Board Member
Jeff Cole has 30 years experience improving the performance of commercial buildings, and developing renewable energy projects in Oregon, Alaska and Hawaii. As prime contractor, with a subcontractor network of architects, engineers, and other consultants, Jeff has delivered energy efficiency and sustainable design services for higher education, commercial and corporate real estate, and public buildings in the Pacific Northwest. Expertise includes daylighting, efficient lighting, natural ventilation, and other energy-efficiency improvements. He is a LEED Accredited professional and a member of the USGBC LEED® Market Sector Committee and of the Regional Technical Forum of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.
Stephanie Green Weizer, Communications Board Member
Stephanie Green Weizer has worked with nonprofit organizations for over a decade with a vision to create positive social and environmental change. She has done extensive work in grassroots organizing, fundraising, grant writing, marketing and communications and program management. She received her bachelors degree in Sociology from the College of Saint Benedict in Minnesota. Soon after, she spent two years serving as an AmeriCorps and VISTA member with a focus on undoing institutionalized racism. She currently works as the Grant Writer for Lutheran Community Services Northwest. Fostering meaningful relationships across cultures has been at the foundation of her career and personal life. She is thrilled to join the Portland Meet Portland Board and to serve the mission of building a welcoming and equitable place for newcomer refugees and immigrants.