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Partners in Diversity and Leadership Portland welcome new executive director

Mari Watanabe takes on role as executive director for Partners in Diversity, program director of the Portland Business Alliance’s Leadership Portland program

For more information, contact:
Megan Doern, 503.552.6754

May 2, 2012

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Business Alliance and Partners in Diversity recently hired Mari Watanabe as the new executive director of Partners in Diversity and program director for Leadership Portland. Prior to coming to the Portland Business Alliance, Watanabe served as executive director for the Oregon Nikkei Endowment, a Japanese American history and culture organization.

“This position requires a broad range of skills and connections,” said Sandra McDonough, president & CEO of the Portland Business Alliance. “Mari’s involvement in the community and her experience with other culturally focused organizations really set her apart and we are excited to have her on board.”

Watanabe was appointed by Governor Kitzhaber as vice-chair on the Oregon Commission for Asian and Pacific Islanders under the umbrella of the Oregon Advocacy Commission in May 2011. In 2011, Watanabe was also one of 13 Japanese American delegates to represent the U.S. in Japan as part of the 2011 Japanese American Leadership Delegation sponsored by the Japan Foreign Ministry and the U.S.–Japan Council.
Watanabe is currently involved with these community organizations: National Veterans Network, Executive Development Institute (EDI), Friends of Minidoka, Japanese Ancestral Society, APANO and the Old Town China Town Business Association.

In addition to her culturally-focused experience, Watanabe worked in apparel manufacturing for 25 years with companies such as Nordstrom, Nike, and Union Bay Sportswear.  She is a graduate of Washington State University.


Partners in Diversity
Partners in Diversity (PiD) works with companies to help recruit and retain professionals of color in Oregon and SW Washington through educational programming for practitioners and CEOs, job postings and dissemination, a renowned and robust quarterly networking event, Say Hey, and promotional tours to help professionals become aware of all that Portland has to offer. PiD operates under the Portland Business Alliance’s Charitable Institute. More information:
The Portland Business Alliance
The Portland Business Alliance is Greater Portland’s Chamber of Commerce. With nearly 1,200 members, the Alliance strives to promote and foster an environment in the Portland region that attracts, supports and retains private sector jobs, spurs economic vitality and enables quality educational opportunities for the region's residents.  Leadership Portland was created by the Portland Business Alliance to provide individuals from its member firms with the skills and understanding necessary for future leadership positions with companies, civic organizations and government in the Portland region.