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Mari Watanabe

Mari Watanabe
Partners in Diversity Executive Director & Leadership Portland Program Director

Mari is the executive director of Partners in Diversity (PiD) and the program director for Leadership Portland, a program run through the Portland Business Alliance. As executive director of PiD, she helps employers recruit and retain their diverse workforce through the nonprofit’s programs. As program director of Leadership Portland, Mari manages a 10-month leadership program that exposes business leaders to the issues and challenges surrounding the region.

Prior to joining the Alliance, Mari worked for more than 20 years in the apparel industry before moving to the nonprofit sector. She also worked as the executive director for Oregon Nikkei Endowment, a Japanese American history and culture nonprofit organization.

Mari graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Washington State University and spent one year studying as a foreign exchange student at Japan University, before moving to Portland in 2000. Appointed by former Governor John Kitzhaber in May of 2011, she has served on the Oregon Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs for six years, the last two as chair-person. Along with her work on the commission, she currently serves on the Cultural Coalition of Washington County board, the National Veterans Network board, U.S.-Japan Council Regional Vice-Chair plus several other committees.  Mari past service includes the Beaverton Diversity Advisory board, the Executive Development Institute Board and Portland Taiko Board. In her spare time, she enjoys golfing, biking, hiking, and spending time with family and friends.
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