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Focus on Inclusion

Emerging Leaders was co-founded by Su Embree, Ben Sand, and Ryan Buchanan as they imagined how an internship program could create a new “normal” for the Greater Portland area by challenging local business leaders to play an active role in fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in their own companies.


To Create Opportunity

Emerging Leaders Internship (ELI) matches underrepresented college students and recent graduates with paid internships at top companies throughout the city. So far, over 200 interns have participated in the program, with many successfully transitioning into full-time roles.


And Strengthen Community

Emerging Leaders Mentoring (ELM), our newest initiative, empowers people of color, women, low-income people, and other diverse groups who seek jobs in the technology and healthcare sectors by matching them with established Portland-area professionals. Mentees should already be enrolled in TechRise PDX or NW Promise.


Be the portland
you want
to see

We want to create and empower leaders in Portland-area companies who reflect the rich and growing diversity of their community. Our programs and initiatives are designed to remove barriers to access and establish talent pipelines to foster a stronger, more inclusive Portland.

You are needed here.

You are wanted here.


The Emerging Leaders Team



Executive Director of Multicultural Leadership


Demetrius Rhodes

Assistant Director, Emerging Leaders


Nick Poindexter

Assistant Director, Career Mentoring


Amani Austin

Assistant Director, Emerging Leaders


Gabi Nygaard

Communications Coordinator


Emerging Leaders is made possible through the support of The Columbia-Willamette Workforce Collaborative—made up of Worksystems, Workforce Southwest Washington, and Clackamas Workforce Partnership—which supports local leaders in Portland and SW Washington to help the region compete economically.

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