Chair of Board
Bryson is a business and litigation attorney at Harrang Long Gary Rudnick P.C. in Portland. His work involves all aspects of business including formation, advising, transactions, contracts, business litigation, securities litigation, and government relations. Bryson is very active in the community, and his social involvement centers on issues of diversity, business development, education, and mentorship. He is an alumnus of Reed College and the University of Washington School of Law.
Bruce Watts has been an active advocate for minority communities in Portland for over 25 years working professionally as the Senior Director of Diversity and Transit Equity for Trimet for over a decade creating a national model for providing opportunities for involvement by minority businesses and has lead work with labor unions, pre-apprenticeship programs, community-based organizations, and local leaders to create a diverse contracting and construction workforce reflecting the Portland metro community. Bruce continues his work currently as a D/M/W/ESB Opportunity Consultant with organizations like the PDC, DOT, State of Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, Urban League of Portland, City of Portland Housing Bureau, Hoffman Construction, and City of Roses Disposal & Recycling. Personally, Bruce has been an active board member for the Urban League of Portland, Metropolitan Contractors Improvement Program, Josiah Hill III Clinic, and Verde.
Amy Wayson served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) until 2014. In that capacity, she was OHSU’s chief legal officer, she oversaw the OHSU Integrity Program and she served as secretary to the OHSU Board of Directors. Prior to joining OHSU in 2000, Ms. Wayson was a partner with the Portland law firm of Ater Wynne, LLP, practicing with that firm in Portland, Oregon as well as in Seattle, Washington. Ms. Wayson has a long history of community involvement in Portland. In addition to volunteering for various nonprofits, she has served as a member and chair of the Board of Directors of Volunteers of America of Oregon, and as a Board member and officer of Metropolitan Family Services and of the Urban League of Portland. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Literary Arts. Ms. Wayson is married to Ken Moran, a fine furniture maker, and she proudly claims two daughters, a stepdaughter and a stepson.
Shobi Dahl is the co-founder and former CEO of Dave’s Killer Bread, a company whose beliefs are built on the idea of second chances and equal employment opportunity for the underserved ex-con members of our community. A graduate of Willamette University in 2005, Shobi greatly enjoys sharing his company’s message of social sustainability with members of the business community and students. He hopes to build a better understanding amongst our business leaders of the broad benefits of working with the underserved.
Debbie Clavon, a native of Portland, Oregon, is Managing Director of Red Door Solutions LLC, providing tax planning and consultation to individuals, business partners, and small businesses.
Alan Garcia is Senior Director of Customer Acquisition at NW Natural where he oversees marketing, customer acquisition services, and major accounts. He is a marketing and sales executive with deep experience in strategic planning, brand strategy, marketing, and customer experience management with such world-class brands as Nestlé, Hewlett-Packard, Gillette, and Mars, Incorporated.
Alan has held a long-term leadership role at Columbia Presbyterian Church in Vancouver, WA of community development efforts in Senegal, West Africa. Since 1998, the program has successfully fostered long-term partnerships with dozens of rural villages to secure clean water, primary education, primary health care, and micro-enterprise. His involvement and leadership has taken him to Senegal nine times since 2000.
Mr. Garcia holds a BA in Business Administration from California Lutheran University and is graduate of University of San Francisco where he received an MBA. Alan lives in Camas, WA with his wife, Lyn, and three daughters.
Ward Greene was born in Boston, raised in New York, went to college in Florida, graduated from law school in North Carolina, practiced law in Wisconsin, and then became a “native” Oregonian in 1977. He is a commercial lawyer and the managing partner of a small firm in Portland. He has served as president of the local bar association and vice president of the Oregon State Bar, and has held a number of honorary positions at other bar and volunteer organizations. Mr. Greene is one of the founders of Senior Advocates for Generational Equity (SAGE) and has been a lifelong progressive.
Chris Guinn III
Chris Guinn III is a lifetime resident of Portland, Oregon, who has been in business over 25 years. Chris’s early career was in the beauty/barber business. After 15 years he transitioned that business into a highly successful real estate career. Chris now operates what has been called the largest black owned real estate company in Oregon history. Dwell Realty offers an array of real estate services in addition to residential sales, commercial sales/leasing, property management and relocation. Chris understands the efforts, the struggles and the triumphs of the small minority business owner in Portland, and is excited to have the opportunity to implement his skills and share his expertise with Ascent Funding.
Art Hiemstra has been providing debt capital to Northwest companies for over 30 years. Currently he is a senior vice president at the Bank of the Cascades, an Oregon bank focused on providing loans to Portland area businesses. Art was previously president of Vencore Capital, a private equity funded venture debt provider that loaned over $200 million to emerging growth companies nationwide from its Lake Oswego base. Working with entrepreneurs has always been a focus for Art and he worked with hundreds while at Vencore and previously at Silicon Valley Bank, where he managed the bank’s Northwest Division. He is familiar with financing growth and development and the fine art of creating the right mix of debt and equity capital. Hiemstra grew up in east Multnomah County, in Corbett, is a graduate of Pacific University and has an MBA from Stanford University.
Sheila Holden is Regional Community Manager for Pacific Power and serves as a Board Director for Albina Community Bank. In addition, Ms. Holden serves as President of the North/Northeast Economic Development Alliance. Ms. Holden is also a member of the N/NE Business Association and Chair of the Interstate Urban Renewal Area Advisory Committee.
Jeffrey Lang is one of the two founding partners of Gales Creek Insurance Services, a national firm based in Portland, Oregon that builds innovative insurance products for many sectors of the US economy, including the nonprofit & entertainment industries. Before Gales Creek he held positions in London and San Francisco where he used Risk Management and Pooling techniques to lower the cost of insurance to the consumer. Today he designs and implements new programs for associations and affinity groups that have been under-served by the traditional insurance market. Mr. Lang is very active in the Portland community with an emphasis on disenfranchised groups in the inner city. He helped found the Community Energy Project, which teaches and provides weatherization resources to seniors and low income residents. He is an officer of MESO, Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon, which provides loans, grants and technical assistance to individuals to help them launch small businesses. Mr. Lang is a board member of Friends of Tryon Creek State Park, which operates environmental education programs for youth as well as a Nature Center and a summer camp.
Melissa Sanger is Relationship Manager at Wells Fargo.
Erik Selden is a Vice President of Business Banking at First Citizens Bank serving Southwest Washington and the Portland Metro Area. He has experience in underwriting and developing new business. He currently serves as the Board President for the Northwest Association for Blind Athletes and is a member of the WSU Vancouver Diversity Advisory Board. Erik is a native of Southern California and a graduate of Portland State University.
Linda Woodley is the Principal and Senior Director of Prisma Point, a consultancy offering leading expertise in designing client-specific energy efficiency and demand response programs and initiatives that help facilitate more supplier diversity within organizations. Linda has more than 15 years of experience in the utility industry with an emphasis on energy efficiency program development, program management, and market research. Linda is also an experienced diversity, inclusion and equity specialist with a width breath of knowledge concerning diversity program development and implementation. Her focus is diversity outreach, education and training in addition to oversight and compliance. Linda is also a former client of Ascent Funding and has joined our board to represent the voice of our clients.