2021 Forward Leadership Program Overview

Project partner: Port of Portland Women+ Development Network

Students participating in the 2021 Forward Leadership Program will be working with the Port of Portland’s Women’s+ Development Network to understand the reasons behind apparent disparities by gender and ethnicity regarding advancement at certain pay levels within the Port of Portland.

Through this project, the students will help the Port:

  • Understand factors that may have, and may continue to, contribute to disparities associated with employees’ gender and racial identifications.
  • Perform comparisons with other similar organizations.
  • Develop suggestions, both general and specific, to mitigate these factors at the Port.
  • Provide recommendations on how other organizations or community-based groups can use lessons learned from this project or its methods to advance pay equity and opportunities for people of color within their own organizations.

2021 Forward Leadership Program Scholars

Alena Arounpradith (pronouns: she/her/hers) is a Lao-American student at Oregon State University majoring in BioHealth Sciences with an option in Pre-Pharmacy, and minors in Business, Chemistry, and Public Health. Outside of school, Alena is involved in multiple organizations. She currently works as the Communication Representative at OSU’s Asian Pacific Cultural Center. She is also the Public Relations Officer for the Asian Pacific American Student Union, and the Chapter Liaison for Phi Delta Chi, a professional pharmacy fraternity. In addition, Alena is an active member of other API organizations, like the Cambodian Student Association and the Vietnamese Student Association. Through the API Forward Program, Alena hopes to become a more culturally competent leader. She wants to be more socially conscientious of the social justice issues that exist within the API community and gain more experience engaging in diversity, inclusion, and equity work.

Cian Gentner (pronouns: he/him/his) is a 20-year-old college sophomore currently attending Clark College with hopes of transferring to the University of Washington in the fall. He majors in chemistry with the intention of attending medical school to become an anesthesiologist in the future. He enjoys activities such as watching movies and TV shows, walking his dog, and hanging out with friends. By joining the API Forward Leadership Program, Cian is hoping to be able to effectively and passionately promote diversity within our community in order to create a more safe and secure atmosphere for all people. He has a lot of volunteering experience through his high school’s clubs such as the Red Cross Club and the National Honor Society. He intends to utilize the experiences and lessons that he learned with these volunteering opportunities in order to more effectively contribute to this program.

Jordan Huynh (pronouns: she/her/hers) is 20 years old and currently a sophomore at Portland State University. She majors in Business Administration, focusing on Management and Leadership, along with Human Resources as a backup. Jordan is hoping that after she earns her degree in a couple more years, she will be able to not only work alongside other professionals, but also help guide and become a leader in her expertise. Jordan hopes to get more experience working with others and learning how to adapt to new situations that come across our daily lives. She also hopes to be able to serve Portland as it has become a home for not only her but for many others that live here.

Raleigh De Leon (pronouns: he/him/his) is a first-generation college student currently enrolled at Mt. Hood Community College’s Nursing program and will soon obtain their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). As he continues to navigate through higher education, it becomes more apparent that institutional systems such as the healthcare field demands an integrated critical analysis via personal lived experiences. This understanding aids in shaping their end goal of achieving their Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in education to support and guide youth on the importance of social justice as a fundamental value in how they provide care to all patients.

Roselie Agulto (pronouns: she/her/hers) is a senior majoring in public health and a first-generation college student at Portland State University. She was raised on the island of Saipan where her pride and joy in her Filipino and Chamorro cultures stem. Health disparities are no stranger to Roselie as she grew up witnessing the lack of resources, unstable healthcare infrastructure, and unhealthy behaviors that have been plaguing the health of her community. She is passionate about research and collaboration as it would help prepare her to become a public health leader in Micronesia. Part of her journey includes the work she does as an intern at the Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network where she supports the outreach, screening, and referral of community resources among patients for health-related social needs. As an API scholar, Roselie looks forward to connecting with other API community members and learning more about leadership, diversity, and advocacy. 

Taylor Nguyen (pronouns: she/her/hers) is a junior at Portland State University. She is a first-generation Vietnamese-American and a first-generation college student. Taylor is majoring in Supply Chain Management along with an International Business and Real Estate certificate. After college, she would like to work in California or abroad as a buyer or Supply Chain analyst. She is the Treasurer for PSU Kaibigan- Filipino American Student Association for two years and is a part of the Vietnamese Student Association(VSA) ACE program. She enjoys traveling, hiking, swimming, baking, and doing outdoor activities. Growing up in a small town in California, where there was no API community, she never felt represented. When she moved to Portland in 2015, she started being involved in many API clubs in high school to connect and represent her culture. Since then, she has continuously been involved in the API community to help others connect to their culture.

2021 Forward Leadership Program Mentors

Jenny Kim currently serves as the National President of the Korean American Coalition (KAC), a non-profit, non-partisan community advocacy group with nine chapters throughout the United States. Dedicated to the ideals of inclusiveness, Jenny works to represent the interests of immigrants, refugees, women, children, and any marginalized and under-represented community members.

She is also serving as an appointed Commissioner of Home Forward, Housing Authority for Multnomah county. Her previous non-profit experiences include The Portland Montessori School, Korean Society of Oregon, Divided Families USA, American Cancer Society, and Special Olympics to name a few.

Wylie Wan, Ph.D. (pronouns: she/her/hers) is a Hong Kong Chinese American and a first-generation college graduate with a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology. With over a decade of research experience in higher education, Wylie currently works as a Research and Data Specialist in K-12 education and provides professional development to educators.

In her work, she shows teams and leaders how to use research and data in the decision-making process to create equitable conditions for students to succeed. Wylie has also been mentoring students for over a decade. Her focus is to help students express their identities and apply their knowledge and experiences to a variety of spaces. She strongly believes that by setting up the right conditions, people can make sound decisions that lead to improvement in their work and lives.

Program Results

Roselie Agulto, Raleigh De Leon, Jordan Huynh (Left to Right)

$7,500 Scholarship for Team Southeast Aces

Coming from a diverse background of business, healthcare and research, Team SouthEast Aces (SEA) has come together representing students from Portland State University and Mount Hood Community College.

Team SEA was able to build upon existing skill sets to conduct research, present key findings, and provide recommendations to eliminate workplace inequities and improve opportunities for women and people of color within the Port of Portland. The team had the chance to learn more about our local communities here in Portland, Oregon. The team is grateful for the many opportunities to gain knowledge through data analysis, critical thinking, and showcasing our findings. 

During a pivotal time in history for transformational change, this meaningful experience has given Team SEA the opportunity to become leaders and advocates for diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Team Sea takes this chance to grow as strong individuals who will not only represent API, but will also become the future leaders who will give back to our community, for many years to come.

Alena Arounpradith, Cian Gentner, Taylor Nguyen (Left to Right)

$4,500 Scholarship for Team Metro

Team Metro is made up of students from three higher education institutions: Portland State University, Oregon State University, and Clark Community College.

Team Metro’s presentation discussed the Port of Portland’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts, which includes the Women+ Development Network employee resource group’s survey project. To better understand gender and ethnicity regarding advancement at certain pay levels for female employees and employees of color, they first told two real-life stories of women of color that they interviewed for the project. The stories of these two women of color were not isolated cases but part of an overarching problem of systemic racism and sexism that has shaped the modern corporate setting. They then tied in their survey finding responses, and discussed the deeper meaning behind the survey responses and percentages.

To finish the presentation, Team Metro made some recommendations that were pulled from three other companies they interviewed and what the Port could do that is working well for these companies. They also presented a roll-out plan on the next step the Port could take in the next two years. They ended it with a note that change takes time to implement and that there is nothing drastic that can be done right away. However, it is about small changes and effort over time that can lead to maintainable results.