Having earned an MA in Clinical Psychology and working in residential treatment with youth, Aaron Fell into working as an IPS Employment Specialist in a Community Mental Health program in Chicago. This led to work with Oregon VR. As someone who has frequently checked the “other” box in life and experiencing my world change though my own coming out process he has observed how systemic functioning disadvantages his fellow “others” and daily works to reduce that discrepancy.
Born with Cerebral Palsy, my greatest fear was that I would be just another talented New Yorker with a disability and nothing to show for it. As an Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the past seven years, I have been able to face and conquer this fear alongside wonderful clients and colleagues. My road has been paved with stones of struggle and triumph. I continue to find strength in my family, faith and belief that if we as humankind embrace our full capacity to love, we can overcome all obstacles.
Derrick has dedicated most of his adult life to advocating for social justice in underserved communities, to include vulnerable youth, individuals who experience mental health challenges, survivors of traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and individuals who experience cognitive and developmental delays. Derrick received his B.A. in psychology in 2015 and a Master of Social Work (MSW) in 2018, both from Portland State University. While working towards his B.A. and MSW, Derrick worked with Kampfe Management Services Brian Injury Rehabilitation Center, where he spent 3 year as a Case Manager and 2 years as Care Coordinator, therapist, and program developer. He also developed course material and co-lectured on the interpersonal impact of trauma within the family system. Currently, Derrick is the PAVE (Prevention of Amputations in Veterans Everywhere) Social Worker and specializes in amputee prevention for Veterans with complex medical and psychosocial barriers. In addition, Derrick co-created and facilitates SWAIR (Social Workers Against Institutional Racism), which consists of social workers working towards cultivating an anti-racist practice within the VA Health Care System. Derrick is also an an on-call social worker with Oregon Health and Sciences University and member of the BIPOC Committee, which focuses on the development of policies that address the impact of systemic and interpersonal racism within the OHSU health care system. Derrick is also a member of the VA Ethical Consult Committee, is an intimate partner violence champion, voting member of the PAVE Committee, and is an African-American and LGBTQ Special Emphasis Program Manager with the Portland VA Health Care System. Derrick’s core belief is that those with access to power and privilege have a responsibility to advocate for those who do not and a social obligation to care for those who cannot care for themselves.
Chair of Diverse and Empowered Employees of Portland (DEEP) with the City of Portland. DEEP is dedicated to enhancing a work environment that is inclusive and supportive of the City of Portland’s diverse workforce that is committed to quality public service. While working in Community Outreach for Environmental Services for 18 years, Debbie is one of the founders and has chaired DEEP for the past 14 years. DEEP oversees nine different Affinity Groups (Employee Network Groups). She is also one of the leadership team for the LGBTQ & Friends Affinity Group, was one of the founders and directors of the Portland Queer Film Festival for ten years, served on many boards of directors, including Portland Area Business Association (PABA), Equity Foundation, Lesbian Community Project, and SCRAP PDX.
Karen Williams, Executive Trillium Employment Services. Trillium serves over 600 clients and over 400 businesses in Washington. Trillium believes that building a strong organizational culture, driven by learning and outcomes, results in quality services for clients. Karen obtained her Master of Public Administration from George Washington University, with a concentration in public policy and nonprofit management. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Disability Studies from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Karen is a certified coach through the Hudson Institute.