Lisha Shrestha- Executive Director

She joined DMA as an Interim Executive Director on Jan 2018 and took a permanent role from July 2018. She brings her 13 years of local and international experience to the work. She has previously worked at IRCO, the City of Portland New Portlander Program, and Elders in Action. At present, she is also pursuing her doctoral degree at Portland State University. Her involvement with the diverse community in Portland brought her recognition in the form of the PSU President’s Diversity Award in 2015 and Community Leader of the Year Spirit of Portland Award in 2017. She is passionate about transforming needs of individuals and communities into opportunities for economic prosperity. In her free time, she enjoys hiking or simply trying new foods from different cultures.

Elizabeth Lopez-Hernandez - Program Coordinator

Elizabeth Lopez graduated from Portland State University with a double major in International Studies and Political Science with a French Minor. During her time at PSU, she was able to study abroad in Southern France, where she developed a passion for travelling, trying new foods, and strengthen her interest to learn about different cultures, people and languages. At PSU, she worked as Resident Academic Mentor, where she worked closely with her residential community and Campus resources to better served her community. She has worked as a facilitator for various nonprofits in the Portland area focusing on youth empowerment and leadership such as Girls Inc. of Pacific NorthWest. She is passionate about women empowerment and making sure that the immigrant and refugee communities have the necessary resources to succeed. In her free time she enjoys hiking with her cousins and her dog and photographing. She’s fluent in Spanish and French.

Austin Delos Santos-Operations & Communications Coordinator

Austin is a Portland State University graduate with a major in Community Development. After transferring from a local community college from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in 2018, he joined the BUILD EXITO scholar program. During his time as a scholar, Austin worked on numerous research labs that focused on Autism. At PSU, he was a part of the Academic Autism Spectrum Partnership in Research and Education (AASPIRE) where he analyzed employment and burnout data to develop a burnout measurement tool. His experiences working with analyzing data, using statistical tools, and writing research reports encouraged him to pursue a career in a non-profit organization. He was an intern at the Multnomah County Health Department-Pacific Islander Coalition and helped to develop data analyzing on 1). Sexual Health; 2). Child, Youth, and Family; 3). Nutrition and Diet; 4). Chronic Disease; and 5). Substance Abuse. As a Chamorro, he understands the need to deescalate situations through gentle personalism and acknowledging the hidden issues so we can heal from oppression. In his free time, Austin enjoys volunteering at food pantries to give back to the Portland community.

Community/Business Outreach Liaisons

Lwe Wah Shee is a community/business outreach liaison at DMA. She speaks Karen and some Burmese. She is currently pursuing her bachelor's degree in Education Studies, minor in linguistics, and concentrating in Teaching English as a Foreign Language at Western Oregon University. In the past, she has worked for Portland Parks and Recreation as a Creative Youth Soccer Leader, Portland Metro as a regional park caretaker, and at a public school as a teacher assistance. Her experiences working with diverse cultures and different organizations educated her and opened her mind to see how people view the world differently. As a refugee, who came to America to seek for new opportunities, she understands how it feels like to live in a different world. When she has free time, she enjoys helping her Karen community with translation and interpretation in Karen and English.
Lute is currently the Business/Community Outreach Liaison for Asian Pacific Islanders. Lute enjoys volunteering at her children’s school. In her spare time Lute volunteers at an elderly care home as a companion by reading to them or going for a walk with them. Lute has volunteered in various programs including: at elderly care homes, nursery school, Tongan Committee, and Tongan sewing class. Lute enjoys working and helping the Tongan community and other Pacific Islander communities. Lute helps with translation and interpretation in the Tongan and Samoan languages. During Lute’s Free time she loves to bake and sharing her baking with community, friends, and family.

Board Of Directors

Anne Downing - Board President

2018 - Present

Leslie Hickox - Treasurer

Leslie has been a college educator for 36 years in the fields of Health Education and Education. She has semi-retired post-2012 and began a practice in health insurance. With the beginning of the Affordable Care Act in 2013, Leslie focused on serving people with the Federal Market Place and the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid). In 2017 to 2019, she began working again in public education with the YMCA before and after school programs for children. She’s currently a Para Educator with Portland Public Schools and continuing to work with special education elementary students. She continues to work part-time with health insurance clients. She has been assisting Division Midway Alliance for two years as a board member. She’s excited about how DMA is expanding outreach to the SE Portland immigrant and refugee business communities.

Layla Assam - Board Secretary

2017 - Present

Dawn Luethe - Board Member

2016 - Present

Víctor Salinas

Victor is a not-so-new to Portland, he’s originally from Mexico. His parents moved their family to the U.S. in the mid-eighties in the search for better opportunities for their children. Víctor has lived in Oregon for most of his life. As an immigrant, Victor understands the struggle for equity and inclusion of our immigrant, refugee, and ethnic-streams. As a member of a bi-cultural family, he is a vocal advocate for intercultural community-building. He has overcome many life challenges and obstacles common to the immigrant experience in this country including his pathway to citizenship and his challenges with higher education as a first-generation college student. While navigating higher education at Portland State University, Víctor served as a Child and Family Advocate for the Mexican Consulate in Portland. That fueled his passion to continue to work to address issues of equity and social justice. Víctor currently services as the Director of the East Portland Community Office – a community-building and advocacy District Coalition Office serving East-Portlanders. In his previous role with the City of Portland, he led the development of the City’s Cannabis Policy Program. Prior to that, he served as a Community Engagement Program Coordinator with the Community and Neighborhood Involvement Center for the Office of Community & Civic Life. Before beginning his career path with the City of Portland, Victor worked for Latino Network where he coordinated Civic Engagement and Leadership programs. He is steadfast committed to intercultural community-building efforts and support opportunities for engagement between government and Portland’s diverse communities while building community capacity to have an impact on public decision-making. His motto: let’s work together to make East Portland a thriving, welcoming and inclusive community for ALL!

Joe Enlet - Board Member

2019 - Present