Lisha Shrestha brings 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 the needs of individuals and communities into opportunities for economic prosperity.
HTOO RAY WAH
Htoo Ray was born and raised in a Thai refugee camp before moving to Portland, Oregon with her family in 2011. She graduated from Lewis and Clark College with a degree in Asian Studies in 2023 . In her spare time, she enjoys watching drama series, hiking, and taking pictures.
Julia is currently pursuing a degree in Management and Accounting at George Fox University. Her birthplace being a refugee camp in Thailand has influenced her character positively, as she’s learned the value of perseverance and hard work. During her free time, she likes to explore coffee shops, take pictures, and hang out with her family.
Lorena lived in Mexico for 3 years and moved back to the U.S in 2012 and has been living in Portland ever since. She graduated from Reynolds High School and is currently a junior at Portland State University. She is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Community Development because she is passionate about being involved in the community and providing the support and inclusion that not many minority communities receive. During her free time she likes to go shopping, go to coffee shops, hang out with friends and go to concerts.
PAW BWAY WAH
PAW BWAY WAH WORKFORCE NAVIGATOR
Paw Wah was born in Burma (Myanmar) and later moved to a refugee camp in Thailand. She immigrated to the U.S in 2008 and after graduating high school, she has been incredibly involved in her community. She has been assisting Karen community members who have barriers of settling in a new country and was working at Minnesota math and science academy and was a youth navigator at IRCO. Her passion to help others inspired her to be a bridge of resources for her community. Paw loves to go fishing with her children.
QUICKBOOK SPECIALIST & IRAQI COMMUNITY LIAISON
Mohammad Khalid is a first-generation immigrant and a citizen of the United States. He studies accounting at Portland State University. His number one goal is to help and support the Iraqi community in Oregon. In his spare time, Mohammad loves to cook and to play soccer.
VIETNAMESE COMMUNITY LIAISON
Khanh Le immigrated to the U.S. from Vietnam, and she has become a naturalized citizen of the United States in 2019. Currently she is completing her bachelor’s degree in Applied Linguistics, along with the Teaching English as a Second Language certificate, and Global Studies certificate at Portland State University. Khanh wants to give back to her community and continue dedicating herself to the work of bringing equity and inclusion to the immigrant and refugee communities in the land that she now calls home.
NEPALI CULTURAL LIAISON (INTERN)
Prabina graduated from Centennial high school. She goes to PSU. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in criminology. She loves listening to k-pop music. Her favorite groups are Bts, Blackpink, Twice, Red velvet and many more. It’s uncountable. Prabina loves hanging out with friends. The only time she feels like herself is when she is around her friends.
ANNE DOWNING - BOARD PRESIDENT
As the Board President, Anne brings a lifetime of experience in working with immigrant and small business communities. With her experience, Division Midway Alliance is forging a path toward establishing the organization as a forefront leader in assisting communities around Division Street.
Leslie has been a college educator for 36 years in the fields of Health Education and Education. 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). She’s currently a Para Educator with Portland Public Schools and continuing to work with special education elementary students. She’s excited about how DMA is expanding outreach to the SE Portland immigrant and refugee business communities.
With years of experience as an activist, Layla brings to DMA her passion in supporting immigrant populations and small businesses through guiding Division Midway Alliance to become the model organization that others look towards too as an example of a Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative that brings positive growth.
Breeanna Guardado (Bree) is an Affordable Housing Professional in Portland, Oregon. She has years of experience ranging from onsite management, federal compliance monitoring, asset management, and assistance in housing development. Bree is currently working for Rose Community Development, a grassroots developer that focuses on the SE neighborhood. Bree also has experience working closely with Portland’s most vulnerable populations: homelessness, mental illness, and substance abuse. Bree is eager to use her strong communication skills, real estate knowledge, and compassion; to assist Division Midway Alliance to fulfill its mission.
Tayo Adesida is a Portland native and the son of a Nigerian immigrant. Tayo is currently a construction manager for Raimore Construction. Tayo has spent the last 3 years working on TriMet’s Division Transit Project that was located along the Division Corridor. Tayo brings knowledge of contracting, subcontractor development, and workforce development that can be used to assist other upcoming contractors in the communitys here.
RONAULT (POLO) LS CATALANI
Polo is a West Coast and SE Asia activist-lawyer, a Senior Contributing Editor of The Asian Reporter, and a contributor to The Oregonian and Oregon Public Radio. He became a City Hall’s New Portlander Programs manager. He is currently a Managing Attorney in NW Communities Council.
Danita is currently working full time at IRCO and has been with IRCO since 1997 when she started as a Parent Educator providing parent education to primarily SE Asian parents with young children ages Birth to 5 years old. She is now the Director of the Early Learning Division at IRCO. She received her bachelor’s in elementary education at Western Oregon University and a master’s in early childhood at Georgia State University. She is a proud parent of two wonderful boys, 31 and 17. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, listening to music, and spending time with friends and family.