Meet the Board

The League of Women Voters of Portland is governed by a board of unpaid volunteers. We are grateful for all the time these leaders and our other volunteers contribute to encouraging civic participation, empowering voters and “Making Democracy Work.”

League Leaders

Officers

Debbie Kaye, President       president@lwvpdx.org   

Debbie was elected President of the LWVPDX Board of Directors in May 2019. She previously served as First Vice President, first with the Membership portfolio and then with the Development portfolio. Before joining the Board, Debbie was a Portland LWV unit leader for many years. She then helped coordinate the Speakers Bureau. She has continued to assist with Voter Service, as part of the Speakers Bureau and  a moderator for candidate and ballot measure forums.

With an international relations degree from Brown University, Debbie first worked in the peace education field.  She spent two years in Santiago, Chile, where she learned Spanish (with a strong Chilean accent!), worked as a buyer for a Brazilian department store, and traveled extensively in Latin America.  Bracketing her Chilean experience, Debbie worked in finance leasing in San Francisco.  Returning to her native Portland with her husband and two young sons in 1990, Debbie joined the League and also became deeply engaged at Catlin Gabel School where she chaired the alumni board and served on the board of trustees as well as parent groups.  Volunteer coordination became her strength, first at Friendly House Preschool, and then for Catlin Gabel’s legendary rummage sale (1,000 volunteers!), Eliot Institute summer camp, and the 2008 LWVUS national convention.  She has led the nominating process for several organizations.   She enjoys gardening, a book group, singing, target shooting, and travel.


Marion McNamara, 1st Vice President, Administration   vpadmin@lwvpdx.org

Marion joined LWV in 2014. She served as the editor of the LWV of Portland Voter newsletter from 2015-17. She was 3rd Vice President for Civic Education from 2017-2019. At the same time, she was active as an observer for advocacy on environmental issues, especially the Portland Harbor Superfund Site. She also helped with compiling the results of membership consensus on studies and program planning, was a delegate to the LWVUS and LWVOR conventions and is an active member of Unit 6. Her background is in teaching and training. Before moving to Portland, she was a university administrator for international programs at OSU and a Peace Corps volunteer. She currently volunteers in Portland Public Schools.


Chris Cobey, 2nd Vice President, Voter Service Chair   voterservice@lwvpdx.org; forums@lwvpdx.org

After 70 years as a Californian, Chris immigrated to Oregon to be near his family in Portland.  In California, he had a career as an employment lawyer — and then a stint as a Hearst Castle guide.  His prior public engagement has been as a city council member and mayor, a civil service commissioner, a land use advisory group chair, and temporary judge.  His League interests include voter service, redistricting, the judiciary, employment law, ranked choice voting, development, and Diversity-Equity-Inclusion (DEI).  Portland’s and Oregon’s people, politics, and places continue to surprise and delight him. 


Nancy Donovan, 3rd Vice President, Civic Education    civiced@lwvpdx.org

Nancy was elected as the 3rd Vice President and Civic Education Chair for the Portland League in May 2019. In 2017 she was elected as alternate on the Nominating Committee. She also serves as the Chair of the LWVPDX Education Interest Group, which explores successful educational models in K-8 public schools in Portland and examines other possible educational initiatives for study or advocacy.

During legislative sessions, Nancy serves on the League of Women Voters of Oregon Action Committee and is active in state legislative housing policy. Her life-long career focus is to improve the lives of persons with low- and moderate- incomes and to help those experiencing homelessness to access affordable housing and services. For 25 years, first in her hometown of Omaha and then most recently in Portland, she was manager of programs for the community planning and development division of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). She retired from HUD in 2016 and joined the LWV of Portland that same year.  Prior to joining HUD she worked as a program officer for the Local Initiatives Support Corporation in New York City to provide funding to local development corporations to build and revitalize housing in distressed neighborhoods. Throughout her career she has worked effectively with key agencies in federal, state, and local governments as well as private and nonprofit agencies.


Anne Davidson, Secretary       secretary@lwvpdx.org

Anne joined the Portland League of Women Voters shortly after she  arrived in Portland 30+ years ago. Having moved away from everyone she knew, she says she joined LWV because she wanted to make sure that she continued to be “in the company of smart, well-informed and interesting women. How right I was!” Since then, she has served in a number of capacities including working on the newsletter, serving as Secretary, Board Treasurer and Endowment Fund Treasurer. Her involvement tapered off as her two children were born and her role in the family business increased. Her children are now out of the house and she hopes to retire in the next year or so. So, she’s back “and honored to serve as your Secretary and continue as the Endowment Fund Treasurer.”


Don Brenneis,  Treasurer (2020 – July 2021)  treasurer@lwvpdx.org

Don moved to Portland in the summer of 2019 after retiring as a professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Don and his wife were drawn here by their daughter and her family and by a strong sense of Portland as a lively and engaged community in a very beautiful part of the world.

They were League members throughout our time in Claremont and Palo Alto, but Don’s  organizational energies were focused primarily on university and professional communities. He is a social and linguistic anthropologist, trained at Stanford and Harvard, with field research experience ranging from Fiji to federal science bureaucracies in Washington, DC. At the heart of his research has been an interest in the relationship between language and politics and a core concern with the question of how talk and other forms of communication make a difference in shaping and transforming communities. Don has written on topics from children’s arguments and men’s gossip to the style and dynamics of research funding panel meetings. He taught for forty-five years, first at Pitzer College in Claremont, CA, and then at UCSC, where he was active in shared governance and served as Chair of the Academic Senate. He was very involved in academic organizations, serving as President of the American Anthropological Association and editing several scholarly journals.

All the organizational participation has led to his becoming familiar with the work of budget, finance, and audit committees. He is looking forward to learning more about and contributing more actively to the work of the League in Portland.


Adrienne Aiona, Treasurer (July 2021 – July 2022) treasurer@lwvpdx.org

Adrienne attended her first League meetings as an infant with her mother, Debbie Aiona, in Salt Lake City. Since then, the League has been part of her life through her Mom’s activism and as a volunteer herself. After college, she joined the League and served on the Board from 2002 to 2008 as the Voter editor and Treasurer. For the past two years (2019 – present), Adrienne has served as the LWVPDX Budget Chair.

Adrienne is an engineer at the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services and manages a team that writes the codes and rules for the bureau. Adrienne has a 7-year-old daughter; she enjoys the theater, knitting, the outdoors and political podcasts.


Directors

Debbie Aiona, Action Chair      action@lwvpdx.org

Debbie grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and first joined the League in 1979 in Salt Lake City, UT. Other places where she was a member include Greenville, S.C., Lexington, KY and Portland. As a longtime resident of Portland, she has held a number of positions in the local League including president. She now serves the organization as a board member and action committee chair. Issues on which she personally focuses include affordable housing, police oversight, campaign finance reform and urban renewal. In addition to her work on the LWV Portland board, she is a board member of the Coalition of Advocates for Equal Access for Girls, a statewide organization that works to ensure that girls receive equal access to all of the appropriate gender-specific support and services they need to help them develop to their full potential.


Carolyn Buppert, Twitter Coordinator    socialmedia@lwvpdx.org
 

Carolyn has been coordinating LWVPDX’s Twitter messages since October 2019. She has a history of work in journalism and media relations, but she is now an attorney focusing on the legal issues related to nurses and nurse practitioners. Carolyn lived in Portland in the early 80’s, where she went to nursing school at OHSU. She then moved to San Francisco for graduate school, then back to Maryland, her home state, where she worked as a nurse practitioner and went to law school at night. After practicing law in Maryland for many years, she moved to Colorado for a few years, and then back to Portland in 2018. Carolyn is a frequent contributor to Medscape.com on legal issues in health care. She lectures extensively on the legal issues regarding nursing scope of practice, compliance, prescribing, malpractice, privacy, and reimbursement. Recently, Carolyn has actively attended League meetings at the state level. She was a delegate from LWVPDX to the 2020 LWVUS National Convention.


Judy Froemke, Discussion Units Coordinator     units@lwvpdx.org

Judy  was elected to the Board as Units Coordinator in 2017 and reelected in 2019. In addition to keeping in touch with the Unit Leaders, Judy writes well researched LWV newsletter articles about the upcoming topics for Civic Education events and Unit discussions.  Judy joined the Portland League of Women Voters in 2013. She helped to register voters off and on at Naturalization Ceremonies and organized and participated in Voter Registration Drives under the supervision of Janine Settelmeyer. She was Unit 4 Chair for two years and appreciated the counsel and support of former Units Coordinator Janet Youel. Before moving to Portland to live near her son and family, Judy was a Family Court Mediator for almost thirty years. She was on the state board of the Michigan Association of Family Court Mediators for ten years and organized/edited the training manual for Family Court Counselors/Mediators. During her time in Portland, she has spent many hours as a volunteer Master Gardener. Judy grew up in a home where the dining room table was generally covered with LWV material. She strongly believes in the grass roots role of the LWV units.


Linda Mantel, Development Chair   development@lwvpdx.org

Linda is a retired biologist (crustacean physiology) and academic administrator, with many years of experience in teaching, research, and student and faculty development. Linda became active in the League in time to work on the Study Committee for Public Higher Education, and she joined the LWVPDX Board in May 2019 “to try and do some more good works.”

Linda received a B.A. in Biology from Swarthmore College and a Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics from the University of Illinois. Linda spent three years as a Research Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, after which she joined the Biology department at City College of the City University of New York (CUNY), where she spent 25 years in a number of roles. Since moving to Portland in 1993, Linda has worked at Reed College, at Willamette University, and at the University of Portland, as well as playing a major role in the Pacific Northwest Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, an NSF funded program to increase the number of underrepresented students in STEM careers. She is completing 10 years as President of Sigma Xi Columbia-Willamette

            In Portland, Linda has become a connoisseur of wine, berries, geology, art, crafts, and mountains, and is involved in several community programs and boards in these areas. She also audits classes regularly at PSU, in a diversity of topics of interest.


Amber Nobe, Voter Newsletter Editor     newsletter@lwvpdx.org
A lifelong Pacific Northwest citizen, Amber grew up in western Washington and has called Oregon home since 2003. She earned a degree in mass communication from Linfield College and began her career as a news reporter and editor at small, community newspapers around Oregon. For the last 10 years, she’s provided technical editing, marketing, and communications for engineering and architecture firms in the metro area that primarily work on public infrastructure and development projects. Currently, Amber is marketing manager and associate at Hennebery Eddy Architects. She lives in the Montavilla neighborhood with her husband, Jason Little, and son, James; together they enjoy traveling and cheering for the Timbers and Blazers. Amber is passionate about voter education and participation, and she is always looking for suggestions on how to better share information with our League membership and supporters.

Margaret Noel, Website Editor and Communications Chair   Margaret Noelcommunications@lwvpdx.org

Margaret first became an active volunteer with the League of Women Voters of Portland in 1993. She served on the LWVPDX Board from 1994 to 1998, and was elected to the LWV of Oregon Board in 1997. She was LWVOR President 2003-2007 and LWVOR Nominating Committee Chair 2009-11. As a League member and officer, she has worked on Voter Service, Action, Nominating, Development, Budget and Study Committees. For the 2008 LWVUS Convention in Portland, she was Floor Committee Co-Chair. She then served as a co-president, president and 3rd VP for LWV of Portland from May 2013 through April 2017. Professionally, Margaret worked as a middle-school science teacher and as a producer of educational audio-visual programs. Her husband Gordon is an emeritus professor of medicine at the Portland VA Hospital and OHSU. They have three daughters and seven grandchildren. Margaret’s interests include walking and hiking, her dog, grandchildren, gardening, antiques and travel.


Audrey Zunkel-deCoursey, At-Large Director   atlarge4@lwvpdx.org

Audrey Zunkel-deCoursey is a student, mother, and writer.  She has previously worked as a pastor, hospital chaplain, and non-profit program manager.  She has been active in advocating for criminal justice reform, environmental sustainability, and women’s rights.

The daughter of a long-time LWV member in Illinois, Audrey joined LWVPDX last year and is excited to be on the Board to help advance the League’s work of strengthening democracy.



Off-Board Leaders

 Jen Jacobs, Budget Committee Chair      budget@lwvpdx.org

Jen joined the LWV in 2020 and assisted Barbara Ross and the Police Accountability Study committee.  She moved to Portland in 1993 from Minnesota and has worked and volunteered in Portland since then.  Jen served on the Portland Women’s Crisis Line (now, Call to Safety) board of directors; she helped with training volunteers and transporting domestic violence victims and their families.  Jen also volunteered for teen homeless support centers (Greenhouse Center and Outside In.)  Currently she is the neighborhood school PTA Treasurer and helping to set things up for next school year.  

Jen has been very happy to help support the League of Women Voters by also participating in some budget committee sessions.  She looks forward to being the Chair of the Budget Committee.


Philip Thor, Endowment Fund Committee Chair

After retiring in March 2011 from a 30-year career at the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), Philip has enjoyed a life of traveling, volunteer activities and hobbies.  He joined the LWVPDX Endowment Committee in 2017. He also volunteers at the Northeast Emergency Food Program, walks dogs and works in the Medical Center at the Oregon Humane Society. He enjoys woodworking and walking with friends each week, when in town, and visiting the timber-framed style home he and his wife, Betsy Pratt, built in Sisters, OR. Philip and Betsy have taken numerous trips, including to Corsica, France, Japan, Great Britain (for several long-distance treks), Italy, Germany, Croatia, Greece, St. Lucia (bare boat sailing with friends), and Iceland.


Anne Davidson, Endowment Fund Committee Treasurer

(Please see Anne’s profile above under Board Officers, Secretary.)

 


 

Ann Dudley, Nominating Committee Chair    nominating@lwvpdx.org 

Ann has been a member of the Portland League since 2013, when she was given a gift of membership. Her mother was active in the League for many decades, in both Indiana and Connecticut, so Ann was familiar with the role and activities of the organization.  Ann soon jumped into coordinating the Speakers Bureau for several years, then continued on as a speaker for another round of elections.  Ann enjoyed representing the League at Central Catholic High School’s Democracy in Action Day for a number of years.  She attends Action Committee meetings when possible and participates with Unit 2.

Ann enjoyed a long career in public education, as an early childhood educator, a speech-language pathologist, a special education teacher and a K to 2nd grade teacher, in the Seattle area, Alaska and Oregon.  In retirement she tutors adults in basic education and English language skills.  She enjoys hiking, camping, gardening, traveling and reading.


Mary McWilliams, Membership Chair     membership@lwvpdx.org

Mary and her husband Bob moved to Portland in 2005 to be close to their daughter and her growing family and other relatives. Mary joined the Portland League so she could learn about her new community. In the Portland League, Mary has been active as a board member, off-board member, and as an interested member with the SE Unit 2, various committees such as action, development, membership, and voter service, as president in 2011-13, and continuing on with publicity for Civic Education Programs and Voter Service Forums, the League’s Multnomah County Directory of Elected Officials, and observing the monthly meetings of the Portland Housing Advisory Committee with Debbie Aiona. One of her favorite, not too distant League activities, was organizing (with other League members) a trip for League members to Richland, WA for an all-day tour of the Hanford Nuclear Facility. Mary is a big reader and enjoys her books groups, sings in a community chorus, golfs, loves to cook, continuing to travel, and being close to family.


Sunny Sassaman, Nominating Committee Member

As a candidate for Maui County Council while residing in Hawaii, Sunny Sassaman first encountered the LWV and appreciated the engagement and emphasis on being aware and educated. The experience was positive and left an impression. Fast-forward to 2020. Sunny joined the LWVPDX to become better informed and engage in more meaningful dialog around the issues that we are facing locally and nationally.

Sunny is a professional mediator and conflict management consultant. She is currently the Board VP for the Oregon Mediation Association. A strong value in access to justice and fairness drew her to mediation. She enjoys spending time on the coast and travel, hiking, walking her dog and playing cribbage.


Eileen Chase, Technical Support

Since 2016, Eileen has been an active League member, and in 2017 she managed the League’s Voters’ Guide distribution. She has recently helped with training for board members on using our database, Little Green Light.

Professionally, Eileen is a motivated, creative problem solver. She has extensive experience improving processes — spanning food manufacturing to health services — and is currently employed as a Process Engineer at Providence Health & Services. In this role, she focuses on systems efficiency and financial stewardship. Other responsibilities include data analysis, change management, and facilitation. She obtained her Bachelor’s in Biology and Master’s in Public Policy & Administration.

Outside the office, Eileen has penchant for cycling and cooking as well as a lifelong passion for science, women’s rights, and politics. Previously, Eileen has volunteered for Medical Teams International to Guatemala and was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines.


Voter Registration      voterreg@lwvpdx.org
Contact through voterservice@lwvpdx.org

Speaker’s Bureau     speakers@lwvpdx.org
Beth Burczak

Social Media        socialmedia@lwvpdx.org
Carolyn Buppert, Elizabeth Davis, Katie LeRoux


League Staff

Office Manager       info@lwvpdx.org 

Our Office Manager position is currently vacant. Our Administrative Vice President, Marion McNamara, is handling the essential office business until we are able to hire a replacement.