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The City of Portland, Oregon

Planning and Sustainability

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Persistence pays off for two of BPS’ own

Editor’s note: The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is staffed with some very special people, who are full of passion and good ideas. They work hard and have fun while they’re doing it. This month we’re featuring two exceptional women from the bureau.

Leesha Posey and Lauren Norris are special kinds of pillars in the community, ensuring that communities of color and underserved Portlanders understand and benefit from sustainable practices.

Recently, they were nominated by a jury of their peers for the City of Portland’s 2018 Women’s Empowerment (WE) Persist award. In conjunction with Women’s History Month, this year’s annual honor recognized “standout” women who have inspired others in their persistence against discrimination faced by women in the workplace.

Inspiring Lauren

Lauren NorrisIn her role coordinating the Master Recycler program, Lauren’s effect on Master Recycler volunteers is clear. Glowingly, one of her nominators wrote, “Lauren works tirelessly to diversify the ‘environmental’ movement. [She] is creating an environment for all individuals, especially [those] who are often not seen at the table.” 

Lauren is honored to have been nominated with so many other “wonder women” who are doing exceptional work on behalf of the City. Her goal is to ensure that reducing consumption is done collaboratively so that communities of color and low-income communities are co-creators of sustainable practices.

“We can also ensure that we create equitable avenues for wealth building by creating safe, living wage jobs in recycling and reuse,” she says.

She is enthusiastic about working with a new group of volunteers, the Master Recyclers of Color. This new cohort is poised to have an even greater influence on citywide sustainability practices.

“The group is working on community building, but they are also identifying ways to provide more access to sustainability ideas, practices and projects to underserved communities,” said Lauren.

Impactful Leesha

Leesha (on the right in photo) has also had a positive influence on the people she works with in her role as a program specialist for BPS’ Sustainability at Work program.

“Leesha is an exceptional person,” wrote one of Posey’s nominators. “She uses her time/skills to uplift the voices of black and brown individuals … and believes in the career mobility of all women and individuals of color.”

“Creating the Master Recyclers of Color program allowed me to shake the feeling of being the “only one’” she mused. “But it also provides a space for folks to get together and network, share, vent and build. Lauren has been so supportive of the group and its possibilities.”

Said Leesha, “This award affirms that I had some impact – no matter how small – on someone, and that means the world to me. It definitely confirms that our work is meaningful to people and inspires me moving forward.”

Good work ladies! BPS is proud of you!