Thoughts from the Board : Babs Adamski

Hello dear readers!

My name is Babs Adamski and I am a recent addition to the St. Johns Center for Opportunity (SJCO) Board of Directors. I joined in Fall of 2016 after having been engaged at varying levels with the former St. Johns Main Street and more recently,  the St. Johns Center for Opportunity.

I am a long time grassroots organizer and I am guided by a personal mission to encourage creativity and justice in my environment. Volunteer and paid work has given me opportunities to work in capacities that serve the community. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but feel free to ask me what they are and I’ll tell you.

When I was approached about becoming a board member for SJCO, I took some time to consider how my personal goals would align with the goals of SJCO. It was particularly helpful that SJCO had just gone through a time of introspection about who they were as an organization, what they would do, and how they would do it.

SJCO has four specific areas of focus: community building, workforce development, affordable housing, and local business support. As I considered my personal goals and mission in a “hyper-local” manner, I could see that the work SJCO was doing in the community, matched well with my desire to encourage justice in our community. I see sustainable behaviors as a conduit for making a community more livable. Shop local, work as close to home as possible, commit to your community by engaging with your neighbors, and advocating for resources for your neighborhood. It is a matter of social justice that we all have a secure place to live (renting or owning a home), healthy affordable food, and equitable opportunities for education and work.

To me, SJCO works toward all these goals, and as a generalist, I want to be involved in all of them. But, as a person with a busy life and big family, I realize that I will be more effective if I focus my efforts. Currently, my greatest fear is that local residents, especially renters, will be forced out by the current housing market. Because of this, SJCO’s affordable housing advocacy is what I am most excited about. Whether it’s gathering groups together to canvass for the recent bond measure, being part of the Welcome Home Coalition, or gathering housing advocates to discuss their shared work in affordable developments, we’re working to help the St. Johns community consider what efforts we can make to increase housing stability.

As events and campaigns are publicized, please join in with your support - financially or by volunteering. If you have any questions about the work SJCO is doing, or want to grab a coffee and talk about the neighborhood, you can reach me at babsia@gmail.com

Meet our new board members!

Last month SJCO welcomed four new board members to its team! Please meet Sydney Leonard, Zac Padgett, Shannon Olive, and Cole Kimball: 

Sydney Leonard
Sydney is a proud resident of St. Johns and is passionate about local food and community building. She held the position of Program Manager for SJCO from late 2014 to early 2016, originally joining the organization via the St. Johns Farmers Market. Sydney now works for Portland Farmers Market managing programs, events, and community outreach at 7 farmers markets across the city. She holds a BS in Political Science from Johnson State College in Vermont and also completed the nonfiction writing program at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. Sydney likes to spend her free time cooking and hanging out with her friends, her fiance, and their dog Bunk at various neighborhood haunts.

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Zac Padgett
Zac is a business lawyer and counts small business owners, startup companies and entrepreneurs among his clients.  He was born and raised in Texas, but made he way to Oregon as quickly as he could. Zac's firm is distributed, meaning he gets to spend plenty of time working out of coffee shops here in the neighborhood.  He has significant experience in capital raises, mergers and acquisitions, leases, commercial contracting and nonprofit legal matters.  Zac serves as pro bono legal counsel to the nonprofit Depave and also serves on the business development committee for SOLVE Oregon.  On the weekends, Zac can be found riding his bike, seeing live music, hanging with his friends in the greater nopo area and taking care of the yard.

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Shannon Olive
Shannon was born and raised in Portland. She is the mother of two fine young men, Davion and Jeffrey. Shannon realized her potential to make a difference when she served as a volunteer for Oregon Action from 2004-2008. She Chaired her first campaign: Voters Owned Election (Refinance Reform), which was the reform Amanda Fritz ran under during her first election year and won. 

In 2009, she was offered her first Organizing position with OPAL (Organizing People Activating Leaders). Since then Shannon has developed and obtained skills in nonprofit management and community, youth, and leadership development. She holds her Associate Degree in Criminal Justice from Portland Community College and is planning to return this fall to receive her BA in Psychology from Portland State.

She also serves as a Committee member for the Multnomah County Sheriffs Department Budget Advisory Board and is the Resident Services Coordinator for Cathedral Gardens in North Portland. She has additional experience in public speaking, strategic planning, fundraising, and hosting events. In Shannon's spare time you will find her planning and coordinating activities with her family!

Cole Kimball
Cole is a native Oregonian, growing up just outside of Portland. He has a BA in Business Administration with duel emphasis in Finance and Operational Management from the University of Colorado Boulder. After starting his career in Denver, he missed the rain too much and now happily calls St. Johns his home. During the week he is the Chief Investment Officer at Finity Group, a local independent advisory firm and on the weekend there is a good chance you can catch him on his bike in town or on the mountain if it is snowing. He is excited to be apart of the St. Johns Center for Opportunity and helping out in the neighborhood.