Our Board

| September 24, 2011

The Board of Directors oversees and supports the work of the organization, setting strategy, making policy, and monitoring financials. The board is responsible for helping the organization articulate a compelling vision and for partnering with the Executive Director to carry out the mission.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Vanessa Usui, Board Chair

Member, BRO Legal Advisory Group
Attorney, Duffy Kekel

Vanessa is an estate planning and tax attorney in Portland.  Depending on the time of year she can often be found cycling up hills in the Gorge or skiing at Mt. Hood.  She is glad that in 1992 she found her way to Oregon where she now lives with her partner, Kimberlee, and two very demanding cats. (Pronouns: She/Her)


Al Machemehl, Board Treasurer

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Metropolitan Group

Al has served on the board since 2007 and has been treasurer since 2009.  Al is a CPA and currently controls the monetary and operational arms of Metropolitan Group.  He brings more than 20 years of financial and administrative experience to this task.  When not behind a calculator or in front of a PC, you can find Al in the Columbia Gorge at his getaway retreat with Buster, his overactive golden retriever, and Penelope, an overweight basset hound. Al is also an avid traveler attempting to visit the “Seven Wonders of the World.” He can also be easily amused or disgusted by political matters of the day. (Pronouns: He/Him)

 Jon Isaacs

Jon Issacs, Board Secretary

Chief Communications and Public Affairs, Portland Public Schools

Jon Isaacs is the Chief of Communications and Public Affairs for Portland Public Schools.  Jon joined PPS in January of 2013 as the Senior Policy Advisor to the Superintendent after engineering the historic 2012 PPS school improvement bond campaign.  Previously, Jon served as the Executive Director of the Oregon League of Conservation Voters.  Jon is perhaps best known for his five years serving as the chief political advisor to U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley.  Jon served as the first State Director for Senator Jeff Merkley after managing Merkley’s successful campaign against Senator Gordon Smith in 2008. That campaign was the first to unseat an incumbent United States Senator in Oregon in 40 years. Jon also served as Executive Director of FuturePAC, the political committee for the Oregon House Democrats – where he erased a ten seat Republican majority and lead the Democrats back to the majority for the first time in 16 years, leading to Jeff Merkley ascending to Speaker of the Oregon House. In 2007, Jon was named a “Rising Star” by Campaigns and Elections magazine. In 2010, Jon received the “Young Alumni of the Year” award from the Oregon State University Alumni Association. When he’s not working for social justice and fighting for public education, Jon spends his time with his wife, Vinay, and their two sons, Jay and Sam, managing and playing on two adult soccer teams, rooting for the Portland Timbers, and playing nerdy board games.

CM Hall

CM Hall, Chair, Basic Rights Oregon Equality PAC

Project Coordinator, Western Region Interpreter Education Center
Adjunct Faculty, Western Oregon University

CM chairs the Basic Rights Oregon Equality PAC, working to elect pro-LGBTQ candidates to office, and serves on the Basic Rights Oregon board. CM teaches LGBTQ Studies and Deaf-Blind Interpreting courses and leads social justice trainings across the country for interpreters, LGBTQ activists, college students and student affairs professionals. She currently serves on the national board of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. CM also has a background in campaign management, notably working as Deputy Political Director for John Kerry’s presidential campaign. Prior to that, she worked as BRO’s first Development Director. CM is a native Oregonian and lives in SW Portland. (Pronouns: She/Her)

Cyreena Boston Ashby, Board Member

Director of the Portland African American Leadership Forum

Cyreena Boston Ashby strategizes for national and statewide electoral campaigns and ballot measures and conducts government relations in the areas of racial equity, consumer protection, civil liberties and health care. In 2008 Cyreena ran for the Oregon House of Representatives and after that, she worked for President Barack Obama as his Oregon Campaign Deputy and then for US Senator Jeff Merkeley as his local government and appropriations liaison in Portland. She’s served as a board member for Portland State University’s Center for Women, Politics & Policy, Emerge Oregon, Urban League of Portland, North by Northeast Health Clinic Advisory Board, and Multnomah County’s Citizen Involvement Committee. She also sits on WINPAC Oregon.

Currently, she is the director of the Portland African American Leadership Forum which coordinates policy advocacy and leadership development for African Americans in Oregon. Cyreena and her husband Samuel travel between Oregon and Asia often, and have a yellow lab named Luke and very cute baby girl, Ava Elizabeth. (Pronouns: She/Her)


Debbie Burke, Board Member

VP Human Resources, TriQuint Semiconductor

Debbie Burke joined the Basic Rights Oregon board in 2003 and served as the Secretary for over 4 years during that time. Currently Debbie is the Vice President of Human Resources at TriQuint Semiconductor in Hillsboro, guiding HR activities in major design / manufacturing facilities as well as sales, field application support and design center offices in North America, Europe, Asia, and the company’s manufacturing facility in Costa Rica. Prior to joining TriQuint Debbie was Vice President of Human Resources for Merix Corporation where she oversaw the company’s HR needs through periods of rapid growth and an expansion of manufacturing facilities in China and other regions. Before her Merix Corporation tenure she was Human Resources Vice President for Unicru of Beaverton, Oregon and worked at Intel Corporation for 10 years in managerial and director positions with assignments in Oregon, Malaysia and Israel. Ms. Burke holds a BA in economics from Smith College and received her Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Vermont. (Pronouns: She/Her)

Dave Cutler, Board Member

Finance & Administration Director, SEIU Local 49

Dave is a career social justice activist and nonprofit manager. Currently Finance Director at SEIU Local 49, he has had that role at the MRG Foundation and the Funding Exchange and served as executive director of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance. He joined the Basic Rights Oregon board in early 2011 and hopes to help the organization in the struggle for queer and trans justice in Oregon. (Pronouns: He/Him)


John Halseth, Board Member

Retired – Former Policy Administration Director in Employee Benefits, The Standard

John is a longtime supporter of LGBTQ rights including the freedom to marry and advocating for Transgender Justice. He and his partner, Robin, had their legal marriage in Oregon taken away following Ballot Measure 36 in 2004. Since that time, John has refused to settle for domestic partnership and is working hard to make marriage a reality right here in Oregon. He is on the speakers Bureau of Oregon United for Marriage, and in 2010 helped to establish StandOUT!, an LGBTQ Employee Resource Group at The Standard. John got involved in Transgender Justice advocacy in 2011 and in 2013 and also received the Equity Foundation Award for his ongoing work to bring Trans-inclusive healthcare to his employer The Standard. John recently retired from The Standard, where he worked as Policy Administration Director in Employee Benefits. John lives in NE Portland with his partner Robin. He is a big Timbers fan and roots from the Timbers Army, section 106. (Pronouns: He/Him)


Nancy Haque, Board Member

Building Political Power Director, Western States Center

Nancy joined the board in 2011. From 2001 until 2005, Nancy worked as a Western Region Field Organizer for National Jobs with Justice, based out of Washington, DC. Prior to that she worked at the AFL-CIO and for several years as an organizer for Portland Jobs with Justice. She has also held a position at Transnational Institute in Amsterdam. Nancy first fell in love with the Pacific Northwest as a student at the Evergreen State College where she studied political economy and social change. She has also earned a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Nancy’s family includes her partner, Dianne, a sister, two brothers and two awesome nieces. She has been an activist since high school, fighting for workers’ rights and economic justice at home and around the world. (Pronouns: She/Her)


Margi Hoffman, Board Member

Senior Vice President – Oregon, Strategies 360

Margi joined Strategies 360 after a decade of working in public policy, non-profit advocacy, politics and government relations. In the 2008 election cycle, she took a leave of absence to run the coordinated campaign in Oregon, helping to achieve victories for U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, U.S. Representative Kurt Schrader, three statewide officials and eleven state lawmakers. She has participated in a number of other campaigns, developing close relationships with many of the state’s leaders.  Margi serves on the boards of Self Enhancement, Inc., Basic Rights Oregon, The Oregon League of Conservation Voters and the Great West Institute.  When she isn’t working, she spends her winters skiing deep powder and her summers running rivers.  A native of Colorado, Margi is a graduate of Lewis and Clark College. (Pronouns: She/Her)

Anita Rodgers, Board Member

Associate Director, MRG Foundation

Anita has been a community organizer for over 20 years. In the early 1990s she directed the San Francisco chapter of the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador. She returned to Oregon in 1995 and served for more than six years as the director of the Community Alliance of Tenants, a community-based renters’ rights organization. In 2003 Anita joined the staff at the MRG Foundation. As MRG’s Associate Director, Anita gets to combine her love of racial justice, strategic planning, and grassroots social change organizing. (Pronouns: She/Her)


Jackie Yerby, Board Member

Sustainability Program Manager, Cambia Health Solutions

Jackie works to embed sustainability into the company’s planning, decision-making, operations and culture.  She is a department of one and works closely with other areas of the company to make sustainability happen.  Prior to taking on this role in April 2010, Jackie served as the company’s Ethics and Compliance Officer working with management and employees to build and sustain a strong ethical culture within the company. She has served on the Cascade AIDS Project (CAP) Board of Directors since 2008 and was the Board President from July 2012 to June 2013.  From 2006 – 2012 she also served on the Catholic Charities Board of Directors where she chaired the Community Issues and Planning Committee.  (Pronouns: She/Her)


Category: About Us