Elisa Andrade

Regional Organizing Director, Directora Organizadora Regional
Elisa@familyforward.org

Elisa is a first generation immigrant from Mexico City, Mexico and has established deep roots in the U.S. Growing up in the small town of Silverton, Oregon her initial work in nonprofit was her involvement with Silverton Food Bank and Silverton Together as a young volunteer. Elisa has drawn inspiration from her mother’s involvement in the Latina farmworker and immigrant organization Mujeres Luchadoras Progresistas. An organization she holds dear to her hart to this day and one she continues to support as a lead member of the organization. Elisa has invested much of her time to serving immigrant families having worked for PCUN Service Center as a Partially Accredited Representative, approved by the Board of Immigration Appeals to represent immigrants before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. More recently she continues to assist low income families and immigrants in the Salem area as a Resource Navigator for Mano a Mano a sister organization of PCUN with in the CAPACES network. She is a proud mom of three: two boys 3 yr., 10 month old, and a 10 year old stepdaughter.

Sharon Bernstein

Co-Deputy Director, Co-Directora Adjunta
Sharon@familyforward.org

Sharon oversees our finances and operations, and provides support to our organizing program. She has more than 20 years of experience working in non-profits and education, with a focus on leadership development, equity, and social justice. Sharon was one of the original founders of Family Forward back in 2009 and has loved seeing the organization grow. When she's not working, Sharon loves to be out in nature as much as possible.

Kaitlin Gaffney

Policy & Campaigns Manager, Gerente de Campañas y Políticas
kaitlin@famiyforward.org

Kaitlin brings to the political team over 15 years of experience working in federal politics and campaigns, including serving on Senator Merkley’s state team for a decade. Most recently, Kaitlin worked to pass Measure 26-214 Preschool for All, bringing universal preschool to Multnomah County.

Kaitlin comes to this work having experienced the difficulty of affording childcare while remaining in the workforce full time. She is a passionate advocate for racial, gender, and economic equity and is excited to work to advance policies and change systems to benefit and support mothers and caregivers. Kaitlin lives in Portland with her wife and their two boys.

Regan Gray

Child Care Policy Advisor, Asesora en Políticas sobre Cuidado Infantil
Regan@familyforward.org

Regan Gray is the Child Care Policy Advisor for Family Forward. With 18 years of legislative experience in the Oregon State Legislature as staff, lobbyist and advocate, she has proven to be a strong leader on policies for women, children and families throughout her career. A native Oregonian and Portland State University graduate, Regan lives in Oak Grove with her partner and three young children.

Amy Hojnowski

Development Director, Directora de Desarrollo
Amy@familyforward.org

Amy Hojnowski joined the Family Forward Action and The Mother PAC board in 2013 and then joined staff in 2018. She brings to the organization two decades of advocacy experience on behalf of many progressive organizations like Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, America Votes, MoveOn, National Environmental Trust, and Basic Rights Oregon. As a mom of two young kids, she believes that Oregon has the unique opportunity to create economic equality for all families if we center the needs of moms and women of color in our policymaking. Before becoming a mom, Amy and her husband visited 17 countries around the world and once spent 6 months traveling cross-country in their orange '77 Westy. Gender Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Rae Jesequel

Operations Coordinator, Coordinadora de Operaciones
Rae@familyforward.org

Rae is mom to four kids, ages 8, 13, 19, and 22. She has been a single mom, a stay-at-home mom, and is currently a married, working mom. Her experiences with motherhood opened her eyes to the serious lack of systemic support in this country for caregivers, and she became involved in activism with many different organizations, finally devoting most of her time to Family Forward. She previously served as Board Chair for Family Forward Action, as well as two terms on the Mother PAC endorsement committee. When she is not smashing the patriarchy, she enjoys making art, getting tattooed, reading, weightlifting, and hanging out at the dog park with her German Shepherd puppy making new 4 legged friends.

Nichi Linder

Data Manager, Administrador de Datos
Nichi@familyforward.org

Nichi is a long-time feminist who believes strongly in the power of grassroots movement to create real social change in our communities. When women, particularly women of color, are lifted up, we all win. She has dedicated her professional career to creating positive change that betters the lives of Oregonians. With nearly a decade of experience in the reproductive rights & justice movement, Nichi is well-versed on what it takes to win. She’s an activist, a mother, an aspiring gardener, and a dedicated social justice warrior who knows learning never stops – and the fight for justice is worth it.

Jan Montes

Organizing Coordinator, Coordinadora Organizadora
Jan@familyforward.org

Jan is the mother of 3 sons and 3 stepsons who are now grown. She is also the primary caregiver to her mother who has lived with Alzheimer’s for the past decade. Jan was raised by a single mother and was a single mother for the majority of the time while raising her sons. She has first hand experience living in poverty while raising a family, struggling to find opportunities amidst the systems that keep the working poor from economic stability, and lack of choices when it comes to childcare. After living more than a decade in Chihuahua Mexico during the onslaught of the Free Trade Agreement, she began realizing the impact that capitalism has on Mexican people on both sides of the border. In the early 70s before the Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta Farm Worker movements, while picking crops in the Willamette Valley, she saw how the poor white children and the Mexican families worked tirelessly and were still segregated from each other, and took to heart that there were many problems in our society. That was when she was inspired and began the process of becoming bi-lingual. While in Mexico Jan pioneered ESL classes through El Paso Community College on the campuses of El Tecnologico de Monterrey before moving back to the Willamette Valley in Salem where she has been a strong advocate for changing systems in place, a bilingual substitute teacher, a proponent for bilingual education and heavily involved with her union seiu503 (Oregon’s Caregiver Union), Pcun, Causa Oregon, LUS, and Mujeres Luchadoras Progresistas. She joined the fight with Family Forward in 2016 as we passed the best Paid Leave Policy in the country. Jan takes to heart the words of her mother; “If you don’t show up you may miss something important!” and is always where she needs to be to make things happen.

Audreona Mullens

Regional Organizing Director, Directora Organizadora Regional
Audreona@familyforward.org

Audreona has always lived in the PNW. Growing up in Vancouver WA, she began volunteering with non-profits as a young teenager working with organisations created to prevent teenage suicide through peer support and mentorship. She served on the Clark County Youth Commissioners Board through high school.

Audreona began working in nonprofits 2015 with New Avenues for Youth as a way to give back and get involved after having accessed services as a young adult. There she worked with youth in job development and created programming specifically for youth of color. From there she worked with various other non-profit organisations, like ALF-Oregon, RaceTalks, and Financial Beginnings Oregon before becoming a stay at home mother in 2019.

After a birth related injury resulted in her son having a disability she became aware of how many limited resources exists for parents who are also caregivers to disabled children, the drastic differences in birth outcomes for women of color and specifically black women, and how current support systems directly correlate to poverty in families affected by disabilities. Deciding she wanted to do something about it she began meeting with other mothers of color whose children had special needs and created a small but mighty group of mothers who helped with milk sharing/feeding challenges, respite care, and general community building.

When she is not working she can be found gardening, reading, going to the dog park, knitting, and singing loudly along to metal core or broadway & musical show tunes. She lives in Gresham with her husband, son, and 3 dogs.

Luz Quevedo

Organizing Coordinator, Coordinadora Organizadora
Luz@familyforward.org

Luz is originally from Los Mochis, Sinaloa Mexico. She immigrated to Palm Springs, California at the age of 17. In 2000 she moved to Eugene, Oregon. She is the proud mother of 2 sons ages 3 and 25, and 2 stepson ages 18 and 22. She started working at the University of Oregon where she stayed for 10 years. It was a job she enjoyed very much, in which she was introduced to SEIU Union where she participated in a video related to worker's rights. She also mentored dorm students as part of her work at the university.

Luz has always loved learning and being active in her community and she participated with the organization LULAC on the membership council for 3 years. In 2018 she met the organizer Elisa who invited her to participate in the Family Forward’s action team. To date she has been one of the leaders of the group in Salem that has used her leadership to raise awareness of the systemic problem of child care and the hardships that immigrant Latina mothers face. She is part of a parent group at the federal level representing Family Forward after becoming a mom again in 2019. Luz looks forward to learning more and developing her skills as an organizer and leader to support and uplift more moms and caregivers in Oregon.

Luz es originaria de Los Mochis, Sinaloa Mexico. Emigró a Palm Springs, California a la edad de 17 Años. En el 2000 se mudó a Eugene, Oregon. Es mamá orgullosa de 2 hijos varones de 3 años, 25 años y 2 hijastros de 18 y 22 años. Comenzó a trabajar en la Universidad de Oregon donde permaneció por 10 años. Fue un trabajo que disfrutó mucho, en el que fue introducida a la Unión de SEIU donde participó en un video relacionado con los derechos del trabajador. También fue mentora de los estudiantes del dormitorio como parte de su trabajo en la universidad.

A Luz siempre le ha gustado aprender y estar activa en su comunidad y participó con la organización LULAC en el concilio de miembros (council members) por 3 años. En el 2018 conoció a la organizadora Elisa la cual le invitó a participar en el grupo de acción de Family Forward. Hasta la fecha ha sido una de las líderes del grupo en Salem que ha usado su liderazgo para elevar el problema sistémico de cuidado infantil y las adversidades que las madres latinas inmigrantes enfrentan. Representando a Family Forward en un grupo de padres a nivel federal después de convertirse en mamá de nuevo en el 2019. Luz espera poder aprender más y desarrollar sus habilidades como organizadora y líder para apoyar y elevar a más mamás y cuidadoras en Oregon.

Bree Thompson

Development Manager, Gerente de Desarrollo
Bree@familyforward.org

Bree comes to us with over a decade of nonprofit experience working for local pediatric oncology organizations like, Children's Cancer Association, Candlelighters Oregon, Children's Cancer Therapy Development Institute and her family's own small nonprofit, The Molly Thompson Memorial Foundation. In addition, Bree has volunteered and served the community through many other facets including; substance abuse and recovery, women's rights, LGBTQIA+ rights, navigating family law and child custody, real estate education and animal welfare.

Bree is a single Mom raising her incredible daughter, Molly, who she named after her little sister who died of a rare form of childhood cancer in 1998. A self proclaimed 'city girl turned farm gal', Bree and her daughter love to spend weekends on their family farm, with goats, llamas, chickens and horses. When Bree isn't at the farm, you can find her snuggled up with her golden retriever and two cats, who all enjoy the Real Housewives and anything else Andy Cohen cooks up!

As a long time supporter and admirer of Family Forward, Bree is proud to be part of this team and honored to advocate for caregivers of all kinds!

Courtney Veronneau

Sr. Political Director, Directora de Políticas
Courtney@familyforward.org

Courtney brings over a decade of political and policy experience to Family Forward. She led the lobby effort to pass the most inclusive paid family & medical leave and reproductive healthcare access policies in the nation and historic investments in child care. Courtney has also brought her valuable political experience to ballot initiatives, like No on 106: No Cuts to Care, and nearly a dozen candidate campaigns.

As the Sr. Political Director since 2020 at Family Forward, Courtney leads the development of political strategy for the organization. This includes developing and managing the political team to implement high-level campaign plans that incorporate policy, legislative, political, field, communications and organizing strategies

When she is not working or snuggled up with her dogs watching paranormal investigation shows, Courtney serves on the City of Portland Open & Accountable Elections Commission and as a Co-Chair for the Oregon Child Care Capacity Building Fund at Seeding Justice. She grew up in Southern Oregon but has called Portland home for over a decade. Courtney earned a B.A. from the University of Oregon.

Candice R. Vickers MEd, MSSE

Executive Director, Directora Ejecutiva
candice@familyforward.org

Candice R. Vickers grew up in NE Portland and graduated from McCoy Academy Public Charter School with the Portland Teachers Program scholarship. She earned a Bachelor of English with a minor in psychology and a Master of Education from Portland State University before becoming a high school Language Arts teacher in Molalla, Oregon. She went on to earn a Master of Science in Special Education and is currently completing her doctoral degree in leadership and policy. Throughout her career, she has been dedicated to interrupting the inequities experienced by students of color, students with disabilities, and students learning English in our public schools. This includes creating systems to ensure students were not disproportionately disciplined, excluded from school, and that they received the special education services they deserved and were entitled to.

Throughout her career, she has served in a variety of teaching and leadership roles including general and special education teacher, district climate coach, assistant principal, student services supervisor, principal, school director, and executive director of student services. She has served as a board member in a non profit organization in N Portland, on bargaining teams in two large school districts, and as a mentor, mother, partner, and daughter. Her commitment to equity has led to diverse opportunities to serve historically underserved communities in a variety of contexts and spaces, and to grow as a servant leader.

Katrina Gonzalez Yuen

Co-Deputy Director, Co-Directora Adjunta
katrina@familyforward.org

Katrina joined the Family Forward Oregon board in 2015 and served as Chair and Treasurer prior to joining the team in 2021. She is a human resources consultant focusing on nonprofit, small business, and start-up HR strategic planning and operations. She has 20 years of HR experience ranging from corporate global settings managing compensation and mobility internationally to creating award-winning start-up organizations with a focus on culture and workplace flexibility. Katrina lives in Portland with her husband and two school-aged children. She was born in the Philippines and spent her formative years in Corvallis, Oregon.