Mercy Corps Northwest hosts the only Women’s Business Center (WBC) in Oregon, funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration. We provide education, financing and other resources to help entrepreneurs succeed.
The WBC assists small business owners who are starting or expanding their small business. While extra consideration is given to specific challenges and issues for women entrepreneurs, our programs serve all – women, men, minorities and veterans.
Visit our Small Business Development pages to learn about the various resources available to small business owners through the WBC and Mercy Corps Northwest.
Stay up to date with WBC resources and news by following our blog.
Note: WBC provides its services on a non-discriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for limited English proficient individuals, and reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance.
Meet Our Advisory Committee
The Women’s Business Center at Mercy Corps Northwest is directed by staff and a volunteer-led Advisory Committee. Our advisors represent a diverse background of experience and contribute to the success of our economic development programs. The WBC advisory board is led by WBC manager.
(Click on a name to learn more about our committee members.)
There is one common denominator in my career path: helping people and organizations achieve their goals. Sometimes those goals have been educational; I’m a former college instructor and provided academic life coaching to hundreds of students. I also worked with college administrations to implement coaching programs resulting in improved retention. I’ve supported women, in particular, with personal goals: I’ve worked with a number of women on transitions into the workplace, into leadership roles and into parenthood as a coach, consultant, and a recruiter. I work with both organizations and individuals on gaining the knowledge and support they need to accomplish change and progress. As a graduate from a women’s college, I understand the value of creating a space for women to discuss how they are making their place in this world, and how to leverage the support of a strong community to exceed their own expectations.
Bill is owner of BizFix, a consulting company committed to helping small business owners & entrepreneurs with the tools necessary to get started and get better. Bill also facilitates Small Business Workshops; teaching participants how to launch their businesses, or make their businesses more successful.
Focused on helping small business owners, Bill also volunteers at Mercy Corps Northwest teaching Business Planning courses and participating in new curriculum development. Bill speaks from experience in relating to students and clients having owned 2 businesses during the past 15 years. Prior to running his own businesses Bill was in corporate sales leading Customer Service & Sales Training Workshops in the apparel industry.
Phone: (505) 515-2602
(Instructor, School of Business Administration, Portland State University)
Brenda is a full-time business instructor at Portland State University. She has been with PSU since early 1997 and has taught a variety of classes in the Management area (Introduction to Business, Business Environments, Personal Finance, Introduction to Human Resource Management, Small Venture Creation and Entrepreneurship). Prior to PSU Brenda taught at Portland and Clackamas Community College. She has also had the opportunity to teach entrepreneurship in the Far East of Russia and Serbia (formerly Yugoslavia). Brenda has managed a small private business college and understands the challenges of businesses operating in the State of Oregon. She specializes in assisting small businesses with business planning techniques and is active in her local community. She has spoken to local businesses regarding women in entrepreneurship, business ethics and has developed an active interest in micro-finance.
Phone: (503) 725-8143
(founder and former owner, Global Sistergoods)
Kristi Jo (KJ) Lewis holds a BA from Mills College and moved to South Africa in 1994 to work for an international non-government organization launching domestic violence shelters in the Cape Flats townships. She then joined the Peace Corps, serving in Namibia until 2000. She holds a Masters in Public Administration and a Masters in Education Policy from Portland State University. KJ lives in North Portland with her artist husband David, her two-year old daughter, an incorrigible African dog, two cats and some chickens. KJ enjoys hiking, cooking and has a nearly obsessive need to preserve and can Oregon’s summer bounty.
KJ is an alumna of both NEW Leadership Oregon and Emerge Oregon. She is a recipient of the Portland Business Journal Orchid Award (2008), Soroptomist International’s Making a Difference for Women Award (2009), and was named one of “40 under 40” in 2010, again by the Portland Business Journal. KJ has chaired local boards of First Book and the Young Women’s Social Entrepreneurs, and currently co-hosts three educational networking events on public policy and international issues: The Development Salon, Emerge: On the Issues, and International Development Happy Hour.
Phone: (503) 737-1956
(NW Business Law)
Ann McQuesten is a native of the Pacific Northwest who is passionate about providing legal services to local small businesses. We are very excited to partner with Ann and Northwest Business Law Group in a joint effort to help Oregon businesses thrive. Besides serving as an advisory board member for the WBC, Ann also provides a monthly legal clinic for Mercy Corps NW’s small business clients, advising clients on legal business issues.
(Portland State University)
Jeanne Enders is currently the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs in the School of Business at Portland State University. She holds Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Social and Organizational Psychology from the University of Chicago. She studied as a Rotary Graduate Fellow at the Karl-Franzens University in Graz, Austria.
Jeanne’s primary interests have to do with understanding how businesses can generate meaningful workplaces, products, business models and services. She teaches in the areas of organizational behavior and business ethics. She is currently researching life stories and ethics perspectives of business ethics award winners in the region. Jeanne and her husband have a consulting practice called endersgroup through which she consults in the areas of emotional intelligence and innovation teams.
As Associate Dean at the PSU School of Business, Jeanne supports faculty, staff, students and the social, environmental and economic vitality of our region through the delivery of business education at Portland State University. This vision aligns directly with the work of the Women’s Business Center at Mercy Corps. Jeanne is therefore thrilled to serve on the advisory board for this great set of initiatives that also serves the economic vitality of our region so well.
Phone: (503) 725-5051
I specialize in working with businesses in the Oregon and SW Washington markets with SBA transactions. I am passionate about delivering creative and intelligent financing solutions and work closely with my clients throughout the SBA process. I’m a strong proponent of the SBA program and the impact it has on our local and national economy. There’s nothing better than having a direct contribution in helping a client reach the next level of success. I have the rare opportunity in helping make my clients dreams come true, which is a true joy to me.
I started my banking career in 1996 as a teller and since have worked in various roles throughout the bank. Of my 17 years in banking I spent 10 as an underwriter with 6 of those in commercial banking. During my time in commercial banking, I analyzed some of the larger more complex relationships in the bank, which has given me unique qualifications in my current role and a strong grasp of business financials and fundamentals. Additionally, I hold a degree in both finance and management from Portland State University’s School of Business Administration and am currently finishing up my final year at Pacific Coast Banking School.
Phone: (503) 353-2162
(Social Enterprise, Inc)
Ericka is the founding force behind Social Enterprises, Inc. — a full-service event planning firm specializing in conferences and summits with a sustainability or social impact focus. Working off a passion for bringing people together around ideas that will shape the future, she has built a formidable expertise in executing events that drive revenue to support the growth and continued success of non-profits, government programs, and educational institutions. In 2008, Ericka co-founded the GoGreen Conference series in Portland with the intent of holding a much needed dialogue on how regional stakeholders can collaborate to create sustainable economies at scale through the adoption of green business solutions at their own organizations. The series has since expanded and is now also held annually in Seattle, Phoenix and New York City. Ericka’s previous corporate experience includes leading business development and marketing for a division of AOL/Time Warner, DoubleClick, ZDNet and CNET.
Phone: (503) 969-7852