Wenda Tai joins NAO after a successful, 30-year career with senior leadership roles in government agencies, universities, startup social enterprises and community development organizations in New York, Washington, D.C. and Boston.
Wenda has experience in strategic analysis, organizational development, business operations, financial planning and management, grant administration, and program evaluation. Her passion for capacity building focuses on improving equity, diversity and inclusion in a sustainable way and building broad collaborative partnerships across sectors. Before joining NAO, she was responsible for developing a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization plan for the Boston Housing Authority in an area of the city that is historically African-American with a growing Latino population. The plan integrated multiple evidence-based strategies to address a long tradition of low institutional investment but high community activism. The complex planning process involved more than 70 organizations and agencies across health, education, transportation, workforce and economic development, and housing sectors to produce the Whittier Choice Transformation Plan.
Prior to her work in affordable housing, Wenda spent 15 years immersed in financial and operations management in colleges, universities and quasi-government agencies. She started her nonprofit career as a program manager and community organizer for social justice grassroots organizations in New York. Wenda has served on numerous boards, including Grassroots International, Jasmine Asian Women Giving Circle, the Boston Women’s Fund and New Repertory Theatre. Wenda holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government with an emphasis on financial management and business/government partnerships and a B.A. in Linguistics from Barnard College/Columbia University.
In her spare time, Wenda likes to take advantage of the rich cultural offerings in metro Portland and also enjoys forays into Oregon’s beautiful landscapes, particularly the vineyards of the Willamette Valley.
Wenda works with teams, organizations and collaboratives to realize their goals and objectives by optimizing their resources (time, talent, information and money). This can take the form of strategic and business planning, board and staff development, effective cross-cultural communication, team building, stakeholder engagement, and research and data analysis. Beyond strengthening organizational capacity in these areas, it is important for organizations to fully integrate their different components so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. To thrive in today’s highly networked and data-rich environment, organizations must know how to access and leverage big data to increase the impact of their programs and add value for their constituents. Wenda’s approach applies a holistic, analytical framework, an equitable and inclusive lens, and a focus on sustainability.