2023 ONLC Presenters

Below you will find the biographies of NAO's 2023 Oregon Nonprofit Leaders Conference presenters.

Romanita Hairston

CEO, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

ONLC Session: Keynote

As Chief Executive Officer, Romanita oversees all program activities of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, one of the largest private, nonprofit funders in the Pacific Northwest. An accomplished team builder, convener, and leader, Romanita draws on more than two decades of experience in the nonprofit, for profit, philanthropic, and board service sectors to help steward the mission of the foundation.

A graduate of the University of Washington, Romanita built her career in the nonprofit sector at World Vision, where she served for two decades, including ten years as vice president of U.S. programs. In 2016, she joined the Murdock Trust as a program director before moving to Microsoft in 2018 where she led skilling efforts focused on increasing employability and building greater technical competence in global partners, customers, employees and future generations.

Romanita earned her MBA from Eastern University (in Philadelphia). She has served on various boards prior to taking her new role such as Global Women, India Partners, Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, Urban Alliance, Urban Impact, and Impact Latin America.


Julie Gillis

Chief Development Officer, Britt Music and Arts Festival

ONLC Session: Whose Story Is It? A Multifaceted Model of Storytelling

Julie Gillis is a story and development strategist focused on progressive social change. She works with nonprofit leaders, media professionals, political organizers, artists and advocates to get their stories into the world. She loves helping innovators raise funds and investors, build community, and enhance board growth. 

Julie speaks, writes, and consults with vulnerability, warmth, and humor as her clients forge the most impactful narrative in their story whether personal or organizational. She is skilled in facilitating fundraising and development processes, staff and board dynamics, and systems growth, but is especially passionate about supporting organizations focused on complex issues focused on social equity and justice. 
As a speaker, Julie presents spirited talks on community building and development, storytelling, diversity, public speaking, relationships, grief, reproductive justice, human rights and LGBTQ advocacy, and creativity. She’s presented at SXSW, TED X Great Hills, Southern Oregon University, The Women’s Leadership Conference at SOU, The AAUW Rogue Valley, Southern Oregon Public Television, The University of Texas at Austin, Woodhull Foundation and emceed at TED X Ashland, The Texas Observer and many other events. She has coached countless speakers and writers as they shared their projects onstage and off. 
She has curated, coached, and supported over ten years of community storytelling events in Austin, Dallas, Washington DC, San Francisco, Boulder, Ashland, Atlanta, Edmonton, Alberta, and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She produced the only women’s comedy festival in Texas, Ladies Are Funny Festival, for six years, and was a founding steering committee member of 14/48 Austin: The Worlds Quickest Theater Festival.
Julie’s mission is to help get your story out of you, into the world, with a community and resources so it can thrive.

Cordelia Daniels

Assistant General Counsel, National Domestic Workers Alliance

ONLC Session: Misadventures in Nonprofit Employment Law

Cordelia is an attorney with experience both in-house and as external counsel to nonprofit organizations. She specializes in helping nonprofits of all sizes manage legal and governance issues with a combination of practicality, logic, and problem-solving so that clients can achieve their goals while staying mission-consistent and legally compliant.

Prior to joining the Tenenbaum Law Group, Cordelia worked at a boutique law firm in Eugene, Oregon that specializes in the representation of nonprofit organizations, where she provided a broad range of legal services to her clients, including forming new nonprofits and offering start-up guidance, obtaining recognition of and maintaining federal tax-exempt status, state nonprofit corporate laws, corporate governance, lobbying compliance rules across the different 501(c) categories, employment law, mergers and acquisitions, contract drafting and negotiation, intellectual property protection and licensing, and certification and accreditation programs, among others.

Before making the move to private practice, Cordelia served as in-house General Counsel at a nonprofit art college in Portland, Oregon, where she handled all day-to-day legal issues including federal and state law and accreditation compliance, served as interim supervisor to the Human Resources Department, and oversaw risk management and mitigation. In this position, she developed a passion for the detailed work that helps nonprofit organizations better manage their business operations and an understanding for the breadth of work that makes a healthy nonprofit tick.

Cordelia has presented on nonprofit legal topics at conferences across the Pacific Northwest and recently wrote a chapter on best practices for nonprofit financial oversight, which will be published by the Oregon State Bar Legal Publications in 2023. She received her Juris Doctorate degree in 2014 from the University of California Los Angeles Law School, where she was a managing editor on the Journal of Environmental Law and Policy and the Secretary of the Environmental Law Society. When not working, Cordelia enjoys exploring the Pacific Northwest with her family.

Kate Dwyer

Executive Director, Four Way Community Foundation

ONLC Session: Curating Institutional Memory: Practical Tips and Tricks for Cultivating Nonprofit Continuity

The board of directors named Kate Dwyer Executive Director for the Four Way Community Foundation in August of 2018. Kate believes passionately in the power of community relationships. She brings to Four Way an energetic approach to outreach and a strong professional background in building robust partnerships and innovative programs.

A resident of the Illinois Valley since 1992, Kate has enjoyed a varied career in community development and nonprofit management. She has a long history of local board service and is currently on the board of the Takilma Community Association and the Illinois Valley Community Development Organization, as well as the Josephine County Local Public Safety Coordinating Council. She previously operated Kate Dwyer Catering. Her husband Mark Dwyer owns and operates Country Plumbing. They have two young adult sons, Liam and Owen.

Kate is proud to serve the Four Way Community Foundation as Executive Director. She says “Four Way makes possible a diverse array of local service projects by leveraging the philanthropic vision of residents of Josephine and western Jackson counties. Through the generosity of the donors and the prudent work of the board, perennial improvements grow. I am pleased to have the opportunity to guide that process.”

Sarah Spangler

Nonprofit Education Specialist, NAO

ONLC Session: Board Management: Avoiding Common Pitfalls on the Road to Success

Sarah Spangler is a Nonprofit Education Specialist at NAO. Sarah has worked in the nonprofit sector in different capacities for almost 10 years; as a nonprofit volunteer, committee member, program coordinator, development director, executive director, and board member. Sarah is an active community member and feels at her best when she is surrounded by others who are passionate about building stronger, more equitable, and more compassionate communities.

Riki Rosenthal

Starting Strong Program Specialist, Jackson Care Connect

ONLC Session: Table Talk: Developing Engaging Tabling Experiences 

Riki joined Jackson Care Connect in 2015 as their Starting Strong Program Specialist, working with pregnant members and families with young children. She also currently manages the outreach efforts of Jackson Care Connect’s Community Engagement Team and is especially skilled at connecting with community members and clients. Riki believes that everyone should have access to the information and services that optimize their opportunities for success on their path to being the healthiest and happiest they can be.

She is a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, Certified Lactation Counselor, formally trained Community Health Worker and Peer Support Specialist. As a single parent, Riki has experience with navigating local resources when her daughter was younger. She uses this knowledge to better support her clients as they navigate many of the same services.

Todd Kimball, CPA

Partner, CFO Selections

ONLC Session: Financial Risk Management: A Stepwise Approach for Responding to Uncertainty

Todd Kimball is a Partner with CFO Selections, serving as the Practice Manager for the Oregon & Southwest Washington non-profit sector. Todd began his career as a government and non-profit auditor, before transitioning to the private sector, including four years with Mercy Corps. Todd has worked with over 40 Oregon non-profits and government entities to help them through times of significant financial and accounting challenges, and ultimately improve their financial condition.   

Todd is an Oregon state CPA and holds a BA in Accounting and Finance from George Fox University. He enjoys traveling to faraway places, skiing on snow and water, and grilling in the backyard. 

Phillip Kennedy-Wong

Director of Public Policy, NAO

ONLC Session: Advocacy 201: Effective Strategies & Tools

Phillip Kennedy-Wong is a public policy professional with over 20 years of experience lobbying at the state, local, and federal levels. He has worked for several nonprofit organizations throughout his career and served on nonprofit boards. He brings a strong foundation and understanding of the nonprofit sector including operations, board management, fundraising, programing, and tax law.

Phillip brings a perspective that is not shared by many public policy professionals in Oregon: lived experience as a person of color and a child of immigrants that informs his work in this profession. His parents had no formal education, spoke very little English, raised his autistic brother, worked hard in low-skilled, low-wage jobs all their lives so their children could pursue a better life. As the result of their sacrifices, he was blessed to be the first in his family to go to college, pursue enriching life experiences including military service and graduate school; build a career as a successful, senior level professional public policy advocate and give back to his community.

Phillip served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves while earning a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Lewis and Clark College. Upon graduating, he went to work right away as a field organizer on a political campaign during the 1992 presidential election. Getting the political bug, he proceeded to earn a Master of Science in public policy from Rutgers University and has never looked back in his public service career. Phillip lives in Portland with his wife, two daughters, and two cats.

Katie McCleary

Professor of Leadership, Pacific University

ONLC Session: Curious, Critical, and Actionable Conversations: Elevating our Leadership in the New Normal 

Katie McCleary is passionate about humans, curiosity, leadership, consciousness, and how to help communities thrive. She is a speaker, storyteller, professor of leadership, and coauthor of Bridge the Gap: Breakthrough Communication Tools to Transform Work Relationships from Challenging to Collaborative, which Inc. Magazine named 1 of 3 business books to read last year. 

A little over 10 years ago, Katie founded 916 Ink, a literacy nonprofit that has transformed over 5,500 vulnerable children and teens into confident authors who know the power of their voice and story. Their work has been featured in more than 200 anthologies. She was awarded the prestigious "Heart of a Hero” Award from Sacramento’s PBS channel. Mashable named her as a “Real Miss Americas” for her projects in low-income communities. She has facilitated writing circles with more than 10,000 people, teaching diverse audiences the art and neuroscience of story and personal mythologies to fuel meaningful change, gain narrative distance and insight, and improve their relationships with others and the self. She founded a creative writing program in Folsom Prison,  publishing more than 75 men's stories in 2 anthologies. McCleary is currently faculty at Pacific University for the Masters of Nonprofit Leadership. She is also the host of NPR CapRadio’s leadership podcast, “The Drive,” in partnership with The American Leadership Forum. Her work has been featured by Inc., Forbes, PBS, Shondaland, New York Post, Apple News, Huffington Post, Hip Mama, and soon to be on the Ted platform. 

Katie lives in Fair Oaks, California, on a hobby farm with her kids, partner, and a menagerie of feathered and furry creatures. Learn more about her by doing the Google.

Hannah Cortez

Grant Specialist, The Dotted i

ONLC Session: Government Grant Readiness Workshop

As a Grant Specialist with The Dotted i since 2017, Hannah Cortez has raised over 2.4 million dollars for her clients through thoughtful project development and successful grant writing. She has a background in human development, education, and community health which gives her a well-rounded approach to grant seeking, identifying an organization’s need, and building relationships with funders. As the daughter of a journalist, her investigative spirit lends itself to thorough research and identifying the details that will sell your organization’s story! Her passion shines when she’s educating others which is why you’ll often find her presenting at nonprofit conferences or leading grant trainings.

Hannah is a Montana transplant originally from sunny California (not the Southern part, the middle of the state where happy cows come from!). Drawn to the sunshine, you can often find her hiking, fishing, camping, or enjoying a book in her hammock when it’s warm outside. When she’s not enjoying the great outdoors, in her free time you’ll find her spending time with family and friends or hunting down the best tacos in Bozeman

Janet Capetty

President, Take FIVE Training

ONLC Session: Take FIVE: Five Steps to Focused Impactful Volunteer Engagement

Janet Capetty is an author, speaker, and trainer with a national reputation, having provided training seminars around the country and the Caribbean. She has spent over 20 years working in the nonprofit arena recruiting, training, inspiring, and appreciating volunteers, while also training staff to work with volunteers. 

Janet's strengths are in motivating and supporting those she trains, leaving them energized and excited to move their organization forward. Her comprehensive knowledge and experience uniquely qualify her to create and lead this valuable program. Take FIVE Training is ideal for anyone wishing to engage volunteers in a way that is positive and makes an impact.

Cliff Jones

Consulting Partner, Capacity Building Partnerships

ONLC Session: Moving from the Equity & Inclusion Lens to Long-Term DEI Strategy

Cliff is a sought-after trainer and consultant and especially recognized for his work in equity and inclusion, building alliances across differences, team development, conflict resolution, supervision and facilitation. As a generalist, Cliff has over 30 years’ experience in organizational development consulting with thousands of people and organizations. Working in all sectors he leverages best practices in one sector and shares them with other sectors. Capacity building and partnerships are cornerstones of Cliff’s work with organizations.

His consulting focus areas include strategic planning, board development, cross-cultural effectiveness, workplace mediation and conflict resolution, effective supervision, team building and staff development, and civic engagement. Cliff is a co-founder of Tools for Diversity, which was a comprehensive curriculum led by a multi-cultural training team focused on solutions to problems caused by privilege, prejudice, discrimination, disparities and oppression.

Cliff has strong ties to the nonprofit community in Oregon. He worked as a senior consultant for the Nonprofit Association of Oregon for 26 years, 1992-2018. A partial list of clients includes Central City Concern, Children’s Relief Nursery, Community Health Partnerships, Friends of the Children, Home Forward, Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, Multnomah County Aging and Disability Services, Northwest Health Foundation, Oregon Health Authority Office of Equity and Inclusion, Portland Public Schools, Service Employees International Union, a number of Fortune 500 companies.

Prior to his consulting work, Cliff was an experienced community organizer, legal advocate, policy analyst, and health promotion advocate. He has been an Executive Director, Program Manager, Front Line Staff, Board Member, Chair and Treasure. He has a B.S. in Community Service and Public Affairs from the University of Oregon with a focus on social psychology and community education.