B = Builders GR = Grassroots P = Policy F = Financial

G = Green C = Culture E = Establishment R = Rising Star


Nichole Maher
Image: Andy Batt

Nichole Maher, NAYA

Nichole Maher

A Native American leader reshapes her community—and now the state.


Signature move: At age 22 in 2001, Maher became leader of the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA). Since, the nonprofit’s annual budget vaulted from $215,000 to $10 million. In the city with the ninth-highest urban Native American population, NAYA now serves 10,000 people a year with education, social, and cultural services. Kids in NAYA’s education program are five times more likely to graduate high school than other Native children.
What’s next: On a growing list of community roles, this Tlingit tribal member and mother of two serves on Governor Kitzhaber’s education investment board, set to redesign education statewide—she’s the youngest member. (MR)


James Curleigh

The Keen CEO is a poster-child boss for the millennials.


Signature move: Aside from hauling in $200 million last year? Guiding his company’s cash into creative philanthropy (like sponsorship of ambitious new-media coverage of the Gulf oil spill) and building a superefficient, 15,000-square-foot factory to make shoes on Swan Island.
What’s next: Untucked and tousled, the 45-year-old may look crunchy, but Keen now aims for blue-collar workers, with a new line of steel-toed boots. Meanwhile, the company’s own footprint grows: in November, Keen nabbed Nike merchandising vice president Ron Hill to amp up its retail efforts. (BB)

“We can all talk about what’s wrong. A lot of people want to fix what’s wrong.”
—Dan Ryan, all hands raised





Don Krahmer

A hyperconnected lawyer nurtures the next generation of leaders.


Signature move: This 54-year-old corporate attorney (at Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt) has held a royal flush of influential posts, from past presidency of the elite Arlington Club to a current seat on the Regence Blue Cross board. The soft-spoken Hillsboro native uses his dense Rolodex to connect promising young players with each other and with established mentors. A Krahmer-orchestrated dinner is a networker’s dream of nonprofit leaders, budding businessfolk, and aspiring politicians.
What’s next: Krahmer bridges old-boys-club Portland and the fluid, more diverse networks of today. Says one admirer, “He’s pivoted from connecting the powerful to focusing on 20- and 30-somethings.” (ZD)

Dan Ryan

The schools foundation’s leader musters an education army.


Signature move: In three years atop the Portland Schools Foundation, Ryan realized the nonprofit’s work boosting Portland Public Schools’ budget wasn’t enough. “We needed to get outside the city,” says the 49-year-old former Oregon Ballet Theatre fundraiser. Enter Cradle to Career, a push by all six big Multnomah County school districts, including fast-growing East Portland schools, to improve dropout rates. Ryan’s outfit adopted a new name (All Hands Raised) to match its new mandate.
What’s next: Ryan recruited a high-octane advisory council, fueled more by business, government, and nonprofit players than traditional educators, to steer a complex mix of achievement and social-equity initiatives. “We can all talk about what’s wrong,” Ryan says. “A lot of people want to fix what’s wrong.” (ZD)

Stephanie Snyder

Reed’s “art whisperer” leverages the local visual arts milieu.


Signature move: In her eight years as curator and director of Reed College’s Cooley Gallery, this Oregon-born, Reed/Columbia/University of London–schooled dynamo opened the insular college to mainland Portland, presenting new work by international artists and collaborating with institutions across the city. She also writes for Artforum, curates shows (like the current Interior Margins at the Lumber Room), nominates contenders for major fellowships, and oversees a seven-year-old program that exposes school kids to art.
What’s next: Near-term: shows of titans Bruce Nauman and Kara Walker. Long-term: gently whispering “Reed Museum” in the college admin’s ear. (RG)

Jonathan Maus

A journalist-activist makes a living as cycling’s squeaky wheel.


Signature move: When Maus, now 36, answered a 2005 Oregonian ad for bike bloggers, he’d barely heard of the blogosphere. Yet soon he quit the daily to launch his own BikePortland.org. Now the site attracts up to 10,000 visitors a day, including policy makers and news media. “If a story gets 50 comments in an afternoon,” says Maus, “mainstream news editors get excited by the controversy.” Fusing old-fashioned beat reporting with new media and bare-knuckled advocacy, the site works financially, too: ad revenue pays Maus a living wage.
What’s next: Maus successfully pushed some policy shifts—like prompting the state transportation division to adopt more bike-friendly signage—but he’s impatient. “The city feels comfortable with incremental improvement,” he says. “I don’t.” On his agenda: riding herd on city hall’s 2030 bike plan. (RD)