The Board of the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods is pleased to announce that it has hired Shoshana Cohen to serve as the organization’s next Executive Director. Shoshana brings a wealth of experience in both non-profit management and community development, as well as extensive community relationships and knowledge of inner North and Northeast Portland.
Shoshana holds a Masters Degree in Urban Planning and Policy with concentrations in community and economic development. While receiving her degree, she worked at the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago assisting with research, fundraising, communications and conferences on urban policy. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Early in Shoshana’s career, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in a rural Senegalese village. This experience provided her with a foundation for grassroots and cross-cultural community organizing work. Her work in Senegal included leading participatory community planning efforts, facilitating the creation of a community library and teaching sustainable agriculture techniques. After finishing her two years of Peace Corps service, Shoshana gained extensive volunteer management and additional community partnership building skills while working as a Project Coordinator for Chicago Cares. Later, as the Associate Director for a neighborhood-based Chamber of Commerce in Chicago, she gained non-profit management and community and economic development experience as she worked with small business owners and community members in the Andersonville neighborhood to foster a thriving, unique, small business district. Familiar with organizational development and fundraising, Shoshana’s background also includes time serving on boards and helping to establish and grow new non-profits. Immediately prior to her work with NECN, Shoshana spent a number of years working independently on a variety of projects in public engagement, urban policy research and non-profit administration.
Shoshana first started with NECN in 2009 when she developed and managed several large community feedback forums. NECN subsequently hired her to serve as the Neighborhoods Program Manager (a position she held until April 2012), during which time she gained a keen understanding of Portland’s unique neighborhood system and developed relationships with our community and partner organizations. Since stepping into the Interim Executive Director role in September 2012, Shoshana has skillfully guided the organization through a period of transition. Even after conducting a thorough Executive Director search, the Board enthusiastically voted to bring Shoshana on as the permanent Executive Director.
Shoshana brings a passion for civic engagement and a belief in the Coalition’s mission of assisting and empowering inner North/Northeast community members to create the communities in which they want to live. She believes in the power of citizens to create change through advocacy and grassroots projects and she is thrilled to be taking on the Executive Director role. Many of you may already know and enjoy working with her, but we hope you will join us in welcoming her to her new and expanded role.