Derrick joined Neighborhood Partnerships in July 2016 to support the Oregon IDA Initiative team.
For starters, tell me a little about yourself
I am a new transplant to Portland, Oregon, having moved from Southern California. I am loving my adopted city and all its offerings: beautiful weather, great public transportation, a slower-paced lifestyle, and, of course, my new position at Neighborhood Partnerships. Before joining NP, I worked for a small web development company that helped local governments, nonprofits, and membership organizations with their online technology needs. Before that, I wrote about music, art, and fashion for various publications, printed and online. On the light side of things, I like to read history and sci-fi/fantasy books, listening to public radio, and going to the occasional experimental, noise shows in dingy, underground venues.
What area of expertise and interest do you have?
Moving to a new city was a good opportunity to look for work that would allow me to use my skills to give back. I feel very fortunate to join NP where I am excited about the opportunities to do just that. For the previous four years I had been working at a technology company where I provided project management; administrative and technical support; and training to clients with varying levels of knowledge. Along that way, I realized that many technically knowledgeable types often lack the soft skills needed when supporting clients, so I hope to bring that – empathy, transparency, ethics – to my work at NP.
What does opportunity mean to you?
As an immigrant I feel that I am intimately aware of the importance of opportunity. Opportunity is having access to the resources you need in order to achieve what you want, whether that resource is knowledge, training, money, or even personal networks.
What difference can financial security make for individuals and communities?
It’s the difference between having opportunities and not having opportunities. I believe that financial security allows one to take risks that one could not have taken otherwise and risks allows for success, but risks also allows for failure. Financial security allows one to take those failures in stride and keeping striving for opportunities.
Choose one author, living or dead, that you’d like to have dinner with
Malcolm X. His life was a life of evolution and of revolution, of growth and change. He was an imperfect person who stood firmly for what he believed in but was never afraid to transform himself when he knew he was wrong, not out of weakness but out of strength and love. Like I said, he was an imperfect person and to me, that makes the best kind of hero. Plus, he was funny.
What are you looking forward to most about this position?
I am looking forward to so much: I am looking forward to meeting the partners and supporting them in the work that they do in whatever capacity I can; I am looking forward to learning more about the IDA Initiative and the real impacts it has on people’s lives; I am looking forward to see and be a part of how NP and IDA partners can best serve communities of color.