Leadership & Staff

Mari Watanabe

Executive Director

Partners in Diversity
Executive Director

Mari is the executive director of Partners in Diversity and the program director for Leadership Portland. As Executive Director of Partners in Diversity, Mari oversees this non-profit whose mission is to help companies recruit, support, and retain professionals of color in Oregon and SW Washington. As the Program Director of Leadership Portland, Mari manages all aspects of the 10 month leadership program designed to develop community leaders for today and tomorrow. 

Prior to joining the Alliance, Mari worked in the corporate arena for 25 years before switching to the nonprofit sector. She was the first executive director of Oregon Nikkei Endowment, a Japanese American history and culture organization. Appointed by Governor John Kitzhaber in May 2011, Mari serves as vice-chair on the Oregon Commission for Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs under the umbrella of the Oregon Advocacy Commission. 

Mari graduated from Washington State University and studied for one year in Japan as a foreign exchange student at Japan University. Raised in Seattle, Mari moved to Portland in 2000 and enjoys golfing, biking, hiking and spending time with family and friends.