Sharon Bernstein is co-founder and deputy director of Family Forward Oregon. She leads our education and workplace programs and manages our finances. Sharon’s experience as a parent has solidified her understanding that we can’t make social change through individual decisions alone — we must work together as a movement. Her passion for social justice drives her work. Sharon is the mother of two young boys ages 4 and 7.
Beth Cooke is Family Forward Oregon’s Government Affairs Director. She has worked on legislative issues since 2007 ranging from workplace policies to education and economic development. An Oregon native, she earned her master’s degree in Public Administration at Portland State University and a BA in Political Science at Oregon State University. Her background includes more than a dozen years working in marketing and higher education, as both a program director and business industry liaison. A longtime volunteer, she joined our staff in late 2011. She is the mother of three children ages 9, 6, and 4.
Lisa Frack is Family Forward Oregon’s Communications Director and co-founder of The Mother PAC, our affiliated political action committee. Lisa joined forces with the local blog urbanMamas in 2007 to create a parent-activism blog called Activistas. She believes profoundly in the need to modernize workplaces and state and federal policies to work for today’s families. Armed with a masters degree in public policy and two kids, Lisa tackled these issues online – and found a community of Portland mothers willing to work together for workplace and public policies that better support today’s families. She previously worked as an online organizer and social media manager for the Environmental Working Group tackling environmental health policy reform.
Julie Harrison is Family Forward Oregon’s 2012-13 intern. She is a senior in the Social Work program at Portland State University. Julie’s interest in policy-based social work stems from having been a witness to governments and politicians playing a part in the marginalization of women, people of color, and mothers. Seeing an opportunity to effect change to communities at a macro level, she wants to see communities grow and flourish through better policy that supports caregivers, children, and families no matter what the background. She is the mom of three daughters ages 15, 12, and 11.
Lili Hoag is Family Forward Oregon’s Policy Manager. She has worked in policy and public affairs in the UK, focusing on inter-generational care patterns and work-life balance policies across Europe and North America. She holds a masters in Gender and Social Policy from the London School of Economics and has been a researcher and a lobbyist. A native Oregonian, she is interested in using her understanding of national and international policy to frame the work we do in our state to make positive change for families.
Danielle Nichols is the Administration Manager for Family Forward Oregon. Danielle began her work in 2011 as a volunteer, leading a reading action group with local parents from her son’s school. She comes from a writing background a BA in Creative Writing and over 10 years of legal and administrative experience. She recently declined admission to law school to find a more workable solution to work-life balance for her family, joining FFO to help do the same for other Portland parents. Danielle is mom to three boys, ages 9, 6, and 3.
Andrea Paluso is co-founder and executive director of Family Forward Oregon, the Family Forward Education Fund and The Mother PAC. Andrea is a social worker turned community activist and fervent policy wonk. She has worked in public education, community health clinics, and in international development. She has master’s degrees from Columbia University in social work and public health and a work history in public policy and nonprofit program management. Andrea hopes that our work will inspire and help parents, employers and policy-makers to create the kinds of policies that work for today’s families. Andrea is the mother of two kids, ages 5 and 7.