Ms. Kimberly Schneider Branam, Executive Director for Prosper Portland, is responsible for the overall leadership and management of the city’s economic development and urban renewal agency.
In her previous position as Deputy Director of Strategy and Operations, Ms. Branam oversaw the delivery of programs and initiatives within the Central City, Neighborhood and Business & Industry Divisions to further the agency’s strategic objectives. Ms. Branam came to Prosper Portland after spending four years leading Mayor Sam Adams’ economic development agenda, first as then-Commission Adams’ Senior Policy Director for Economic Development & Workforce Development and then as Director of Economic Development in the Mayor’s Office. In this role, Ms. Branam oversaw the development, adoption and implementation of the City’s first economic development strategy in 15 years on the Mayor’s behalf.
Prior to working for Mayor Adams, Ms. Branam earned a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. While at Harvard, she consulted to the US Treasury on the strengthening of targeted public/private partnerships and spent time working in Congressman Earl Blumenauer’s office. Before attending Harvard, Ms. Branam worked for the Peace Corps in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Her work focused on education and community development in a rural village. After the Peace Corps, Ms. Branam remained in West Africa to serve as a community development project manager for Catholic Relief Services. Ms. Branam is a third generation Portlander, and a graduate of Grant High School and Colby College in Maine.
What do you do at Prosper Portland?
I’m responsible for leading our agency and ensuring we achieve our mission of creating economic growth and opportunity in Portland.
What do you like most about your job?
I love that the work we do supports businesses to create new opportunities, empowers people to change their lives, and helps communities to realize their aspirations across the city I grew up in and love.
What does equity mean to you?
To me, equity means many things. From a leadership perspective, it means helping transform Prosper Portland into an anti-racist organization. It means wrestling daily with the relative ease of being a white woman guiding our work, and the discomfort of being a leader without many of the equity-focused answers. It means listening, reading, reflecting and having unusually honest conversations. And, in the most personal way, it means beginning to see our city and nation through the eyes of my brown skin children. It’s complicated and it’s essential.