Prosper Portland, the city of Portland’s economic development agency, has selected Shea Flaherty-Betin as its economic development director. He will lead the team responsible for supporting target industry clusters, community-led economic development, business competitiveness, inclusive entrepreneurship, and international trade.
Prosper Portland executive director Kimberly Branam said, “This is a pivotal time for our city, and I am delighted Shea has accepted this new role. His experience with inclusive economic development and asset building, his collaborative and compassionate leadership style, and his track record of creating and sustaining effective partnerships to collectively tackle complex, equity-centered projects will be of considerable benefit to Prosper Portland and the city.”
As manager of Prosper Portland’s Entrepreneurship & Community Economic Development (ECED) team for the past two years, Flaherty-Betin has played a critical leadership role in the city’s response to the economic impact of the pandemic. He was instrumental in shaping the Relief and Stabilization Framework and overseeing the Small Business Relief Fund to deliver equitable relief to 1500 vulnerable business owners. At the same time, he worked with his team and partners to support the continuity and responsiveness of critical business technical assistance, place-based community economic development, and workforce development programs.
Before coming to Prosper Portland, Flaherty-Betin was director of Hacienda CDC’s Portland Mercado, where he led a community incubator of 20+ Latiné entrepreneurs and adjacent small business services. In previous roles at non-profit and private companies in the United States and abroad, including El Programa Hispano Católico/Catholic Charities, Amazon Watch, and Core Foods, he led teams and initiatives charged with business and partnership development, branding, sales, and marketing.
Shea considers himself a cross-cultural communicator and has been deeply influenced in his vocation by his immigrant Colombian upbringing, his work with the local Latiné community, and his experience as a National Association For Latino Community Asset Builders Pete Garcia Community Economic Development Fellow.
He received his BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from University of California, Berkeley, where he focused on international development and food justice.
Flaherty-Betin said, “I am excited to expand on our growing foundation of equity-focused economic development work. Though our city and local economy are still hurting, we have the opportunity to continue centering BIPOC communities in our recovery efforts, and ultimately build back better.”