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Board member since 1997
What career path did you follow before becoming a trustee at Meyer Memorial Trust?
My entire professional career was with Norm Thompson, a national catalog merchant. When I started in 1965 I was under the tutelage of Peter Alport, founder, who was the quintessential entrepreneur. We thrived on innovation and had a constant challenge to come up with new products. This was of course at a time without internet, without bankcards, toll free numbers – business then was very different.
What is your history with the region MMT serves (Oregon and Clark County)?
I am a Portland native and have lived here all my life. I have been involved in the community for 30 years with organizations that primarily serve youth at risk, environmental issues and education.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
When I can carve out time away from commitments I enjoy spending time exercising outdoors, flyfishing, music, time at the coast – and being with my granddaughters! I also enjoy mentoring.
If you could talk to Fred Meyer today, what would you tell him about Meyer Memorial Trust?
As a young child probably 60 years ago, I remember holding my mother’s hand while she talked in the store with Fred Meyer. He was always asking customers what they liked or what might make their shopping experience better. Later I recall my boss, Peter Alport, who often had dinner with Fred, coming back to work jazzed about new ideas and strategies. So my history of awareness of Fred as innovator is a long one. If I had a chance to chat with Fred today, I’d assure him that as a trust we have worked to follow his entrepreneurial spirit. We have moved to become proactive with state challenges rather than just “filling an order” we’re presented with. I believe if Fred were alive today he would continue to innovate and that is our task. The world is changing and we need to be present with what the issues of the day are, what the challenges for our state are. As Fred would do, we need to continue to ask questions in a better way. We need to embrace the value of curiosity. As a trust we don’t have the answers but the answers are within the community; it’s our task to ask the right questions.
What is your advice to future MMT trustees?
Embrace a sense of curiosity. This assignment is not for the timid; one needs to stay in touch with the community of non-profits and their needs . The foundation world is changing and it is no longer an “order desk.” Although we’re active in the present it is critical to keep in mind the long view.