Zoo foundation welcomes five new board members

New members share impressive credentials and a commitment to wildlife 

Five new members with impressive expertise and a shared passion for animal welfare have joined the Oregon Zoo Foundation's board of directors. Bringing with them a wealth of experience, the new cohort is committed to the zoo's vision of a better future for wildlife.

Financial planner and outdoor enthusiast Charissa Anderson, international negotiations expert Dr. Melanie Billings-Yun, banking professional and financial adviser Katharine Coakley, retired public policy strategist Laura Imeson, and sales and marketing specialist Josef Kiesenhofer were all elected to the OZF board this year and have already jumped into the foundation's many projects in support of the Oregon Zoo.

"We are thrilled to have these five new members on the Oregon Zoo Foundation Board," said board chair Raimund Grube. "They each bring their own unique passion for the Oregon Zoo and to our mission to support conservation, education and animal welfare."

Charissa Anderson is a senior vice president at West Bearing Investments, a division of Ferguson Wellman, and serves as portfolio manager. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Portland State University and an executive certificate in financial planning from the University of Portland.

Dr. Melanie Billings-Yun is founder of the Oregon-Sabah Collaborative, which unites wildlife, forest preservation and educational institutions in Oregon and Malaysia. A professor of international negotiation at Portland State and Georgetown universities, she is the author of Beyond Dealmaking: Five Steps to Negotiating Profitable Relationships.

Katharine Coakley, president of Columbia Trust Co., has more than 35 years of experience in banking and financial advisory services. She holds a bachelor's degree in finance from U.C. Berkeley and was a senior member of the Squaw Valley National Ski Patrol for 30 years.

Laura Imeson, a former strategic adviser in public policy, has worked on various bond issues, including measures supporting the Oregon Zoo and Metro natural areas. She does volunteer work for DoveLewis animal hospital, Guide Dogs for the Blind and other local organizations.

Josef Kiesenhofer is regional sales director for vaccines at GlaxoSmithKline. He has 20 years of experience in international sales and marketing, delivering prescription sales growth from physicians in office-based practices and major academic teaching accounts.

The Oregon Zoo is a service of Metro and is dedicated to its mission of inspiring the community to create a better future for wildlife. Committed to conservation, the zoo is currently working to save endangered California condors, Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits, Oregon silverspot and Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies, Western pond turtles and Oregon spotted frogs. Other projects include studies on black rhinos, Asian elephants, polar bears and bats.
The zoo relies in part on community support through donations to the Oregon Zoo Foundation to undertake these and many other animal welfare, education and sustainability programs. The zoo is located five minutes from downtown Portland, just off Highway 26 at exit 72. The zoo is also accessible by MAX light rail line. Visitors who travel to the zoo via MAX receive $1.50 off zoo admission. Find fare and route information online or by calling TriMet Customer Service at 503-238-RIDE (7433).
General zoo admission is $10.50 (ages 12-64), $9 for seniors (65 and up), $7.50 for children (ages 3-11) and free for those 2 and younger; 25 cents of the admission price helps fund regional conservation projects through the zoo’s Future for Wildlife program. A parking fee of $4 per car is also required. Additional information is available by calling 503-226-1561.

Media contact: 

Hova Najarian | 503-220-5714 | hova.najarian@oregonzoo.org

Kelsey Wallace | 503-220-5754 | kelsey.wallace@oregonzoo.org