OEN NewsMeet Marissa Schwartz, OEN’s new Community Outreach Facilitator

At OEN, we have a small but mighty full-time staff of four. That means when a new staff member comes on board, it’s a big deal!

Marissa Schwartz, our new Community Outreach Facilitator, will be the face of OEN to our entrepreneurial communities and partners throughout the state. In her first few months, she will lay the groundwork for developing an inclusive outreach strategy, generating interest, organizing steering committees, and helping to plan cluster-specific programming.

Marissa holds a Masters in International Business from Newcastle University, England and is bilingual in English and Spanish. With “boots on the ground” experience working with business start-ups and social entrepreneurship initiatives, she began her community development work in Ecuador and Bolivia with initiatives to improve the lives of children with Type 1 Diabetes.

Her international work in this area continued at Ashoka India in Bangalore with efforts to identify and organize social entrepreneurs that managed a variety of programs, including hospice care initiatives, environmental conservation efforts, and farming enterprise rights. She was also tasked with bringing diverse entrepreneurs together to align efforts on solving shared community problems such as improved educational pathways.

Here’s more from Marissa:

What about your new job makes you most excited? The opportunity to create the best entrepreneurial support network possible that drives and expands Oregon’s business community. Then, to watch as the domino effect of these efforts enriches everyone’s lives with more jobs, new products/services, and innovative/disruptive technologies.

Are you a morning or night person? Mornings provide a fresh start, a new perspective, and a chance to continue working on challenges of yesterday and explore opportunities of tomorrow.

What’s your favorite Portland coffee shop? The Southeast Grind on Powell because its hours are “always open!” The staff is lovely, food is great, and couches are comfy… not to mention, it’s a gathering place for a community of people who come to create, contemplate, and socialize.

Favorite Portland food cart? The Whole Bowl: an absolutely perfect culinary creation and a success story that embodies Portland food cart culture.

What’s the most life-changing book you’ve read in the last three years? The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, a Spanish historical novel of magical realism that illuminates the importance of books and the preservation of history. This book changed my life because of the character, Fermín Romero De Torres, a former freedom fighter who became a bookseller and then a wise sage. I often revisit his words for guidance.

“Destiny is usually just around the corner – but what destiny does not do is home visits. You have to go for it yourself.” – Fermín

Best TV show of all time? The 1960s TV show, The Avengers, a British spy, intrigue and adventure series with Dame Dianna Rigg as Emma Peel. And, 50 years later she is still fabulous playing the magnificent Lady Olenna in Game of Thrones.

When it comes to snacking, do you trend sweet or salty? Truffle salted popcorn – salty, with a lot of crunch, and a bit of rich and savory.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Given the traffic issues in Portland, and my love of travel, the superpower of flight would serve me well to speed me high above rush hour traffic and then out to the coast… but why stop there? Next stop, maybe Tokyo?

Which bad habits drive you crazy? I think the worst over-arching bad habit is checking-out, or changing your personal setting to autopilot. It’s a feeder for the really bad habits of denial, procrastination, and avoidance behavior… Down the rabbit hole you go.

Name one thing you miss about being a kid: Summers in Rhode Island with my family, hanging out on Narragansett Beach slurping a Dell’s Lemonade.

What would choose as your last meal? Pesto noodles made from basil grown in my parents’ garden, topped with wild chanterelle mushrooms collected in the Columbia Gorge by my brother. Then for dessert, Harvest Loaf, a recipe handed down from my grandmother made with pumpkin, chocolate, nutmeg/cinnamon, and a lot of love.

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