New year, new leadership

New year, new leadership

Responding to the growing needs of our community, NAYA continues to expand services, adding capacity in all areas. Months in the works, we are pleased to announce the addition of two key positions as we have restructured to manage our growth.

We’re pleased to introduce Josh Groesz, who took the helm as Director of Housing and Stabilization Services in October 2021. A new department as well, Housing and Stabilization Services provides critical services that help our community stay safel and warm in their homes. Josh joined NAYA after being the Executive Director for CASA of Linn County. Prior to CASA, Josh spent over four years with The Salvation Army as the Divisional Social Services Director for Oregon and Southern Idaho. He also served as their Executive Director for the Veterans and Family Center, a transitional and permanent housing program for over 70 veterans and their families. His legacy was creating an Eviction Prevention Program that provided rental assistance for families, as well as implementing a Housing First model and trauma informed care to empower staff and the clients they serve.

When asked about his vision for his department, Josh shared, “Two projects that we are excited about is the immediate creation of a new Residential Services program that will provide onsite staff to support residents at our new affordable housing properties, Mamook Tokatee and Hayu Tilixam. In addition, we are working towards an opportunity to serve the Native American community across the entire Portland Metro area by expanding services into Washington and Clackamas Counties.”

We’re equally excited to announce that Tamara Henderson (Laguna Pueblo) has been named as NAYA’s first Chief Operating Officer. After a long and robust hiring process, Tamara, serving as NAYA’s director of Youth and Education Services since 2017, was awarded the position of COO, which she will begin on February 22, 2022. As COO, Tamara will oversee organizational operations, supporting staff and systems so that everyone can thrive.

With more than 10 years as a dedicated NAYA employee, Tamara brings years of executive leadership, advocacy and political organizing experience, previously holding roles in NAYA’s Community Development department and the Many Nations Academy. A past executive director of the Oregon Student Association, Tamara has also worked for Indian Education in Southern Oregon and continues working at Konaway Nika Tillicum, a pre-college program for Native youth held at her alma mater, Southern Oregon University. Investing deeply in her community, Tamara currently serves as the President of the Oregon Indian Education Association, the Chair of the American Indian/Alaska Native Advisory Committee for the Oregon Department of Education, and as a Board member for the Oregon Student Foundation and the Coalition of Communities of Color.

Of her new position Tamara says, “I am honored to have the opportunity to serve in this new capacity. I look forward to working with our amazing staff to continue strengthening NAYA services and infrastructure, which will directly impact our ability to continue growing to meet the needs of our diverse urban Native community in the Portland area.”