Venture Portland’s staff have diverse backgrounds with significant business district and non-profit management experience. They are passionate about preserving the unique character of Portland's neighborhood business districts.

Joy Church – Executive Director

Joy has been with Venture Portland since 2019. She brings over two decades of non-profit leadership expertise, having previous advocacy experience in the Bay Area and in Portland, since relocating to Portland in the early 2000’s. Joy’s political experience includes spearheading initiatives with Mayor Brown in San Francisco and organizing actions with former Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith, Congressman Blumenauer, and Governor Brown’s offices. Joy brings extensive HR, fundraising and finance, governance, media, and strategic planning skills to the organization. In her free time, Joy feeds her passion for food and theatre by volunteering on three boards and committees. She is honored to serve as Board President of the Portland Culinary Alliance. Joy is a true food enthusiast; having traveled on culinary trips to Central America, Asia, and Europe. Joy freelances for Eater Pdx and emcees the Classic Wine Auction’s Corks & Forks fundraiser. Previously, she was the food columnist for Yuuyake Shimbun, Oregon’s only Japanese/English newspaper. As of 2020, she has a new podcast called The Joy of Drinking, showcasing everything from tap water to tequila. You can follow Joy’s eating and imbibing escapades on Instagram @jcplayswithfood and @thejoyofdrinkingpodcast.

Jacob Falkinburg – Communications and Member Services Director

Jacob has been with Venture Portland since 2013. Originally from Philadelphia, PA, Jacob has a diverse background that includes video production, marketing, non-profit administration and grantmaking with organizations like the Pew Charitable Trusts. A passionate advocate for Portland’s neighborhood business districts, Jacob has helped grow Venture Portland adding new grant programs, benefits and the Catalytic Investment Initiative. He currently manages the organization’s grants and training programs, marketing and communications. His graphic design can also been seen on business district posters, maps and promotional materials across the city. In his free time, Jacob enjoys bicycling, hiking, camping, snowboarding and performing with various local bands.

Nana Hoerth – Catalytic Investment Initiative Director

Nana is a first-generation American born, Ghanian and comes to Venture Portland with over 10 years of Business and retail banking experience. She is no stranger to small business, growing up in an entrepreneurial home, where her mother ran multiple businesses from  African markets, to a Vacuum repair shop.   In 2003, Nana moved to the Gateway area in  NE Portland  where she fell in love with the beautiful outdoors and the spirit of unity that welcomes so many backgrounds and cultures to the Pacific Northwest. She has a passion to combine culture and community with small businesses through community engagement and fellowship. Her hobbies include writing poetry as well as traveling and creating exciting adventures with her husband and 4 children.

McKenzie Malone – Events Director

McKenzie has been with Venture Portland since 2021. She grew up in Portland and has more than 12 years of event experience. She began her career with the Walt Disney Company in Orlando, FL. After several years with Mickey and Minnie, she excitedly returned home to follow her passion of events and marketing. McKenzie leveled up her skills, first with the NBA (Go Blazers!) and then, the MLB. With the goal of supporting small business and entrepreneurs, she transitioned from the athletic industry and took a role at WeWork. It was there that she discovered her true calling. Currently, McKenzie volunteers at Milk Crate Kitchen and serves on the Emerging Leaders Board for Make-A-Wish, Oregon.

Gabby Albano – She/Her/Hers – Events Assistant

Gabby has been with Venture Portland since 2022. Originally from the Chicago area, she moved to Portland in 2011 to attend Lewis and Clark College where she studied English literature and creative writing. After graduating, she joined Portland Parks & Rec’s outdoor education team, leading field trips in natural areas for students of all ages. In more recent years, she helped produce a new street fair called the Slabtown Outdoor Market in NW Portland and took a job giving ghost tours downtown on the weekends. In her free time, Gabby is an amateur guitar player and photographer. She enjoys all things witchy, including tarot and astrology, and spends her time roaming Mt. Tabor as much as weather permits. 

Tanya Hartnett – District Manager, St. Johns

Born and raised in Oregon, Tanya has a huge belief in and passion for community and the environment.  Working her entire career overseeing departments and product categories in the Outdoor Industry for Portland based companies, Tanya understands the complete lifecycle of what it takes for a business to be successful and is excited to help the St Johns Boosters thrive.  In her spare time, she volunteers for her children’s events, and loves to Ski, mountain bike, run, camp, knit, sew, bake…

Kathy Madore – District Manager, Beaumont & Lloyd

Kathy has been with Venture Portland since 2019. She is originally from Boston, MA. Her background is in advertising and graphic design. She is an experienced designer/project manager with an eye to detail. She likes taking on challenges and coming up with creative solutions. She is very organized, a good communicator and problem solver. She has lots of energy and enjoys helping people. Her passions are traveling, eating out, playing tennis, hiking, walking her dogs, cooking, reading, knitting and watching Netflix. Kathy firmly believes in the balance of providing inspired and effective work while enjoying yourself along the way.

Christian Smith, District Manager, Foster Area

Christian has been with Venture Portland since 2021. Originally from St. Augustine, Florida, he made the move to PDX in the mid 1990’s. Christian previously worked for the Portland Bureau of Transportation, and spent over a decade as a volunteer and community organizer/activist advocating on behalf of the Foster area. Christian lives in the Foster-Powell neighborhood and is passionate about the success of the small businesses in his district. With education in economics, community development, and public policy (even writing his Masters Thesis on commercial gentrification and affordability on Foster Road), he brings a broad and versatile background to advance his district. He loves traveling, gardening, catching movies at the Hollywood Theater, and lounging with his cat Larry.  

Rich Reece, District Manager, Midway

Native Oregonian Rich Reece is delighted to take the reigns and support businesses in the Midway district. Most of his professional experience involves sales and customer service, and his educational background includes degrees in Economics, Geography, and Aviation Science. Rich has lived in Portland for over 20 years and brings a commitment to help maintain an environment friendly to small and local businesses. He has experience with multigenerational family businesses and understands the importance of community support to build lasting entities. Similarly, he’s observed that the businesses who persevere tend to be those who support their community. His experience as a participant with the OSU Center for Family Enterprise reinforces his conviction that local businesses are as important to a community as infrastructure, culture, and natural habitat.  Rich is a third-generation drummer-for-hire and has been known to read some fiction and history when he has the time. His cat Vera keeps him company while his girlfriend is busy operating an industrious microbusiness.

Sarah King, District Manager, Gateway

Sarah has been with Venture Portland since 2022. She spent her childhood running wild in rural Oregon. She has lived in Portland since the 1990’s and loves this city. Having owned and operated her own small business for six years in the Alberta district, she understands the complexities of small business ownership and looks forward to working with other business owners helping to create community, solve problems, and celebrate successes! Sarah is passionate about music and has been singing her whole life. She is also a crazy cat lady and dedicated plant mom who loves gardening and hosting dinner parties and BBQ’s.

Amy Hamdan, District Manager, Lents

Amy hails from a rugged football town in the wild, wild Midwest. After clawing out a degree in journalism she began working at the Home Shopping Network as a copywriter for cubic zirconia jewelry. A trip to Portland turned into a short job at a failed startup magazine but led to a career in advertising where she produced TV commercials for ESPN and Coca Cola. Other past lives include screenwriting, creating and marketing a line of holiday cards and owning an event planning company. Amy came to Venture Portland with a passion for promoting small businesses and the goal of uniting them with community partners to ultimately make everyone stronger. You can usually find her on the sidewalks of the Lents Town Center business district knocking on doors.