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 by developing new grant programs, trainings, marketing tools, 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.

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 – Organizer, 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.

Jeff Lynott – District Manager, Foster Area


Jeff grew up in the Bay Area, but has lived in Portland for 17 years. Prior to Venture Portland, he worked in social services with youth struggling with behavioral and mental health issues. He also spent several years as a volunteer supporting the Foster-Powell community. Now at Venture Portland, Jeff loves connecting with the people and organizations that make up the Foster Area Business District. In his spare time, he likes to garden (strong preference for NW Natives), take neighborhood walks with his wife and daughter, camp, and catch the occasional happy hour at one of his district’s watering holes (what’s more glorious than a pint, patio and Portland sun?).

Blest Weter – District Manager, Williams District


Blest has been with Venture Portland since 2023. Born and raised right here in rainy little Portland, Blest came of age as Portland grew from a sleepy little town into the booming city it now is. Having owned and operated a number of small businesses in the city, Blest has a strong understanding of the joys and challenges that come with entrepreneurship. Blest is vey much looking forward to working with business owners to develop strong communities to weather the hard times, and celebrate the good! Blest is a passionate artist, and a lover of the outdoors who can often be found paddling our gorgeous water ways, or hiking deep into our mountains.