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 Church started with Venture Portland in 2019, serving as the Executive Director since 2020. She brings over two decades of of executive non-profit leadership experience to the role. Joy’s political work includes spearheading initiatives with Mayor Brown in San Francisco and organizing actions with Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith, Congressman Blumenauer, and Governor Brown. Joy brings extensive human resources, finance, media, governance, and strategic planning to Venture Portland. Being raised in a family of small business owners and volunteers, she has the philosophy of ‘Shop Small, Shop Local’ built into her DNA. Joy was the Board President of the Portland Culinary Alliance, a Board Officer for the Oregon Bartenders Guild, and on the board of the Drammy Committee which supported Portland’s local theatre. She currently serves as a member of the Portland chapter of Les Dames de Escoffier. As a food and beverage enthusiast, Joy has traveled to Central America, Asia, and Europe in search of “the best” culinary adventures. As a writer, Joy freelanced for Eater Pdx, The Portland Pour, and was the food columnist for Yuuyake Shimbun, Oregon’s only Japanese/English newspaper. Prior to coming to Venture Portland, Joy served as the Executive Director of The Portland Kitchen and had her own culinary coaching business called JC Plays With Food. You can follow her on Instagram @jcplayswithfood.

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.

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 – Interim CII Director


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.

Laura Martinez – District Manager, Midway


Laura has been with Venture Portland since 2023. She was born and raised in the Los Angeles area but loves the weather and the melting pot of the Pacific Northwest. Her background is in event planning and in the music industry as an Artist Manager, promoter, music education advocate who has worked behind the scenes for over 20 years in the world music and jazz idioms. Curating cultural music programs, master classes, traveling marketplaces and art shows is her calling. She actively supports the merchants of the Midway Business District community. Laura is passionate about music, teaching it and creating programs, cooking and being a dog mom who loves entertaining and meeting new people takes up her spare time.

Sam Montanaro – Events and Marketing Manager


Sam is an event planner, graphic designer, entrepreneur, activist, artist, musician, and thought leader who is passionate about bringing the Portland community together. On top of founding multiple event-based, community focused businesses, she has served on the executive board of Historic Parkrose since 2016 and has volunteered with Venture Portland since 2017. In 2023 she joined the Venture Portland team as their Events and Marketing Manager, bringing 20 years of visual communications, experiential marketing, event planning and community building. Sam and her work have been featured in numerous media outlets including Forbes, Rolling Stone, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Newsweek and many others and she is known for her progressive stance on urban development, drug law reform and education.