For #TBT we’re taking a moment to highlight the work and impact of some of the longest-tenured members of the Impact NW family—Starting with Mamak Tabrizian who says, “There are so many amazing things about my time with Impact NW . . . I support the mission and vision of the agency, the people, our values, the focus on diversity and inclusion—all of it’s just like one big family.”
Mamak started her journey in 1983 in a volunteer position through an internship for her Masters degree. She was hired full-time in 1984 and from that moment forward she has served in nearly every role in the organization. From volunteer to her current position as Director of Senior Services, Mamak has “been a part of the growth, from grassroots to now. . . and there’s never a dull moment.”
What are you most proud of in your time here at Impact NW?
“I really take pride in our agency being so impactful and responsive . . . We’ve always been first responders to the issues affecting our communities and often we’ve taken the lead to partner with our funders to establish innovative programs in our community. For example; Impact NW established the first Senior Center, the first Parent Child Development Services program and we brought together community partners to build multi-unit transitional homes for single parents wanting to rebuild their lives. We piloted the SUN Community Schools Program and we were a key player in the development of the community’s first free health clinic, just to name a few.”
Mamak admires so many things about Impact NW, the quality service delivery standards, the friendly work environment, compassionate staff, the respect and credibility among partners and stakeholders, and the effectiveness of meeting the community’s needs. These are some of the reasons that have kept Mamak committed to Impact NW from her very first day.
“I have witnessed so many moments of pride. We’ve built a lot of credibility in the ethnic communities. As a person coming from a different ethnic background…. I take a lot of pride working for an agency who has such high credibility and is so respected in the ethnic communities.”
Just to name a few awards Impact NW has received during Mamak’s time:
Award of Appreciation for Outstanding Service to the Latino Community, presented by the Oregon Council for Hispanic Advancement, National Council of America 1987.
Community Partner Award for Outstanding Service to the American Indian Community, American Indian Association of Portland in 1989.
Non-profit Diversity Award for Cultural Competence presented by the Metropolitan Human Rights Council in 1995.
Are there any special moments that stand out for you?
A powerful moment in particular for Mamak was the culmination of the Intergenerational Project for Youth and Seniors. The project brought together generations of community members in an ongoing exchange of stories, cultures, ideas and the powerful meaning of community. This connection built between the generations made a massive impact on both the youth as well as the seniors.
At the program’s end, the group gathered for a celebration. Some of the seniors had not left their homes for more than 12 years. Some were Vietnam Veterans, others had been living with isolation, loneliness and a lack of community engagement for far too long. But on this special day of celebration they showed up in support of the youth they came to know and love. They created individual collages for each of the seniors, telling and sharing their individually powerful stories.
“The seniors were so touched to walk down the memory lane. I had tears in my eyes,” says Mamak.
Mamak has been with Impact NW for 36 years and the impact she’s made in that time is unparalleled. We’re grateful for her support and the impact she continues to spread across our-shared community.
“I embrace the values that are the pillars of this amazing agency, a strong commitment to equity and equality, diversity and social justice. I am honored to work with such a compassionate, dedicated and competent staff, and for an organization that has such high standards for serving the community.”