Karissa Lowe selected for Council of Foundations’ Career Pathways Program

Karissa Lowe of the Meyer Memorial Trust has been selected for the Council on Foundations’ Career Pathways program, a cohort of 24 promising leaders in philanthropy who will receive a year of in-depth leadership development, including one-on-one executive coaching and cohort convenings. The goal of the program is “to increase the number of candidates from diverse backgrounds in the leadership pipeline and strengthen the capacity of the philanthropic sector to grow and retain diverse talent,” according to the Council’s press release.

Karissa has been working for Meyer Memorial Trust since 2007, and previously worked in the social sector as a grantseeker. An enrolled member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, she has served as an elected member of Cowlitz Tribal Council for 12 years. She also worked for her tribe before and after its transition to federal recognition, and handled development, grant reporting, and tribal language revitalization. A chance encounter with Meyer’s Technical Operations Manager, Aaron Nelson, led to her being encouraged to apply to Meyer a year later – and the rest is history.

Recently, Karissa attended the first cohort convening in Miami. “I walked into a firehose of awesome,” she said, describing the experience as deeply immersive and intense, in all the best ways. Cohort members were assigned readings and videos in preparation for multiple full days of learning. Members will convene again in Dallas and San Diego, as well as virtually, and between sessions they will meet with their executive coaches at least 8 times, develop and execute an individual project, and complete homework.

Before applying to Career Pathways, Karissa had never heard of it – or any other such program. The program was advertised in the Council on Foundations’ newsletter, and both Karissa and her immediate supervisor, Phoebe O’Leary, saw it and thought she should apply. Karissa hopes to increase her own leadership competencies, to bring value back to her organization, and to ensure that the next generation of diverse talent has opportunities like this one on their radar.

Karissa lives in a little house in southeast Portland with her two big dogs and her charming farmer husband. She helps him sell veggies at local farmers markets and he helps her run Offbeat Belly Dance, the longest running monthly community belly dance show in town.