Board and Advisory Board

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Executive Director

Lakayana Drury is an educator and youth advocate whose passion is to empower youth, and to bring the experiences and voices of Black youth to decision-making tables across the community. Lakayana taught in Beijing, China and in Philadelphia, PA before accepting a teaching position at Rosemary Anderson High School in the Spring of 2016 and helping found Word is Bond in the Spring of 2017. In the classroom, Lakayana focuses on differentiated instruction and exploring underrepresented cultures and histories across the world. In the broader community, Lakayana has been involved in a number of social organizations and efforts aimed at uniting communities across Portland and improving social mobility for all. In the Fall of 2019, Mayor Ted Wheeler appointed Lakayana to the newly formed Portland Committee on Community Engaged Policing (PCCEP) where he currently serves as co-chair. Lakayana was raised in Madison, Wisconsin and earned his Bachelor's of Arts in Applied Social Sciences from University of Wisconsin Stout. He currently resides in North Portland.

Board CHAIr

Susanne Orton's passion and focus on "making a difference" both personally and professionally, is the driver that spans over 20 years of strategic fundraising, digital communications, media and community engagement to diverse groups, companies and organizations. As a leader in launching multiple fundraising and brand momentum-building campaigns, Susanne connects technology and develops strategies to increase efficiency and effectiveness using the tools that are relevant to our dynamic world. She has worked with multiple city entities, nonprofits, public and private organizations, and is passionate about helping organizations exceed their goals and affect change. In her role as Chief Development and Engagement Officer for Northwest Outward Bound (NWOBS) and as a member of the Word is Bond Board of Directors, she continues her focus on "impact" through the NWOBS program-partnership with Word is Bond. Susanne served as Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Harsch Investment Properties and the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation national art lending program, and Publisher of the digital content creation agency Roll 35. Susanne also serves on the Board of Regents for the Museum at Warm Springs, and leadership committees with both local and national marketing and technology organizations. For more information, find Susanne on LinkedIn.




Sergeant Steve Collins was born and raised in Los Angeles, California.  He served in the U.S. Army for 21 years and has served on the Portland Police Bureau for 22 years as part of the Bomb Squad and Gang Enforcement Team. He has a Bachelor’s in Accounting.; 503.793.4004



Shelby Kardas formerly worked 10 years as VP of the World Affairs Council of Oregon leaving in 2015 to start her own company, Kardas Consulting, LLC. As a consultant she helps promising nonprofits deepen their impact through strategic fundraising, grant writing, and planning. She holds a Bachelor’s in French and Political Science and an MBA with a specialization in international management.; 503.997.9645

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Vince Elmore retired after a career spanning
over 30 years as a Captain at the Portland
Police Bureau and currently serves as
Assistant Chief for Campus Police at PSU.
Vince formerly served as a team leader for the
Rapid Response Team and was an original
member of the Gang Enforcement Team. Capt.
Elmore is a current member and former vice
president for the National Association of Black
Law Enforcement Executives.; 503-725-9362



Sanjay Arulsakaran is an accountant by trade, with a Bachelor’s in Economics at the University of California, Davis. For the past eight years, Sanjay has worked in various roles in the finance and accounting fields, first as an accountant in the Business Management industry, representing high net worth individuals in the entertainment industry in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. Later he moved to Portland with his wife in 2016, who started law school at Lewis and Clark. Since in Oregon, Sanjay has worked with Perkins & Co, the largest public accounting firm in Oregon, as a Tax Accountant with a focus in high net worth individuals and not-for-profit entities.

He is deeply passionate about creating opportunities for underrepresented communities, specifically youth of color. He previously worked with Upward Bound at PSU in the summer of 2017, where he coordinated an effort to bring in different professionals of color to speak about their career journey and expose the youth to the various career options available within our current economic model. He also served as Fundraising Chair for the Urban League Young Professionals, an extension of a national 501c3 organization. In that role, Sanjay coordinated multiple efforts to meet the goals of the organization. He is engaged and inspired to be a part of Word is Bond.