a Protanopia b Deuteranopia c Tritanopia

Mari Watanabe

Mari Watanabe served for over 11 years as the as executive director of Partners in Diversity until she retired in April 2023. She grew the organization from a halftime position to six full-time staff with 400 employers as members across the state of Oregon and SW Washington. Partners In Diversity has won several awards including the Community Partner Award from the Portland Metro Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Award from Portland General Electric.

As executive director, she oversaw all aspects of the nonprofit whose mission is to help employers diversify and retain their workforce. Up until November 2019, Mari split her time between Partners in Diversity and Leadership Portland, a 10-month civic engagement leadership program operated by the Portland Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Prior to transitioning to the nonprofit sector, Mari’s career was in the apparel industry for over 20 years, working for corporations such as Nike, Nordstrom and Union Bay Sportswear in the development and manufacturing of apparel styles imported from across the globe.
Mari is proud to be a 2011 APAWLI Fellow of the Center for Asian Pacific Women. Other highlights include serving six years as a leader of the Oregon Commission for Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs, a governor-appointed commission to help create policies that support the Asian and Pacific Islander communities. She is a founding member of the City of Beaverton Diversity Advisory Board and has served on many nonprofit boards.

The Oregon Commission for Women selected Mari as their 2023 recipient of their Lifetime Achievement Award. She is a member of the International Women’s Forum, has a diversity and inclusion certificate from Cornell University and a B.A. from Washington State University in fashion merchandising. Raised in Seattle, Mari moved to Portland in 2000.