Board of Directors

Suzanne VanAmburgh,  Board Chair  Vice President, Market Manager Columbia Bank  Suzanne has more than 30 years of experience in the banking industry with a focus on leadership, management, mentorship, and community involvement. Throughout the past 15 years she has become adept at board governance. She served on the board of the Canby Area Chamber of Commerce for more than 12 years, including as president. She has been a CASA volunteer for more than four years and found our organization when she was searching for a way to use her professional skills to help children. Suzanne is inspired by Garrison Keillor’s quote that “Nothing you do for children is ever wasted.”

Suzanne VanAmburgh, Board Chair

Vice President, Market Manager
Columbia Bank

Suzanne has more than 30 years of experience in the banking industry with a focus on leadership, management, mentorship, and community involvement. Throughout the past 15 years she has become adept at board governance. She served on the board of the Canby Area Chamber of Commerce for more than 12 years, including as president. She has been a CASA volunteer for more than four years and found our organization when she was searching for a way to use her professional skills to help children. Suzanne is inspired by Garrison Keillor’s quote that “Nothing you do for children is ever wasted.”

Suzanne VanAmburgh,
Board Chair

Dee Burch, Vice Chair

President and CEO
Advanced American Construction, Inc.

Dee has 40 years of experience in all aspects of heavy construction and engineering. Dee served as president of AGC Oregon-Columbia Chapter in 2011 and currently serves as the legislative forum chair. He was elected to the West Linn City Council for two terms and served as president. He is also the president of the Schweiger Memorial Scholarship Fund that awards scholarships to students achieving excellence in the pursuit of careers in the construction industry. Dee also serves as a trustee and Chairman of the ERISA trust serving the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters Health, Welfare, and Pension Trust.

Dee Burch,
Vice Chair

Suzie Moll, Secretary

Employee Benefits Manager
Premier NW Insurance Agency

Suzie has been with Premier NW Insurance Agency since 2004 and has deep roots in the local healthcare industry. She primarily helps employers coordinate employee benefit plans. Previously Suzie spent 20 years with Regence Blue Cross in various sales positions.

Suzie is deeply committed to community service and she is passionate about helping children in any capacity. She previously served as a Children’s Cancer Association board member and remains an avid supporter and volunteer. Suzie was drawn to the CASA program because it helps to transform the lives of vulnerable children so that they can become happy, successful adults. She is excited to be a part of the continued positive impact of CASA of Clackamas County.

Suzie Moll,
Secretary

Don Remlinger, Secretary

Don Remlinger,
Secretary

Julie Davis, Treasurer

Advanced American Construction, Inc.

Julie has 28 years of financial accounting experience and over 30 years in the construction industry. She also manages Advanced American Construction’s non-profit Schweiger Memorial Scholarship Fund that helps students to become successful in their future careers. Julie recently joined the board and is deeply committed to the CASA organization. She is currently in training to become a CASA and hopes to make a positive impact in the community.

Julie Davis,
Treasurer

Bo Oswald

Growing up I attended elementary school, middle school and high school in Clackamas County and I have deep and long connections with the Wilsonville and West Linn communities.

Following college, I worked for a large commercial general contractor and then as an in house construction & development manager for a privately held company. Following that and prior to joining Essex, I started and ran a construction management, inspection and consulting firm for over seven years. I am now one of the partners at Essex General Construction and I watch over our Portland operations.

While not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family, fishing, bird hunting, skiing, traveling and working on our property just south of Portland. My beautiful wife Krista and I have three amazing children (Chloe, Grady & Cormac) who keep us busy and are the center of our lives.

I am honored to be a part of CASA’s board and I look forward to helping the children of Clackamas County.

Bo Oswald

Jill Pedersen

Principal Agent (Employee Benefits)
Columbia Benefit Solutions

Jill is a licensed health and life insurance agent and is a principal at a Lake Oswego firm that focuses on employee benefits, individual and Medicare insurance. Her industry experience spans over 10 years. She is very active in her local and national agent association (NAHU) and is currently serving on several boards. Jill is passionate about educating consumers and giving them a voice legislatively. She was drawn to CASA because of the organization's unique ability to help children who would otherwise not have an advocate. She resides in Oregon City with her husband and three sons.

Jill Pedersen

Shirley Benson-Bernard

Shirley Benson Bernard has worn many hats throughout her life. She ran her family business, which started as an auto repair shop and morphed into a manufacturing company that makes parts for street rod cars. Shirley still manages the company’s bookkeeping and often visits Salem, where it is headquartered. Also in the business sphere, she has been active with the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

Shirley’s community volunteer work has also been an important calling. Shirley serves on the Patient Advisory Committee of the clinic at the Healing Place in Milwaukie and is also a board member at the Providence Foundation. She was previously a CASA for four years and knows firsthand the difference that our volunteer advocates make in the lives of foster children.

Shirley Benson-Bernard

 

STAFF

 

Robin Christian, Executive Director

Robin Christian joined CASA of Clackamas County as executive director in January 2016. After a twenty-five year career in the corporate world, Robin made the transition to working in nonprofit as a way to do more than tell her children who she wanted them to be in the world. It was her way of showing them who she hoped they would become.

Robin spent nine years as executive director of Children First for Oregon, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, multi-issue child advocacy organization. It was during her tenure at Children First that Robin became acquainted with many current and former foster youth and learned first-hand of the challenges they faced growing up in care. This experience laid the foundation for Robin’s desire to make a positive impact on the lives of kids in foster care and made leading CASA of Clackamas County the next logical step to making just such an impact.

Robin has two children, a son who lives in Connecticut and a daughter who lives in Portland and works for Nike. Robin grew up in Brooklyn but has now lived on the west coast longer than she ever lived on the east coast. However, Robin says you can take the girl out of Brooklyn but you can’t take the Brooklyn out of the girl.

Robin Christian, Executive Director

Shari Fromm, Program Director

Shari began volunteering for CASA of Clackamas County in 2002. Shortly after, she was hired as office manager, then supervisor of CASA volunteers. Currently, she is the Program Director, overseeing the volunteer program and program staff.

“I am asked many times how I can do this difficult work of advocating for abused and neglected children. I explain that I cannot do anything about the past and what has already happened to these children before they came into care, but I can help make a difference in their lives now to help them have a better future. Each time a child returns to a safe home or is placed in a safe, permanent home, is validation to the important work we do here at CASA of Clackamas County. Validation that we do, in fact, make a difference.”

When Shari is not advocating for children, she enjoys reading, hiking, taking road trips, yoga, and kayaking. She is the mother of three grown sons and a cat.

Shari Fromm, Program Director

 
 

Dawn Cook, Senior CASA Manager

Dawn trains, supports, and supervises approximately 35 CASA volunteers, serving approximately 60 children. She also manages the program’s database and provides statistics for reporting and grant writing. She was born an advocate and having her own diverse background, felt CASA was a good fit for her. Dawn began volunteering for CASA of Clackamas County in 2007 and was hired in 2014. At 40 years old, she started college to get her associates degree. In 2016, she graduated with honors from Clackamas Community College receiving an Associates of Sciences/Human Services and a drug and alcohol counseling certificate (CADC1). She enjoys spending time with family and friends. She is most proud of her children--two teenage boys--Tommy and Charlie. As she would say, “They are my world!”

Dawn Cook, Senior CASA Manager

Josiah Harcey is CASA’s Program Support Assistant. He provides daily support to the CASA office and is in charge of operating CASA’s database, sending out mail, and gathering the numbers that help CASA run smoothly and generate support. He recently graduated from Multnomah University with a Master’s degree in Global Development and Justice. When he’s not at work, he can be found watching Netflix, reading, or playing guitar.

Josiah Harcey, Program Support Assistant

Melanie Hempel, CASA Manager

Melanie Hempel is a CASA manager who began volunteering as a CASA in 2011. Because she has seen the impact being a CASA has in children’s lives, she is committed to supporting CASAs and to engage in getting more CASAs for the children in care. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Counseling from San Diego Christian College and is interested in the neurological functions of the brain as it relates to attachment and trauma-informed care. Melanie is often enjoying the beautiful PNW outdoors with her husband and two children on their hobby farm.

Melanie Hempel, CASA Manager

Lora Johnston, Administrative Support Assistant

Tiffany Mitton, Senior CASA Manager/ Training Manager

Tiffany Mitton, Senior CASA Manager and Training Manager, truly believes that children are our future, our most valuable resource, and that each child has worth as an individual. It is our opportunity and responsibility to support and help each child become a happy, successful adult. In addition to raising four children, Tiffany spent many hours volunteering in a variety of school, community, and church positions before joining CASA.

Tiffany Mitton, Training Manager/ Senior CASA Manager

Carolyn Olson, CASA Manager

Carolyn Olson is a CASA Manager at CASA of Clackamas County. Prior to becoming a manager, she was a CASA for five years. Her case focus during this time was older children. She has been married 31 years to her wonderful husband Jeff who she met in college; they have two wonderful daughters and two adorable little dogs. Carolyn loves to travel, play with her pups, socialize, and has a passion for Pinot. In addition to her managerial duties at CASA, she leads the Fostering Futures program - a program designed to teach CASA’s how to best work with the older youth and prepare them for independent living.

Carolyn Olson, CASA Manager

Emily Porter, CASA Manager

Emily Porter is a CASA Manager at CASA of Clackamas County. In that role, she supports volunteers in their case activities and court report writing. Before she was in this position, she spent years working with children of many ages and backgrounds. She believes very strongly that our community changes for the better when we support our kids, and that caring for children in foster care is our responsibility as community members. She lives in rural Clackamas County with her husband on their family’s farm where they raise animals and garden. She loves to learn how to do things herself. Her and her husband like to spend time working outside and playing with their dog, Penny.

Emily Porter, CASA Manager

Ali Salzer, CASA Manager

Ali Salzer is a CASA Manager at CASA of Clackamas County. You may know her from her previous role as Program Support Assistant. She is deeply committed to supporting CASA volunteers in their advocacy, and has a background in community-centered research, educational outreach, and community development. She believes in doing impactful work that makes a tangible difference in people’s lives. Ali first came to Oregon in 2017 as an AmeriCorps volunteer working in rural development. Now living in Portland, Ali spends the rest of her time drinking coffee and petting her dog. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Anthropology from the University of Arizona.

Ali Salzer, CASA Manager