Board, Staff & Advisory Committee Founded by Lawyers, Supported by the Legal Community

Board of Directors

  • Kristin Sterling, CLEAResult Consulting Inc
  • Amy Velázquez, Harris Velázquez Gibbens
  • Peter Werner, Attorney at Law

Emeritus Members



Ayla Ercin

Executive Director
Ayla was named CEJ's Executive Director in March of 2023, after having served as Annual Fund Director. Ayla is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, but began her career in non-profit fundraising in New York City, where she worked for Amnesty International and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Ayla went on to earn her J.D. from Columbia Law School and her LL.M. from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She started her legal career in New York, and rose to be the Director of Attorney HR at a large multinational firm before relocating to Portland, Oregon in 2010. Ayla spent more than ten years in private practice in Oregon, but vividly remembers her first impressions of the Oregon legal community as uniquely supportive of access to justice. In her experience, the community’s prominent support for CEJ and its mission was unparalleled.

Ayla returned to her non-profit roots to lead the Campaign for Equal Justice’s 2021 and 2022 Annual Campaigns. The CEJ team pivoted between virtual and in-person events and led creative outreach efforts to maintain the connection between legal aid and its community of supporters during this time of great upheavel. Ayla is honored by the opportunity to support and expand the work of legal aid as Executive Director. "It is a privilege to help the Oregon legal community stretch its capacity to serve all those in need, regardless of their ability to pay."

"My superpower: strong ability to be invited into a book club. Current status: 3 book clubs. My kryptonite: Weak in reading all assigned book club books, but will shamelessly attend the dinner party anyway."
katie drumm

Katie Drumm

Annual Fund Director
Katie joined CEJ as the Annual Fund Director in April of 2023. She grew up in Baltimore and attended Kalamazoo College in Michigan where she majored in Biology. After college, Katie started her non-profit, organizing career as a MASSPIRG Campus Organizer, training and organizing college students to increase youth voter participation, fight climate change, and increase public transportation. She then worked in various organizing and fundraising positions within The Public Interest Network standing up to powerful special interests on behalf of the public.

After moving to Oregon, she was the Democratic Party of Oregon’s Development Director for six years where she raised money and organized events to help elect more Oregon Democrats. More recently, she was the National Training Director for Wave Fundraising. She ran fundraising and staff management trainings for directors who ran campaigns for progressive organizations including the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Greenpeace.

Katie is excited to continue to fundraise for and organize volunteers around issues that matter at the CEJ. In her free time, she loves getting out in nature, thrifting, and seeing live music.

"My superpower: saying yes to pretty much all activities and trips. My kryptonite: I’m tired."

Shari Nilsson

Director of Operations
Shari has been a member of Team CEJ since 2008. She attended Portland State University, and worked as a legal secretary and office manager for Lewis & Clark Law School’s Legal Clinic, then as an administrative assistant in the office of the Dean of the College at Lewis & Clark College, before taking some time off after the birth of her now-adult twins.

Shari's career has been centered on diversity and flexibility, with tasks as wide-ranging as event planning, accounting, database administration, preparation of legal documents, graphic design, assisting with law student education, meeting facilitation, preparation of legislative history materials, and website design. She is proud to be a part of an organization dedicated to providing access to justice for all Oregonians.

In her spare time, she enjoys Swedish language and culture, baking, music, dancing, doing genealogical research, reading, and birdwatching. Shari and her family relocated to Sweden in summer 2022, and she is now working remotely for CEJ.

"My superpower is knowing how to bake all sorts of tasty Swedish cakes, cookies, rolls, and buns. My kryptonite is eating them."

Heidi Thompson

Program and Event Coordinator
Heidi joined the CEJ team in 2021. She attended Willamette University where she majored in Humanities with a minor in Art History. In addition to a strong foundation with a well-rounded education, Heidi brings a passion for social justice, human rights, and environmental protection to her work and her life. She has worked for both local and international non-profits. While she is not a native Oregonian, Heidi is excited to make this new community her home. She loves to travel to new places and share in other country’s cultures. When not off on an adventure, she enjoys settling in with a good book, watching movies, singing and listening to music, stitching embroidery, spending time with family and friends, and getting out in nature.

"My superpower is making personal and thoughtful things for people as gifts. My kryptonite is over-committing and not being able to finish them on time."

Advisory Committee

Rose K Alappat
Carlotta O Alverson
Noam Amir-Brownstein
Howard G Arnett
Hon Thomas A Balmer
Hon Stacie Fatka Beckerman
Rep Suzanne Bonamici
Kristin L Bremer Moore
Larry A Brisbee
Hon Kate Brown
Dean Marcilynn Burke
Dominic M Campanella
Barry P Caplan
Erica A Clausen
Linda D Clingan
G Valerie Colas
Sarah J Crooks
Tim Cunningham
Michael C Dotten
Elisa J Dozono
Jeffrey M Edelson
Amy Edwards
Paul R Ehrlich
Brien Joseph Flanagan
Hon Angela M Franco Lucero
Stanton R Gallegos
John C Gartland
Gerry Gaydos
Hon Timothy C Gerking
Kristie L Gibson
Denise Nicole Gorrell
Kamron L Graham
S Ward Greene
Ari D Halpern
Jessica T Hamilton
Sandra A Hansberger

Edwin A Harnden
James K Hein
Sara Christina Heskett
Henry H Hewitt
Audrey B Hirsch
Hon Mary M James
Gina Anne Johnnie
Todd R Johnston
Nicholas A Kampars
Hon Mustafa T Kasubhai
Elizabeth C Knight
Sara Kobak
Gov Tina Kotek
Wayne D Landsverk
Frank V Langfitt, III
Steve D Larson
Shayda Zaerpoor Le
Eric B Lindauer
Brena Moyer Lopez
Sarah M Lowe
Molly K Marcum
Julia Elizabeth Markley
Hon Aruna A Masih
Hon Judith H Matarazzo
Katherine A McDowell
Tracy M McGovern
Jamie E McLeod-Skinner
Sonia A Montalbano
Keil M Mueller
Hon Adrienne C Nelson
Darcy Michele Norville
Kathryn Olney
Jane Paulson
Beverly C Pearman
Willa B Perlmutter

Stephen V Piucci
Travis S Prestwich
Sen Floyd F Prozanski, Jr
Kathleen J Rastetter
Hon Tobias Read
Liani J Reeves
Hon Ellen F Rosenblum
Joshua L Ross
Laura Renee Salerno Owens
Daniel P Santos
Louis D Savage
Andrew M Schpak
Jessica A Schuh
Rachele R Selvig
Lane P Shetterly
Charmin B Shiely
Hon Kamala H Shugar
Hon Gregory F Silver
Hon Michael H Simon
Thomas W Sondag
Richard G Spier
N Robert Stoll
Shane P Swilley
Andrea H Thompson
E Walter Van Valkenburg
Amy N Velazquez
Michelle Vlach-Ing
Mark R Wada
Hon Martha Lee Walters
Hon Ulanda L Watkins
Heather L Weigler
Peter A Werner
Jennifer A Williamson
Ross M Williamson
Theresa (Terry) L Wright
Ira Zarov

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