Robert Phillips’ name graces this award due to his tireless advocacy of diversity, equity, inclusion, and equal opportunity. Phillips expanded the focus of this conference to include multiple jurisdictions and agencies, growing it into one of the most important diversity events for public employees in the region.

In keeping with the spirit and commitment of Robert Phillips we are seeking nominations where extraordinary contributions have been made in relation to diversity, equity, inclusion, and equal opportunity. This award will honor an employee, work groups, teams or departments that have demonstrated exemplary respect and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion that went beyond the requirements of day-to-day job performance.

Help us identify and nominate individuals and/or work groups who have raised the bar in supporting, promoting and implementing efforts to bring diversity, equity, and inclusion to your government organization. Award recipients must be current, regular employees in good standing of one of the partnering municipalities/agencies.

The Selection Committee is comprised of at least three members of the Northwest Public Employees Diversity Conference (NWPEDC) Planning Committee and who represent various municipalities. The winner will be notified in advance and will be presented with the award at the conference on Tuesday, October 8, 2019.

Please fill out the online nomination form and submit your nominations no later than end of business Friday, August 16, 2019 to be eligible. We appreciate your assistance in identifying this year’s recipient of the Robert Phillips Regional Diversity Award.

Preview the questions here

This award is named in recognition of Robert Phillips, Multnomah County Affirmative Action Officer, who has worked in the area of equal employment opportunity for over 25 years and has a long history of involvement in the civil rights field. As Director of Multnomah County’s Affirmative Action Office, Robert was responsible for the development of policy initiatives, plans and programs that promoted respectful work environments for diverse employees and assisted the organization in meeting its equal employment opportunity and affirmative action obligations. Additionally, Robert served as a commissioner for the Port of Portland’s Civil Service Commission where he has served for 10 years. His community service includes appointments to the Nike Corporation’s Minority Affairs Advisory Board; Gubernatorial appointments to the State Commission on Black Affairs and the State Board to Register Clinical Social Workers; and service on the Oregon State Bar Affirmative Action Committee.

In 1996, the diversity program he managed for the City of Portland was recognized as a best practice model by People Management Resources, a division of Watson Wyatt Worldwide. Robert was also responsible for initiating the first national conference on performance measures for diversity programs, sponsored by the National Quality Institute. In addition, Robert was a recipient of the 2009 Arthur Flemming Award by the Multnomah County Managers of Color, the Oregon assembly for Black Affairs Political Development Award, the Northwest Conference of Black Elected Officials Leadership Award and the 2009 Northwest Public Employees Diversity Conference Robert Phillips Regional Diversity Award. He was the first public sector African American graduate of the Center of Creative Leadership’s African American Leadership Program.

The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners proclaimed February 28, 2012, as Robert Phillips Appreciation Day in Multnomah County, Oregon. In retirement from Multnomah County, Robert has an encore career during which he will serve as a member of the NW Renal Patients Advisory Board; the Oregon Assembly for Black Affairs Political Convention Planning Committee and the Port of Portland Fire Department Civil Service Board.

This award was created to honor his many contributions in the field of equity for all.

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
— Mahatma Gandhi


  • 2013 - Carole Smith, Portland Public Schools

  • 2012 - Loretta Young, City of Portland

  • 2011 - Donny Adair, City of Portland

  • 2010 - Vera Pool, Multnomah County

  • 2009 - Robert Phillips, Multnomah County

  • 2018 - Sherrelle Jackson, LCSW, Multnomah County

  • 2017 - Som Nath Subedi, City of Portland

  • 2016 - Kory Murphy, Multnomah County

  • 2015 - Procurement Services, City of Portland

  • 2014 - Victoria Cross, Multnomah County