Amplify Rock Stars – 2019

by Cindy Bahl
Director of Business Development and Amplify! Events
Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc.

Wow what a fantastic event we had on May 23rd at Embassy Suites by Hilton, Portland-Washington Square with over 100 in attendance the energy was amplified!  If you missed it, you missed a great time; but don’t worry, we are here for you to help you start your disability inclusion journey!  Contact us today and let’s have a conversation!  Until then, here is a brief recap:

Keynote Speaker Heather Weldon inspired us to “think differently”, she shared the challenges she faced at The City of Seattle and how she reversed priorities, making a business case for employment of people with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities.   To achieve her goals of 30 new positions, she shared her formula for success which included her top three tips for you:

  1. Focus on workplace needs
  2. One job at a time
  3. Build an army of support

Success Stories are always my favorite to share and this year we acknowledged Michael Takata and his 5-year employment anniversary at Walmart Neighborhood Store.  What a joy to see the smile on his face and to hear from Mom, Vicki Takata and how working makes such an impact not only on Michael, but on his community and our society.  I had tears in my eyes and I’m sure others did too!

Michael & Vicki Takata with Dirkse CC Job Coach, Wynter Lyons

We also highlighted the Project Search Program, a 9-month Internship program where young adults with I/DD develop work skills, experience various job environments and tasks that help them identify and gain meaningful employment.  We heard from 2 graduates and 2 current Interns who enthusiastically shared their stories with the crowd.

Project Search Interns & Graduates, Addie Connelly, Brandon Runyan, Wesley Aylward & Adam Parker

Awards and Acknowledgements were also a big part of the event, after all, it is Amplify! ROCK STARS and we have some Rock Star employers in our community!  City of Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle was on hand to help acknowledge and hand out the awards.

Advancing Employment Opportunities:

  • Tualatin Hills Parks & Recreation District
  • Jama Software
  • Pest Solutions
  • Nike WD+C
  • Oregon Health & Science University
Heidi Dirkse-Graw, Mayor Denny Doyle, THPRD Representatives Julie Rocha, Gretchen Gorman, Wendy Kroger & John Griffiths

Advancing Disability Diversity & Inclusion:

  • Nike, Ability Network – Host of Amplify! Success for 3 years in October!
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton, Portland-Washington Square – Host of Amplify! Rock Stars for 2 years!
  • Pamplin Media & The Business Tribune
  • Beaverton Resource Guide
  • Beaverton Chamber of Commerce
  • The City of Beaverton
Heidi Dirkse-Graw, Mayor Denny Doyle, Embassy Suites Representatives John DeRosa & Kelsey Card

Of course, we can’t thank our Sponsors enough!  We could not do it without them!

Photos courtesy of Trillium Images

Thank you to all of our Rock Stars! Sponsors – VIEW SPONSORS

This year we also held our first Amplified Job Opportunity Fair and were very pleased to have 75 differently abled job seekers talking to five different employers, face-to-face about their opportunities.   Thanks to our participating employers who are looking forward to 2nd interviews with multiple candidates:

  • City of Beaverton
  • Columbia Sportswear
  • Chick-fil-A Raleigh Hills
  • Embassy Suites Portland Washington Square
  • Fred Meyer

Save-The-Date for Amplify! Success on Wednesday, October 16th, 2019 @ Nike WHQ!  It’s going to be bigger and better this year and you won’t want to miss it!  More details to come soon!

Join the Amplify! Initiative!  Contact Cindy Bahl, Director of Business Development & Amplify! Events at 503-258-7715 or

Empower Your Workforce
Affirm Abilities
Amplify Success!