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Lisa Kulok, senior vice president at Columbia Sportwear, and law firm Barran Liebman honored

Portland businesses and organizations know diversity is innovation, and celebrate attracting and retaining diverse talent in numerous ways — in 2016, women started entrepreneurial businesses at twice the rate of men at 1,300 per day in the U.S., yet only receive 5 percent of conventional small business loans despite being found less likely to fail, to use less capital and to have 12 percent higher annual revenues than those run by men.SUBMITTED: PORTLAND BUSINESS ALLIANCE - Lisa Kulok, senior vice president of global supply chain operations at Columbia Sportswear

Knowing the trope "you can't be what you can't see," the Portland Business Alliance (PBA) is celebrating one businesswoman and one firm who offer support and mentorship to women in business.

The Portland Business Alliance will honor Lisa Kulok, senior vice president of global supply chain operations at Columbia Sportswear, and the law firm Barran Liebman at the PBA's annual women's leadership event in September.

The event, A Place With No Ceiling, is in its sixth year and will be held on Sept. 28 at the Oregon Historical Society.

A Place With No Ceiling connects and inspires women in the business community by celebrating a female executive who supports and mentors women, and recognizing a company that fosters the advancement of women.

"I'm always proud to see how these award winners blaze the trail for women who work in industries traditionally dominated by men," said Tracie Murphy, senior vice president of Moda Health and chair of the A Place With No Ceiling committee. "Lisa's leadership and mentorship of women, as well as Barran Liebman's flexible scheduling policies, are fantastic examples of how women can succeed in business."

A committee of PBA members determined the specific set of judging criteria that ended up selecting Kulok. The individual award is based on an analysis of mentoring women in the business community, the level of community engagement and public perception of the individual as a female icon.

Kulok was selected for demonstration of mentoring women in and outside of Columbia Sportswear in a way that encourages long-term developmental growth. She developed a Human Resources Planning initiative that helps employees improve career planning, development opportunities, mentoring, recognition and work-life balance.

The PBA, Greater Portland's Chamber of Commerce, has nearly 1,900 members. It strives to promote and foster an environment in the Portland region that attracts, supports and retains private-sector jobs, spurs economic vitality and enables quality educational opportunities for the region's residents.

Portland-based Barran Liebman employs 40 percent female or minority attorneys, was rated No. 1 in Oregon Business's best 100 companies in the small company category in 2013 and 2015, and has four attorneys who are Fellows in The College of Labor and Employment. It serves clients in the Northwest and across the country, with a commitment to diversity within itself and promotion throughout the community.

The company award was based on programs and activities fostering the advancement of women. The awards committee examined how this is demonstrated in the organizational chart, in the makeup of board directors and how the company is seen as a corporate culture changer in the community.

With one third of the company's partners being women, Barran Liebman is committed to diversity and flexibility: its attorneys create their own maternity leave schedule and set flexible work hours.

By Jules Rogers
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