Meet The Staff

Diane Linn
Diane LinnExecutive Director
Diane Linn joined Proud Ground as the new Executive Director in December 2013 after nearly six years in Marin County, California serving as Director of Ritter Center, which provides services to low-income, working poor, and homeless families. Diane is the former Multnomah County Chair (2001 – 2007), and served as Commissioner (District 1) prior to serving county-wide. While with the County her top priorities were providing fairness and justice for communities of color and LGBTQ individuals, and vital services to the County’s most vulnerable people. Diane served Director of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement for the City of Portland and, prior to ONI, she was the Executive Director of Oregon NARAL. Diane is a native of Portland, raised her two children here, and has worked to improve conditions and build community for vulnerable and under-served families throughout her career. Diane is thrilled to be back in her hometown to promote the dynamic mission of Proud Ground.
Yesika Arévalo
Yesika ArévaloCross Cultural Community Outreach Coordinator
Yesika discovered her passion to help families reach the dream of homeownership after witnessing the hard work of her parents in buying their first home more than ten years ago. Since then she has acquired extensive experience developing and implementing outreach plans.

For the past seven years she has worked in the non-profit sector advocating and empowering families from all walks of life in reaching the dream of homeownership. Her experience includes working with first-time homebuyers through NEDCOs’ pre-purchase programs and financial literacy classes. She is a certified homeownership counselor by the NeighborWorks Center for Homeownership Education & Counseling.

Yesika enjoys spending time outdoors, gardening and playing with her children. She practices Danza Azteca and loves to explore new places and learning new things.

Katie Ullrich
Katie UllrichHomeownership Program Director
On staff with Proud Ground since 2004, Katie has a Masters in Social Work; is a licensed Realtor; and is certified for homeownership and foreclosure intervention counseling and in post purchase education by the NeighborWorks Center for Homeownership Education & Counseling.

Katie’s experience includes working with first-time homebuyers through USDA Rural Development’s Self Help Homeownership Program in SW Colorado; neighbor to neighbor mediation; serving on the board of directors of the NW Community Land Trust Coalition; working in several arenas with diverse youth; and 2 ½ years researching, analyzing and utilizing data regarding regional indicators of a healthy community. Katie provides all homebuyer counseling and education services; provides post-purchase support to current homeowners; leads program innovations; and is responsible for lender relations.

Tyler Koski
Tyler KoskiReal Estate Broker & Project Manager
Tyler joined the Proud Ground team in 2013, bringing with him extensive non-profit experience in supervisory and leadership roles at Outdoor School, Boys & Girls Clubs and SUN Community Schools. Tyler is passionate about serving his community.

As a licensed real estate agent Tyler guides Proud Ground participants through the home buying or selling process and markets Proud Ground homes in addition to providing education, outreach and general program support. Through Proud Ground Community Realty Tyler is able to offer his real estate experience and expertise to partners and the general public.

Tyler enjoys cooking for friends and family, home improvement projects, coaching basketball and weekend trips around the Northwest with his wife Carly and their dog Dekum.

Briauna McKizzie
Briauna McKizzieCommunications Coordinator
Excited to return to the non-profit sector, Briauna discovered her desire to do something about the affordable housing crisis in 2015, when she witnessed both her brother and her grandparents struggle to find affordable housing in the Portland Metro. Consequently, she wanted to be a part of an innovative movement to create realistic options for housing for families in Oregon, and she was thrilled when she learned about the Community Land Trust model at Proud Ground.

Briauna has a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Masters in Writing. She began writing professionally in 2008 while working for a non-profit, youth-outreach organization called Glowing Heart Ministries and has since written material for Comcast and GoLocalPDX. She’s excited to dedicate her writing and communication skills to Proud Ground’s mission, and she finds joy dividing her time between her family, her work at Proud Ground, and creative projects.

Dianne Topp
Dianne ToppFiscal Manager
Dianne has over ten years of experience in nonprofit financial administration. Dianne has worked with OSPIRG, M&R Consulting, and co-owned a small environmental consulting firm. Dianne lives in SE Portland with her family and a few chickens, and enjoys exploring Oregon’s amazing hiking trails.
Steve Whitson
Steve WhitsonProject Manager
On staff since 2007, Steve brings more than three decades of experience to Proud Ground and he has supervised rehabilitation of hundreds of different projects. Steve worked for the Housing Development Center for 12 years, providing project management of acquisition, rehabilitation, and new construction projects.

Steve was the Principal Real Estate Broker at the Housing Development Center and is one of Proud Ground’s licensed Realtors. He has been a real estate investor/builder/manager since 1974; this experience gives him a unique perspective on building maintenance and durability that is critical to the sustainability of Proud Ground’s homes.

Steve and his wife Resa like to spend weekends exercising, working on home improvement projects and finding treasures at the Rebuilding Center. They also like to visit used bookstores, explore historic sites, and eat at sidewalk cafes.