Commissioner Susheela Jayapal
Susheela has been a proud resident of District 2 for over 25 years. She was born in India, and came to the United States when she was 16, to go to college.
She attended Swarthmore College, graduating with a degree in Economics. After two years as a financial analyst at an investment bank, Susheela went to law school, earning her law degree from the University of Chicago Law School. She was a litigator at law firms in San Francisco and Portland, with a general practice that included representing the government in taking on corrupt and negligent bank officers during the fiscal crisis of the 1980s, and providing free legal services to people seeking political asylum in the United States.
Susheela then became the General Counsel at adidas America, serving as the member of the senior executive team responsible for the legal affairs and human resources functions of what was then a $1 billion company. Among her responsibilities was creating the adidas brand’s first set of labor standards to be applied to contracted factories overseas.
As important as that work was and still is, the pull to have a more direct impact on the lives of people in her community was stronger. That’s why Susheela left her legal career nearly 20 years ago, working in nonprofit leadership positions with community organizations. Among other things, she has served on the boards of Planned Parenthood of the Columbia-Willamette, Portland Schools Foundation, All Hands Raised, Literary Arts, Metropolitan Family Service, and the Regional Arts & Culture Council. She has also been a grant evaluator for the Oregon Community Foundation, managed the Nike Community Impact Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation, and served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in foster care.
Susheela lives in the Sabin neighborhood of Northeast Portland. She has two children who graduated from Grant High School. Susheela enjoys spending time hiking in the Columbia Gorge, reading, gardening, and playing tennis; and regularly travels back to India to visit her parents.
Chief of Staff
Sara serves as Commissioner Jayapal’s Chief of Staff. She has more than 20 years of experience working with community based organizations in both direct service and systems change. Prior to working for Commissioner Jayapal, Sara founded the Oregon Labor Candidate School and helped many candidates get elected to the legislature, school boards and local boards. She has a BA from the University of Notre Dame and a Masters in Social Work from San Francisco State University. Sara serves on the Site Council for Chief Joseph Elementary School. She grew up in eastern Washington and has lived in North Portland since 2004 with her family.