Meet the Staff

Eric comes from a background in health, fitness, and health education. In 2006, Eric graduated from the University of Oregon with a BS in Exercise and Movement Science. In 2011, Eric went on to complete the Masters of the Arts in Teaching program at Eastern Oregon University, with a focus on Health and Physical Education, kindergarten through high school. From an early age, Eric has been very enthusiastic about health and fitness, which has carried over into his work at NEON.

Eric has been involved with NEON in multiple positions since he started with the organization in September 2013, as an Outreach and Enrollment Specialist. In that position, he worked one-on-one with community members, to assist them in applying for health insurance assistance. During his time with NEON, Eric has earned certifications as a Living Well Facilitator, a Community Health Worker, and in February of 2015, was signed off as a Community Health Worker Trainer. In October of 2014, Eric became the Pathways Community Hub Coordinator, overseeing the launch of the Pathways Hub. In 2017, Eric transitioned into the role of Executive Director.

Eric was born in La Grande, and has lived within the area throughout his life, with the exception of about ten years that he lived in other parts of the Pacific Northwest. Eric’s family history goes back four generations in Baker County, which has established deep roots and a rich appreciation for the area and the people here.

Lisa is the founder of NEON and served as the Executive Director from its inception in 2004 until 2017, when she stepped back from that role to expand the business development and training programs. She has a 20-year history of clinical practice as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, specializing in the dynamics of behavior change, including health behavior change, and has served as a local public health administrator for four years. In addition to serving as NEON’s director, she has trained, mentored, and supervised public health and community mental health leadership staff for over 16 years. As a part of NEON’s Consulting Services Program, Lisa provides organizational consulting, grant writing and management, program evaluation, and technical assistance services to health oriented organizations, both in the region and the greater Western United States. She has presented at both the state and national levels on Network Development and Sustainability, Rural Community Health Assessments, and Community Health Workers in Rural Settings. 

Lisa spent seventeen years of her career working in a self-directed team environment, has a long history of effective collaboration, and has experience as a member of a team CEO model. She has lead two software customization teams that provided public health and behavioral health content design.  She has 17 years of Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement work in public health/mental health, as well as experience and training in program evaluation and data analysis.She has experience in community health assessment, health systems planning, and grant writing and management, having obtained and successfully managed over $3 million in grant funding over the last four years. Lisa is a certified Community Health Worker Trainer. She is a graduate of both the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice Leadership Institute, and the UCLA Anderson School of Management Health Care Executive Summer Intensive Training Program. 

NEON’s Operations Coordinator is Debra Smith, a ten-year resident of Cove OR. She attended Eastern Oregon University, and graduated winter of 2015, with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, with a dual concentration of International Business and Marketing. When not working or studying, she tries to find time for volunteer work, especially at the local animal shelter.

Debra became NEON’s Operations Coordinator after working for a year as NEON’s Fiscal/Office Assistant. As the Operations Coordinator, Debra provides office and technical support to staff members, performs the bookkeeping duties, manages vendor contacts, handles NEON’s accounts payable and receivables, oversees administration of and trains new partners for NEON’s “What-to-Do-For- Health-Book” partnership program, purchasing, and various other functions. As head of NEON’s small Marketing Committee, Debra tries to find ways for NEON to use Social Media “Guerilla Techniques”, to help conserve resources for outreach and other programs. Debra handles most of the smaller community donation requests; funds that NEON uses for training supplies, or for outreach giveaway items.

Holly started at NEON during the Fall of 2013 as a student intern from Eastern Oregon University which led to her joining the NEON team as a full-time employee. She participated in NEON’s Community Health Worker training in Spring of 2014, obtained State certification in Oregon as a CHW, as well as assisted the trainers with preparing and organizing all of the training curriculum materials.

As the Transformation Grant Project Coordinator, Holly dedicated her first year at NEON to organizing meetings and maintaining communications with representatives from all of the organizations with whom NEON collaborates in the Pathways Community Hub project. During this time, she drafted NEON’s Pathways Community Hub Quality Assurance Policy & Procedure manual as part of the hub certification process. This manual will be referred to by all of those organizations now that the project has been fully implemented. Holly is also a member of NEON’s marketing committee and assists with the design and production of marketing and outreach materials.

Holly has been trained and certified to facilitate as a lifestyle coach in the Diabetes Training and Technical Assistance Center’s (dttac) National Diabetes Prevention Program and the Stanford University’s Chronic Disease Self-Management Workshops. She is also gearing up to train community members on using the Institute For Healthcare Advancement’s What To Do For Health series. These books are easy-to-read resources for community members to know what they can do at home for certain conditions, or when they should go to a doctor for treatment.

During October of 2014, Holly participated in State and Federal Consumer Assistance trainings and became a Certified Application Counselor, an insurance marketplace title aligned with her current NEON title as Outreach & Enrollment Specialist. Since, she has been working directly with local community members, assisting them in the process of enrolling in or renewing health insurance coverage programs offered through the Affordable Care Act. In addition to assisting community members with the enrollment and renewal process, she also troubleshoots and helps community members to solve unique issues as they may arise, in order to ensure access to needed services.

In 2013 Holly graduated from EOU with summa cum laude honors, earning a bachelor’s degree in music with emphasis on vocal performance. She is passionate about the arts and music, and is heavily involved in La Grande’s music scene. When she is not assisting with community projects at NEON, you just might see her singing with a band on the weekends.

Vixen came to work for NEON in 2009, as a part-time employee in the Covering Kids and Families program. She worked closely with local families, helping them to obtain health coverage and address prescription needs. In 2013 Vixen became an Oregon State-certified Community Health Worker and a Community Health Worker trainer. In this role, she guides and empowers community members to access the resources available to them, and enables them to advocate for themselves.

With valuable experience in the community, organizing skills and extensive knowledge of available services, Vixen has become a full-time staff leader at NEON. Vixen’s passion for empowering leadership and sharing has led her to become a Living Well with Chronic Conditions leader and a Community Health Worker trainer, while maintaining her certification as a Child Passenger Safety Seat inspector and a Tia-Chi instructor. Since the fall of 2013, Vixen has been NEON’s Outreach and Enrollment Coordinator. With Vixen guiding the team, NEON’s efforts to assist community members who are seeking health coverage have been overwhelmingly successful.

Vixen was born and raised in Eastern Oregon. Growing up in this region has afforded her the unique opportunities that have shaped her love of ranching and an equestrian lifestyle. Vixen grew up in the ranching industry, participating in 4H and FFA and always aiming to serve her community. She represented Wallowa County as Chief Joseph Days Queen and served on the 4H court.

Vixen attended Linn Benton Community College, and received her Applied Associate’s degree in Horse Management, with a focus on children and sociology. After graduating with top honors, Vixen returned home to start her own business in the horse industry. She has coached young women to the level of Miss Rodeo Oregon and Miss Rodeo America titles, provided clinics around the Pacific Northwest for all levels of horsemanship, and served as a professional judge for shows.

Empowerment is her focus and she uses her horses and experience to help people find self-worth. In addition to her business, Vixen has supported her community by working for many years in social services. She has been the program director for the Boys and Girls Club, Wallowa Valley Together Project Traffic Safety Specialist and worked for the Community Connection of Northeast Oregon Energy Assistance Program.

Liberty started at NEON in 2017 as the Pathways Community Hub Coordinator. In this role, she oversees the hub including technical and administrative functions and building partner relationshipswhile working with Community Health Workers to ensure a high level of service to Community Members. She also participates in training, grantwriting, and grants management for the program.

Liberty went to High School in La Grande and completed her undergraduate studies at Eastern Oregon University with a focus on Sociology and Environmental Studies. After a few years of working in home renovation and alternative construction techniques, Liberty moved to the Midwest to pursue a Masters degree in Sustainable Systems at Slippery Rock University, focusing on Community Planning. Following her degree, she worked in community development for 7 years in Youngstown, Ohio, gaining experience in local food systems, small business development, and grantwriting, as well as spearheading joint projects with the local health system. Liberty moved back to La Grande in 2017 to be closer to family, and she is excited about the potential of the program to address social determinates of health in rural areas.

Teresa Aguilera is an Outreach and Enrollment Specialist/ Bilingual Assister with Northeast Oregon Network (NEON). She began working with NEON in January 2018, and is very excited to be part of the team, and to put her education and experience to use in our local community. Although Teresa has worked and volunteered in the public-school system for over 20 years, her focus and passion has been on reaching out to Community Members and connecting resources with those in need. Her previous position of Migrant Recruiter, created a desire for working with the underserved population in our area in an outreach capacity and she is very eager to continue that focus with Northeast Oregon Network.

 

Teresa graduated from Blue Mountain Community College in 2009 with an Associate of Arts Transfer, and is continuing her education at Eastern Oregon University, pursuing a degree in Anthropology/Sociology with an emphasis in social welfare and a minor in Spanish. When she is not working, studying, or volunteering she enjoys spending time with her family. Teresa is committed to connecting our community to local resources and services.

Connie started at NEON in September 2018 as the Training and Business Development Associate.  Her role is to support our growing training and consulting efforts by developing and delivering trainings and promoting and marketing the NEON Consulting program.

Connie grew up in Chicago and attended Beloit College in Wisconsin, where she received her certification in Elementary Education and BA in Studio Art.  She then moved to Portland, where she worked in child care before entering the Peace Corps.  After a 2-year stint in Ecuador and some time traveling around South America, she returned to Portland and completed her MSW at Portland State.  Since then, she has worked at Community Action Organization in Washington County, the Vancouver Housing Authority and the Vancouver Public Schools.  Her work has focused on increasing opportunities and access to services for economically disadvantaged families.  After two decades of annual visits to NE Oregon to camp and hike, Connie made the leap to move to La Grande in 2017.  She spends her time knitting, baking, hiking and doing pottery.  

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2008 Third Street, Suite A, La Grande, OR  97850

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Special thanks to Charles Jones for use of his photos!