About the Alliance: For Public Good

Our Staff

Kristen Grainger

Kristen brings nearly twenty years of higher education leadership, administrative, and political experience to The Alliance presidency. During her twelfth year as Vice President and Assistant to the President at Willamette University, she was tapped by Governor Kate Brown to serve as her communications director in the aftermath of Governor John Kitzhaber’s unexpected resignation. In this capacity, Kristen served as one of Gov. Brown’s closest advisors, including acting chief of staff on three occasions, leading efforts to advance the Governor’s policy agenda through the strategic initiatives and activities of the Office of Communications and Office of Constituent Services.

Over the course of her many years at Willamette University, Kristen worked closely with the President and his cabinet as well as Willamette’s 36-member Board of Trustees to support the success of students and faculty and ensure the fiscal viability and sustainability of the institution. She played in integral role in supporting the President’s leadership, initiatives, and day to day operations such as strategic planning, accreditation, governance, and internal and external marketing and communications to advance Willamette’s mission and the President’s vision and aspirations as expressed in the university’s strategic plan. She was appointed Willamette’s Title IX coordinator in 2008, successfully restructuring and improving the university’s policies and procedures in accordance with federal regulations and best practices.

Prior to coming to Willamette in 2002, Kristen worked in state politics in a variety of capacities, including communications director for Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s first successful gubernatorial campaign and serving as a top aide to Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers, managing public affairs and communications for the Department of Justice. Before that, she was principal and co-founder of Grainger & Tresidder Government Relations, a public affairs and lobbying firm representing a variety of clients in business, education, and non-profit sectors. Kristen is a graduate of the University of Washington.

Brent Wilder
Vice President

Brent has served as vice president of The Alliance since January 2012.  Prior to his appointment, he served as interim president of The Alliance. Wilder joined The Alliance after working with the Oregon Independent College Foundation (OICF), most recently as interim president and vice president. Prior to his arrival at the OICF, Brent served as the Associate Director of Athletics for External Relations at Portland State University.  His previous professional experience also includes serving as an Assistant Director of Athletic Development and Athletic Annual Fund Director at Oregon State University, and Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach at Oregon State.  Brent received his bachelor’s degree and M.A. from Oregon State University.

Lisa Little
Director of Communications & Adminstration

Lisa comes to The Alliance with experience working for various nonprofit organizations. As an Americorps Vista in the Greater Salt Lake area in Utah, she worked with an organization serving diverse youth in education. Other experience includes volunteering with Royal Family Kids’ Camps, and working as a Campaign Manager at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Lisa graduated from Southern Oregon University and then received her M.S. from the University of Utah, where she took an opportunity to intern at the Scottish Parliament just prior to the historic referendum.

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