BUF Talks was created based on direct feedback from our alumni, who expressed feeling overwhelmed and confused upon realizing all of the different major and career choices available to them when entering college. 

Students who BUF TALKS can be in any grade from middle school (6th grade - eight grade), high school (9th grade-12th grade) and early college (freshman/sophomore status) and should expect to be exposed to different career opportunities. Should a specific BUF Talks session be recommended for a more confined age group the information will be displayed below.

BUF Talks @ wieden + kennedy was a great success! thank you wk for being such great hosts. additional thanks to scott kleiner & janna york for organizing and the panelist: anthony williams, tiffany golden, edward harrison, ebony francis, and eden andu.

advertising buf talks @ wieden + kennedy | february 19th

Our first BUF Talks with the Portland Trail Blazers was a success! We are planning more BUF Talks with the Portland Trail Blazers and other great professionals through the Portland Metro area for the 2018-19 academic year. Check back soon for updates and more information. 

Women of Color in Sports | March 22nd, 2018 | @ MODA CENTER


Meet the Women of Color Sports Panel:  

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OCTAVIA CHAMBERS | social responsibility impact manager

Octavia Chambers is the Social Responsibility Impact Manager for the Portland Trail Blazers. She is originally from Amarillo, TX, and is the second oldest of seven children. Octavia attended Howard University where she received a B.S. in Psychology. She moved to Hillsboro, Oregon in October 2014 to work as a Public Health Advisor for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where she worked for nearly 3 years in Hillsboro and Anchorage, Alaska. Octavia is currently on the leadership team for the Portland Urban League Young Professionals and on the Board of Directors for Community Warehouse. She is also pursuing a Master's Degree in Public Health at UNMC. Octavia lives by the scripture “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). At a young age, Octavia developed the understanding that everything has a reason and a season, and God rewards those who make it through the storm with poise and grace.


MICHELLE BURCH | performance teams manager

Michelle Burch is the Performance Teams Manager for the Portland Trail Blazers. She is a Portland native and graduate of Jefferson High School and Portland State University.  Michelle attended Southern University A & M before transferring to PSU where she received her B.S. in Speech Communications.  Most of her professional career focused on working with children in the non-profit sector including companies such as the Columbia River Girl Scout Council, Self Enhancement, Inc. and the I Have a Dream Foundation.  While working with these companies, Michelle was also a BlazerDancer for the Trail Blazers.  After teaching Dance and managing the PCC Study Lab at Jefferson High School, Michelle returned to work full time for the Trail Blazers managing all of the performance groups including the BlazerDancers and the Blazers Stunt Team.   Michelle is inspired by her parents and family who have dedicated themselves to improving the lives of others through their work in N/NE Portland.  Her family is deeply rooted in Portland’s African American community and continues to develop business opportunities, community building and political activism.  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13



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maia gardner | executive assistant 

Maia Garner was born in Buffalo, New York and grew up in N.E. Portland.  She is a graduate of Grant High School, Oregon State University (Bachelor of Science in Exercise and Sports Science) and San Diego State University (Masters of Exercise Physiology).  She has been working for the Portland Tail Blazers for six years and is currently the Executive Assistant to the Chief Marketing Officer, Senior Vice President of People and Culture and Vice President of Brand Strategy.  When Maia’s not working, she loves spending time with her husband Jason and two sons, Tyson (9) and Dixon (8).  Both boys play football, basketball and run track so sports are a big part of their daily life.   Maia enjoys volunteering at her kids school and likes to read in her freetime.

 I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou



Carlotta King is a Portland native, and grew up in the heart of North/Northeast Portland where she attended Grant high school and Portland Community College. She began her tenure at the Rose Quarter 20 plus years ago and currently holds the position of Facility Operations Coordinator. Carlotta enjoys volunteering in the community at one time was a dance and drill instructor at Beaumont Middle School. Carlotta realize the beauty of independence and the amazing feeling it brings. “You have what it takes to be victorious, independent, fearless woman.” Tyra Banks

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ALEXA MILES | community programs coordinator

Alexa Miles was born in Portland, OR. She is a recent graduate of the University of Oregon and an involved community member. While majoring in Ethnic studies, she grew passionate about diversity and equity and is currently engaged in improving relationships amongst various communities through her work at the Portland Trail Blazers. She is a lifelong athlete and values the strength and spirit of sport as a vehicle to bring people together. Her belief that opportunity is an essential component to equity motivates her everyday as she strives to convey her enthusiasm and hope for change. “Cause I’m a woman, Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me.” -Maya Angelou


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RIKKI ford | communications coordinator

Rikki Ford is a 24-year-old Portland, Oregon native. She grew up in Beaverton with her younger brother and parents where she later graduated High school in 2011 and then went on to go to college at Oregon State University as a Biology major with hopes of being a dentist.

Today, Rikki has a degree from the University of Oregon in Journalism and Public Relations and she works for the Portland Trail Blazers and Rose quarter as a Corporate Communications Coordinator. Everyday, Rikki is inspired by the people she loves and her peers who are doing their part to better themselves and their communities.

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ALEXIS MCKINNEY | ticket sales manager

Alexis McKinney is Wisconsin native who recently relocated to Portland for a opportunity to work with the Portland Trail Blazers in the inside sales department. Alexis Alexis attended Marquette university in her hometown Milwaukee, WI. In 2013, she graduated with a Bachelors in Public Relations and Psychology.

After a brief career in the fashion industry, she decided that she wanted to work in sports just as she did during her college career. She attended a sports career academy which led her to this current opportunity. The quote she lives by is don’t let the opportunity from striking out keep you from playing the game.




Fanta Diabate is a recent graduate from Alabama. She grew up in Auburn with two younger sisters and a younger brother. She attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she ran Division I track. Fanta graduated last April with a degree in Public Relations and minors in Marketing and Spanish. She has always had a passion for sports and always knew that it would be the industry she worked in one day. Today, Fanta is the Marketing Intern for the Portland Trail Blazers. Fanta is inspired by the many women of color who came before her and broke down barriers that made it possible for her to be where she is today.