Portland, OR—Governor Kate Brown today announced that she will appoint Sophorn Cheang
(so-POHRN j-ay-ng) as Director of Business Oregon, pending Senate confirmation. In this role, Cheang will lead the state's largest economic development agency to promote a globally competitive, diverse, and inclusive economy.
“Sophorn brings to this role a strong background in financial, executive, and organizational management, as well as extensive experience in promoting equity and social and racial justice," said Governor Brown. "Her combination of experience will serve the agency well as we look to recover Oregon's economy from COVID-19 and make our state a more inclusive place for all people and businesses. I look forward to her leadership, especially as the agency works on its strategic priorities, which includes advancing economic opportunity for Black, Indigenous, Latino/a/x, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and underserved communities."
Since August 2018, Cheang has served as the Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Governor Kate Brown. In this role she oversaw the development of state business policies to eliminate bias and barriers and provide economic opportunities for all Oregon businesses—in particular minority-owned, women-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, and emerging small businesses—through equity practices in state procurement and community economic development. She also worked to center equity in state agency practices and policies, foster a culture of transparency and accountability between state government and community partners, and she co-coordinated the Governor's Racial Justice Council.
Prior to her work with the Governor's Office, Cheang served as Senior Community Development Manager and Director of the Asian Family Center for the Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization, where she developed and directed culturally specific programs and services for immigrants and refugees, mobilized diverse community leaders across the state to address social and racial injustices, and performed other strategic planning and advocacy work. She holds an MBA from Willamette University and a bachelor's degree in finance from Portland State University.
Cheang will step into this position following Senate confirmation, which is currently scheduled for February. Assuming confirmation, she will take over for Chris Cummings who has served as acting director since Chris Harder left the agency, and who will return to his position as Assistant Director of Economic Development. Governor Brown thanked Cummings for his leadership and serving as interim director.