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A New Family Works for Broader Opportunity

They both grew up in Ethiopia, but Seile Aleyamehu (Waterford Kamhlaba UWC, Lewis & Clark ’13) first met Brook Mentire (Mahindra UWC, Lewis & Clark ’11) when she was a first-year student and he was a junior at their Portland, Oregon college. They both work today for Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO), a nonprofit that helps low-income people succeed as entrepreneurs. They’re also married — and last summer they welcomed Ezra, their first child, into their family.

Seile is the nonprofit’s “marketlink lead,” researching markets for new entrepreneurs. Brook is a loan portfolio lead and business development specialist, managing MESO’s loan program for small-business owners who cannot get conventional financing.

According to MESO’s website (mesopdx.org), the organization matches “individuals from disenfranchised, displaced, lowincome, immigrant/refugee, unbanked, minority, and underserved communities with all the services and support needed to succeed in business. In 10 years, we have provided assistance to over 2,000 entrepreneurs.”

“I love the job I do,” Seile writes. “Every day I get to work with creatives, artists, families, and all types of entrepreneurs who have big dreams but simply lack the opportunity or are underserved. Even just at MESO, we speak over eight languages from all over the world. If it was not for my UWC experience, I would get so overwhelmed ... instead I get to think globally and bring unique perspectives to make changes locally.” “Brook has started his MBA part-time program at Portland State University,” she adds. “We are having a great time juggling work, life, school, and parenthood.”