At the Core With Sarah Friend

Episode 2: “Unapologetic Leadership” with Cyreena Boston Ashby, CEO of Girls Inc. of the Pacific NW


Host Sarah Friend chats with Cyreena Boston Ashby, CEO of Girls, Inc. of the Pacific Northwest. They talk about unapologetic leadership, parenting while working, and unpacking what achievement means for young women today.

“For women, I think it can be hard to say, ‘I aspire to this role.’ And I love that you fought through that urge that women have to diminish ourselves…. You come to a place of unapologetically ambitious leadership style.” – Sarah Friend

Recorded on June 7, 2023


Inspired by her time as a support specialist in public schools, Cyreena Boston-Ashby began a career in politics and public affairs. In 2008, she ran for the Oregon House of Representatives at age 27, as the youngest candidate, the only woman, and the only person of color. She has strategized for electoral campaigns and ballot measures and conducted government relations in the areas of racial equity, marriage and LGBTQ equity, affordable housing, public education, and workers’ rights.

Cyreena has worked for the Democratic National Committee, the Barack Obama Campaign for Change, U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, and Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber. She was the first director of the Portland African American Leadership Forum (now Imagine Black). Formerly, Cyreena led the Oregon Public Health Institute as its CEO. She was a Partner with Hilltop Public Solutions, providing strategic solutions to non-profit organizations, political candidates and elected officials, and now serves as Of Counsel.

Cyreena is a board member for Northwest Health Foundation, Trillium Family Services, and Health Share of Oregon. Cyreena is also an International Women’s Forum Global Leadership Fellow.

She holds a BA from Spelman College and an Executive Education Certificate from Harvard Business School and the global business institute, INSEAD. Currently, Cyreena is CEO of Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest.

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