Forterra Coffee and Conversation: Lands and Community

Civic leader Lyle Quasim and Quinault Indian Nation President Fawn Sharp speak with Forterra President & CEO Michelle Connor for a thought-provoking discussion about the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for Washington State communities and lands.

Lyle Quasim is a longtime civic leader and civil rights activist who has co-chaired the Black Collective—a volunteer leadership organization addressing issues affecting the black community in Tacoma and Pierce County—since the group’s founding 50 years ago. He became the first African American to head the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services in 1995, and served as chief of staff for Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg from 2001 to 2008. He led Tacoma’s Safe Streets Campaign in 1988 to engage the community against a rise in gang violence. He currently serves on the Strong Community Fund Board of Directors.

President Fawn Sharp is the current president of the Quinault Indian Nation in Taholah, Washington, having previously served as the tribe’s managing attorney and lead counsel. She also is the 23rd President of the National Congress of American Indians, the oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native tribal government organization in the country. She has held numerous leadership positions, including a trustee for Grays Harbor College and a member of the Washington State Bar Association’s Board of Governors.

Michelle Connor, President & CEO of Forterra, is a third-generation Washingtonian who has worked to conserve land for community and environmental well-being throughout her 25-year career at Forterra. She has played a part in more than 400 transactions and provided executive leadership in all phases of public policy, community engagement, negotiations, fundraising, and innovative finance.