Who We Are

Rise to Excellence guides entrepreneurs, emerging businesses, nonprofit organizations and inclusive ministries toward organizational excellence.

Eliz_Sato_headshot

Elizabeth is a human resources and operations professional, business entrepreneur, nonprofit expert, community leader, societal change-agent and mother of three incredible sons.

Elizabeth founded Rise to Excellence in 2007 to work from a home office as a single-parent so she could simultaneously focus on raising her sons in a healthy way.

Elizabeth has 30 years of solid professional experience in the private sector as well as service to the public sector working with 501C3’s, educational agencies and ecumenical faith-based organizations.

Elizabeth has served as a gubernatorial appointee to the Oregon State Board of Higher Education, on the Board of NNAHRA National Native American Human Resources Association, NCCC USA Inclusiveness and Justice Commission Chairperson of the Mending Wings Nonprofit organization, Washington Secretary of State Advisory Council on the Washington State Combined Fund Drive, and numerous local and national boards.

Elizabeth is a American Leadership Forum Senior Fellow, member of the Murdock Charitable Trust-Women in Leadership, enjoyed working on the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette Workplace Campaigns, volunteering for the Nonprofit Network of Southwest Washington, Hands on Greater Portland and mentoring emerging nonprofit leaders and entrepreneurs.

Elizabeth is a 2008 Clark County/Southwest Washington Women of Achievement and 2008 recipient of the White House Project/American Express Women Rule! Featured in November 2008 O-Oprah Magazine and Ms. Winfrey’s book Dream Big, Elizabeth was a 2008 recipient of the Soroptimist International “Women who make a difference” award and alumnus of Leadership Clark County

(c)Rise to excellence #risetoexcellence

What are colleagues, supervisors and clients saying about Elizabeth/Rise to Excellence?

“Elizabeth is a fantastic communicator and consensus builder. She is able to navigate and negotiate various and sometimes opposing agendas to deliver a superior outcome.” Joseph Graves, Principal, Joseph Graves Capital Management

“Elizabeth has many strengths and gifts; she is extremely self-motivated, positive and dedicated to excellence in all that she does. Elizabeth is a highly skilled communicator as well as a gifted writer. She thinks strategically, maximizes opportunities as well as manages time and resources efficiently. She is well respected in our local community and excels at building relationships and uplifting others. As a result of her efforts, key accounts in her portfolio yielded increases and experienced double digit growth.”  Toni Carlo, Vice President- Resource Development, The United Way of the Columbia-Willamette

“I have had the opportunity to work with her during the course of my tenure here at the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette as Interim President/CEO and have found her intelligence and abilities to be an asset to the organization.”

“I first met Elizabeth when I was serving the second time as Interim CEO of United Way. I found her then and now to be a woman of deep thought, passion and commitment to not only her own personal growth but to building a better world for all ages. Elizabeth is a continuous learner and embraces the diversity of people on many different levels. She would contribute to any organization or team in a meaningful way.” Jay C. Bloom, President/CEO Bloom Anew and Interim President/CEO, The United Way of the Columbia-Willamette

“Elizabeth is a wonderful colleague with a very strong work ethic who cares about the people she works with.” Robert (Bob) Knight, President, Clark College

“Elizabeth is an extremely valuable resource; her detail-oriented approach to problem solving is admirable, and yet her genuine approach to serving people is where she truly shines. I’ve yet to find a balance of authenticity, professionalism and approachability in a colleague, something I’m grateful to Elizabeth for. If you are looking for a consultant who puts people first, follows through on deliverables, and does it all with a great deal of positive energy, look no further.” Marc Neidlinger, Partner, M+BG Creative Group

“Words cannot describe Elizabeth Asahi’s qualities as they do not do her justice. To know Elizabeth is to know an individual who is fun, friendly, humorous, detail oriented and above all gets the job done in a manner that is professional and respectful.” VaNessa Duplessie, Board Member, Leadership Clark County

“Elizabeth manages to get things done that lots of people would consider “impossible.” So call her an entrepreneur from a young age. These days, Elizabeth helps non-profits become more effective. Elizabeth likely could no more tell you “how” she does that than Tiger Woods can tell you “how” he knows just how hard to hit a golf ball to cover a certain distance. For Elizabeth, “what to do” is a function of her understanding of human beings and behavior in organizations that do not have a market-dictated feedback mechanism and that have high reliance on volunteers of various sorts. Elizabeth will approach those challenges in a non-linear way and I mean that in the best possible way. Problem solving often requires non-linear thinking. She simply applies those skills helping organizations become more effective.” Gary Kim, Senior Vice President, Probe Research

“I first met Elizabeth when I was working at YWCA Clark County and she was honored as a Woman of Achievement. Elizabeth has something that you don’t see very often, a truly warm spirit; maybe you could call it a spark. She just draws people to her and helps them achieve something greater. Personally, every time I see her I feel more optimistic about life. I would definitely recommend her for nonprofit and business consulting” Rosalyn (Rose) Hart, Marketing and Communications Specialist, YWCA Clark County, now with the United Way

“Elizabeth is extremely well-rounded, flexible, excellent communication skills and a real, true vision for social change and social justice. I highly recommend Elizabeth for any role in any capacity and definitely one to watch in the future.” Yun-Sook Kim Navarre, Social Policy Advocate, SFSU’s Institute for Civic and Community Engagement (formerly San Francisco Urban Institute)

“There is not enough time for me to list all of Elizabeth’s positive attributes. Not only is she someone who truly takes the time to understand what it means to truly listen to your concerns, but she is able to bring them to fruition that exceeds your expectations. Although she does have high professional standards, what I appreciate most about her is her genuine character. I highly recommend Elizabeth.” Fez Vartan, Owner, FEZ Studio

“Elizabeth is someone who is very active in community affairs in East Clark County. Not one to sit back and complain about problems – she has shown herself to be a person who will jump in and look for positive solutions. Compassion and true caring for others stand out as a demonstration of her character. Always a good communicator and a good listener, Elizabeth is a person who works to bring consensus when working in group settings.” Mitch Lackey, Chief of Police, City of Camas, Washington

“Elizabeth is a tremendous human being. She is highly motivated, intense and detail oriented. She is passionate about every aspect of life. She has compassion for others; not just family and friends but for every person that comes in contact with her. She is incredibly articulate. A smart, compassionate, beautiful person.” Randy Cannon, Professional Fitness Trainer, Randy Cannon Fitness

“We were in the process of putting on a large event for my Art-Women-Wine group and needed help getting press releases done as well as other marketing to promote the event. Elizabeth met me for coffee and literally the same day had press releases to all major newspapers, a Facebook fan page created for the group, and other specialty writings and promotions done for the event. I couldn’t believe how much she got done in such a short amount of time and she went above and beyond my expectations in all areas. We ended up having between 750-1000 come to the event and I contribute a lot of that to Elizabeth’s work. She is an incredible talent and an even greater person. To know her and work with her is a privilege. There is no doubt that no matter what the task, Elizabeth can do it, and do it extremely well.” Elida Field, Founder Art-Women-Wine, Getting Artsy with Elida KOIN Channel 6

“I have participated with Elizabeth as part of a Women in Leadership group in the Pacific Northwest for about 5 years now. Elizabeth is a remarkable woman with boundless energy and drive. I have watched Elizabeth step up to assist many as they embarked on fundraising endeavors and to provide professional consultations. Elizabeth is a tireless multi-talented professional. She would be a tremendous asset to any corporation.” Desiree Carter, Executive Director, Daughters of Promise

“Elizabeth Asahi Sato is a very talented, well-informed and experienced business consultant in the Portland Metro who individualizes her program and information very well for each of her clients.” Sallee R. Kallenbach, Treasured Pets Dog Training and Gifts

“Challenges demand the engagement of people willing and capable of facing and overcoming them. During my tenure as VP of Account Management at Regence Blue Cross and Blue Shield and as CEO of the Urban League of Portland, I have had the opportunity to work with Elizabeth and to see firsthand the passion and intellect she bring to her professional pursuits. She is a tireless advocate of the roles and organizations she commits to serve. I would offer nothing but encouragement for her consideration if you are fortunate enough to have your organization fall within her area of interest.” Michael Alexander, President and CEO at the Urban League of Portland

“Elizabeth is dedicated by nature. Once she commits to something, you can count on her to be in for the duration. Elizabeth brings great passion to her work. She chooses work that really matters to her and then she brings all her power to the job. Working together on our project at the American Leadership Forum of Oregon she was always willing to go the extra mile. She has a big heart and makes special connections with people. She is a hard worker and always finds room to put another thing onto her plate. One of her superpowers is recognizing the work and talents of those around her, a habit that makes her a genuine team builder. I hold Elizabeth in the highest regard and I would be delighted to get the chance to work with her again.” Ethan Benatan, Chief Information Officer at Health Republic Insurance Company

“I first met Elizabeth thru the ALF program (American Leadership Forum) and immediately liked her. I found her to be passionate about her beliefs and quite a task master with organizational skills and tenacity. In working with Elizabeth, you will find her be a very positive and forward thinking person.” Cheryl Cruson
Owner at Oregon Trail Hobbies & Gifts

Recommendations can be reviewed in their entirety at: Linked-In

Excerpts from professional Letters of Reference

“Elizabeth is the ultimate professional. She interacted with all customers equally well whether they were highly trained neurosurgeons, hospital administrators or front-line staff. She is personal, compassionate and very bright. Elizabeth is a team-player and would often encourage the sales and operations teams to work collaboratively out of mutual respect for one another. She knew how to effectively approach and communicate with people. Elizabeth understands how to motivate people and encourages high ethics and exceptional services to not only our customers but to each other. Elizabeth Asahi Sato will work hard for you, bring with her positive enthusiasm, and sometimes pull ideas out of your head—you thought were merely dreams. She is a strategist and loves to work through strategic plans to help bring to fruition critical ideas that will enable any company to fortify and grow.” Richard G. Warner, President/CEO, The Warner Group, Inc. (Exclusive Distributor for Johnson and Johnson, DePuy Spine, Inc.)

“Elizabeth is a multi-talented person who demonstrated outstanding skills in administrative management, organizational capacity building as well as staff support, long range planning and program development. She is highly regarded as a superb manager of program development and staff relations in our organizations.”I found her to be reliable beyond compare. Tackling all assignments with dedication and a smile. One of Ms. Sato’s many outstanding qualities s her ability to comprehensively take charge of projects while instilling creative ideas, and foster buy-in from staff.” Fortunately too, Ms. Sato’s combination of administrative and staff management skills come “packaged” in a wonderful, friendly, witty sincere and caring human being. Her personality is delightful. She is sensitive, flexible and respected by staff, peers, subordinates and superiors alike. Her dedication and passion for her work is unsurpassable.” Dr. Richard L. Twiss, President/Founder Wiconi International

“In every instance and at every moment, I find that Elizabeth demonstrates a team spirit with a demeanor bent toward diplomacy and professionalism. I find Elizabeth to be an extremely bright and competent individual in her field and works very hard in many areas in support of her clients. Elizabeth has earned respect from all those she works and is known for her genuine, likable and easy to approach style.” Doreen McKercher, Public Information Office-Camas School Distract.

“Last year, Elizabeth was recognized as a Woman of Achievement, along with only seven other women in all of Clark County. She was selected for her leadership in the nonprofit and education sectors, passion for social justice, entrepreneurial endeavors – and for her role as a mother, as lovingly conveyed by her sons. Though driven, Elizabeth is one of the most gracious and kind-spirited people you could meet. She has a keen ability to connect with people and is someone who, upon meeting, you feel you’ve known for a long time.” Kathy Kniep, Executive Director YWCA, now with Nonprofit Association of Oregon.

“I met her (Elizabeth) and her sons again in an advocacy role when we worked to help establish a satellite office of the Washington State Human Rights Commission in Vancouver. Ms Sato and her sons spoke eloquently about racial issues her sons were having in the Camas school system. I next worked with Ms. Sato in the development of the Vancouver Branch NAACP 2008 Annual Banquet. This was important to me as it was my final year as President of the Branch. She was invaluable as a Planning Committee member both for her writing skills and vision. She also served as the artistic director for the Banquet. She was a key team member and contributed to a very successful fund raising event.” Earl Ford, President NAACP-Vancouver Branch and the United Stated Forest Service.