PBA recognizes female business leaders with 2021 “A Place With No Ceiling” Awards

September 2021

The Portland Business Alliance (the Alliance) is proud to announce the winners of the 2021 “A Place with No Ceiling” awards, recognizing women business leaders and women-centric businesses in the Portland metro area. This year’s honorees are Jennifer Yruegas of Pacific University, Boly:Welch, and Umpqua Bank.

The awardees will be formally recognized at the Alliance’s ninth annual “A Place with No Ceiling” event, on September 30. This networking reception celebrates, connects and inspires women in the business community by honoring an individual and companies for their support, mentorship and advancement of women.

Honorees are nominated by community members for their work to foster the advancement of women in the workplace. Winners are selected by a committee of women business leaders, based on their leadership skills, mentorship of women, and community engagement and reputation.

Community members are invited to view the online livestream of A Place With No Ceiling. More information can be found on the Alliance website at:

The 2021 awardees include:


Jennifer Yruegas is Dean of the College of Business and General Counsel at Pacific University. As a tenured faculty member of Pacific University, Jennifer contributes to the community teaching courses in law for both undergraduate and MBA students. Jennifer has also served her community by organizing more than 15 COVID vaccination clinics between January and May of this year, providing  10,000 shots. Jennifer’s work focused heavily in Washington county, mostly to vulnerable populations.


Boly:Welch is the leading independent talent agency for the Pacific Northwest. Their uniquely personal approach to recruitment allows them to understand people, which in turn helps them understand what is needed for businesses and careers. As founder Pat Welch says: “We’re a human-centric company, not a metrics-driven one. Success comes from being our authentic selves rather than being driven by just sales results. We look beyond the resume at the whole individual.” They were one of the first companies to offer flexible schedules and they foster a holistic culture that celebrates employee milestones and supports employees through life’s ups and downs. Eighty-five percent of Boly:Welch’s workforce identify as women, and more than 90% of the leadership team is female.


Umpqua Bank has a number of initiatives that contribute to the advancement of women within the bank, and in the community. For example, since 2013, Umpqua Bank’s Women’s Associate Resource Group (ARG) has offered members – and all women across the bank – professional development, leadership opportunities, visibility, and more.

Several other resource groups, including PRIDE, BIPOC, and more, also support the advancement and leadership of other historically marginalized groups. Umpqua also seeks to further women’s advancement in local business and community efforts by supporting nonprofit organizations such as Girl Scouts, Girls on the Run, and others. They are proud to be an official sponsor of the Portland Thorns, advancing women through financial fitness and women in business programming.

The Portland Business Alliance is Greater Portland’s Chamber of Commerce. Our mission is to create opportunity and advance well-being for all who live and work in the greater Portland and SW Washington region. Our vision is a healthy and resilient business ecosystem. Visit for more information.