Kheoshi Owens, MBA, Founder of Empress Rules
Change Begins With You and I
My name is Kheoshi Owens, and I am a North Portland Native and the Founder of Empress Rules. My passion for Equity began at the young age of 19 when I witnessed someone dear to me, brutally murdered in front of my face. I wanted to hate the person who killed my loved one, but instead, I began to wonder, "How did this person get to the point that they could take a precious life so easily?" There was something systemic that was going on that I was unaware of yet severely impacted by.
During my professional career, I worked with thousands of students, teachers, and organizations in Portland and beyond, collaborating with teachers and Admin to successfully close the racial achievement gap between BIPOC students and white students in the organizations that I worked for. As a Change Maker, advocating for the rights of students and their families, I was still a black woman with lived experience of being gentrified from my neighborhood and discriminated against in the workplace. Though organizations benefited from my work, I did not feel seen, heard, or validated. I was passed over for promotions given to people with fewer qualifications and subpar outcomes. I know what it is like to look at Executive Leadership and have no one there who looks like her. I understand what it feels like not to be "white enough." Being white was something I never wanted to be; I just wanted to show up, be excellent, and be me.
I studied to become a Master Facilitator and became a primary resource for adults who wanted to create inclusive environments. Empress Rules is named after my daughter because she rules my heart. As Empress' mother and a surrogate mother to many children, I want my children to inherit a world where they are seen, heard, and validated. Race, gender identity, immigration status, ability, and intersecting identities should not be a determinate factor success.
Since founding Empress Rules in April 2017, Empress Rules has facilitated Equity focused projects for Centennial District, Global Works Community Fund, The City of Portland, The City of Salem, Miami University, Portland Public Schools, Multnomah County, Portland Children’s Levy and more.
I dedicated my life to social justice and promoting Equity for our most vulnerable populations. I believe that every person deserves to be seen, heard, and validated. I have worked to promote Equity for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities for close to 20 years now, matching 270 youth with mentors in the community and was awarded the Portland Community College Diamond Alumni Award for displaying excellence in the community.
In conclusion, My mission is to end racism through love; love of my community, and the love of empowering individuals and organizations who understand the importance of inclusiveness. I want to empower those who understand that we are better together. When people are allotted the freedom to authentic, we are better. We are better when we invest in each other. As my mentors and those who have come before me have invested in me in hopes of a brighter tomorrow, let me invest in you, and let us invest in each other. I want to see you; I want to hear from you. I want you to know that you matter. I look forward to connecting with you soon!
Founder of Empress Rules