Amy Tharpe is the Director of Social Responsibility with the Port of Oakland. The Port operates, the seaport, the Oakland International Airport, as well as local real estate. Amy is a UC Berkeley and Harvard alum who is passionate about promoting Jack London Square as a center for community activity.
What does it mean to be the director of social responsibility?
I ensure that the business yields a community benefit through local hire practices and community engagement.
For example, on our construction projects, we make sure that workers are hired locally and that they are paid a living or prevailing wage.
For the community engagement part, we are inviting the community to come out and learn more about the Port of Oakland. Starting in May we are hosting free narrated harbor tours, that take you right up to big container ships which is a view few people get to see! We also sponsor events that occur in Jack London Square where local businesses can highlight their products. For example, we sponsor Eat Real, as well as events at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park and the local public schools. Recently we started another program called Good Neighbor Breakfasts, where we give updates and get feedback from the community.
You’ve been in this position since 2013, what would you say is your biggest accomplishment?
I am most proud of our new focus to expand our definition of local hire to include people who are most disadvantaged in our community including: unsheltered folks, the formerly incarcerated, and single parent households.
What is your favorite thing about Oakland?
The diversity. There is innovation that comes around every corner. Through our diverse perspectives, we have become a model for the rest of the country, where we can really lean on our differences to achieve something greater together.
What three words best describe Oakland?
Diverse. Soul. Feisty.
What is your best hidden talent?
I am a pretty good double-dutcher!
Visit the links below for more information about the programs mentioned in this story
Free Harbor Tours
Good Neighbor Breakfast Series
Middle Harbor Shoreline Park
Eat Real Fest