The Rev. Esme Culver
Esme brings 30 years of leadership responsibility and experience to Grace Institute. Prior to her ordination as priest in the Episcopal Church, she spent 20 years as manager and CEO of full-service staffing agency, Protem Professional Staffing Services, placing temporary and full-time staff including entry-level clerical, creative and top management staff. ProTem received many awards on a local and national level for its innovative and community minded programs. Esme also founded a nonprofit agency, Emergence, helping young parents obtain skills needed to succeed in the workplace
Esme has served as a member of the Metro Leadership Council for the Oregon Community Foundation and presided over its Oregon Child Development Fund Board for six years, A long time champion of work/family issues, she was appointed Chair of the Oregon Commission for Child Care by then governors Roberts and Kitzhauber. Her child-care benefit for temporary employees was among the first corporate child-care initiatives nationwide and set a standard for employers interested in child-related employee benefits. Esme was twice elected as president of the Oregon Staffing Association, President of the Metropolitan Business Association and President of Altrusa International of Portland. She has been invited to speak on a variety of hiring related and leadership issues, and she has published over 60 columns relating to the same.
A creative visionary with two feet on the ground, Esme brings depth to the relationship Grace Institute shares with its founding institution, Grace Memorial Episcopal Church, where she currently serves as Associate Rector. Her gift of communication and reconciliation, her delight in working with people of all ages and histories, combined with her innate sense of humor, her deep understanding, her embrace of our life and times, and above all, her joy in living it, serves Grace well.
Through her marriage to Ells Culver, co-Founder of Mercy Corps, (now deceased), she has travelled to some of the world’s challenging environments including North Korea and the migrant farming mountains of China. She is deeply passionate about building understanding and peaceful reconciliation between people, close at home and across the world.
Esme (from her Turkish half) Jo (from her English half) was raised on the Welsh/English border in Chepstow, Monmouthshire, in the heart of Norman history. She has lived in Toronto and Los Angeles and has resided in Portland long enough to call it home. Esme has three grown children and is Grandmother “Ana” to three-year-old Diego. While her dual role keeps her very busy, when she finds time to spare, she loves hanging out with her family and with her two beloved friends, Bailey the German Shepherd, and Maggie the cat, and looking after her “ fourth child,” her 100-year old house “Asia Rose” in North Portland. Her interests are wide, from dance to dogs, from trowels to travelling.
Esme holds a dual undergraduate degree in Business Administration and Psychology from Portland State University, and a Master of Divinity degree from the west-coast Episcopal seminary, The Church Divinity School of the Pacific., Berkeley, California.