Krystal Ngene (pronounced n-ghen-nee) embraces her culture, authenticity, and life challenges to bring about learning opportunities and growth while using her passion, experience, and expertise to serve as a catalyst for positive change. As our Executive Director, Dada Krystal brings her understanding of the interconnectedness of the lives of people, and her strength in facilitating the connection of diverse groups of people that allows for the cross-pollination of ideas and unlikely sparks of enthusiasm, to foster an environment of unparalleled creativity and community for Kúkátónón.
Krystal comes to Kúkátónón from the City of Portland’s Bureau of Development Services, where she was responsible for program development and project management of the Bureau’s recruitment and hiring program from trainings and outreach strategies, to the coordination of new employee hire processes. In that position, Dada Krystal used an equity-focused lens and led the development and implementation of proactive diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Prior to her work at the Bureau, Dada Krystal worked at Ronald McDonald House Charities, Roger Williams Medical Center, The Therapy Collaborative, and Sunshine House.
Krystal has a Master’s degree in Social Work from Portland State University (specializing in community-based practice and racial equity work), and a B.S. Ed. in Learning and Organizational Change from Northwestern University.
Joining Kúkátónón is also a personal commitment for Dada Krystal and her family. “We understand that the African and African American communities have a need that society in a larger context has not been able to meet. It is important that our communities and children have a safe place that encourages and instills a great sense of pride, confidence and education of our culture. Kúkátónón is critical in addressing this need. It also allows for our communities to create their own narrative and tell our own stories to counteract and educate mainstream society. This will help to create a more informed society that will benefit generations to come.”
Krystal enjoys spending time with her husband, David, a designer ; 3 year old son; and mother, Lisa. She loves sports, especially fútbol, hanging with her ‘Mamaz Tribe’ group and is a self-proclaimed ‘foodie’. She is also a member of the international, historically Black sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated.
Trina Huff is a native Portlander, who is dedicated to the service of her community and the people in it. She began her career at Portland Community College’s Paralagal Program as part of the determining class that allowed Portland Community College to be awarded the very first National Bar Association Certification in Oregon. She interned and worked for Multnomah County Public Defender’s Office; and worked for Hon Melvin Oden-Orr of Oden-Orr Law as the Executive and Legal Assistant.
Trina comes to Kúkátónón after serving as the Executive Assistant to the President and CEO of the Urban League of Portland. As an Executive team member, and with the help of her front office team, Trina led the campaign that increased the Urban League's community involvement. With her commitment and determination, she was successful in initiating participation in the Rose Festival, Good in the Hood, and Juneteenth parades; and the Willamette Week’s GiveGuide.
She brings strong leadership skills in developing sustainable organizations and community partnerships to the position of Operations Manager.
During her free time, Trina likes spending time with family and friends. She has an 8 year old daughter that keeps her busy with after-school programming, camps and lessons. Mostly she loves to find a good nap, which these days are rare.
Kayla Banks is passionate about the arts, community engagement and outreach for underserved communities. For her undergraduate degree she studied performing arts and business administration at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. She also studied Spanish and culture with a Gilman Scholarship in the Atacama Desert and the capital city, Santiago in Chile.
She is a local performing artist who has studied West African dance, trained in modern and ballet and teaches dance in Portland. In February 2015 she premiered an Afro-contemporary dance piece called “Sankofa” for the New Visions Dance Festival in Colorado. She has danced professionally in New York, Colorado and Oregon.
Kayla believes that each child and adult can reach their full potential through community support, instillment of confidence and the right resources. As the Program Coordinator she hopes to build the Kúkátónón program into all that it can achieve by meeting the community’s needs and spreading the culture of dance, especially African Dance as an uplifting experience for all.