TechfestNW inaugural Sam Blackman Award for Civic Engagement goes to Zapproved founder Monica Enand

The Portland startup community is still coping with the loss of AWS Elemental cofounder and consummate Portland champion Sam Blackman, who passed away suddenly last August. Today, in his honor, Portland’s annual technology conference, TechfestNW, launched an new award designed to recognize members of the Portland community who are carrying on Sam’s legacy through their actions. The inaugural recipient was Monica Enand, founder of Zapproved.

Enand, along with running Zapproved, is a board chair for Girls Inc. and has served on committees for Business for Better Portland and the Oregon Growth Board.

“I don’t think I can express how deeply honored I am to receive this award,” Enand said.

“Sam was a passionate guy,” she added, “he was passionate about tech, social justice, the environment, kids and definitely about Portland. His grace and strength is something we can all take a lesson from.”

To other community leaders, Enand also had a message: “Take Sam’s cues and show that our generation wants to be engaged and have a positive and permanent role in making Portland a great place for every member of the community to live.”

Very well deserved.

[Full disclosure: I am the cofounder of TechfestNW and I continue to advise on the event.]