Meet Chris Harder, Coraggio’s Newest Principal

By Chris Harder


We’re thrilled to introduce Coraggio’s newest Principal, Chris Harder. He joins us from Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency, where he served as their Director for the past three years. He brings with him 18+ years of experience designing and implementing organizational strategic plans and managing large scale public finance and economic development initiatives.

Meet Chris and learn about why we’re excited for him to be a part of our team:

What were you doing prior to Coraggio?
I spent the past 15 years working in economic and community development, and government administration. Most recently, I served as Director Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency. In this role I served as the state’s chief economic development officer and led an agency of 140+ professionals, 70+ distinct programs, and a biennial budget of more than $1 billion. Prior to Business Oregon I worked for Prosper Portland, the City of Portland’s urban renewal and economic development agency, and for the State of North Carolina in economic development and public finance roles.

What excites you about working at Coraggio?
I’m thrilled to work for an organization where the team is intellectually curious and always thinking about what’s next. It’s an organization that leads versus follows. I’m also excited for the opportunity to work with a diversity of industries and organizations—government, private sector, nonprofits—to apply my experience leading larger organizations through strategic planning, change management, and leadership development.

What are some of the biggest influences on your thinking?
Having spent a considerable amount of time working in government and around politics it becomes clear, pretty quickly, that we live in divisive times. From experience, however, people, communities, and organizations are more in common than different. While perspectives may be different, goals and objectives are often similar. What have I learned? It is critical to always keep an open mind. When issues are contentious, it is important to be an active listener, first. Effective and transparent communication must be a priority when working through complex issues or opportunities.

Share with our readers something that you are personally passionate about.
Cities. I have a background in urban planning. I’m fascinated by the complexities of community and the many challenges and opportunities cities are confronting, from the adoption and use of technology to make cities smarter, to increasingly complex transportation and mobility challenges, to the impacts of climate change, to housing, homelessness, and a lack of shared economic opportunity.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Family is very important. My free time is mostly spent with my wife, kids, and extended family. I particularly enjoy supporting my kids in their many activities, whether attending music recitals and band concerts, watching my daughter play soccer, or coaching my son’s little league baseball team. Personally, staying active is a priority. In the winter I love to ski. When the weather is a little nicer you can find on one of the local running trails.

What’s your personal motto?
I like the quote, “It always seems impossible until it’s done” which is attributed to Nelson Mandela. To live the fullest life, it is important to take risks. To have the most impact you must, at times, attempt the difficult.

You can learn more about Chris by visiting his bio