PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The Bidwell Marriot in Portland is kicking off a new speaking series, Purpose in PDX, to highlight local business leaders and bring visitors back downtown.

Purpose in PDX starts Wednesday with a women in sports panel and Q&A session from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. featuring female leaders from across the city. The panel will include Timbers and Thorns CEO Heather Davis, Thorns FC General Manager Karina LeBlanc and Timbers Head Athletic Trainer Stephanie Ludwig.

The panel also includes Travel Portland National Account Director Cathy Kretz and will be moderated by Kelsey Motley of Beaver Sports Properties.

“This is Soccer City USA, what a great way to kick off this series with some incredible leaders and we have an exciting season ahead for both Timbers and Thorns,” said Jacob Wright, Bidwell Marriott general manager.

Wright says the series is “an opportunity to reestablish Portland, downtown, as a west coast destination. And we have incredible businesses here, as well as incredible business leaders, and to bring awareness to the city and get people back downtown.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on businesses in Portland, Wright says he’s seeing the city come back.

“We’re seeing more people in the streets, we’re seeing more business travel, more groups returning little by little and we’re seeing great events pop up and more music acts. Wright said. “I think we’re on the cusp of a really great summer.”