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LFC Leaders' Fellowship Class of 2021

Amy D'Arpino

Cultural Competency Specialist
Arizona Complete Health

(she, her, hers) Amy has worked in the social work and health fields for 25 years. She is the Cultural Competency Specialist for Arizona Complete Health, a subsidiary of Centene Corporation. Previously, Amy worked in various capacities in behavioral health and foster care. She participates on local and state-wide focused committees that have priorities to eliminate health disparities for underserved populations. Amy is a parent of a transgender teen and is an alumni member of the Human Rights Campaign’s Inaugural Parents for Transgender Equality Council, a coalition of the nation’s leading parent-advocates working for equality and fairness for transgender people. She is currently Co-Chair of the Annual Let’s Get Better Together Conference, which focuses on LGBTQ integrated health. Amy is the Co-Chair of the cPRIDE Innovation Committee, a Centene Employee Inclusion Group focused on Centene’s LGBTQ+ employees. She has presented workshops at many local and national conferences. She received her Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree, graduating Summa Cum Laude from Arizona State University. Amy is a strong advocate for change, and for anyone in need.

Amy Pedotto

Executive Director
Grand Canyon Institute

(she, her, hers) Amy Pedotto has worked in the non-profit sector raising awareness of and support for public policy issues and human service initiatives. Her experience includes communications, strategy, business development, project management, and relationship building. While working with the Grand Canyon Institute, she has focused extensively on charter school accountability and transparency, and unemployment reform. Her interests include public education funding, ensuring that schools serving disadvantaged students have the resources they need to close academic gaps, and ensuring that students with disabilities receive the resources and supports they need to thrive. During the course of her career she has worked in Australia and has supported international development programs in Latin America. She has bachelor degrees in Journalism and Spanish from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in International Policy and Management from the University of California, San Diego. She is an almost-native of Arizona, having grown up in Tempe. Amy is the Executive Director of the Grand Canyon Institute and a volunteer for Parents for Equity in Education.

Anthony Pratcher II

Education Consultant

(he, him, his) Anthony Pratcher II is an education consultant and childhood literacy advocate. He previously held academic posts at Carnegie Mellon University, Brown University, and Arizona State University. He earned his Ph. D. in American History from the University of Pennsylvania and was awarded a B.A. in History from Howard University. He co-edited a textbook on planning history, Planning Future Cities (Dubuque, IA: Kendall-Hunt, 2017) with Walter Greason, and has been published by Pennsylvania Magazine of Biography and History, Southern California Quarterly and Technology and Culture. His research has been funded by the Arizona Historical Society and an NEH/ODH Fellowship on Space and Place in Africana/Black Studies.

Brandon Nahsonhoya

Honwungsi Consulting Services

(he, him, his) Tewa/Hopi/ African American. Brandon is Quality Assurance Manager, Pima Valve LLC. Brandon began work on sex trafficking as security and driver for Human Trafficking Recovery with F.I.R.E. and Angels Go To Work in 2016. Previously trained in Executive Protection, he was also trained by survivors of human trafficking and Side By Side International Church in safe recovery techniques. He has engaged boys and men in addressing violence against women and expanded youth services through sports and providing education/awareness on sex trafficking, social media dangers, and health and wellness. His experience continues with Honwungsi Consulting Services, partnerships with the Gila River Indian Community and Angels Go To Work. He attended Fort Lewis College. Brandon also participated in the LFC Candidate Training program.

Cameron Adams

Campaign Manager
Sean Bowie for State Senate, Jennifer Jermaine for State House, Mitzi Epstein for State House

(she, her, hers) I was born and raised in the Tempe, AZ area and am currently a third year Global Studies student at Arizona State University. I became active in politics in high school and started organizing just before starting my first year at ASU. I have been involved in campaigns of all sizes but have a passion for organizing at the legislative and city levels. I also currently serve as the President of the Young Democrats at ASU, an organization that I am extremely dedicated to and have been involved with since my freshman year of college. Cameron is also President of Young Democrats of Arizona and works on various electoral campaigns.

Christie Kendzior

Education Activist
Social Worker

(she, her, hers) Hi, I'm Christie Kendzior. I'm married with four kids, and I live in Northeast Phoenix. I was born and raised in New York State. I actually grew up, and went to school, on a Native American Reservation (the Seneca Nation), in Salamanca, NY. It is one of the only cities in the country that is located on a reservation. It was a very enriching experience, overall. I moved to Long Island for college, and attended Stony Brook University, where I majored in psychology and minored in biology. I did well enough where I was inducted into this neat honor society called, "Golden Key International Honor Society,” where notable members include Bill Clinton, Desmond Tutu, and Elie Wiesel. (I always thought that was really cool. :) I was then accepted into Stony Brook's School of Social Welfare, for my Master of Social Work. I did internships at domestic violence shelters, drug and alcohol facilities, and at group homes for adults with disabilities. Stony Brook offered a joint MSW and J.D. program, where if accepted, after completion of your MSW, you would be enrolled at Hofstra University for their Juris Doctorate program. So, I took the LSAT's and applied for that program, and I was accepted! I was planning on going straight to law school, but at that very time, tragedy struck my family, and my father passed away. I decided to put my future law school career on hold, and once I received my MSW, I moved from Long Island, back to my hometown, so that I could be close to my mom. I applied for a job in Salamanca, NY to become a child therapist. I had to take a civil service exam, and score within the top three people in order to even be considered for the position. I worked as a child therapist for one year. Most of my clients were from underprivileged families, and I loved my job. I met my future husband during this time, and I ended up resigning from my job, and moving to Ft. Lauderdale, FL to be with him. I lived in Ft. Lauderdale for eight months, back in 2005. We lived right on the ocean, and it ended up being the worst hurricane season on record (Katrina, Rita, Wilma), so we decided to leave Florida, and in Jan. of 2006, we moved to Phoenix. I immediately got a job as a social worker for United Healthcare, in downtown Phoenix, and I managed a team of nurses who worked with clients who had been exposed to lead poisoning. I ended up leaving the workforce for good in October of 2006, right after I gave birth to my first son, Ethan. I subsequently had three other children: Ayla, in 2011, and twins, Erin and Anna, in 2013. Ayla was born with Down syndrome, and it was a surprise at birth. We had no idea, prior. She has also been diagnosed with autism. I've spent the past few years making sure that Ayla has had access to a free and appropriate public education, just like the federal law states, but it hasn't been easy. I've had to hire a lawyer, a powerhouse - Susan Marks - to help me navigate the system. I've received much pushback, fighting for my daughter's rights, and basically the rights of others like her, because the system is set up to put children like Ayla away from others, in self-contained classrooms, and in specific schools. It has been eye-opening and stressful, going up against an antiquated system. But I haven't given up... I've also spent any free time that I may have had, fighting for other social justice causes, such as BLM, pro-choice initiatives, and equality for the LGBTQ community.

Christina Bustos

6th Grade Educator
Mesa Public Schools

(she, her, hers) I am Christina Bustos, Chicana, educator, mother, and fierce educational activist. I attended ASU with the Multilingual Multicultural program as well as for my Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction. I have been working in schools where the majority of students are students of color, which I believe is of the utmost importance for me as a teacher, activist and community member for the last 17 years. Without a doubt, the work of teachers of color, sharing our history, living our lives and advocating for all students, especially those in marginalized groups, is the most important form of advocacy in education we can do. I am currently serving on the Executive Board for the Mesa Education Association, the committee chair for the Social and Racial Justice committee and member of the Legislative committee. We advocate locally for Mesa and the state level, as well as National when possible. I recently completed the Teacher Leadership Institute Fellowship through the National Education Association which was developing a project and goals to be carried out through the year. My passion is working with the community and building the capacity in our profession in every way possible.

Christina Hernandez

Senior Coordinator of Tutoring
Arizona State University

(she, her, hers) Christina Hernandez is a Phoenix native with 15+ years of experience in education, serving students and the community. Christina’s professional career includes working with programs at the University of California, Berkeley, Texas A&M University, Northern Arizona University, and most recently Arizona State University. At Arizona State University she helped to open the Downtown Phoenix campus, oversaw success coaching for first-year students, and most recently is managing a large tutoring program for undergraduate ASU engineering students, including five centers and 100+ staff members. She has served as a Governing Board Member with the Roosevelt School District (2015-2019) and in multiple leadership and mentoring roles with Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc., where she continues to volunteer.

Emmie Cardella

Manager of Data Analytics
Verus Analytics

(she, her, hers) I am an Arizona native, raising my family in the same community I grew up in. I attended ASU, then began working at a small financial research company where I am currently the Manager of Data Analytics. Since starting my family, I have worked part-time, enabling me to volunteer extensively. When my three children were younger, my volunteer efforts were focused around their schools and activities. I continue to be involved in their schools, leading a district-wide parent organization. More recently, my time has been spent on organizations in the foster care system and the local Democratic Party. I plan to transition my career toward political or non-profit work as opportunities arise. Emmie is a volunteer court appointed special advocate (CASA), President of the Scottsdale Parent Council, Deputy Campaign Manager for LD 23 House Candidate Eric Kurland, and a Precinct Committee Person for the Democratic Party in LD 23.

Eshawn Peterson

Founder, CEO & President
Onward Hope, Inc.

(she, her, hers) Eshawn Peterson, MBA, is the Founder, CEO & President of Onward Hope, Inc. and is an alumni of foster care. Ms. Peterson, who spent 9 years in the Arizona foster care system, is a former foster parent, and an advocate for youth in and from foster care. She has served as the Chair and Chapter Liaison of Foster Care Alumni of America- AZ Chapter for several years. Ms. Peterson has achieved academic successes with a BA from the University of Arizona, an MBA from University of Phoenix and is currently pursuing her PhD in Human Services. She is passionate about working with youth and young adults in and from foster care. Ms. Peterson is a Child Welfare consultant, and is certified in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. She is a certified Life/Transitional Coach, Executive Coach, Organizational Development Coach. Lastly, Ms. Peterson is a dynamic Lobbyist, Motivational Speaker, Podcast Creative, Author, and Trainer of several child welfare and youth focused curriculums, such as Youth Thrive. With over 13 years of professional child welfare experience, Ms. Peterson has developed and implemented dynamic programs and policies that directly impact child welfare outcomes for youth in and from foster care. Ms. Peterson founded, in March 2014, Onward Hope, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit Child Welfare Agency, that focuses on the successful transition and support of at-risk youth and youth in and from foster care, in a trauma-informed environment, as well as finding permanency through family foster care and adoption, family preservation programs, and training child welfare/human services professionals. Her agency is launching transitional housing and offers unique transition facilitation services to youth aging out between the ages of 14-29. Outside of her duties at Onward Hope, Inc. she is a mother of 4 wonderful children and is a member of the community-service focused organization, Delta Sigma Theta, Incorporated. She is involved in the Greater Phoenix Urban League of Young Professionals. She has mentored three youth in foster care. She was a licensed foster parent as well. She served as a member and supporter of Foster Care Alumni of America- Arizona Chapter since 2008. Ms. Peterson finally found permanency as an adult, when she was adopted in July 2019 by her former foster parents.

Francis Godoy-Fischer

Operations Manager
The Arc of Tempe

(she, her, hers, Mrs.) ) My name is Francis Godoy-Fischer. I am a mother of two beautiful special need kids that keep me busy. My husband was my high school sweetheart and I still laugh at his jokes even though they are silly. I am a daughter of a first generation Mexican-American mother who was the only one of her six siblings to graduate from college and a father who gave 37 years to education and also volunteered with many organizations and taught me that change happens when you get involved. Finally, I am the granddaughter of a Mexican immigrant who taught us about getting things done through hard work and perseverance. I come from New Mexico and was raised in a small mining town named Bayard. My aunt was the first to serve her community. She enjoyed helping others and paved the way for her younger siblings to follow and understand the processes for change. She served as a city clerk, for city council, mayor, and ultimately as county commissioner. The first Hispanic woman in the State of New Mexico to do so. I was able from an early age to help with campaigns by calling people, going door to door, stuffing envelopes, and fundraising. These experiences were the beginning of my life of advocacy. Francis is the operations manager for The Arc of Tempe, a non-profit organization, and is a member of LULAC.

Griffin Gosnell

Assistant Director Development
Thunderbird School of Global Management

(she, her, hers) Griffin got her degree in Psychology and Art at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Post-graduation, she worked with Americorps in underserved Los Angeles schools as a tutor, mentor, and role model, where she also ran an afterschool program. She is a Fulbright grant awardee where she had the opportunity to live and teach English in a rural village in Thailand for a year. She completed her Masters in Global Affairs & Management at Thunderbird. Griffin currently works at Thunderbird as part of the Alumni Engagement team where she engages alumni through philanthropy to support campus initiatives including scholarships and a capital campaign for a new building. She is a volunteer for Mission for Arizona to help elect Democrats (specifically Mark Kelly) around Arizona. She is also a Precinct Committee Person for LD24 to support the Democrats in her district and participates in voter registration efforts. She is an avid traveler who is passionate about social and racial justice, sustainability, female empowerment, and arts education.

Hannah Christensen

Chapter Revenue Manager for National Revenue Partnerships & Services
Make-A-Wish America

(she, her, they, them) Hannah Christensen is a strategic, innovative, results-driven nonprofit professional. She is currently working with the Make-A-Wish America National Office team in Phoenix, AZ. As the Chapter Revenue Manager for National Revenue Partnerships & Services, she partners with 60 local chapters across the country to identify funding opportunities through individuals, foundations and corporate donors to realize full revenue potential toward the mission of granting the wish of every eligible child with a life-threatening critical illness. Prior to her current position, she worked in the Corporate Alliances department of Make-A-Wish America, managing a multi-million- dollar portfolio of several national sponsorship accounts. With previous experience working with the U.S. House of Representatives in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District and 5+ years’ experience in the nonprofit sector, Hannah enjoys the challenges, opportunities and personal and professional development that working closely with the community offers. An alumnus of Northern Arizona University, Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in International Affairs and a minor in Spanish in 2015. During college she studied abroad at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in Spain with a focus on labor legislation, economics and gender studies. A lifelong learner at heart, she’s earned both the Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential and Lean Six Sigma certification since graduating. Hannah is honored to have the opportunity to participate as a fellow with Leading For Change. She is looking forward to collaborating with diverse community leaders and enhancing her skill set in advocacy work, community organizing and public service.

Hannah Honani

Hopi Opportunity Youth Initiative Program Manager
The Hopi Foundation

(she, her, hers) I come from the Village of Sitsom'ovi on the Hopi Reservation and am a member of the Roadrunner clan. I was born and raised on Hopi where I attended and received my high school diploma from Hopi Jr./Sr. High School and continued my education at Coconino Community College where I received my Associates Degree in Liberal Studies. Most of my job experience has been in youth development. I am currently employed with The Hopi Foundation as a Program Manager of the Hopi Opportunity Youth Initiative where we strive to improve the career, cultural and educational attainment for all Hopi and Tewa youth. I'm a mother to two young daughters, Rylee (age 14) and Talsi (age 5). I currently sit on the First Mesa Youth Center board and have been a member since July of 2017. I'm an alumnus of the 2015-2016 Hopi Leadership Program cohort. I've also served as a volunteer for my daughter's school Parent Advisory Committee as the Vice President. Since May, 2020, I have been a volunteer for our local Hopi Foundation Relief Team where we are providing aid, mostly food, hygiene products, and PPE for the Hopi community during this COVID-19 pandemic. My passion is in community work where working with, for and alongside the Hopi community members is both rewarding and fulfilling, knowing I am contributing back to the community that help raise me. I strive to set a standard and example to my children and family that we are responsible for ourselves and families we raise and that we all have something to contribute that will benefit ourselves, the greater good of Hopi and the world we live in to make it a better place for those to come after us.

Jasmine Robinson

UCLA School of Law

(she, her, hers) Jasmine Robinson is a first-year law student at UCLA’s School of Law specializing in Critical Race Studies and Public Interest Law and Policy. Jasmine received her bachelor’s degree from The University of Utah (U of U) in Psychology and Peace and Conflict Studies with an emphasis in Social Justice. Jasmine wrote her honors thesis on violence committed against the Black community and used it to create a course at the U of U Honors College, which will be taught in the 2021-2022 school year. Since graduating in May 2019, she moved back to AZ. She has worked for the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC) as a Behavior Therapist. At SARRC, she collected data around racial disparities in autism diagnoses and racial demographic information among programs at SARRC. She presented her work to the clinical department and leadership team and pitched the creation of a Diversity Committee. Currently, she is creating The Black Perspective AZ, a teaching tool to educate people around the Black community. She is also organizing Community Dialogues to bring together white folx and BIPOC to engage in education and the understanding of the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Jennifer Granillo

Public Relations Marketing Analyst
Maricopa Corporate College

(she, her, hers) Jennifer Granillo is a creative nonprofit change advocate who believes in the power of collaboration for positive, sustainable outcomes in social justice, systems reform, and equity. Her commitments to justice and equity have shaped her career aspiration to address complex root problems our communities face and avoid “band aid” solutions. Jennifer earned her Master of Nonprofit Leadership and Management from Arizona State University and Bachelor of Science in Health Science from California State University, Long Beach. In 2015, Jennifer received the AmeriCorps Certificate of National Service after successful completion of an 11-month service term. During her undergraduate years, Jennifer was honored to be a Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholarship recipient, Sarah A. Bonnifield Vietnam Veterans Scholarship recipient, and Senator Jenny Oropeza Memorial Award recipient among many others. Jennifer was recently hired as the Public Relations Marketing Analyst for Maricopa Corporate College. Previously, she served as a Patient Enrollment Counselor for TCC Family Health in Southern California.

Kat Stratford

Field Organizer for Votes Program
Planned Parenthood Federation of America

(she, her, hers) I'm a recovering waitress and single mom of two in Tucson. I got started in activism two years ago when I began organizing a series of counter-protests against a hate group called Patriot Movement AZ. I liked it so much that I started working on campaigns. I just finished working on Laura Conover's campaign for County Attorney, and we won our primary! I am currently employed with Planned Parenthood Federation of America, working as a Field Organizer for their Planned Parenthood Votes program. I am also a volunteer with Homicide Survivors and the National Lawyers Guild.

Kathleen Honne

Candidate For Arizona State House of Representatives
Legislative District 22

(she, her, hers) As a native Arizonan, educator, mom, daughter, wife and grandmother, I am dedicated to the equity of my fellow Arizonans. I have witnessed the best and worst this state has to offer her residents. As an educational leader, I was comfortable mopping the cafeteria floor after lunch to prepare for an afternoon assembly and managing multi-million dollar federal grants collaboratively with a variety of agencies. I enjoy reading bedtime stories to my granddaughter, playing catch with our dog Dre, and cooking Sunday dinner for a house full of family and friends. I believe public education is the foundation of a civilized society and economic stability. I am currently seeking a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives (LD 22) primarily to fix education funding and socially unjust policies. Kathleen is a volunteer for Save Our Schools AZ, Indivisible, and the Dysart Education Foundation.

Katie Ares

Interim Executive Director,
Soldier’s Best Friend

(she, her, hers) Katie Ares is the Interim Executive Director at Soldier’s Best Friend, a nonprofit organization serving U.S. military combat-veterans living in Arizona with Post-Traumatic Stress and/or Traumatic Brain Injury. Katie’s work in nonprofits began through direct service as a domestic violence advocate in emergency shelter. Katie moved to Arizona in 2015 where she spent over two years in Operations for Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, and most recently she worked as the Public Policy Specialist at the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. Katie earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Central Florida and a Master of Public Administration from Webster University. Katie was the 2019 National Crime Victims’ Right Week Triumph Over Tragedy award recipient.

Kayla Kennedy

Senior Financial Planning & Analysis

(Ms.) I am a graduate from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a degree in mathematics. I moved to Phoenix after college to be with my now fiancé. We are getting married in April. I work in corporate finance as a Sr. FP&A analyst, where I serve as a direct partner for my company’s executives. My primary responsibilities are centered around data driven analytics to help answer questions and guide strategic decisions. I am passionate about reading and learning. Some of my skill sets include problem solving, innovative thinking, and creating charts and presentations that break down large data sets, making that information more consumable. My long-term objective is to one day be a part of an executive team. With that position, I will strive to focus on business integrity, on the role of corporations in creating a positive impact within our communities, and on maintaining and incorporating diversity.

Lisa Kanarish

Co-Owner & Business Manager
Phoenix Mountain Animal Hospital

(she, her, hers) I have always felt that when you are in a position to help someone, it is your duty to do so. When you have a passion, take your energy and go after it. My passion is to use my voice to help our children by working to ensure that all children are afforded a fully funded and equitable education. Upon enrolling my oldest son in public school years ago, I witnessed a very broken education funding system. From the low priority and lack of value placed on public education to the lack of information and misinformation constituents receive about education funding, our children are the ones that ultimately suffer. I began this journey volunteering in different capacities with my children’s schools’ Parent Teacher Organizations and the experiences showed me that the starting point for our crucial lack of education funding is our state government. This led me to volunteer for the Scottsdale Unified School District’s Yes2Children Campaign where I learned about the exhausting work of renewing School Bonds and Overrides just so our public schools could maintain what they have, which isn’t nearly enough. From there, I worked to revive the Scottsdale Parent Council. As its Vice President of Advocacy for two years, I used my position to inform our community about the education funding system and how critical it is to support and elect legislators that are education warriors and who understand the benefits we all reap when our public education system is properly funded and all kids are provided a fair and equitable education. My goal is for everyone to see that our state will only prosper, whether it be economically, culturally or by other means if we wholly and equitably fund public education. Lisa is the co-owner and business manager for Phoenix Mountain Animal Hospital.

Mackenzie Saunders

Deputy Campaign Manager/Finance Director
Yassamin for Phoenix City Council

(she, her, hers) Mackenzie Saunders is a recent graduate of Arizona State University with a B.S. in Politics and Economics and a B.S. in Justice Studies. Mackenzie was born and raised in Phoenix, and currently works as the Deputy Campaign Manager and Finance Director for Yassamin Ansari's campaign for the Phoenix City Council in District 7. One of Mackenzie's roles on the campaign is recruiting, training, and supervising a Campaign Fellowship program of over 25 college and graduate students who conduct campaign policy, finance, field organizing, and communications work. After becoming paralyzed from the waist down when she was 11 years old, Mackenzie became passionate about disability rights and dismantling systemic inequalities at a young age. Mackenzie is now a walking paraplegic, public speaker, and community leader with a love for disability advocacy and youth civic engagement. Mackenzie will be attending Harvard Law School in fall 2022 to earn her law degree and later become a federal judge. Mackenzie is also a Board Member serving as Director of Operations for the SPINALpedia & Determined2Heal Foundation.

Madalyn Williams

Project Specialist
Public Allies Arizona

(they, them, theirs) Madalyn Williams is an advocate, author, creative, student of history and public policy, and proud Arizonan. As an MPA candidate at Arizona State University, Madalyn represents the Public Service College in the Graduate and Professional Students Association Assembly, and works as a project specialist for Public Allies Arizona, an AmeriCorps program empowering the next generation of nonprofit leaders. They has worked for an international nonprofit facilitating access to education, as well as completed internships at the AZ Democratic Party and for a progressive lobbying firm co-founded and run by a Leading for Change alumni. Madalyn has advocated for trans inclusivity in the workplace, stood up for youth workers’ rights, urgently engaged in the reinvigorated movement for Black Lives, and volunteered as a community organizer for local campaigns that champion progressive issues. In 2020, Madalyn became a Precinct Committee member in the Democratic Party, completed cutting-edge campaign training programs including Organizing Corps and Arena Academy, and was recognized as a queer nonbinary leader of color by the national LGBTQ Victory Institute as one of their Victory Empowerment Fellows. Madalyn also volunteers with the Yassamin Ansari Phoenix City Council campaign.

Marie Thearle

Thearle Sciences, LLC
Adjunct Professor - Paradise Valley Community College

(she, her, hers) Marie Thearle, M.D., M.HSc, is a volunteer with Moms Demand Action as the Phoenix local group lead. She is a retired physician (endocrinologist) whose encore career is as an adjunct professor of microbiology and a small business owner consulting on clinical research projects and biostatistics. As a mother of two children, she is passionate about working to reduce the public health crisis that is gun violence (in all its forms).

Marissa Nuvayestewa

Program Officer
Colorado Plateau Foundation

Marissa is Hopi and Tewa, from the Village of Tewa and a member of the Corn Clan. She is a Sayah (grandmother in Tewa) to two precious grandchildren and a mother to two beautiful daughters, Renae and Maree Mahkewa. Marissa is very passionate when it comes to facilitating or participating in collaborative efforts across sectors. She truly believes in building local community capacity and grassroots efforts. She finds enjoyment out on the land harvesting local wild edible plants, running the local trails, spending time with family, and fishing. Marissa is a program officer for the Colorado Plateau Foundation, an Advisory Member for the Arizona Community Foundation Native American Initiative, a member of the Environmental Grantmakers Association, and serves in the role as Volunteer Project Coordinator of the First Mesa Annual Cleanup and Erosion Control and Restoration Project. She is also an appointed member of The Hopivewat Task Team.

Nick Arnold

Campaign Manager
Kirsten Engel for State Senate & Domingo DeGrazia for Arizona House

(he, him, his) Nick Arnold is a Phoenix native who has been a Tusconan since 2012 when he began his undergraduate education. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering (minors in Math and Environmental Studies) and a Master of Public Policy with an emphasis on Environmental Policy, both from the University of Arizona. Nick pursued his engineering degree with the initial intent to innovate in the alternative/clean energy sector, but his interests shifted as he learned that what we need for clean energy transition is policy innovation more than technological innovation. Nick was first set on his path to electoral organizing when he met now-State Representative Kirsten Engel through the University of Arizona's Students for Sustainability where he helped organize students for state energy policy advocacy and later interned for her successful 2016 campaign. He also served as Campaign Manager for Rep. Engel's first re-election campaign in 2018 and is now working as Campaign Manager for her candidacy for the State Senate as well as running Rep. Domingo DeGrazia's first re-election campaign. Nick is passionate about clean energy transition with an emphasis on environmental justice, focusing on state energy policy through the Legislature and Corporation Commission policy venues. Nick is a member of the Arizona Democratic Party Environmental Council and a volunteer for the Sierra Club and LD10 Democrats.

Rukiya Anthony

Household Manager. Continues to further leadership opportunities for Black women.

(she, her, hers) Rukiya Anthony hails from St. Louis, Missouri where she was engaged in local elections and trainings to build safer communities. Five years ago she moved to Phoenix and accepted a position with Girl Scouts Arizona Cactus-Pine. There she served as the organization’s Membership Manager and on their Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee to help advance and shape an inclusive environment. Recently leaving Girl Scouts, she is now working as a Household Manager and continuing to further leadership opportunities for Black women. Rukiya received her B.A. in Political Science from Spelman College.

Ryan Johnson

Clinical Director
Apache Behavioral Health Services

(she, her, hers) Ryan Johnson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and is currently the Clinical Director at Apache Behavioral Health Services. Ryan graduated in 2009 from Arizona State University with a Master’s of Advanced Studies in Marriage and Family Therapy. Her experience includes work as a family therapist, clinical supervisor, program developer, and private practitioner. Additionally, Ryan has worked with employee assistance programs to provide education, critical incident stress management, and debriefing groups and at Grand Canyon University as an adjunct instructor and subject matter expert for curriculum development. In early 2020, Ryan received Approved Supervisor designation from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Ryan volunteered for the Arizona Association for Marriage and Family Therapy for 9 years sitting on the Board of Directors as Treasurer and for several years as the Spring Conference Committee chairperson. Prior to entering the behavioral health field, Ryan earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government and in Business Administration from Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado and worked in real estate escrow for several years. Ryan has lived in Arizona with her family since 2005.

Samantha Paul Honani

Hopi Leadership Program Manager
The Hopi Foundation

(she, her, hers) Samantha Paul Honani is Sahtowa/Pipwungwa (Tobacco Clan) from the Village of Tewa. Her greatest passion is to help guide the Hopi/Tewa community towards healthy individuals, families, and villages through just-centered projects and education. She is currently the Program Manager for the Hopi Leadership Program under The Hopi Foundation (non-profit organization). Samantha has 10 years of experience as a community-educator and over 5 years as a classroom teacher in elementary schools serving Hopi/Tewa youth. Samantha has been active in community advocacy and education initiatives that led to a policy change for the Hopi Tribal Nation's initiative called Villages Against Meth. Another community advocacy and education initiative includes supporting youth as they addressed high arsenic levels in water serving Hopi/Tewa villages (#NoArsenicForHopi/Tewa). Her deep concern for Indigenous peoples has led her to support community grassroots efforts such as Hopi at Standing Rock (#NODAPL) and the protection of the sacred place of Hopi emergence known as Sipapuni (#SaveSipapuni). Samantha continues to create spaces of solidarity through her social media platform, Hopi Tewa Community Movement, reaching over 20K users.

Sarai Richter

Regional Recruiter - Peace Corps
Program Manager - Public Allies

(they, them, their) Sarai Richter has over 10 years of experience in National Service both nationally and on a global scale. Their experience includes working for both AmeriCorps, VISTA and the Peace Corps. Sarai, has a varied background which includes work in anthropology/ archaeology, non-profit management and public health. Sarai serves as a Regional Recruiter for the Peace Corps and Program Manager for Public Allies. Sarai is a volunteer for Drinking Gourd Farms, Black Lives Matter Metro-PHX, Mass Liberation AZ, Phoenix Urban Health Collective, Food Not Bombs-Phoenix, and No More Deaths-Phoenix.

Sue Lunt

Quality Manager
Bula Intelligence

(she, her, hers) I received my BS in Political Science from ASU. I work for a company that does non-partisan tracking of pharmacy related legislation and regulation in all 50 states and Federal. Currently, I am working towards a Master’s of Social Justice and Human Rights. My research interests center on the intersection of social status on voting patterns and policy. The topic of my graduate thesis is "Patriarchy Within the LDS Church and its Impact on Political Activity." Eventually I would like to expand my research to include other faiths and male dominated organizations and empower women to use their voices to shape policy.

Tamara Wright

Systems Transformation Advisor - Built for Zero Initiative
Community Solutions

(she, her, hers) As the Systems Transformation Advisor with Community Solutions for Maricopa County, Tamara focuses her energy on transformational change projects that will result in breakthrough reductions in veteran homelessness. She has over 13 years of experience working in the government sector both locally and federally, starting her career in Economic Vitality for the City of Scottsdale.
In 2011, Tamara was accepted into the prestigious Presidential Management Fellowship program when she began working as a Regional Coordinator for The Department of Veterans Affairs Supportive Services for Veterans Families program. During her eight year tenure at the VA she helped pave the way for drastic reductions in veteran homelessness in 13 communities in her region. Tamara currently serves as Chair for the Maricopa Association of Governments Continuum of Care, Commissioner on the Phoenix Women's Commission, and is a Partner with Arizona Social Venture Partners. Tamara was also honored by the Phoenix Business Journal for the prestigious 40 Under 40 award. Tamara has a Bachelors in Political Science, a Master’s in Public Administration, and a certificate in Counter Terrorism from the Institute of Terrorism Research and Responses in Jerusalem, Israel. Tamara enjoys arts and culture (especially music), working out, and spending time with her adorable siamese cat named Reznor.

Tania Gerard

Owner & Founder
Congruency Initiatives LLC

(she, her, hers) Tania Gerard focuses on advocating for public policies that protect and advance Reproductive Justice. She has lived in Mexico and Spain, before arriving in Arizona in 2016. She worked as a Reproductive Rights educator with vulnerable populations in various areas of Mexico. After moving to Spain, she obtained a Master in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies and advocated for Homebirth and Humanized Birth. She organized the "Nacer en Casa" conference in Madrid in 2010 and 2011. Soon after settling down in Arizona, she became a Handmaid and participated in the Kavanaugh protest and vigil in 2018. She later joined the Board of Handmaid' Resistance Phoenix and served for a year. She also volunteers with Equality AZ, Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix, and Trans Queer Pueblo/Peacework Medical. As an LGBTQ, Latinx parent, Tania has an interest in formally researching what Reproductive Justice means for different intersections and reflect these experiences in public policy. She is currently the campaign manager for one of the key Legislative races in the East Valley.

Terri Honani

Program Manager for the Natwani Coalition
The Hopi Foundation

(she, her, hers) Terri, (Pamösmana – Fog Girl) Hopi and Tewa, is Pipwungwa (Tobacco Clan) from the Village of Tewa. She received her Associates Degree in Liberal Arts from Dine College and her Bachelors of Science Degree in Exercise & Wellness Health Promotions from Arizona State University. Terri has worked in the health promotion and disease prevention fields as a Peer Fitness Leader Supervisor (Personal Trainer) for Gila River Health Care's Life Center in Komatke on the Gila River reservation, and as a Diabetes Prevention Educator with the Hopi Wellness Center under the Hopi Special Diabetes Program, partnering with the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona as a Site Coordinator for the Good Health & Wellness in Indian Country projects. Terri is currently the Program Manager for the Natwani Coalition, a project of The Hopi Foundation. She hopes to utilize her past experience and education to revive and sustain the Natwani's Coalition vision statement of "Working toward preserving and strengthening the healthy food system and agricultural traditions of the Hopi & Tewa People." Terri is a cohort member of the Hopi Leadership Program.

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