Our Board of Directors
President & CEO
Beth Meyer is the Co-Founder, President and CEO of Leading For Change (LFC). Prior to joining LFC, she was a two-year recipient of a Pepsi Refresh grant that was applied to working with non-profit organizations in the areas of fund development, messaging, advocacy, sustainability, strategic planning and leading for change.
Earlier, Meyer served as the National State Vice President of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Progressive Leadership (CPL). In this capacity she was responsible for various social justice and campaign programs. She was responsible for the Arizona, Colorado, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio offices. She served with CPL for seven years.
Prior to joining CPL, she served as the Vice President of External Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Central and Northern Arizona, where she was responsible for public affairs, communications and marketing, outreach, education, and fundraising. She was also responsible for their 501(c)4. Meyer also served in executive positions in corporate America for more than a decade combined at Gulf + Western Industries (now Viacom), INA Corporation and the Greyhound Corporation; as well as having owned and run a public relations and marketing firm for 15 years.
In addition to being a co-founder and serving on the Boards of the Arizona Advocacy Network and the Community AIDS Council, Meyer has served on the Defenders of Children, NARAL Arizona, Planned Parenthood of Central and Northern Arizona, the Arizona American Jewish Committee, the Arizona ACLU, and the Arizona Family Health Partnership Boards of Directors. She currently serves on the Boards of Directors for the Labor Community Services Agency and Just Communities Arizona. She also sits on the Policy Committee for Arizona Family Health Partnership.
A recipient of the YWCA Communications Women of the Year Award, she is also recognized in the Who’s Who Worldwide and Who’s Who Outstanding American registers. In 2016 she was recognized as the recipient of the AFL-CIO Community Leaders Award and in 2021 with the Phoenix Business Journal’s Outstanding Women in Business Award.
Allison Brenee Ewers
LFC Board Chair
An alum of our Leaders Fellowship, Allison Brenee Ewers runs a woman-owned local advertising specialties company. Her clients’ range from non-profit and for-profit organizations and include the Girl Scouts, Hospice of the Valley, Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair, and Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Foundation. In addition to being on our Board of Directors, she serves as the Secretary of the LFC Alumni Committee. Deeply concerned about the future of Arizona’s children, Ewers is on the Tempe Elementary Schools Governing Board to promote the need for protecting and advancing local public schools. She also is Phoenix Film Festival’s 2015 Visionary Award recipient. A competitive ice skater from 1977-1990, Ewers holds a Bachelors of Arts and Sciences in Communications, with a minor in Media Arts, from the University of Arizona.
LFC Board Vice Chair
Nate Rhoton serves as the Executive Director for one-n-ten, an LGBTQ non-profit delivering youth services in Arizona. Joining the team in fall of 2015, he served as the Director of Development followed by Director of Finance & Operations, before assuming his current role in January of 2018.
Following a career of fifteen years in corporate management and finance, Rhoton decided to serve the community with his nonprofit fundraising and development expertise. Serving for twelve years as the operations director and then CFO of a local construction company, he worked to expand corporate community involvement and non-discrimination protections to LGBTQ employees. Managing significant growth for the company, he saw early on the need for continued staff development and instituted training to increase retention and help new employees to assume higher paying roles within the company.
Born and raised in Arizona, Nate graduated from Flagstaff High School and then pursued a bachelor’s of science degree in economics from Arizona State University’s WP Carey School of Business graduating magna cum laude in 2000. Over the last decade, he has committed himself to nonprofit service, serving on the Arizona steering committee of the Human Rights Campaign for four years, the board of the Greater Phoenix Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, The Melonhead Foundation, and as co-chair of the board of directors for Equality Arizona from 2012-2015.
In his free time, he loves spending time with his Scottie-Golden, Sir William.
LFC Board Treasurer
Michelle Steinberg’s 26-year career in non-profit management and public policy has included general management, director and lobbying experience with non-profit organizations large and small.
She served as the public policy director and lobbyist for Planned Parenthood Arizona, the largest provider of reproductive health care and education in Arizona, where she was responsible for the agency’s overall public affairs strategy and issues' management.
Michelle began her career path as a lobbyist for the Arizona PTA advocating on behalf of public education, child welfare and child health issues. In 1994, she joined the staff at Kids Voting Arizona as their education director, facilitating the Kids Voting program statewide to Arizona schools and later became the executive director of this program. Michelle also served as the director of the Jewish Community Relations Council for the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix.
Michelle has worked with organizations such as The American Jewish Committee, The Anti-Defamation League, No More Deaths, Arizona Interfaith Movement, ACLU, Phoenix Sister Cities Commission and has received recognition from the Arizona Bar Foundation and the National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse.
Michelle attended Rhode Island College, Arizona State University, Mexico’s Universidad Internacional and is a graduate of Valley Leadership. A native of New York, Michelle has been an Arizona resident for 36 years and has two adult children.
Michelle has been a faculty coach for Leading For Change since 2014 and is a Founding Board Member of the organization.
LFC Board Secretary
Wendy Valenzuela currently works in State and Local Affairs for Arizona Public Service, the largest electric utility provider in Arizona. She is responsible for maintaining relationships with governmental, business and community leaders to determine common concerns and minimize conflicts while working with company business units to achieve favorable outcomes.
Prior to her role at APS, Wendy worked in local government as Chief of Staff where she implemented policy priorities. From 2004 to 2011, Wendy served as Director of Government and Media Relations at a public affairs firm. In this role, she provided strategic advice for campaigns and on policy initiatives for clients in the areas of Transportation, Aviation, Water, Housing and Education.
Wendy has her Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Santa Clara University and a Master of Public Administration from Arizona State University. She serves on the American Heart Association Go Red for Women Executive Leadership Committee, the Maricopa Community College Foundation Board, the Children’s Action Alliance Board and Phoenix Theatre Board and Emerge Arizona. She is a graduate of Valley Leadership Class 34 and Hispanic Leadership Institute. Wendy and her husband, Daniel Valenzuela, have four children and one active puppy.
LFC Board Member
Angelica has lived in Arizona for over 24 years. Her professional career in Arizona includes working at College Success Arizona, Center for Progressive Leadership, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust and the Heard Museum.
She has been involved in a variety of community projects and organizations such as Girl Scouts AZ Cactus Pine Council and Latina Giving Circle. She is a graduate of Valle Del Sol Hispanic Leadership Institute, and the Center for Progressive Leadership Leaders Fellowship. Angelica is a recipient of the 40 Hispanic Leaders Under 40 award from Chicanos Por La Causa and Univision.
Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Angelica is bilingual in Spanish and English and has a background in Spanish/English translation assisting a variety of corporate companies throughout the country.
Chiquita A. Taylor
LFC Board Member
Chiquita currently serves as the Executive Director of FIBCO Family Services, Inc. She is responsible for all operations of FIBCO (Facilitating Independence Building Comprehensive Opportunities) providing quality affordable housing, quality food and clothing preparation and distribution, assistance for African immigrants settling into the Phoenix area, and other services provided by FIBCO to and for low-income underserved and marginalized members of the community.
Prior to becoming Executive Director, she served on the FIBCO board of directors for 3 years as Chair of the Housing Committee and as Secretary. Chiquita has a of variety community service experience from her prior leadership roles as: Community Support Executive Girl Scouts -Arizona Cactus-Pine, responsible for leading the community engagement strategy and vision for increasing access to Girl Scout programs for girls within underserved and under-resourced communities within the Metro Phoenix area; International Rescue Committee as Asylum Seeking Families Shelter Supervisor; and Chief Operating Officer at the Editha House Foundation. Editha House provides affordable lodging for adult cancer patients and their adult caregivers traveling to Phoenix for medical treatment.
Prior to relocating to Phoenix from the Washington DC Metropolitan Area, Chiquita worked with the National Institutes of Health- Woodmont House, where she managed a transitional housing program for patients and their families who were receiving treatment through clinical trials. She also served as Cooperative Services Manager at the Betty’s House National Center for Children and Families –where she helped start up and manage transitional housing programs for immigrant women and their children who were victims of domestic violence.
Since relocating to Phoenix, Chiquita has connected with many nonprofit leaders in order to identify areas of need throughout the community. The prevention and early detection of Valley Fever is an area that she is particularly passionate about as she lost a friend to the debilitating disease.
Chiquita is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Sciences in Public Health. She has served on the board of YNPN Phoenix and is currently a member of the Phoenix Rotary 100 Satellite Club. She is also a 2016 Leading for Change Fellow.
LFC Board Member
Diana Bejarano Figueroa is Senior Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Strategic Initiatives at Education Forward Arizona.
A change agent advancing transformational impact, Figueroa’s career has focused on promoting and championing access and opportunity for underrepresented communities in Arizona across the P-20 education continuum.
At Education Forward Arizona, Figueroa leads the organization’s overall marketing, communications and strategic initiatives, all in pursuit of meeting Arizona Education Progress Meter goals. A statewide champion, advocate and spokesperson, Figueroa promotes Arizona’s education and attainment goals, with particular attention to educational equity and diversity as an asset to increase educational outcomes.
Figueroa has extensive experience at the K-12 level. Before coming to Education Forward Arizona, she was executive director of community engagement for the Roosevelt School District. She worked closely there with families and the community, creating impactful partnerships with Arizona Cardinals, Cox Communications, Intel, Phoenix Suns, State Farm and others, while implementing district-wide digital marketing, communications and public relations strategies. She also has served as a long-term substitute classroom teacher.
Figueroa also has more than a decade of communications experience in higher education. As Executive Director of Strategic Digital Marketing and Communication for Educational Outreach and Student Services at Arizona State University (ASU), Figueroa managed marketing and communication for Access ASU Outreach programs and initiatives geared toward helping students and families prepare, enroll and succeed in college. She led all marketing and communication efforts in launching ASU’s PreK-12 public charter school, ASU Preparatory Academy. She also served on the University’s Marketing HUB and worked on university partnerships with Coca Cola, Starbucks and others.
Figueroa’s corporate and nonprofit marketing and communications experience includes Arizona’s Healthcare Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), Bashas’ Inc., Motorola and National Hispanic Corporate Council.
Figueroa began her career at The Arizona Republic, where as digital online editor, she helped to launch azcentral.com. She was the first producer of PBS’ Horizonte Latino public affairs show.
Figueroa earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a minor in Spanish from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU. She currently is pursuing a Master’s degree in social technologies from ASU.
Figueroa was recognized by “Forty Under 40” in both the Phoenix Business Journal and by the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She is a graduate of Valle del Sol Hispanic Leadership Institute (HLI).
Figueroa has volunteered with various service organizations, including Valley of the Sun United Way, St. Vincent de Paul, Salvation Army, Fresh Start Women’s Foundation Auxiliary Board, Friendly House, Chicanos Por La Causa, ASU’s Los Diablos Board of Directors, and the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, where she also served on the board of directors.
Figueroa is an Arizona native and a Spanish-speaker.
LFC Board Member
Jason Barraza is a Director and Partner at Veridus, a lobbying, public affairs, communications, campaign consulting and strategic business consulting firm. Since joining the firm in 2009, in addition to government relations work on behalf of corporate and non-profit clients, Jason assists in the development of political advocacy plans that include political campaigns, polling, and community outreach.
Prior to joining Veridus, Jason aided the coordinated campaign of the Arizona Democratic Party during the 2002, 2006 and 2008 campaign cycles. And provided on-site logistics and security assistance at every Democratic National Convention between 2000 and 2016. He graduated with a bachelor’s from the University of Southern California (2001), and a law degree from the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona (2006).
In his service to the community, Jason recently completed a stint on the Maricopa County Trial Court Appointments Commission after being appointed by Gov. Ducey in 2017. He is also currently a member of the City of Phoenix’s North Mountain Village Planning Committee. In 2017 Jason was the President of Los Abogados, the Arizona Hispanic Bar Association, and was recognized as one of the nation’s top Hispanic attorneys under 40 by the Hispanic National Bar Association in 2016.
Julie Rivera Horwin
LFC Board Member
Julie has served with LFC since its inception. The Past-President of Arizona Education Association-Retired, she is a current member of the NEA Board of Directors. She represents 4 million educators across the U.S. She taught in the Arizona public education school system for over 20 years. She's an expert trainer on organizational change, leadership development, consensus building and collaboration for organizations and businesses. She cofounded the Arizona Retirement Security Coalition and sits on several progressive coalitions in our state. In 2021 Julie started Fair Districts Arizona, a nonprofit where she coached applicants for the 2021 Independent Redistricting Commision through their application process, and interviews. Julie organized all of the retired arms of the labor unions in Georgia to form a coalition for the purpose of re-electing Senator Raphael Warnock. Julie serves LFC on staff overseeing marketing and training development.
Karilyn Van Oosten
LFC Board Member
Karilyn Van Oosten is the Vice President of Strategic Business Development at Unitek Learning. Founded in 1992 through its subsidiary schools, Unitek Learning helps students, working professionals, and organizations achieve their goals from the first contact to after degree completion. Karilyn has served in many leadership roles at numerous educational institutions, bringing her experience and expertise to build and develop collaborative relationships with healthcare systems to create workforce solutions and enhance employment opportunities.
Prior to her current role, she served as Senior Vice President for Strategic Partnerships and Workforce Development at Herzing University; as the National Director of Strategic Alliances at Chamberlain University; and the Executive Director of Strategic Alliances at Grand Canyon University. She has more than 20 years of experience developing business alliances for education institutions. Throughout her career, she has instituted more than 800 healthcare and nearly 1,000 educational alliances naionwide.
Karilyn also teaches for the Art and Photography Department at Glendale Community College and serves in board leadership roles for several organizations. She is a past Board President for Arizona Family Health Partnerships, a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to making reproductive healthcare and education accessible to all women, men, and teens in Arizona. She served on the board Girl Scouts-Arizona Cactus-Pine Council for over 11 years. Karilyn is also a board of trustee member for the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses (NAON). NAON is a nonprofit, volunteer-run organization that enhances the lives and careers of orthopaedic nurses. She is also on the executive board of the International Women's Forum, IWF-AZ. The Arizona affiliate forum of The International Women’s Forum advances leadership across careers, cultures, and continents by connecting the world’s most preeminent women of significant and diverse achievement. It is composed of highly successful women leaders from many different professions who seek to experience thought-provoking programming, special membership gatherings that offer an opportunity to network with women outside our own professions and an opportunity to support outstanding young women leaders in our community.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration degree from Belmont Abby College in Belmont, N.C.; a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from the University of North Carolina in Charlotte; and a Master of Arts degree in language and culture from Arizona State University. She completed course work for a Doctorate of Psychology in Applied cognitive neuroscience at Universidad Maimonides in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
LFC Board Member
Molly McGovern is the Deputy Political Director for the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 99 (UFCW 99). She is a lifelong Arizonan with an extensive history in community, labor and faith-based organizing. Prior to working with the UFCW 99, McGovern worked in politics for the Service Employees International Union-Arizona; was an organizer with Arizona Interfaith Network, helping to build power among faith-based institutions and teacher unions in Tucson and the East Valley of Metro Phoenix; and she taught at Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson. She has a B.A. from the University of Arizona.
LFC Board Member
Roy Herrera is the founding partner of Herrera Arellano LLP. His practice centers on political law, regularly advising candidate, nonprofit organizations, elected officials and businesses on campaign finance and election law issues. Additionally, he represents clients in government and regulatory affairs, white collar defense, and internal investigation matters. Prior to private practice, Roy served as an Assistance U.S. Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice and on the legislative staff of the late U.S. Representative Ed Pastor. He earned his B.B.A. from George Washington University and his J.D. from the New York University School of Law in 2008.
LFC Board Member
Sherri Jones is the Director of Development for Rural Arizona Engagement (RAZE) and Rural Arizona Action. Sherri has worked with or on behalf of young children for over 20 years in Arizona.
Having spent over fifteen years in the non-profit organization sector, Sherri brings valuable skills with community engagement, relationship building and networking across Arizona rural, urban and tribal communities. She has been a part of statewide initiatives focused on children birth through school age, supporting continuing education for educators and a variety of concerns impacting Arizona families. Sherri currently works for the State of Arizona, overseeing several federally funded statewide contracts focused on a variety of topics impacting children, professional development for educators and family support resources.
In 2020, Sherri Jones was elected to her first term as a Governing School Board member for the Florence Unified School District (FUSD). Sherri is passionate about ensuring every child has an opportunity to succeed, policies work to close the student achievement gap, and that decisions are made transparently so parents, teachers and the community all have a voice in the decision-making process. Sherri is committed to ensuring that FUSD has a safe, inclusive school environment, proper fiscal management, protection of the arts, and supports for higher education and career skill building that are critical to student education and success. Sherri is involved in several efforts related to diversity, equity and inclusion for FUSD and currently is a part of the Arizona Department of Education, African American Advisory Council.
Sherri was born and raised in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey area. She moved to Arizona in 1995, later making San Tan Valley home, in 2004. Sherri has her Bachelor of Science in Family Resources and Human Development, from Arizona State University.
LFC Board Member
Jenni fell in love with social action as a young woman involved in Girl Scouts. This resolve stuck with her through adulthood, leading her to form Stand Indivisible AZ, a local 501(c)(4) organization that promotes and facilitates active participation in the democratic process. In just a couple of years, she grew Stand from 30 to 1,000+ members. After solidifying the foundation of the organization, she accepted the position as Direction of Operations-Phoenix for Progressive Turnout Project. She held this position until the 2020 elections were over.
Throughout her leadership within these two organizations, Jenni also remained true to another passion – the piano. For fifteen years she served as a private piano teacher, teaching as many as 45 students weekly who were as young as five, to as old as 92 years. She recently retired from teaching.
Today Jenni remains active in work supporting community services, leadership programs, and state and local electoral campaigns.
Jenni holds a B.A. in Public Relations/Journalism from The Ohio State University and worked in marketing communications for many years prior to her private piano studio. She is also a 2019 graduate of the LFC Leaders Fellowship.
She enjoys hiking, playing classical piano, reading and spending time with her beloved soft-coated Wheaten Terrier, Lily. She lives with her husband of 31 years, Larry, and has two adult children, David and Erin.
LFC Board Member
Jaclyn Boyes is Managing Director in Phoenix for Per Scholas, a national non-profit advancing economic equity through technology education. She is passionate about connecting people to passion and purpose. Her career in the nonprofit, business, and education sectors include workforce development, program management, and fundraising roles. She also serves on the executive board in her legislative district and as a volunteer for political grassroots organizations.
Jaclyn is a graduate of the Leading for Change Fellowship, Flinn Brown Fellowship, and the Arizona State University American Express Non-Profit Leadership program. Jaclyn earned her B.A. in Business from Gonzaga University and her M.A. in Adult Education and Training from University of Phoenix. She holds certifications in diversity and inclusion facilitation, nonprofit management, and career coaching. Jaclyn was a Phoenix Business Journal Top 40 under 40 award recipient for her work serving the community, specifically with unhoused veterans.