LFC Leaders Fellowship Class of 2023
Senior Small Business Development Manager, Local First Arizona (LFA)
Carmen Attikossie, is a young professional who holds a bachelor's degree in International Relations from St. Catherine’s University in St. Paul, MN. She currently works for Local First Arizona (LFA) as the Sr. Small Business Development Manager, leading the We Rise Business Accelerator. Prior to joining LFA, Carmen worked for Uber Technologies as a Learning & Development Specialist in Phoenix, AZ. At Uber, Carmen was in charge of learning initiatives for Uber’s Risk & Compliance businesses in community operations. Prior to working for Uber Technologies and LFA, Carmen spent 2 years living and working on the African continent for the African Leadership University (ALU), a company that was listed in 2019 as the #1 innovative company in Africa and ranked #39 globally by Fast Company - Most Innovative Companies. During her time at ALU Carmen was part of the founding team that was mandated to build the African Leadership University Rwanda in the country’s capital Kigali. At ALU Rwanda Carmen designed, built, and was head of the Student Ventures Program (SVP), an initiative designed to expose young Africans to entrepreneurship and doing business in Africa. During her tenure as the lead for SVP Rwanda, she coached and mentored a group of students to win $30,000 for the Hult Prize national competition along with coaching a group of students to win $10,000 through the Tony Elumelu foundation for emerging entrepreneurs in Africa. “I hope to become the president of my country Togo one day. I believe that bad governance is at the root cause of many atrocities occurring in developing nations and I hope to learn leadership traits through this fellowship that will lead me to this goal.”
Former Educator; School Board Candidate, Governing Board of Paradise Valley Unified School District
I am an Arizona native and a proud product of public schools. As a child of two public school teachers, I grew up in the Washington Elementary School District and attended high school in the Glendale Union High School District. I graduated from Arizona State University with my Bachelor's in both Special Education and Elementary Education. After graduation, I taught for 6 years in Peoria Unified School District and for one year in Dysart Unified School District. I went to teach at Foundation for Blind Children as a Teacher of the Visually Impaired before deciding to stay at home with my youngest child. My husband and I live in Phoenix with our blended family. I have six children and one step-son. My background includes teaching Self Contained Emotionally Disabled students, Self-Contained students with autism, general education first grade, and junior high resource. I believe in supporting teachers and students in a collaborative setting. I am a strong advocate for all students and teachers and am committed to supporting policies that enhance student outcomes and a positive school environment. I believe money should stay in the public schools and schools should be fully funded. I became involved in local politics at the end of February when I decided to run for Governing Board Member in the Paradise Valley Unified School District in this November’s election. As a mother of a child with autism and a child who is transgender, I knew I had to do whatever I could to advocate for and support them. As a member of the board, I can help drive policy to help all students in our district.
Performance Audit Division, Arizona Auditor General
Austin Bates is an advocate for the American Dream. His upbringing as the son of an English second language teacher and small business owner exposed him to a revolving door of cultures and ideas. The wide range of people he grew up around influenced his decision to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies from Franklin & Marshall College. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Public Policy from Arizona State University. Austin works to combine cultural and policy analysis to bridge communities, improve governance, and equitably expand the American Dream. He has previously worked in voter turnout, social work, and as a constituent services liaison at the Arizona Governor’s office. Austin is currently working at the Arizona Auditor General.
Debra Jo Borden
Faculty Associate, Arizona State University; Music Teacher, New Vistas Center For Education
Debra Jo is a passionate educator and social justice advocate. Her teaching experience ranges from Pre-K, K-6, Secondary, Collegiate, to Graduate levels, in many subject content areas. She holds a K-12 Music Education Certification and is currently a candidate with the National Board of Certified Teachers. Most recently, Debra Jo served on Superintendent Watson’s Maricopa STAT Team for the 2021-2022 school year. She has also participated with the local, state, and national teacher unions, having been a site leader, and also held elected positions for the state and national delegate and representative assemblies. Holding an MA degree in Social Justice & Human Rights, she lectures on intersectionality and advocates for causes that impact equality. With her husband of 17 years, Debra Jo ventured into parenting biological, adoptive, and foster children. She wrote curriculum for the pilot music program at ASA Now and Jacob’s Mission Community Center to help bring Sophie’s Place to children impacted by foster care. She has given testimony for essential reforms needed in the Arizona Department of Child Safety, has worked to bring awareness to gender bias in medical testing for Autism, and is outspoken in her LDS religious community about gender equality for women and LGBTQ+ communities.
Ryan is interested in building communities and uniting people to build power. Her work has been rooted in communication, community organizing, union organizing and research. She is passionate about climate change, economic power dynamics that create inequity, and how these types of issues effect people within her community and the world. Ryan has worked for a community development non-profit, local public health department, the Urban Water Innovation Network, and the Service Employees International Union. She is a first generation college student, earning a bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies and Public Health in 2020. Ryan looks forward to leading through lifting up others, developing leaders within her community, and building coalitions among people.
B.S. Psychology Student, Arizona State University
Kamy was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, but has lived in North Phoenix, Arizona for 24 years. Kamy is a disabled person who is in her final year at Arizona State University where she is working on her BS degree in Psychology with a minor in Disability Studies. She is also a part of Barrett, the Honors College at ASU, where she is currently working on her thesis which focuses on social stigmas of disability representation in the mental health field and community. Kamy’s experiences as a disabled person witnessing the inaccessibility and systemic barriers in Arizona’s medical and mental health communities, taught her the need for self-advocacy. She intends to be a licensed therapist in the state of Arizona after grad school. Being a Psychology student, she has exposure to many topics of the mental health/psychology field and plans to utilize that knowledge and help expand future research. Kamy continually looks to improve her own activism and ways that she can advocate for the disabled population in the Psychology field. Most recently, Kamy completed her volunteer hours as an Inclusivity & Accessibility Assistant.
Policy and Operations Consultant, Black Political Cultivation Arizona
Nico is a Policy and Operations staffer for Black Political Cultivation Arizona, an organization that works to uplift and amplify the voices of Black community within electoral spaces. Nico has a B.A. in English, B.S. in Political Science, and M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from ASU. They have worked as a legislative analyst and have varied experience as an Arizona educator ranging from Disability and Special Education to Public Schools. A Phoenix resident of 15+ years, they are passionate about social and racial justice, reproductive and LGBTQ+ rights, and building community.
Independent Consultant, Honoris Group
Gina Griffiths is a consultant who has spent her career working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She is passionate about civic responsibility and strives to make positive change. Gina currently serves on the Arizona Developmental Disability Policy Planning Ad Hoc Committee; the NOAH Advocacy & Development Committee, the Policy Committee for GLSEN Arizona; the Sexual Violence & I/DD Network; and as the Chair of the Sexual Violence & I/DD - Training and Prevention Workgroup. She has previously served on the Board of NOAH; as an officer for the Arizona Association of Providers for People with Disabilities; the Employment First Core Committee; and the Governor’s Task Force on Long Term Care Visitation. Gina is a graduate of Scottsdale Leadership, Class 29. She was named Field Educator of the Year by the ASU School of Social Work in 2021. She was honored to receive the MLK Diversity Champion Award from Scottsdale Communities Celebrating Diversity in 2017. Gina has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Northern Arizona University and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Arizona State University. She is the proud mom of three brilliant & stubborn children. She and her husband love to take the kids camping and traveling.
Awva-Wendell Honanie Jr.
Consultant for Sustainable Programs, Various Agencies
My name is Tu-awva-Wendell Honanie Jr, and I am from the Hopi community of northern Arizona. Since I was young, I have inherited the nickname of Awva and established a bountiful spirit within myself. Being raised in a family of both cultural and intellectual value, it has been my passion to create and share meaningful mentoring experiences in all spaces I have collaborated with. Over the years providing profitable service for many people and companies, I have discovered my talents for: creativity, inclusivity, mentoring, mental innovation and igniting the passion for building young future leaders. My current role has been within providing sustainable governmental efforts for sovereign communities that have been processing the complexities of a western world. Through this, my talents and efforts for business, mentoring and inclusivity have paved the foundations for sustainable programs and agencies.
Primary Care Physician, Adelante Healthcare; Co/Founder, EPIC Disability Advocacy
I was born and raised in India. I am a medical graduate from GSL medical college affiliated with NTR University, India in 2012. I pursued my residency at Griffin Hospital affiliated with Yale university, CT (2016-19). I am board certified in Internal Medicine. I currently work as a PCP at Adelante Healthcare, Mesa. I have a young son with Autism and ADHD. I was a 2021 graduate of Pilot parenting program and took part in #FundAzSPED movement. I am a Co/Founder and Director of Outreach for EPIC Disability Advocacy, an organization whose vision is to empower the community and create societal change where everyone can reach their full potential.
Grievance and Compliance Officer, Gila County Sheriff's Office
I have been working in the detention/corrections field for nearly 15 years. In that time, I have come to see the fundamental issues in our legal system and have worked to advocate for changes. From the day to day operations of one department to state and federal changes to the way the system works. I am currently working towards my bachelor’s degree in public administration and look to the future to run for public office to make the change I know needs to happen.
Doctoral Candidate, Grand Canyon University; Candidate, Tempe Union Governing School Board
Stephan Anthony Kingsley has been in education for over 15 years, the past twelve as a secondary English teacher. He earned a B.A. in Elementary Education from Arizona State University, and an M.S. in Educational Leadership in Arkansas State University. He is now a doctoral candidate in industrial and organizational psychology at Grand Canyon University. Stephan consults professionally and collaborates on diversity and inclusion initiatives with business, education, and community leaders as well as researchers at the national and international level. He also volunteers with GLSEN Phoenix, and works with different advocacy groups to fight for the rights of LGBTQ youth. He is currently running as a candidate for the Tempe Governing School Board.