American Express Leadership Academy at the ASU Lodestar Center announces Class 13, engaging 35 emerging nonprofit leaders after receiving record number of applications

American Express Leadership Academy at the ASU Lodestar Center announces Class 13, engaging 35 emerging nonprofit leaders after receiving record number of applications

American Express Leadership Academy Class 13

August 26, 2020 (Phoenix, Ariz.) – The ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation is pleased to announce the launch of the 13th year of its American Express Leadership Academy at the ASU Lodestar Center. Class 13 includes 35 emerging nonprofit leaders who were selected through a competitive application process that saw a record number of candidates this year. The program, beginning in September with a virtual format, provides participants with an empowering leadership-development experience and lasting connections with other sector leaders.

Funded in part by a generous contribution from the American Express Foundation, the Academy is a cohort of the region’s top emerging nonprofit leaders, chosen to participate in a nine-month training program that provides them with the knowledge and tools needed to take on leadership roles within the nonprofit community. The program comprises best-practice approaches to leading and managing nonprofits that include renowned knowledge specialists at ASU as well as established nonprofit leaders from organizations that engage with the ASU Lodestar Center.

This year’s class includes participants from a variety of backgrounds, experiences and nonprofit organizations. Building on the American Express Foundation’s continued investment over the past 12 years, this emerging leader program continues to offer 360-degree feedback assessments and one-on-one executive coaching. These program elements enable the class to leave a lasting and profound impact on the communities in which they serve and volunteer.

“As we launch our 13th Academy year next month, we are indebted to leaders of the American Express Foundation for continuing to invest in our proven approach to leadership development,” said Dr. Robert F. Ashcraft, executive director of the ASU Lodestar Center and Saguaro Professor of Civic Enterprise. “Our pivot this year to virtual programming as a result of the pandemic means we are practicing what we teach by adapting and innovating our approaches while remaining laser-focused, as always, on purpose and results.”

This year's cohort includes:

  • Aaron Abney, Child Crisis Arizona
  • Chad Bays, Academic Opportunity of Arizona
  • Karen Blackbird, Mercy Housing
  • Kira Boothe, Central Arizona Shelter Services
  • Christina Brown, Phoenix Art Museum
  • Kylie Clore, City of Mesa Police Department/Community Outreach
  • Amber Cordoba, Chicanos Por La Causa
  • Vanessa Cornwall, Arizona Humane Society
  • Kate Crowley, Crowley Communications
  • Ashley Dickerson, National Center for Youth Law/FosterEd Arizona
  • Morgan Downs, Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Rachel Egboro, Arizona Community Foundation
  • Chilo Figueroa, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Valley
  • Julie Ford, Junior Achievement of Arizona
  • Laura Forsell, Special Olympics Arizona
  • Lillian Gilmer, ASU Preparatory Academy/LIFEletes
  • Nellie Goetz, Altered Tails Barnhart Clinic
  • Mary Beth Gregory, YWCA Metropolitan Phoenix
  • Dawn Hocking, The Centers for Habilitation (TCH)
  • Lori Holleran, Arizona Housing Inc.
  • Katia Jones, Sybil Consulting LLC
  • Laura Lamothe, Southwest Human Development
  • Rufino Mendoza, Mentorkids USA
  • Holly Mercier, Phoenix Suns/Suns Charities
  • Vanessa Morales Carthell, UMOM New Day Centers
  • Christine Morissette, PetSmart Charities
  • Randi O’Connor, Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center
  • Eric Ortega, Homeless ID Project
  • Alexandra Papazian, Ballet Arizona
  • Jackie Phillips, Onward Hope, Inc.
  • Kathy Pondy, Arizona Council on Economic Education
  • Andrea Teasdale, Valley of the Sun YMCA
  • Jose Velazquez, Newtown Community Development Corporation
  • Tamara Wright, Community Solutions
  • Ray Young, Terros Health

“In a year like this, leadership and investing in the training of emerging leaders has never been more mission-critical for nonprofits,” said Cassidy Campana, program manager for the American Express Leadership Academy at the ASU Lodestar Center. “Through the selection process, we met a record number of leaders who are working harder than ever to support the missions and operations of nonprofits around the state. The American Express Leadership Academy creates the space for leaders from diverse disciplines and agencies to discuss challenges and learn to solve organizational and societal issues, deepening their skill sets and advancing their personal leadership styles.”

Additional thanks to BlueCross BlueShield of Arizona, CopperPoint Insurance Companies, SRP and Wells Fargo for their continued support of the American Express Leadership Academy at the ASU Lodestar Center.

For additional information regarding any of the ASU Lodestar Center’s programs, visit lodestar.asu.edu. If you have questions, please call 602.496.0500 or email nonprofit@asu.edu.