ASU Lodestar Center announces Class 11 of American Express Leadership Academy at the ASU Lodestar Center, engaging 33 program participants in the 2018-2019 year

ASU Lodestar Center announces Class 11 of American Express Leadership Academy at the ASU Lodestar Center, engaging 33 program participants in the 2018-2019 year

American Express Leadership Academy Class 11

Phoenix, Ariz. (August 9, 2018) – The ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation is pleased to announce the launch of the eleventh year of its American Express Leadership Academy at the ASU Lodestar Center. As one of the largest classes in program history, 33 emerging, nonprofit leaders were selected through a competitive application process to participate in this year’s cohort. 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 is comprised of best practice approaches to leading and managing nonprofits that include renowned professors and practitioner instructors 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 and diverse experiences. Within the applicant pool, we have seen a more diverse representation of nonprofits. Building on the American Express Foundation’s continued investment over the past eleven years, this emerging leader program continues to offer 360-degree feedback assessments and one-on-one executive coaching. These program enhancements continuously enable the class to leave a lasting and profound impact on the communities in which they serve and volunteer.

“Among known leadership development programs, our Center’s American Express Leadership Academy has emerged as one of the most highly relevant and profoundly impactful experiences available,” said Dr. Robert F. Ashcraft, executive director of the ASU Lodestar Center and Saguaro Professor of Civic Enterprise with the School of Community Resources and Development at ASU. "Working in partnership with an enlightened corporate leader like American Express shows the good that can happen when community interests are aligned with intention,” he added.

This year's cohort includes:

  • Allie Avishai, The Arthritis Foundation
  • Sadhna Bokhiria, John and Editha Kapoor Charitable Foundation
  • Paula Carvalho, Mission of Mercy
  • James Claymon, Phoenix Shanti Group
  • Maggie Cortez, Phoenix Suns Charities
  • Mary Driessen, University of Arizona, College of Medicine - Phoenix
  • Rebecca Duffy, Open Hearts Family Wellness
  • Eileana Gudiño, Valley of the Sun United Way
  • Jacklyn Gueyger, Be a Leader Foundation
  • Myles Harper, Boys and Girls Club of Scottsdale
  • Carrie Hughes, Arizona Humane Society
  • Kirby Hurlbut, A New Leaf
  • Jennifer Jenkin, Translational Genomics Research Institute
  • Danelle King, Catholic Charities MANA House
  • Shannon Kinsman, Arizona Center for Nature Conservation/Phoenix Zoo
  • Claire Louge, Prevent Child Abuse Arizona
  • Simone Lustig, Arizona Medical Association
  • Evelyn McNeill, Boys and Girls Club of Metro Phoenix
  • Michael Miller, Chandler Gilbert Arc
  • Kenneth Mims, Science Prep Academy
  • Ernesto Muñoz, Children's Museum of Phoenix
  • Megan Nagle, United Food Bank
  • Geoffrey Nail, Safe Kids Maricopa/Beat Street AZ
  • Michelle "Mo" Osife, Cancer Support Community Arizona
  • Janey Pearl Starks, Mountain Park Health Centers
  • Celeste Plumlee, Tempe Neighbors Helping Neighbors
  • Dean Scheinert, Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West
  • Rebecca Simpson, Heard Museum
  • Jeremy Stapleton, Sonoran Institute
  • Sarah Sullivan, Junior Achievement of Arizona
  • Jose Vaquera, Friendly House
  • Kelsey Wolf-Donnay, Desert Botanical Garden
  • Jessica Wright, UMOM New Day Centers

“Building and investing in a pipeline of nonprofit leaders for the future is one of the most efficient investments in our sector," said Cassidy Campana, ASU Lodestar Center program manager for the American Express Leadership Academy at the ASU Lodestar Center. "The sustainability of leadership that the Academy helps to create ensures that Arizona will have a strong and ready talent pool in the future as organizations plan for growth and succession," she added.

Additional thanks to BlueCross BlueShield of Arizona, CopperPoint Insurance Companies, National Bank of Arizona, 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 If you have questions, please call 602.496.0500 or email

Meet Class 11



The ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation is recognized as a national leader in undergraduate and graduate nonprofit education, research and technical assistance. The ASU Lodestar Center exists to enhance the quality of life in communities through the advancement of nonprofit leadership practices and provides knowledge and tools to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations, professionals, board members, donors and volunteers by offering a selection of capacity building workshops, conferences, classes, and programs. For more information, please visit:


The American Express Leadership Academy at the ASU Lodestar Center operated as the Generation Next Nonprofit Leadership Academy for six years. Now beginning its eleventh year at ASU, this highly-effective leadership development program is now the American Express Leadership Academy at the ASU Lodestar Center. Currently, over 30 individuals are selected through a competitive process to participate in the nine-month program beginning in August and ending in May each year. Each program day covers a variety of topics including, but not limited to, public policy and advocacy, collaboration, marketing and media relations, board development, donor relations, and leadership development. The American Express Leadership Academy at Arizona State University offers: increased awareness and understanding of the nonprofit sector and issues affecting its growth and prosperity; leadership skills development, cultivation and opportunities for engagement; and a broader network of personal and professional relationships. For more information, please visit:


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