Frontdoors Magazine March/April 2023

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Movers, Shakers & Impact Makers

Five women who help some of Arizona’s biggest companies be good corporate citizens

Community, Philanthropy & Lifestyle MARCH/APRIL 2023
don’t just dream it: do it. 480.315.1040 | At Eide Bailly, we’re a business advisory and accounting firm, helping our clients embrace opportunities and bring innovation to an evolving business landscape. For years, we’ve worked closely with Arizona business owners and nonprofits whether they’re navigating compliance with tax and accounting requirements, investing in technology or wondering what’s next. With specialty services like data analytics, cybersecurity, forensics, wealth planning, planned giving and more, we have the resources to help make even the biggest goals a reality.
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Karen Werner


Andrea Tyler Evans


Lisa Pagel


Tom Evans


Neill Fox


Cheyenne Brumlow


Abby Petersen


Lori Appleby Hoke


Julie Coleman

Shoshana Leon

Angela Keller

Zenobia Mertel

Judy Pearson

Richard Sanderson


Carey Peña


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On the Cover

Top Row: Tracy Bame, Maria Echeveste and Lourdes Sierra

Bottom Row: Tina Marie Tentori and Christine Bracamonte Wiggs

Photo by Scott Foust

Styled by Risa Kostis, Dulce Badillo & style assistant Katie Anderson Makeup by Eli Medina & Charlee Torres, The Sparkle Bar


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Mimi Kennedy (Mom, Dharma & Greg, Midnight in Paris) stars as Prudence “Pru” Payne, an esteemed critic widely recognized as a wit, a scholar, and a public intellectual. But as her memory begins to fade, all her preconceived notions — about herself and, more importantly, others — also slip away. Gordon Clapp (NYPD Blue, Emmy winner) stars as Pru’s unconventional love interest Gus.



This hilarious classic comedy starts when an explosive divorced couple and their new spouses inadvertently honeymoon in adjacent rooms at the same hotel. When combustible chemistry reignites, mayhem occurs, and strong passions and stronger personalities take over.

JUNE 29 – JULY 16


When successful Elvis impersonator Casey loses his gig, a drag show moves in and “The King” transforms into an all-out queen with some help from his new friends. With snappy zingers and dance-worthy numbers, this wildly entertaining story is full of sass and good spirits.




Mimi Kennedy (Mom, Dharma & Greg, Midnight in Paris) Gordon Clapp (NYPD Blue, Emmy winner, Glengarry Glen Ross, Tony Nominee)
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MAY 11

Stars will shine bright at upcoming Gateway Celebrity Fight Night

Some of the biggest names in music unite to fight cancer

The Annual Gateway Celebrity Fight Night is gearing up to deliver a knockout blow to cancer on Saturday, April 1, bringing a powerful lineup of entertainers and celebrities to the Valley for what is guaranteed to be an unforgettable evening.

Now in its second year as part of the Gateway for Cancer Research organization, the 2023 Fight Night will be hosted and emceed by 16-time Grammy Award winning producer David Foster, who has served as the event’s charismatic musical director for 22 years.

With a Studio 54 theme, the event will deliver an impressive entertainment lineup, including Grammy Award winners Nile Rodgers & CHIC and Thelma Houston, Grammy Award nominee Taylor Dayne, American Idol breakout star Katharine McPhee, and LEDpowered dance ensemble Light Balance. These heavy hitters and more surprise artists are uniting for the sake of funding cancer research.

While Fight Night’s nearly 30-year legacy is rooted in giving back to charity, its rebirth as part of the Gateway for Cancer Research organization has refocused its aim on a singular opponent: cancer.

Thanks to generous underwriting, 100% of all event proceeds directly fund early phase clinical cancer research. These are the types of studies at highest risk of going unfunded, yet they represent a critical step in the discovery of potentially life-saving cancer-fighting drugs, devices and therapies.

“These trials are vital to the continuum of cancer research,” said Dr. Stacie J. Stephenson, vice chair of Gateway. “However, they’re most at risk of being underfunded, if they’re funded at all, because

they’re seen as high risk. But they’re also high reward. They lay the foundation for research that ultimately brings forth new treatments and therapies.”

Richard J Stephenson, who serves as Gateway’s chairman, established the organization nearly 30 years ago after his mother, Mary Brown Stephenson, was diagnosed with bladder cancer.

“I founded Gateway for Cancer Research for personal reasons, after my mother died unnecessarily because she was denied hopeful treatment options,“ said Mr. Stephenson. “There’s nothing more important or easier to give someone than hope. That’s why Gateway exists. To give patients hope.”

Since its inception, Gateway has invested more than $95 million to support over 195 cancer clinical trials. These studies have delivered hope and healing to more than 10,000 cancer patients, altered the standard of care at some of the world’s most trusted health care institutions, and given way to new federally approved cancer treatments and therapies.

The Stephensons have positioned the Valley’s most acclaimed fundraising event to fight an enemy that impacts us all in some way.

“There are too many of us in the ‘cancer club,’” added Mr. Stephenson. “That’s why events like this are so important. They humanize our battles – our own fights – and remind us that coming together to take on cancer ultimately makes us all stronger.”

The 2023 Fight Night is set for Saturday, April 1, at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort and Spa. To learn more, purchase tickets, or donate directly to Gateway for Cancer Research, please visit Mr. Richard J Stephenson and Dr. Stacie J. Stephenson
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Pitbull David Foster




The Power of Collaboration


Alice Cooper, rock star and philanthropist


Art in the Shadows


Frank DeBlasi, founder of The Baller Dream Foundation


A preview of the Valley’s premier philanthropic events

27 KEY TO THE GOOD LIFE Experiences, tools and products to nourish mind, body and spirit


5 Haute Tips for a Spring Fashion Refresh


Incomparable Amangiri

43 A 2ND ACT

Sam Leyvas

46 Movers, Shakers & Impact Makers

Pathways to Economic Opportunity

Jeffrey Barton, city manager of the City of Phoenix


Revving Up for the Arts


Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Centers

The Baller Dream Foundation

Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation

Valley of the Sun United Way

MAR/APR 2023,
3/5 Michael Feinstein & Jean-Yves Thibaudet 3/27 Rosanne Cash 4/3 Chris Botti 3/19 Zukerman Trio
3/31 Tito Puente Jr.

By focusing on the first five years, we are making a difference in the lives of young children, their families and our communities. Get involved to support Arizona’s young children.

First Things First is Arizona’s early childhood agency, with free programs, information and resources to support great
mission is early childhood. Join us.

The Power of Collaboration

Creating an equitable community where every child, family and individual can thrive is a journey so much greater than any single person or organization — it takes an entire community.

Here in Maricopa County, we’re fortunate to have the wide-ranging community leadership and support of Valley of the Sun United Way, an organization that’s been dedicated to meeting the most pressing needs of people throughout Maricopa County since 1925.

Valley of the Sun United Way partnered with Frontdoors on this special issue to underscore some of the important collaborative work happening in the Valley. With its five-year plan for Mighty Change in Maricopa County by 2026, Valley of the Sun United Way has brought together more than 230 corporate, nonprofit and public partners to work cooperatively toward bold goals set by the community collective in the areas of health, housing and homelessness, education and workforce development.

Speaking of workforce development, don’t miss the article about an all-new nonprofit collaboration, the Pathways to Economic Opportunity program for Black and Latina young women. You’ll find that story on page 53.

We’re proud to feature some of the Valley’s top movers and shakers in the corporate social responsibility world who are partnering with Valley of the Sun United Way to reach the goals for Mighty Change while supporting so many other incredible nonprofits and causes throughout the year. The women featured on

our cover are some of the best of the best, as you’ll soon read, when it comes to creating a positive impact in a community where all of us can live, work and play to our fullest.

We’re also excited to feature several other leaders and organizations that spend their day-to-day working to improve our community’s quality of life for all. From Phoenix city manager Jeff Barton, who spends his time making our city a place we can all live and succeed, to Sam Leyvas, former First Things First CEO, who now works with the Valley’s business community to help them achieve their corporate social responsibility goals.

And be sure to check out the great things happening with UMOM’s social enterprise Helping Hands Café and the nonprofit Elaine, which provides safe and accessible transportation for the Valley’s homeless and underserved.

All that, plus art, travel, fashion and a chat with OG rock superstar Alice Cooper make this an issue you won’t want to miss. Enjoy!

in action: Valley of the Sun United Way employees work to deliver meals to community members in need. Creating Mighty Change in HEALTH | HOUSING & HOMELESSNESS | EDUCATION | WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

Grant a Wish Today to Provide Hope for Tomorrow.

Wesley, 4, was dealing with 12 hours of dialysis daily and a future transplant surgery when he was referred for a wish through Make-A-Wish Arizona.

His wish to have a playset in his backyard was granted after his transplant surgery – offering him hope and happiness after a traumatic medical journey.

“Wesley has been on his playset every day since it was installed,” said Carol, his grandmother.

“His wish not only uplifted Wesley, it gave all of us a little more hope for the future.”
Donate today at
I wish to have a playset Wesley, 4 kidney disease


Rock star and philanthropist

You’re 74 and still rocking strong. Any tips to share?

I got sober 40 years ago, and I never smoked cigarettes. That has a lot to do with longevity. Plus, if you love what you do, it’s not really a job.

When you started out, did you think your career would last this long?

Nobody thought in those days that anyone would get past 30. It turned out 27 was the expiration date for most rock stars. We all took our cues from the Beatles and the Stones. McCartney is still touring, and so is Ringo. They’re well into their 80s. No one can explain Keith Richards.

You’re known for your stage antics, but you’re a famously nice guy. What else would readers be surprised to learn about you?

Most people know I am a Christian. I have taught Bible study. I am a ninja with throwing knives and was inducted into the International Knife Throwers Hall of Fame. And I NEVER get nervous before a show.

You are famous for your signature rocker style. Do you have a stylist, or does your wife Sheryl help with the shopping?

I am my own stylist. I help Sheryl with her shopping.

How has your style changed over the years?

My offstage style motto is: “You get older, but you don’t have to be old.” You’ll never see me wearing baggy pants, suspenders or comfortable shoes.

You are changing the lives of local youth with your Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Centers. Why did you start them?

I felt that God was directing Sheryl and me toward teenagers. My thoughts are that every teenager has talent. Let’s find it through The Rock Teen Center’s fine art programs (guitar, drum, bass, keyboards, dance, art, voice and technical production). When

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25 years of grantmaking in education

This year the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust is celebrating 25 years of community grantmaking in Arizona and Indiana. To honor Mrs. Pulliam’s legacy, the Trust established the Nina Mason Pulliam Legacy Scholars Program to provide educational opportunities for individuals who may not otherwise have the chance to go to college. Mrs. Pulliam felt that education is the great equalizer and she firmly believed education is essential to reaching one’s full potential.

Nina Scholars are the epitome of resilience, dedication, and success, oftentimes outperforming their peer groups in GPA and graduation rates.

3.05 Average GPA

94% First-year retention rate

77% Graduation overall rate

372 Nina Scholars graduated

$30.5 million awarded in student scholarships

Learn more at

Joevauny, 2022 Maricopa Community Colleges graduate

they find that talent, it can break a potentially negative cycle and steer them toward a better lifestyle and amazing opportunities. Some teens don’t know they’re a guitar player until they pick up a guitar.

I share with them that when I was 15 years old, I didn’t know what to do with myself. My friends and I started the band. I learned to sing, write songs and perform onstage by trial and error. Thirty gold albums later, well … you know.

What does it feel like to share your love of music in a safe, nurturing space?

Music is THE international language. I can talk to a 70-year-old classic rock guy or a 17-year-old about music. Everyone has different tastes, and I love turning young guitar players on to Jeff Beck, Mike Bloomfield and Frank Zappa and having them listen to some of the greatest solos ever played.

If you could have dinner with one musician, dead or alive, who would it be?

Paul Butterfield. He was the greatest blues harp player ever. I learned how to play harmonica by listening to his first two albums.

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What would you like your own legacy to be?

The man who married hard rock to stage theatrics and made it work for six decades. I would be the Ziegfield of rock ‘n’ roll.

Is there anything you’d like our readers to know about you or the Solid Rock Teen Centers?

The Lord Jesus Christ changed my life in such a positive way. He gave me the talent I have and turned me from a drunken wreck to a new life so that Solid Rock could be a reality and become a positive force in the lives of teenagers. I’m still the greatest villain in rock ‘n’ roll, but for all the right reasons.

To learn more, visit

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A renewed sense of self-worth and purpose is the goal of this local sanctuary, along with an exciting creative journey for teens.
Alice and Sheryl Cooper started Solid Rock to create a solid foundation for teenagers.
Exhibition Open Now! Instruments with extraordinary pasts come together to share the story of music like never before. Tickets at EXPLORE 28 NEW TREASURES Presenting sponsor This grand piano was custom-made for Prince and used throughout his Jam of the Year Tour in 1997 and 1998 Loan courtesy of The Estate of Prince Rogers Nelson and Paisley Park Open Daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m. 480.478.6000 | 4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix

Art in the Shadows

Cece Cole curates engaging exhibits in an unexpected space

Did you know that Michelangelo spent a little over four years working on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel? While not every artist labors quite that long from idea to unveiling, the fact is that creating a piece of artwork takes time. But that’s just the first part of bringing visual art to admirers. The next step is to curate the piece — select the perfect location and present it alone or with complementary art.

That’s where Cece Cole comes in.

Cole laughs when she explains her career. “I didn’t travel the usual route. I earned a bachelor of fine arts from the University of Louisiana and a master of fine arts from the University of Iowa,” she said. What happened next proves that she’s not a usual kind of gal, either. She received the inaugural Virginia Commonwealth University Painting and

Cece Cole with recent gallery artist, photographer Jesse Rieser
Photo by Kristin Heggli at Splendid Photo

Printmaking Residency and Fellowship Award, quite an honor, to be sure. From there, her exhibition wins began, including (fortunately for Arizonans) as curator of the gallery at Mountain Shadows Resort.

The gallery is located just beyond the hotel’s registration area, a runway of tall, white, blank walls until Cole’s magic happens. “I am an installation artist,” she said, and that she is. Her museum-quality exhibitions are — in her own words — “selectively curated, conceptually driven and socially engaging.”

For instance, Cole brought back a popular exhibition from last year to celebrate Arizona hosting the Super Bowl. “The Abstract Athlete” showcases artists who are former star athletes. We may not often consider it, but the creative process requires extreme discipline, just as athletic careers do. Featured in the show was the marvelous photography of Scottsdale resident and former NFL player Tony Mandarich.

The lineup of exhibits spotlights Cole’s diverse and seasoned eye. The work of Arizona octogenarian artist Nancy Kravetz followed the athletes in February and March, with “Spring Fever” up next in April and May. “The title references the lift of mood that comes with the end of winter,” she said. “Featured videos, photos, objects and images with concepts ranging from cinematic daydreaming to environmental awareness.”

To ensure she meets the socially engaging goal, every exhibition begins with an opening reception with the artist and complimentary wine from the resort’s restaurant, Hearth ‘61. Some of the exhibitions showcase a single artist; others are a compilation. Most have a connection to the Valley, and most run for two months.

And what does this multifaceted woman do away from the gallery? She spends her time at Good Company Contemporary, a combination project studio and online shop she founded. Whether there or at the gallery, Cole’s

“I enjoy cultivating new art lovers.”

mission is the same. “I love shedding light on the work of emerging and mid-career artists, as well as those who are more seasoned,” she said. “Likewise, I enjoy cultivating new art lovers.”

Whether you’re a new art enthusiast or a great collector, Cece Cole and the gallery at Mountain Shadows welcome you. Drop in any time; no ticket is necessary. Grab a glass of wine from the bar and immerse yourself. You’ll be in good company!

To learn more, visit the_gallery and

SSOM2023 CC/PDR Silverstone, L.L.C. is the sole entity responsible for the performance of the continuing care contracts at Vi at Silverstone. 23005 North 74th St., Scottsdale, AZ 85255 480.805.2776 •
Picture a place
S:3.625" S:10.25"
Artwork by Nancy Kravetz — Three Panel Botanical (Sunshine in the Garden), 2022, acrylic on canvas and wood, 36 x 40 inches
In addition to the easy and frequent opportunities to enjoy and participate in the arts, Vi at Silverstone provides residents with best-in-class amenities, a continuum of care should the need arise and a culture that makes you feel like you’re always among friends. In short, it’s not just another senior living option, but the very picture of living well.
that defies every cliché about senior living.


Founder of The Baller Dream Foundation


“Four Seasons: The Story of a Business Philosophy”


“This book was written by the founder of Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts. Mr. Sharp, the son of immigrants, created the world’s most admired and successful hotel brand, known for its exceptional quality and unparalleled service. I loved this read for a few reasons:

1. The story of his immigrant family and how Isadore started a major business by trial and error. I’m the grandson of immigrants and think this aspect of the book will tug at the hearts of those who appreciate ancestry.

2. Isadore shares the secret sauce for starting and building an incredible work culture that’s deeply committed to guests. It is a model where he empowers employees to take greater initiative and ownership, rather than be reactive and passive.

3. It is an excellent read for luxury travel lovers. Isadore recounts the foundations of this amazing brand, which introduced amenities the hotel industry had never seen (impeccable design, room-service menus, concierges, same-day dry cleaning, etc.).

We all aspire to be the best at what we do. This book is the story of a brand that sets the standard by which every luxury hotel is measured.”

Learn more about Frank DeBlasi and The Baller Dream Foundation at




Your leadership and creativity delivered the most successful Honor Ball in its 46-year history! Our sincere thanks to you, your committee and those who gave so generously.


HonorHealth Cardiovascular Center of Excellence and

HonorHealth Christine and David J. Watson Healthcare Heroes Endowment

Learn more about how you can join us and help transform healthcare in our community with a gift to HonorHealth Foundation. Visit or call us at 480-587-5000.

HonorHealth Foundation is a 502(c)3 nonprofit organization.

CHEERS to the Chairs!

Celebrate Youth Gala

DATE: March 4, 2023

BENEFITTING: Boys & Girls Clubs of Scottsdale

CHAIR: Andrea Robertson

Saluting Stories of Service — Veterans Heritage Project Fundraising Gala 2023

DATE: March 11, 2023

BENEFITTING: Veterans Heritage Project

CHAIR: Flora Tromelin

AAHA! Art. Food. Wine.

DATE: March 11, 2023

BENEFITTING: Hospice of the Valley

CHAIR: Sandy Becker

Fresh Start Gala

DATE: March 18, 2023

BENEFITTING: Fresh Start Women’s Foundation

CHAIRS: Katie Mueller & Helene Presutti

Vienna Carnival

DATE: March 19, 2023

BENEFITTING: Arizona Opera

CHAIRS: Andrea Tyler Evans & Tom Evans

A preview of the Valley’s premier philanthropic events and who’s leading these important efforts

Legacy Luncheon

DATE: March 22, 2023

BENEFITTING: Sandra Day O’Connor Institute for American Democracy

CHAIRS: Alexa Schneider & Carrie Hulburd

Wish Ball

DATE: March 25, 2023

BENEFITTING: Make-A-Wish Arizona

CHAIRS: Melissa Bouma & Jenny Wright


DATE: March 31, 2023

BENEFITTING: Homeward Bound

CHAIRS: Kathi Neal, Roseann Dunteman, Tiffanie Leyvas, Suzanne Dickey & Patty Sapp

Gateway Celebrity Fight Night

DATE: April 1, 2023

BENEFITTING: Gateway for Cancer Research

CHAIRS: Dr. Stacie J. Stephenson & Mr. Richard J Stephenson

Board of Visitors 108th Annual Charity Ball

DATE: April 1, 2023

BENEFITTING: The Board of Visitors

CHAIR: Laura Westfall

PANDA 23rd Annual “Children Helping Children” Fashion Show & Luncheon

DATE: April 8, 2023

BENEFITTING: Steele Children’s Research Center

CHAIRS: Rachel Troyan, Chandra Petelin, Courtney Gaintner (PANDA president), Teri Bockting & Candace Bianco


WOW! World of Wonder Gala

DATE: April 15, 2023


CHAIR: Darlene Keller Price

Dinner on the Desert

DATE: April 22, 2023

BENEFITTING: Desert Botanical Garden

CHAIRS: Faye Kitchel & Shoshana Tancer

Plated & Staged ... A Herberger Theater Experience

DATE: April 23, 2023

BENEFITTING: Herberger Theater

CHAIR: Greg Marshall

A Love Not Forgotten

April 21, 2023 | 6:30 PM | Chateau Luxe

An event dedicated to raising funds and awareness for Alzheimer's and all other dementia.


From the Largest Producing Regional Theatre Company in the Valley,

Grab a seat for Our 2022/2023 Season!

the last five years


APR 7 – APR 23, 2023

JUN 7 – JUL 9, 2023


AUG 2 – SEP 3, 2023

Filled with enchanting tales of tomorrow’s promise that parallel our own journey here in Phoenix, this season’s productions range from beloved musicals, such as A Chorus Line and Dreamgirls, to new stories like The Last Five Years, The Prom, and the 25th Annual Festival of New American Theatre. With sophisticated in-house production facilities and staff (including an on-site orchestra!) capable of making everything on stage come to life, The Phoenix Theatre Company creates world-class experiences for a modern audience.

Located in the heart of our namesake’s downtown community, our venue is the perfect place to enjoy spectacular theatre. Accompanied by delicious cuisine and craft cocktails at our on-campus ArtBar+Bistro in addition to free parking for over 500 performances every year, The Phoenix Theatre Company invites you to a world of possibilities.

| 602-254-2151
15 – APR 2, 2023 a chorus line
APR 5 – MAY 14, 2023 Festival of New American Theatre
The Prom

Children Don’t Know What They Can’t See.

Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

Working to advance children’s vision health through Eyes On Learning.

Talk with your child’s doctor about vision screening and visit for a series of informative videos.

© 2023 Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust
Nominations Now Open For Philanthropy Heroes, Volunteer Champions & Leadership Legends Visit for details Thursday, April 27, 2023 Phoenix Art Museum Announcing the 2023 Community Icon Honorees
Robyn DeBell & Penny Gunning PANDA Allison Tyler Jones Photography Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

Spring into Self-Care

Photos courtesy of companies Experiences, tools and products to nourish mind, body and spirit BY
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Ease into it — mindful experiences that soothe 28 | FRONTDOORS MAGAZINE
For the Mind

24-Hour Infrared Fitness Studio | $59 per month, enrollment pricing varies Hotworx, Chandler

For the Body

Body beautiful – move, nourish and be

Leopard Print Wide-Leg Lounge Trousers | $129 Soleia, Neiman Marcus, Scottsdale French Plum Face Oil | $145 Kindred Black Jacquard Bathrobe | $595 Dolce & Gabbana, Saks Fifth Avenue, Biltmore Fashion Park Camera Ready Makeup Application | $85 The Sparkle Bar
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Astrology-Inspired Birthday Candle, Personalized by Day | $49.99

Birthdate Candles

“How to Meet Yourself” Workbook | $23.99

The Holistic Psychologist, Dr. Nicole LePera

Tobacco Vanille Eau De Parfum | $285 Tom Ford

G.Tox 7-Day Reset Kit | $195 Goop Wellness

Free in spirit — rich in renewal

5 Haute Tips for a Spring Fashion Refresh

Easy ways to perk up your style

Spring has arrived in the Valley of the Sun, and with it, a plethora of fun, flirty fashion. The hottest trends for 2023 focus on the feminine with a nod to decades past. Think romantic dresses with voluminous sleeves and sweet tops fit for a princess, as well as sexy sheers and body-skimming shapes. To tame ultra-girly pieces, tailored blazers, new denim and structured handbags are also on the fashion scene.

Bright, optimistic shades of pink, tangerine, red, green and blue are front and center in spring collections and promise to bring joy to your wardrobe. Softer hues of steel blue, rose, cream and tan are also on trend right now.

In addition, with more people than ever working at home and today’s overloaded schedules, the line between day and evening dressing is growing increasingly blurred. The solution? Layers. A dress or pants paired with a blazer for meetings can be easily restyled for a night out with a quick change of accessories and switching tailored pieces for offduty ones.

Here are five ways to elevate your wardrobe this spring.

1. Boost your mood with magenta.

Named Pantone’s “Color of the Year” for 2023, Viva Magenta is a flattering shade of reddish pink and an entrance-maker to boot. Add this bold hue to your spring lineup in the form of a jaw-dropping cocktail dress or statement bag to enhance your look. For a subtler nod to this vibrant color, style any ensemble with a pop of magenta in the form of a scarf, belt, footwear or sunnies.

Photos by Mom Style Lab

Dress: Amanda Uprichard Handbag: Valentino, both from Saks Fifth Avenue at Biltmore Fashion Park Model: Tamila Minovarova (IG @tamilatte_) Outfits & Accessories: Saks Fifth Avenue at Biltmore Fashion Park and Vida Moulin at The Frederick on Missouri

2. Embrace the balletcore aesthetic.

Romance is in the air. Inspired by ballerinas and dancewear, balletcore is essentially all things girly, including tulle, lace, ruffles, sheer layers and volume. If you want an excuse to wear a tutu-inspired skirt, go for it! Just keep your top fitted and simple. If tutus aren’t your thing, a dress with sheer, flowy layers or a flared skirt and voluminous sleeves also fit in this trend. A beautiful, structured bag balances the frillier pieces.

3. Refresh your denim uniform.

Flared jeans are super flattering (hello, long, lean lines!) and are the denim style of the moment. Pair with a shorter statement top and chunky shoes for the most balanced proportion. If straight-leg jeans are more your style, uplevel the look with a cropped or fitted top and boyfriend blazer. Complete the ensemble with chunky sneaks or platforms.

Blazer: Mable, Top: WeWoreWhat Jeans: Pistola, all from Vida Moulin
Dress: PatBO, Saks Fifth Avenue

4. Indulge in sequins for daytime.

The secret to successfully styling sequins for day is to pair your sparkles with tailored pieces and classic accessories. This nude-tone sequin dress layered with a leather blazer and accessorized with a tote and pumps looks oh-sofashionable for a luncheon or event. For evening, the blazer comes off. Simply add evening sandals and a clutch for cocktails or dinner.

5. Invest in the perfect pair of platforms.

An ode to the ‘70s, platforms are having a revival. Not only are they super hip and edgy, but these iconic shoes are more comfortable than stilettos. However, depending on the height of the platform, they can be a little tippy, so be careful. That said, the obsession is real, and choosing just one pair from all the bright spring colors is a serious challenge. From Mary Janes to open-toe styles, platforms are perfect for day or night and play well with everything from jeans to cocktail dresses.

One final note, fashion is meant to be fun and inspire confidence, so embrace the trends and styles that flatter and best suit YOU!

To learn more, go to

Blazer: Veronica Beard, Dress: ASTR the Label, both from Saks Fifth Avenue
Shoes: Valentino, Saks Fifth Avenue


A trip to Amangiri is an adventure of its own

It’s rare in life that you come across something truly unique, something you almost don’t know how to describe, because you’ve never seen anything like it.

That’s the takeaway — in a very good way — from our trip to Amangiri, the ultra-exclusive luxury resort just north of the Arizona-Utah border. Set in a visually stunning 900-acre property secluded from nearby Highway 89 and Lake Powell, Amangiri is perhaps the most unique resort in the country.

Photos courtesy Amangiri

Entering the property, you take a winding road from the highway through about two miles of desert in the upper Colorado River plateau, a setting full of sandstone canyons and mesas. What may initially seem stark upon first view starts to explode with color and contrast, creating a natural environment that one would have never imagined could host a luxury resort, yet does so perfectly.

The main resort itself, along with its less than three dozen guest suites, 25,000-square-foot spa and indoor lounges for dining, is designed to blend in and emphasize the incredible topography, with minimalist architecture that literally builds the resort into the rocks. From above — we’ll get to this more in a minute — it’s almost hard to pick out the structure from the surrounding landscape.

Yet somehow, the elegance of a five-star resort comes through, with comfortable nooks and crannies where you can sit and relax, take in the views, have a cocktail and enjoy a warm fire. The swimming pool adjacent to the lounge — heated to 87 degrees year-round — is particularly large and welcoming for such a small number of rooms.

The accommodations are an experience of their own. Our Desert Suite was designed to spotlight the views of the surrounding sandstone mesas, including an outdoor patio with daybeds separated by a firepit. The interior featured a central concrete structure that houses a desk, king-sized bed and couch, allowing guests to move around the remainder of the space. Amenities such as the TV and minibar are hidden in cleverly designed cabinets, and the spacious bathroom offered dual overhead showers and a bathtub for two.

Amangiri boasts a broad range of lodging options, from king suites like the one we stayed in, to one- and two-bedroom options with their own private pools and amenities. A newer portion of the property called Camp Sarika offers 10 additional luxury suites, all built under canopies designed to spotlight views and give a sense of blending in with the desert.

This place is a bucket-list property. As of press time, the all-inclusive rates start at around $3,000 per night. But what you get is, once again, genuinely unique.


The per-night rates include dining (not alcohol), and the main lobby restaurant rotates its menus throughout the day with a variety of Southwestern and Asian-inspired cuisine. Everything we tried — from breakfast bowls to lunch appetizers to the tasting menu at the restaurant at Camp Sarika — was perfectly prepared and delicious. The cuisine felt healthy and somehow decadent at the same time, and our two nights there allowed us to try a variety of fare.

But it’s the outdoors that’s the draw to Amangiri. The vast property isn’t just there for show. It includes more than 15 miles of hiking trails that allow you to get out and explore your desert surroundings and the sandstone canyons. The truly unique experience is the offer of guided outdoor experiences called Via Ferratas, designed to present a rewarding physical challenge as you enjoy nature.

Our Via Ferrata was led by our guide J.J., who enthusiastically and carefully guided us through an ascent of a mesa several hundred feet tall. The adventure began


with a hike of about three-fourths of a mile; then, it was time to go up. Amangiri took great care in building these courses, so despite one of us having an acute fear of heights, we made it all the way up without incident. The experience felt safe the entire way, and we were rewarded with sweeping views of the entire property.

On the last day of our stay, we met up with J.J. again for a guided hike out to a large alcove carved into the sandstone named Broken Arrow Cave for its role in the film of the same name. The experience included the chance to see petroglyphs and ruins along with beautiful views of nature. It was less demanding than the Via Ferrata experience while still giving us an excellent physical challenge.

Along with opportunities for adventure, Amangiri provides an ideal place to unplug, including a large and welcoming spa where we enjoyed a couple’s massage and some time in the hot tub carved into the desert. It’s easy to see why celebrities and regular visitors choose Amangiri as an escape — the connection with nature and the pampering of a five-star resort definitely provide an opportunity to unwind.

Like we said, we don’t quite know what to compare it to. We’ve been fortunate to travel well but have not experienced anything quite like Amangiri. It’s certainly worth adding to a traveler’s wish list. If you have the means, it’s an adventure you won’t soon forget.

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Creating mighty change on a grassroots level

Sam Leyvas has been a man on a mission his entire life. That’s not hard to imagine considering his lovely mother, Helen, taught her only child the value of lending a hand. Whether the need came from their South Phoenix neighbors or a family member, Helen was quick to offer assistance without being asked. Taking those valuable lessons from his cherished guidepost to Northern Arizona University, Leyvas was active in student government and the Arizona Students’ Association.

In his work at Valley of the Sun United Way, Sam Leyvas focuses on building and strengthening relationships that generate financial resources to support the organization’s mission while creating an impact for the community.


Following graduation (and continuing to volunteer with ASA), Leyvas dove into a lobbying career, advocating for affordable housing, proper land use and other policy issues. That work led him to First Things First, an organization dedicated to helping Arizona’s young children from birth to 5 years old. “Children who are hungry or in need of medical care can fall behind even before they’re in school,” Leyvas said. “Then, when traumas manifest or roadblocks build — which they will — it’s harder for kids to keep up.” His dedication to that mission took him all the way to the CEO position.

Next on Leyvas’ career path was the newly launched Stand Together Foundation. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the group was looking for someone to build

partnerships. Leyvas was the perfect candidate, having done similar work with First Things First. In his spare time, he volunteered as a reserve officer with the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.

One day, Leyvas attended a conference where civil rights attorney and activist Bryan Stevenson spoke. The author of “Just Mercy,” Stevenson made a statement that stuck. “He said, ‘If we want to improve people’s lives, we have to be proximate to where issues exist and people struggle. The world changes at a grassroots level,’” Leyvas said.

Leyvas’ previous jobs had been at the statewide and national levels. “Those few words made me realize I wanted to work at the local level,” he said.


Adding a University of Arizona MBA and a Georgetown postgraduate certificate in nonprofit management along the way, Leyvas followed Stevenson’s advice and came home to launch the Phoenix chapter of HomeAid, which focuses on homelessness.

He wasn’t in the position long when the COVID pandemic arrived. Nonprofit work, just like everything else, changed drastically. Meanwhile, the new CEO at Valley of the Sun United Way was also navigating a new position amid the pandemic. Less than a year later, a new, five-year program was launched called Mighty Change.

“Their whole dynamic was changing to address the root causes of four key areas: health, education, housing and homelessness, and workforce development,” Leyvas said. “You can’t solve one without solving the others. And United Way was uniquely positioned because of their intersection with business and nonprofit partners.”

They were also seeking a vice president of corporate relations and social responsibility. Leyvas’ return to the Valley had created a big local wave (think tsunami-sized). They recognized that he was perfect for the job, and he stepped into the new role last May.

Even though it’s a national name, each United Way chapter is independent, which fulfills Leyvas’ desire to work at the grassroots level. His position also fulfills an unwavering belief in the inherent dignity of people. It’s the golden thread that has run through all of his career steps — the one first woven by a single mother lending her neighbors a hand.

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Movers, Shakers & Impact Makers

Five women who help some of Arizona’s biggest companies be good corporate citizens

Director of social responsibility. Community relationship manager. Director of community affairs. They go by many titles. But these pros don’t just impact their own businesses — they use their positions to make a positive impact on all of Arizona. Keep reading to learn what drives five of our community’s most innovative and socially responsible leaders.

Photos by Scott Foust Styled by Risa Kostis, Dulce Badillo & style assistant Katie Anderson Makeup by Eli Medina & Charlee Torres, The Sparkle Bar

Tina Marie Tentori

Arizona Public Service

The daughter of a pastor and a nurse, Tina Marie Tentori grew up with community in mind. “My dad would take me to hospitals when he visited sick people,” she said. “I learned what it takes to have a vibrant community, that all those people are your neighbors, and it’s our job to make sure we’re meeting each other’s needs.”

Today, Tentori is director of community affairs and executive director of the Arizona Public Service Company Foundation, a role she calls her “dream job.” Headquartered in Arizona for over 100 years, APS is embedded — and vested — in our community.

“When I chose APS, it was because APS was always giving to the community,” she said. “I knew they would allow me to do the things that are important to my heart. They’d let me serve on boards and do volunteerism. They walk their talk.”

Tentori had worked at a nonprofit for 17

years before coming to APS and was able to apply that nonprofit thinking to the corporate world in order to work more collaboratively together.

“That’s when it became a match made in heaven,” she said. “I am now in a position where I can help nonprofits be successful through funding, volunteerism and board service, knowing how all of those are so important to nonprofit success.”

One thing Tentori wants people to know about her work is that it’s sincere. “I know some people can view the giving a company does in a skewed manner. But I get to oversee where the money goes, and I know it’s based on need,” she said. “It’s based on the issues Arizona is facing and how we can impact them.”

Tentori’s commitment to community hasn’t changed much since the days she was tagging along with her dad during visiting hours. “A person like me fits perfectly at APS because they care about contributing to the prosperity of Arizona,” she said. “We really want to make a difference.”

Lourdes Sierra PNC Financial Services Group

Lourdes Sierra grew up in southeastern Arizona, close to the Mexican border. Raised in a small agricultural farming community, she spent her youth working in the fields to help her family. “It was through that hard work that I learned those valuable lessons that resonated with me throughout my life,” she said.

One of them was aspiring to pursue higher education.


“That was unheard of because my parents collectively only had three years of formal education,” Sierra said. “I always viewed education as an opportunity for me to change my trajectory.”

She became heavily involved with Chicanos Por La Causa while she was an undergrad at Arizona State University. After she graduated, she stayed in the community and did education outreach campaigns for ASU to increase the number of underrepresented students who attended the university.

“I’ve always had a passion for community, even though I was a business major,” Sierra said. “At the end of the day, we only become a stronger community and a stronger country when we’re all given opportunities to achieve.”

As vice president of client & community relations at PNC Financial Services Group, she is helping to do just that. Early childhood education is a focus area for the organization that hits close to home for Sierra. “It’s an area that, frankly, is underfunded and underappreciated,” she said. “If we’re going to meet the educational outcomes that we want to see in communities, it’s got to start at the earliest level.”

Education and community have been driving forces in Sierra’s life since she was a girl. Today, she tries to share the fruits of those labors with others — and lift communities in the process. “That’s really what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to move from transactional giving to transformational impact,” she said.

Christine Bracamonte Wiggs

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

“I grew up around healers,” said Christine Bracamonte Wiggs. Her dad was a nurse practitioner; her mom was a midwife, so Wiggs assumed she wanted to become a doctor. Then, she learned about public health.

“I was like, that’s my jam because instead of helping one person at a time, it is the opportunity to help multiple individuals and whole communities in order to have a bigger reach,” she said.

Wiggs began her career doing applied research at the University of Arizona. “Applied research is really embedding yourself in the community and finding out what the assets of that community are and what opportunities the community sees to promote health,” she said.

Today, as staff vice president for community & health advancement and president & board chair of Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation, Wiggs leads the social responsibility efforts of an organization with resources to make a substantial philanthropic investment in the


community. “Even though I moved from academia to healthcare, there’s a thread through what I’ve done, which is how we align and partner shoulder to shoulder with community members to drive health-related impact,” she said.

Through the foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield targets some of Arizona’s most pressing health concerns, including mental health, substance use disorders, chronic health conditions, and health equity. “It’s not just giving to do good.

It’s can we measure what the good is? Are we moving the needle in the right direction?

It’s an important responsibility,” she said.

Wiggs points out that money is just one part of the equation. Equally important is the work to build meaningful partnerships. “Make sure that the focus is not just on the dollars, but on the relationship,” she said. “Because that is how the work gets done.”

That commitment to work continues to guide Wiggs. “My path to where I am has been a winding one,” she said. “I haven’t focused on the job or the title; I’ve focused on the work. My North Star has been waking up every day knowing that what I’m doing is making an impact.”

Tracy Bame


As director of social responsibility at Freeport-McMoRan and president of the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation, Tracy Bame develops strategies and programs for the company to interact with communities. “That’s stakeholder engagement and social investment and working with communities to build wellness and resilience during the life of our operations,” she said.

Being mindful of resources is a hallmark of the company because of the nature of the business. “Mining is a finite resource,” Bame said. “Eventually, the mine will be depleted.”

Accordingly, Freeport-McMoRan works with communities to help them envision their future and identify what resilience looks like. “Community resilience isn’t something you achieve overnight or even in a decade. You have to put those building blocks in place,” Bame said. “Our philosophy is about listening to our communities and stakeholders to understand where they think the greatest needs are, and to try to invest in things that have a multiplier effect.”

Although there is a pathway to jobs like hers today, Bame says that wasn’t the case when she started out. “Now, there are a lot of degrees related to social responsibility in various sectors, including corporate. There weren’t when I graduated from college,” she said.

Instead, Bame found her way to corporate social


responsibility by observing work being done at her first job at American Express. “I got interested in the concept of helping companies be good citizens,” she said.

Bame has advice for anyone interested in doing similar work. “There are a lot of really good degree programs related to sustainability, or corporate social responsibility. So, definitely pursue higher education, but also get to know the nonprofit community and what’s happening in the community around you,” she said.

Service to the community is paramount, according to Bame. “We always look at how people engage beyond a degree and a specific skill set. So I would say anything that anyone can do to get engaged, be part of solutions and support the community is always a good entrée to the CSR field,” she said.

Maria Echeveste Bank of America

In her work as senior vice president and community relationship manager at Bank of America, Maria Echeveste spends most of her time listening. But she has also

important things to say.

She has lived in Arizona for more than 40 years, seeing opportunities here grow along with the state. Her paternal grandmother was born and raised in the Globe-Miami area, and Echeveste sees positive change, but also understands remaining inequities.

“If I can be a leader in trying to help solve these problems or be a voice for those who don’t have one — because, unfortunately, these inequities continue — that’s what’s guiding me,” she said.

Echeveste has learned a lot in the 28 years she has been with Bank of America. “I’ve been fortunate to learn from leaders in the company that educate us about economic mobility and why advancing racial equality is so important, besides understanding it from my personal family experiences,” she said.

In her role at Bank of America, Echeveste engages in the community, develops relationships with nonprofit partners, learns about local issues and steers the bank’s leadership to be part of the solutions.

“I’m fortunate to work with a company that values listening to our employees and our communities,” she said. Instead of prescriptive solutions, Echeveste said they strive to listen and work collaboratively. “We ask those with lived experience, or who are finding solutions, what do they see? It’s not for us to say, ‘This is what we think needs to happen.’”

For all of the advances, Echeveste thinks we are at a critical point in our state. “If we don’t step back and listen in on what is going on in our community, in our schools, in our neighborhoods, and help empower others, our youth will have worse challenges than we think,” she said.

Those challenges are real. People of color still generally earn less than their white counterparts, and there’s a 14-year discrepancy in life expectancy, depending on where in the Valley you live. On top of that, climate issues, challenges in affordable housing, and access to future education resources loom.

“We cannot do this alone. It cannot be just Bank of America or one nonprofit or government institution,” Echeveste said. “It has to be collaborative.”

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Forging New Paths

Pathways to Economic Opportunity helps Black and Latina young women find new career choices

Phoenix is booming in a bunch of different ways.

The tech sector is exploding, thanks to an influx of investment by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Intel and others. Our healthcare industry is expanding to meet the needs of a growing — and aging — population. Phoenix is becoming a hub for new-economy industries such as cybersecurity. Opportunities abound for young people plotting their career paths forward.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple for those in minority communities, especially women. Due to a variety of factors, lower-income Black and Latina women often don’t have the

same exposure to new industries as males or white people in general. The result is that they may miss out on high-wage jobs, even in a booming economy.

That lack of exposure and opportunity is part of the reason Black and Latina women make less than their white male counterparts — for every dollar a white male makes, a Black woman makes 64 cents. Latina women make 53 cents in comparison.

So when Valley of the Sun United Way invested funding to help address the wage gap, it convened a broad team of agencies to do something about it.


The result is the Pathways to Economic Opportunity program, a collaboration between Valley of the Sun United Way, ElevateEdAZ, Chicanos Por La Causa, Center for the Future of Arizona, Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation, YWCA Metropolitan Phoenix, Southwest Human Development, Pipeline AZ and school districts across the Valley.

The goal: improve professional skills and expand exposure to new careers by providing externships, internships and apprenticeships to young Black and Latina women.

“We’re really trying to get more individuals into highwage, high-demand pathways,” said Jennifer Mellor, chief innovation officer for the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation. “As an example, if we look at manufacturing, there are very few women in the sector. We are trying to get more women to go into pathways into those opportunities, and we’re trying to bring in some successful

women from the industry to talk about those careers as an encouragement to young women.”

The program launched in the fall of 2022 and goes beyond just providing externships and internships to ensuring participants have support for their education and life needs. They can get gas cards if needed, equipment or uniforms they may need for work, or childcare to help support their families. Students also get college and career

preparation, including résumé work and counseling on job skills.

“Some are students, some are mothers who may be returning to the workforce,” Mellor said. “Some of those projects have been really cool, assessing differing threats, and have been very rewarding. A number of those externs have been able to get internships or full-time job opportunities as a result.”

For example, six externs participated in the IT and cybersecurity externship. During this two-week externship, students had an opportunity to hear from a variety of different employers, see the different opportunities in IT and cybersecurity, work on a project with other externs and present that project at their final convening.

“There is an exposure gap when it comes to students understanding what they want to do in the future,” said Kaycie Quinonez, district director of ElevateEdAZ, who serves as program manager for the initiative. “We’re

“We’re really trying to get more individuals into highwage, high-demand pathways.”

ensuring students have access to resources and meaningful work experiences that allow them to get exposure while they are still in high school so they can explore careers that they maybe didn’t know existed before or are nontraditional.”

Externships are paid, so students don’t have to choose between new work opportunities and jobs that may help support their families.

Quinonez said one of the biggest things she’s seen from students is the increased knowledge of the field they are interested in — as well as the development of soft skills that are so important in careers. “Sometimes students find out they aren’t into the fields they are going into, which is important to learn as well, but they still get skills and career capabilities out of it,” she said.

As the program expands, the partner agencies have a simple request — they need more businesses to take part and offer externship and internship opportunities, as well as mentoring and training. Interested companies can learn more on the ElevateEdAZ website.

Despite the initiative’s newness, the future is bright, thanks to the collaboration between the agencies making Pathways to Economic Opportunity a reality.

“I think there’s a real passion and commitment for this type of work,” Quinonez said, “and getting our Black and Latina young women interested in these opportunities and making that impact on the trajectory of their future.”

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A Day With



I get up early and pray before I get my day going. I then tool around the house to mentally prepare to manage my day. I use this time to either finish reading or work out. I’m a financial guy and used to be the budget director who navigated the city through some of its most treacherous financial periods, so I turn on the news and listen to what’s happening in the markets. I’m also an avid music lover and used to DJ in college, so I sometimes listen to music to get my head in the right place. Because I know when I get to work, I rarely have time for myself as the days are packed with meetings on top of meetings.

7:30 A.M.


I like to arrive at the office when there aren’t many people in the building and it’s still quiet. It gives me another opportunity to catch up on emails and check my voicemail to see if there are any emergent fires I need to respond to, public records requests from media, or anything that happened overnight with Police and Fire that I may have missed.

There is no one-size-fits-all to my day. The City of Phoenix is a council-manager form of government. The benefit of this structure is that you have a professional-level administrator orchestrating the day-to-day and the councilsetting policy. It’s my team’s and my job to figure out how to make that policy live and breathe. I have one-on-one meetings with my direct reports and a standing weekly meeting with the mayor. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are somewhat formulaic because these are council days when we have policy and formal meetings. We spend a lot of time making sure departments are prepared for their presentations and council agenda items are ready for discussion.

As Phoenix is the fifth-largest city in the country and the largest city in Arizona, I meet with my peers — East and West Valley city managers — as well as business owners and community members.



I came to the City of Phoenix in 1999 from Pennsylvania and Georgia, which were very different culturally, politically, historically, aesthetically and environmentally. When I first got here, Phoenix was the sixth-largest city in the country, yet it functioned like a really small town. But then, as people came here in droves and the population almost doubled in a decade and a half, the speed at which things happened changed drastically.

City manager of the City of Phoenix

One example is we are having discussions to better serve the population that were previously not taking place. Back in the day, it was common for council votes to be 9-0, with rare dissension among the group. We’ve now become accustomed to 5-4 or 6-3 votes. It’s healthy to have discussions and differences of opinion because that’s when you get a better product.

We are growing into our own and accepting the fact that we’re the fifth-largest city in the country. We’ve got an actual downtown that doesn’t shut down at 5 p.m. We have Friday and Saturday night concerts and events and major sports that people attend. Phoenix has diversified its economy, minimized exposure and lessened the burden of a recession’s potential impact. We’ve also done a great job looking outward and working with our community to have greater community involvement in everything from budget to policing.


I grew up in public housing with lesser means. I chose government because I wanted to give folks who grew up like me an opportunity to have what I didn’t. I knew local government is where a lot of conversations happen if you’re really trying to make a difference. It’s at the local level where those changes manifest.

Being the first African American city manager in Phoenix’s history is a huge accomplishment. I went to Morehouse College, a historically Black college and university, so it’s an even bigger deal for me. I grew up without a father and my parents weren’t involved in my life. I was raised by my grandmother, who dropped out of school in sixth grade, and my grandfather couldn’t read or write. My grandmother is my guiding light, and it’s heartwarming to be in this position.


When I was in high school, my aunt and I helped start a nonprofit that provided education and tutoring for kids. Attending Morehouse College instilled a sense of purpose and obligation to participate in a community-based movement. My wife and I are involved in our sorority and fraternity’s community events, and we bring our kids along. My father-in-law ran two community organizations, and my daughter and her boyfriend started a nonprofit in Atlanta that does local clean-ups and donates money to a recovery center for women.

I’m on several boards — Valley of the Sun United Way, Greater Phoenix Chamber, and Greater Phoenix Economic Council. I also serve as chair of Arizona Financial Credit Union’s audit and supervisory committee. We’re public servants through and through. It’s inherent in who we are.


I take the last hour of my day and purge emails before I leave the office. When I get home, my wife has a “no electronics at the table” policy. She doesn’t allow cell phones and likes to go around the dinner table, ask everyone about their day and have active conversations. My wife has a very solid family unit, and they do a lot of things together. It’s the first place I learned what a family looks like because I didn’t have that construct growing up. We hang out watching mindless TV or continue our discussions. I am not a huge sleeper, so I read, catch up on emails or watch TV after everyone has gone to bed.

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Barton presenting a proposed $500 million general obligation bond to city council, earning unanimous approval to move forward with the bond.
Barton and his wife, Danette, at a fundraising event for one of Phoenix’s 185 parks.

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Friday, April 21, 2023

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Donate your car, truck, motorcycle, RV, or boat to the Valley of the Sun YMCA and you may qualify for a tax deduction!

100% of awards are based on verified financial need BCF assists students attending 38 schools statewide Awarded tuition aid to over 2400 students last school year And transform lives forever CONVERT YOUR INDIVIDUAL AND CORPORATE TAX CREDIT INTO TUITION AID Scan to learn how to DONATE your Arizona tax dollars to the Brophy Community Foundation I N D I V I D U A L T A X D O N A T I O N D E A D L I N E I S A P R I L 1 8 , 2 0 2 3 ! The Brophy Commun ty Founda ion has NEVER accepted donor designated contribut ons Ar zona aw now requ res a schoo tu t on organ zat ons to pr nt the fo lowing not ce on al pr nted mater a s and websites A school tu t on organ zat on cannot award restr ct or reserve scholarships so e y on he bas s of donor recommenda ion A taxpayer may not claim a tax credit f the taxpayer agrees to swap donations with another taxpayer to benef t either taxpayer s own dependent

Changing Lives One Ride at a Time

Elaine provides vital transportation for underserved communities


Elaine is the brainchild of Vivienne Gellert, who created the organization when she was a pre-med student at Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions. She noticed emergency rooms were filled with people who didn’t know how to access timely and appropriate care, so she created Elaine as Arizona’s first health navigation and transportation system for those experiencing homelessness. The organization is named after Elaine Herzberg, a woman experiencing homelessness who was struck and killed by a self-driving vehicle in Tempe.



Founder: Vivienne Gellert

CEO: Eric Barr



CEO Eric Barr is passionate about providing a door-to-door service that helps people make, get to and check in at appointments.
In fiscal year 2022, Elaine provided 3,985 rides to 820 people in connection to 2,619 critical resources and services.
CONNECTING WOMEN WHERE THEY WORK, LIVE OR PLAY Join us where you live, work or play to connect with like-minded women to share information, ideas, contacts and opportunities. Learn more at: | | EDUCATE EMPOWER INSPIRE


Elaine provides access to social determinants of health locations through free, dependable and compassionate transportation for homeless and other underserved communities (elderly, low-income, uninsured, etc.). By providing rides to resources and services critical to a person’s health and well-being — including medical appointments, food banks, job and housing interviews and other necessary errands — Elaine is creating safer and healthier communities.

Most Surprising Thing About the Organization

When Eric Barr read about Elaine, he knew he wanted to get involved. He met with Gellert, and she contacted him a little over a year later to tell him the leadership role at Elaine was available. “Vivienne and the board ended up taking a chance on me, and for that, I will be forever grateful,” he said.

According to Barr, a good portion of the team at Elaine lacked specific career experience in transportation, working with the homeless population, business management or some combination. “I guess that’s maybe to say that some major elements of this job were new to us,” he said. “But we’re all passionate about this work and will do whatever it takes to create a wonderful experience for each of our clients and continue to build our program so that some day we reach our goal of providing our services nationwide.”

Program Highlight

While Elaine will continue to provide transportation around all social determinants of health locations, Barr said they are particularly excited to increase their presence within

the healthcare community. A current pilot program aims at decreasing hospital readmission rates and no-shows to medical appointments by providing access to healthcare locations for vulnerable populations. “As we continue to finetune that program, we look to eventually replicate that with other healthcare providers around the Valley,” Barr said.

Recent Challenges

Demand for Elaine’s services has risen significantly in the past year. Although the organization has recently added two vehicles and drivers to its fleet, the ability to accommodate ride requests remains the biggest challenge for the team. “We are confident that the transportation system we are building is strong. We will just continue to need the funding and support to allow us to grow to meet the community where the needs are,” Barr said.


Conversations are in the works about how Elaine can expand its programming to focus on unique community needs. “Our program offers a natural flexibility that could allow us to have certain vehicles with specific focuses in addressing food insecurity by providing grocery store or food bank rides or deliveries, getting people to and from work regularly so they don’t have to worry about losing their main source of income, or redefining what access to healthcare can mean and the impact it can have,” Barr said.

For now, they are seeing where the road leads. To learn more, visit



Pastry chef Mark Chacón creates extraordinary sweets

In 2022, Mark Chacón was named a semifinalist for a James Beard Award, one of the culinary industry’s most prestigious honors. Although he didn’t win, the unexpected recognition was extremely meaningful.

Photos courtesy of Chacónne Patisserie

“A friend called to congratulate me, but I didn’t know why,” he said. “When I found out I was nominated, I was overwhelmed, and I continue to be proud and gratified by the honor.”

Before pastry became his passion, Chacón’s love for the arts started with music. Originally from Maryland, he moved west to attend Arizona State University and study violin. Due to an injury, he changed his major to journalism and, after graduating, wrote for local culinary publications and worked at Whole Foods. He then spent time in the Bay Area, which changed his career plan.

While working as a cake decorator at Whole Foods in the Bay Area, Chacón volunteered to work at Tartine, one of the country’s most renowned bakeries. For months, he brought them treats he made until they agreed to let him intern. With Tartine on his résumé, Chacón had opportunities to work at prominent establishments like Alice Waters’ Café Fanny and Chez Panisse, as well as Belinda Leong’s b. Patisserie.

Chacón wanted to share some of the skills he’d learned, so he worked for the Bread Project, teaching baking to formerly incarcerated people, immigrants and refugees, which he recounts as one of the most rewarding experiences of his career.

Chacón returned to Arizona in 2018 and taught at the Arizona Culinary Institute. A friend put him in contact with pizza icon Chris Bianco. As he did at Tartine, Chacón regularly brought his pastry creations to Bianco and was soon hired to make desserts for Bianco’s restaurants Tratto, Pizzeria Bianco and Pane Bianco.

When Chacón decided to start his business, Bianco was extremely supportive and became a client. Chacón currently provides desserts to several restaurants in the Valley, including Pizzeria Bianco, Pane Bianco, Sottisse and Bacanora.

Chacón’s amazing pastries can also be found at the uptown and downtown farmers markets, Futuro in downtown Phoenix, Window Coffee Bar in midtown Phoenix and Moxie Coffee Company in uptown Phoenix. They can also be ordered online and picked up at his kitchen facility in Phoenix.

Chacón’s most popular items include cream cheese danishes, tropical almond croissants with passion fruit and banana, chocolate almond croissants, chocolate brioche, cinnamon rolls and pecan sticky buns.

“I like taking simple things and elevating them,” he said. “Taking a simple offering like a cinnamon roll and making it the best consistently takes a lot of time.”

Chacón has many ideas to build his business, including savory pastries to complement his sweet offerings, elevated ice cream sandwiches and expanding into resorts.

“I’ve been baking for a long time, and I feel technically very capable, which allows me to express my ideas and bring them to fruition,” he said.

To learn more, go to



UMOM program sets clients up for success

Founded in 1964, UMOM’s mission is to end family homelessness by restoring hope and rebuilding lives. In addition to providing shelter, one of the vehicles UMOM uses to further its mission is Helpings Café in Phoenix, which was established in 2014. Open to the public for breakfast and lunch on weekdays, Helpings Café creates revenue for UMOM programs while teaching job skills to UMOM clients.

“Helpings Café is food with a purpose,” said Edwin Donnovan Jimenez, director of social enterprise at UMOM. “Every cent made at Helpings Café goes back into UMOM programs. A dozen muffins equals dinner for a homeless family; a specialty coffee pays for dinner for a homeless child.”

In addition to coffee and pastries, Helpings Café’s menu features seasonal items made from scratch, including chilaquiles, roasted beet salad, tacos, daily soup selections, plant-based options and more. Helpings Café also has a growing catering program.

UMOM offers a six-week training program for Helpings Café, available to current UMOM residents, clients and those from the past five years. Participants learn all aspects of the business, from making coffee drinks to taking orders and interacting with customers. They are also trained in the kitchen from knife skills to following a recipe.

“Our goal is to get people jobs within 90 days of graduating from the program. After graduating, they can apply for internships at Helpings Café to further enhance the skills they’ve learned with potential to become fulltime employees,” Jimenez said.

Photos courtesy of UMOM

In addition to working at Helpings Café, UMOM has relationships with local companies, including Marriott, Kind Hospitality and Starbucks, which may have opportunities to hire program graduates.

When guests visit Helpings Café or use them for catering, they experience the direct impact. “We have so many regular guests that share our vision of giving back to others and understand that what we are doing is more than just a business,” Jimenez said.

In addition to the Helpings Café training program, UMOM offers job readiness programs to help clients learn how to write résumés and interview.

“We want people to believe in themselves,” Jimenez said. “Our goal is to set them up for success to get back into the workforce. I see great potential for Helpings Café and catering to expand and impact more lives at a larger scale.”

To learn more, visit

4001 N. 24th St. Phoenix, AZ 85016 ph: 602.957.0186 fax: 602.956.0463
“What we are doing is more than just a business.”



In January, the Arizona Concours d’Elegance rolled into town, presenting 90 of the world’s truly exceptional vehicles — most rarely seen by the public — with revenue from sponsors and attendees supporting the Scottsdale Arts community. Experts judged the cars for authenticity, provenance and functionality. Starting at 100, points and fractional points were deducted for the slightest imperfection, such as a clock that didn’t work or a parking light that was slightly dimmer than it should be. Best of show was this stunning 1947 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Cabriolet.

This curated celebration of automotive design supporting the arts and local artists will return in 2024.

To learn more, go to

Text and photo by Richard Sanderson
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