Resourcefullness Award

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Dr. Kelly K. Damron

Assistant Professor | Grand Canyon University

Dr. Kelly K. Damron, CPA focuses on teaching introductory financial accounting, taxation, and intermediate accounting II courses. She brings the perspective of public accounting to her taxation courses to help students prepare for careers in the profession. She utilizes her industry experience when teaching and mentors students.

Dr. Damron is the co-faculty advisor for the Collegiate DECA of GCU chapter. She is also the co-Executive Director for the Arizona Collegiate DECA where she helps oversee all of the collegiate chapters in the State of Arizona and directs the student leaders, as needed. She is the recipient of the 2018 ACBSP Teaching Excellence award for Region 7.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Colorado State University, a Master of Business Administration from the W. P. Carey School of Business and a PhD Business Administration in Advanced Accounting from Northcentral University.

Pamela Keefe

Vice President-Nonprofit Relationship Manager | National Bank of Arizona®

As Vice President and Nonprofit Relationship Manager for National Bank of Arizona®, Pamela Keefe is responsible for serving the needs of nonprofit organizations in Arizona. A veteran banker with more than 30 years’ experience, Pamela facilitates the many products and services available from NB|AZ. From treasury management services, lending and credit assistance and everything in between, Pam will connect your organization with the right specialists.

Pamela’s hands-on approach to service and action-oriented vision are the driving forces behind many of her clients’ success stories. She joined NB|AZ in 2001 with a broad set of experiences in the financial services industry. As your Relationship Manager, Pamela will manage the financial needs, while taking time to understand the unique goals of your organization.

Community Involvement Pam is the Advisory Board Member for Assistance League of Phoenix and an active member of Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, Feeding Matters Luncheon Committee, Organization for Nonprofit Executives and numerous other nonprofit organizations.

Karen Werner

Editor | Frontdoors Media

Karen Werner is the editor of Frontdoors media. A writer, editor and media consultant with experience in a number of different platforms, she frequently serves as an adjunct professor of editing and magazine writing at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

Werner is the founder and principal of KWink media, a consulting firm that helps create publications and manage social communications for a number of prominent for-profit and nonprofit organizations, including the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust and BHHS Legacy Foundation. She previously served as executive editor of Arizona Foothills and Custom Homes magazines and has produced publications for the Musical Instrument Museum, the Arizona Office of Tourism, Phoenix-area NPR affiliates KJZZ and KBAQ, and the City of Glendale.

Before moving to Phoenix, Werner earned a master's degree in journalism at NYU, interned at The New Yorker, worked at Parents Magazine, co-wrote a full-length interactive play, and won a silver medal in an international film festival for a documentary about cabbies.



Christine Benero

President and Chief Executive Officer | Mile High United Way

Christine Benero is President and Chief Executive Officer of Mile High United Way, the first United Way in the country. For nearly 130 years, Mile High United Way has worked to advance the common good and believes all children, individuals and families should have the opportunity for success. Last year, Mile High United Way proudly invested over $30 million in the Denver metro area.

Christine is the former Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross Mile High Chapter, in Denver, Colorado. Prior to joining the American Red Cross, Christine was the Director of the Office of Public Liaison for the Corporation for National and Community Service in Washington, DC. She served in two Presidential administrations working for both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Christine has served as Vice President of the National Civic League, and as a Community Affairs Corporate Program Officer for Target Stores in Minneapolis, MN.

Christine serves on the Boards of HealthONE, National Domestic Violence Hotline, Community Wealth Partners, Denver Public Schools Foundation and EPIC. In 2015, Christine was asked to serve as co-chair on the Denver Public Schools Community Planning Advisory Committee by Superintendent Tom Boasberg. She was appointed by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock to the Denver Education Compact Board and currently sits on the National Professional Council for United Way Worldwide. Christine was named the 9News Leader of the Year in 2007 and in 2009 received the Community Leader Award by Goodwill Industries and was named by both the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post as one of “Nine to Watch in 2009.” In 2010 she was named a “Woman of Distinction” by the Girl Scouts of Colorado and in 2011 received the “Las Madrinas” award from Centro San Juan Diego. In 2012, Christine was honored nationally by Girl Scouts of America as one of “One Hundred Distinguished Alumni” in honor of Girl Scouts 100th birthday. In 2013, she was named one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Denver by the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce and presented with the Urban League’s “McKinley Harris Distinguished Warrior” award and in 2014 she was a finalist for CEO of the Year by ColoradoBiz magazine. In 2016 Christine was named one of the Denver Business Journal’s Outstanding Women in Business and, most recently, she was awarded the 2017 Colorado Governor’s Citizenship Medal for Public and Community Service by Governor John Hickenlooper. The Colorado Governor’s Citizenship Medal is one of the highest honors bestowed upon citizens and organizations of Colorado for their meritorious contributions to the strength and vitality of the state.

Christine is a past President of the Association of Junior Leagues International, a past chairman of the Women’s Foundation of Colorado, Coalition for America’s Children and the Kiwanis International’s Young Children: Priority One Advisory Board. She was a delegate both to the Presidents’ Summit for America’s Future in 1997 and to the NGO Forum at the UN Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995.

Christine holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education from Boston University, a Masters in Education from Harvard University, Graduate School of Education and was selected as a 2007 Gates Fellow for the Senior Executive Program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

Su Hawk

Technology Business Partnerships Manager | CareerWise

Su Hawk is the Technology Business Partnerships Manager at CareerWise, a business-led nonprofit implementing a statewide, three-year modern apprenticeship program for high school students.

She joined the organization in June of 2018 after nearly three years as President/CEO of B:CIVIC, dedicated to increasing corporate social responsibility for businesses and communities across the state. Previously she was the President/CEO of the Colorado Technology Association for nearly ten years, transforming the small association to becoming a technology industry leader in Colorado and the region for IT operations and companies across the state.

“With the increasingly important current and future needs for workforce development across industries, CareerWise is uniquely positioned as a critical pipeline development. Their expertise and partnerships with schools and for students, added to the important value proposition for business leaders, makes them an exciting solution to build careers for a lifetime,” said Hawk. “I am here now to make a significant difference in the lives of students and with business leaders who are focused on developing talent from our local community.”

Previous roles have included as President/CEO of the BBB and BBB Foundation, VP at the Denver Metro Chamber and SVP at the Southeast Business Partnership. She led communications and marketing divisions for various companies and agencies and was an instructor of marketing and communications at DU’s University College for nearly ten years.

She was just elected to the Mentor Colorado Board and has served on the Board of Directors for the Blind Institute of Technology, Monfort School’s Business Advisory Council, CSU’s ISTeC Advisory Council, the Technology Executive Council of North America, and other Boards including Colorado Enterprise Fund, Girls Count, Colorado MESA, and Open World Learning. She is the past Board Chair of Colorado PRSA and Family Tree.

Marla J. Williams

President and CEO | Community First Foundation

Marla J. Williams joined Community First Foundation in November 2010 as president and CEO. Community First Foundation has been helping generous donors and innovative nonprofits come together to improve the quality of life and create positive change in Jefferson County, the Denver metropolitan area and beyond since 1975. Under Williams’ leadership, the foundation has grown from $50 million to over $400 million and a signature program, Colorado Gives Day, has grown from $8 million raised in 24 hours to over $38 million. Williams led the foundation through a strategic planning process that identified mental health and wellness as a funding priority and quickly established the foundation as a trusted and innovative funding partner. During her tenure, the foundation also purchased its new home in Olde Town Arvada and remodeled it to allow the foundation to offer free, high quality meeting space to the nonprofit community.

Prior to joining Community First Foundation, Williams was a partner with the law firm of Holme Roberts & Owen LLP, where she represented nonprofit clients in all aspects of their business. She also served as president and CEO of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado and continues to serve as an Honorary Trustee. Her accomplishments at The Women’s Foundation include undertaking the first-ever study of women and technology in Colorado and joining with the University of Denver to build the Merle Catherine Chambers Center for the Advancement of Women.

Williams earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her A.B. from Indiana University. She is the past president of the Colorado Women’s Bar Association and received its highest honor, the Mary Lathrop Award. She has also received the Girl Scout’s Woman of Distinction award, the Woman of the Year award from Business & Professional Women of Colorado, and the 25 Most Powerful Women award from the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce. She is especially proud that the work of Community First Foundation has earned many awards, including Outstanding Foundation in 2013.

Williams has served on many boards, including SCL Health, a multi-state hospital system. She is former chair of the board of the Colorado Association of Funders, and is currently board member of the Chambers Family Fund, and board member and audit committee member of Sturm Financial Group, the holding company of ANB Bank.



Thomas Adams

President and Chief Executive Office | Better Futures Minnesota

Thomas Adams, PhD is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Better Futures Minnesota, a social change enterprise that fuels and guides men's desire to turn their lives around and walk a new path toward better health and success. Better Futures Minnesota is intent on changing the debilitating, costly systems and practices that produce poor results and perpetuate the chaos and cycles of dependency experienced by high-risk men. Dr. Adams has over 21 years of experience in delivering a continuum of supportive services to underserved populations of color living in distressed communities. Prior to leading Better Futures Minnesota, Dr. Adams served most recently as CEO of African American Family Services, a community-based, culturally-specific behavioral health clinic serving the African American community of the Twin Cities. He also served as Executive Director of the Association of Minority Professions Schools, as Founder and Principal Partner of Next Level Consulting Group, as Vice President of Education, Employment and Youth Services with Summit Academy OIC, as Executive Director of Pillsbury Neighborhood Services, and as Program Director for the Bridge for Runaway Youth, among other roles. Additionally, Dr. Adams serves as Adjunct Faculty for Metro State University and Greenville College in Greenville, IL. Dr. Adams earned his undergraduate degree from North Dakota State University, his master’s degree from Augsburg College, and his doctorate from Regent University. Dr. Adams has numerous board and professional affiliations including the Minnesota African American Leadership Forum, the Perpich Center for Arts Education Board, and the Hennepin County Workforce Investment Board. Dr. Adams was born and raised in St. Paul, MN. He currently resides in the Twin Cities.

According to Dr. Adams, “I have spent 20 plus years in the nonprofit sector serving primarily urban inner-city underserved communities, worked in a variety of fields (workforce readiness, criminal justice, equity/ diversity, youth services, behavioral health, etc.) and various structures (social enterprises, member associations, traditional nonprofits). I have a deep passion and respect for the role nonprofit organizations perform in our society and believe that they perform a vital role in addressing issues and conditions that negatively impact communities and our nation.”

Bob Cohen

Principal | Tamar Fink

Bob’s focus is in the charitable planning and life insurance arena only, choosing to collaborate with other qualified professionals in the legal, tax, and wealth management areas.

With a non-profit/gift planning background beginning in 1989, Bob is also co-founder and partner of Tamar Fink Charitable Advisors (TFCA), supporting gift planners to expand their donors’ charitable capacity and maximize their giving. TFCA is approaching $1 billion in completed charitable gifts.

“It is extremely rewarding to help donors align their giving plans with their giving goals in order to increase services for their favored non-profits.”

In addition, specializing in the evaluation of mispriced and underperforming life insurance policies, Bob remedies years of neglect and mismanagement. Bob “rescues” lapsing policies to acquire new, favorably priced policies, including for individuals with “pre-existing conditions.”

“It concerns me that good people, buying life insurance for selfless reasons, will lose their policy due to poor policy design, unrealistic expectations and lack of professional attention. My work is to help all beneficiaries receive their anticipated benefits.”

Bob is an established speaker and writer on the topic of charitable planning, effective policy evaluation and maintenance.

Jamie Millard

Executive Director | Pollen

Jamie Millard is executive director of Pollen, a community of 10,000+ civic-connectors across Minneapolis and St. Paul. Pollen invest in human connection through storytelling, bringing people together through events, and linking people to new personal and professional opportunities. In the past four years, Pollen has been on a business model journey: going from one funding source to launching a social enterprise that has diversified the organization’s revenue—resulting in 70% of all revenue coming from earned sources.

Jamie has been identified as a "2015 40 Under 40" by the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal, as a "100 People to Know in 2015" by the Twin Cities Business Magazine. Nationally, Jamie was recognized in the Huffington Post as one of four millennial leaders, “doing important work to move us toward a more just and equitable society.” She serves on the board of GiveMN and in 2009, Jamie co-founded the literary arts magazine Paper Darts, which is now a premier Twin Cities literary institution and has published more than 900 writers and artists.


North Dakota

Eric Piela

Head of Brand & Buzz | CoSchedule

Eric Piela serves as Head of Brand & Buzz at CoSchedule, the fastest growing startup in ND, developing programs that increase CoSchedule’s brand awareness and enhancing company relationships and reputation across the marketing industry. Prior to his role at CoSchedule, Eric held positions at Flint Group, Microsoft and IBM.

Eric serves as a steward of the Fargo/Moorhead area as a campaign cabinet member for United Way of Cass Clay and sits on the MSUM Paseka School of Business Advisory Council. Eric lives in West Fargo, where he and his wife, Jill, have two boys, Elliot (6) and Julien (3).

Christi Schaefbauer

VP for Financial Affairs | University of Mary

After obtaining her bachelor’s degree from Northern State University, Christi worked with the Department of Legislative Audit for the State of South Dakota for six years as a state government auditor. She then spent several years in private accounting, leading audits and performing various tax and financial reporting services. Her main focus in the private sector was non-profit and school audits.

Christi received her Master’s in Business Administration in 2009 and became a Certified Administrator of School Finance and Operations in 2011. In 2009, Christi assumed the Business Manager position with the Mobridge-Pollock School District in South Dakota and in 2012, she was hired as the Business Manager for the Mandan School District in North Dakota. In 2018, Christi joined the University of Mary as the Vice President for Financial Affairs. Christi also serves on the Board of Directors for the Missouri Valley YMCA and teaches classes for the North Dakota School Boards Association.

Pat Traynor, J.D.

President | Dakota Medical Foundation

A North Dakota native, Pat earned degrees in economics and law from the University of North Dakota. He began his career as an attorney with the law firm of Conmy, Feste, Bossart, Hubbard and Corwin in Fargo.

In 1994, he was appointed deputy director/general counsel of the N.D. Workers Compensation Bureau. Within a year, he became CEO of the Bureau where he spearheaded a major reform eliminating a $240 million unfunded liability and building a $350 million surplus.

Pat became president of Dakota Medical Foundation (DMF) in 2000. The Foundation has since continuously explored new ways to become more effective and impactful in the use of its resources. Since 1996, DMF has invested about $94 million in charities and initiatives designed to improve health and quality of life in the region.

Pat currently serves on the boards of Gate City Bank, the North Dakota Safety Council, and as an ex-officio member of the Dakota Medical and Impact Foundation’s boards. He has served on the boards of Anne Carlsen Center and North Dakota State Retirement and Investment Office, and has also served on the University of North Dakota Campaign Steering Committee. In 2014, he received the L.B. Hartz Professional Achievement Award from the College of Business and Innovation at Minnesota State University Moorhead for creating economic opportunities through innovation, entrepreneurship and community service.



Kathy Bray

President & CEO | Volunteers of America, Utah

Kathy is from upstate New York where she earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from the State University of New York at Brockport. She initially worked with emotionally disturbed children, runaway and homeless youth, and homeless families.

After moving to Utah more than 30 years ago to ski, she continued her work with homeless people, expanding into the areas of addiction and subsidized housing. Kathy completed her master’s degree in social work from the University of Utah in 1998. She has worked for Volunteers of America, Utah, for 19 years, primarily in program operations, and for the last nine years as the president and CEO.

Volunteers of America is a national, nonprofit, faith-based organization providing social service programs and opportunities for community involvement. In Utah, they employ 180 people, operate six service locations in Salt Lake County, utilize more than 3,000 volunteers per year, and serve close to 7,000 people. Social service programs assist individuals and families who are struggling with homelessness, addiction and mental health issues. To support this work, Kathy participates in the county and state homeless coordinating committees, Substance Abuse Provider Network, Utah Nonprofit Association and is a commissioned minister of Volunteers of America. In 2014, Kathy was nominated for the Social Services Entrepreneur Year by EY. Volunteers of America, Utah, was selected as the second-place winner of the Resourcefullness Award from Eide Bailly in 2017.

Scott McLeod

VP of Collective Impact Partnerships | United Way of Salt Lake

Scott McLeod is committed to promoting equity in our society and sees education as the pivotal force in achieving this reality. Using the skills he has learned as a facilitator, management consultant, researcher, educator, and policy wonk, Scott connects change agents from different sectors to build systemic (and systematic) solutions to our most vexing social problems. In short, he is honest about inequality and brings together those willing to take it on so children get a real chance at success.

Scott earned his undergraduate degree in Sociology from Middlebury College, and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Utah. He has worked at United Way of Salt Lake since 2012 and has held multiple roles including Community School Director, Community Collaborations Director, Senior Director of Community School Partnerships, and most recently, VP of Collective Impact Partnerships. In this capacity, Scott and the rest of the team at UWSL work with partners to create “cradle to career pipelines” for highly impacted students to guarantee their success in early childhood, school, college, and eventually a successful career.

Kai Wilson

Nonprofit Consultant

Kai Wilson is a nonprofit consultant with over 30 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector with roles in administration, strategic and operational planning, fundraising, finance and supporting complex collaborative efforts. His passion is in bringing together this broad functional expertise to coach, mentor and build the capacity of nonprofit leaders and the organizations they serve.

He served as Executive Director of “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” for 19 years, Interim Executive Director of Neighborhood House; Director of Development and Finance for Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake, Assistant Director of the Sundance Film Festival, and Assistant Director of Development and National Convention Coordinator at the American Red Cross. Kai was as an executive coach for the Fieldstone Foundation and taught leadership development to nonprofit executive directors through the University of Utah’s Department of Professional Education.

Kai earned a bachelor of arts from the University of Utah. Certifications include Nonprofit Board Consulting from BoardSource© and Effective Facilitator from Leadership Strategies. He served on the Board of the Utah Nonprofits Association, as treasurer of Utah Philanthropy Day, and has sat on numerous grant review panels for the State of Utah and United Way.

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