Sitting at the intersection of women and girls, basketball, LGBTQ rights and people of color, the Phoenix Mercury has utilized its platform to lift the voices of those previously silenced and to honor individuals making a difference in the community. In continuation of this commitment, the Phoenix Mercury, for the second year in a row, will elevate incredible women in sports, business and philanthropy who are making an impact in their communities with its Believe in Women award brought to you by Fry’s Food Stores.

Coach Mia McPoland

Coach Mia

Mia was born with a very rare bone marrow failure disorder called: Diamond Blackfan Anemia.

DBA is a rare bone marrow failure syndrome disorder where the body does not produce any red blood cells. Red blood cells are vital to the body as they carry and deliver oxygen to the body tissues via blood. People with DBA have symptoms common to all other types of anemia, including pale skin, extreme sleepiness, fatigue, rapid heart beat, and heart murmurs. There is no cure.

After a routine doctor appointment, that was moved up due to changes in medical insurance, the nurse thought Mia looked ‘pasty’ and sent for a blood draw stat. By the time we got home, there were 5 messages on the answering machine pleading me to please take Mia to the ER right away as she had a hemoglobin of 2.3. This was on November 26, 2002 the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I told the front desk person Mia has a hemoglobin of 2.3 and they immediately took her back for an immediate blood transfusion, she was so low that they gave her almost two units of blood as a tiny baby. It saved her life. Mia would not be alive right now thanks to generous strangers who donate their blood.

After about three months the diagnosis of DBA was confirmed and the doctors also told us that she had Turner Syndrome as well, found through a karyotype (chromosomes). TS is unrelated to DBA and it occurs in about 1 in 2,500 girls. Having both of these disorders has been difficult and requires MANY doctor appointments, but Mia continues to shine through it all.

Mia has survived thanks to the kindness of strangers who donate their blood so she can live. These blood transfusions are life sustaining. Mia receives packed red blood cells every 3-4 weeks and has for the past 19 years. (Except when she responded to steroids but got really sick and we couldn’t get her on a low dose again.) To date, Mia has received 225 blood transfusions but close to 300 – 400 units of blood. We are very thankful to blood donors taking the time to save a life, just like Mia.

Lynn Holzman | Vice President of Women's Basketball

Lynn Holzman | Vice President of Women’s Basketball

Lynn Holzman returned to the NCAA in February 2018 as the vice president of women’s basketball. She is responsible for the strategic direction, oversight, operations, and management of women’s basketball in Divisions I, II and III. She serves as the primary liaison to the women’s basketball committees and provides strategic oversight of the site-selection process for each championship. In 2014, Holzman was appointed commissioner of the West Coast Conference after serving in various leadership roles within the conference office, including executive senior associate commissioner/chief operating officer and senior associate commissioner of governance and administration. Before her conference office tenure, she worked at the NCAA national office for 16 years, last serving as a director of academic and membership affairs.

Holzman was served on the Board of Directors and President of Women Leaders in College Sports. She also has served on various Boards such as the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, Kay Yow Cancer Fund, Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, San Jose Sports Authority, National Association for Athletics Compliance and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Center for Research in Intercollegiate Athletics.

Holzman earned her Bachelor of Science and secondary major degrees at Kansas State University where she was captain of the women’s basketball team and a three-time Academic All-Big Eight Team member. She also earned a Master of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a Master of Business Administration from Purdue University.

Susan Koehler | Chief Marketing Officer

Susan Koehler | Chief Marketing Officer

Chief Marketing Officer Susan Koehler leads all things Footprint marketing, including building a trusted brand, positive engagement with customers, partners and community leaders, and she chairs the Footprint Foundation. She brings over three decades of marketing leadership expertise creating trusted brands, strategic partnerships, and new revenue streams. She has a successful track record of building business alignment with governments, global and local communities, leading to awareness amplification, audience behavior change, and increased new customer acquisition.

Prior to Footprint, Susan served in C-suite roles at large companies and startups, including Microsoft, where she was Chief of Staff EMEA, based in Europe working for the president of Microsoft International, and as CMO for She also was a business leader at several consumer product companies and has served on non-profit boards such as The First Tee Greater Seattle and Taking IT Global.

Susan attended Rutgers University where she received her Master of Business Administration, and Syracuse University, where she graduated with both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Advertising and Marketing. Susan was a member of Harvard Kennedy School and Women’s Leadership Board for WAPPP (Women and Public Policy Program).

Noelle Trinder | MSN-Ed, RN Director of Clinical Education and Professional Development at Banner Health

Noelle Trinder | MSN-Ed, RN Director of Clinical Education and Professional Development at Banner Health

Noelle Trinder, MSN-Ed, RN, is the Director of Clinical Education and Professional Development at Banner Health. In addition to her role within Banner, Noelle is Mom to two children, ages 11 (Jack) and 15 (Elayna, a huge Mercury and Suns fan!). Noelle is married to her high school sweetheart, Nick. She is completing her DNP in Health Systems Leadership with a graduation date of March 2022, focusing on mental health and depression screening.

Noelle is an experienced Registered Nurse in Neuroscience and Progressive Care. She is skilled in creating centralized and standardized education across the healthcare continuum. Her passions include leadership, mentoring, relationships, professional development, and education. Noelle has a talent for bringing people together. Her passion for inclusivity, elevating women in leadership through mentoring, and building authentic relationships propels those she meets to success./p>

Noelle is the Practice Transition Accreditation Program (PTAP) Director for the dually accredited (by the ANCC and the US Department of Labor) Banner Health New Graduate RN Residency Program. The program is the largest globally, hosting approximately 1500 New Graduate RNs annually to successfully transition from academia to practice. Noelle is a member of the Arizona State Board of Nursing Scope of Practice Committee, representing Nursing at the state level. Also, she is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacist-Commission on Credentialing, Nursing Public Member, representing Nursing on the national level. She is dedicated to leaving the Nursing profession better for the next generation and healthcare better for all.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Noelle went back to the bedside in a RN role at Banner Boswell Medical Center to care for patients during the height of the pandemic. During this time, she worked alongside Dr. Jackie Hunter, DC, MHA, to ensure students could safely resume clinical rotations on COVID and non-COVID units, serving over 15,000 students and interns at Banner to achieve needed clinical hours for college.

As the nursing community, the country, and the world recover from COVID-19, Noelle strives to support her colleagues and community in processing the pandemic through self-care, easy access to mental health resources, and participation in wellness activities to make health care easier and life better for everyone.

If you or a loved one is suffering severe distress or appears suicidal, call Banner Health at (800) 254-4357, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255. This hotline connects you with a behavioral health professional who can help. It’s completely free and accessible 24 hours a day. Online chat is also available. Asking for help is a sign of strength – you are not alone; we are here for you.

Tatiana Burkett | Medicwest EMS

Tatiana Burkett | Medicwest EMS

Tatiana Burkett started working with Medicwest EMS right out of high school. After 6 years with Medicwest she tried her hand at as a correctional officer for 2.5 years with the Nevada Department of Corrections. She completed a rigorous course at the Officer Training Academy. After gaining her experience as a correctional officer she returned back to Medicwest. She continues to set new personal and professional goals. Ms. Burkett’s most recent focus is a 4-month Retired Fire Captains Volunteer Fire Fighter Rookie School Experience Program.

Ms. Burkett was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada in the Historic West Las Vegas area. She is the oldest of 4 kids. She is the proud mother of a wonderful 7-year-old daughter, Tiana.

Throughout Ms. Burkett’s childhood, she recognized her mother’s sacrifices to raise her and her siblings. Her mother worked multiple jobs at a time, while still pursuing her college degree, which she earned when Ms. Burkett was 26 years old. Ms. Burkett credits her mother with giving her a strong work ethic, determination, compassion and grit. Ms. Burkett graduated from Cheyenne High School. She has continued her education and is well on the way to earning her AA degree. She intends to follow in her mother’s footsteps and earn her BA degree.

Jackie Hunter, DC, MHA | Banner Health's Sr. Director of Diversity and Inclusion & Talent Pipeline

Jackie Hunter | Banner Health’s Sr. Director of Diversity

Jackie Hunter, DC, MHA is a multifaceted leader who serves as Banner Health’s Sr Director of Diversity and Inclusion & Talent Pipeline. In addition to her role within Banner, Dr. Hunter is a proud mother of 3 children (ages 16, 15, and 13) and the wife of an Army Veteran. As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, she is a servant leader, courageous and not afraid to challenge the status quo and encourage a different way of thinking.

Dr. Hunter’s journey into healthcare evolved from delivering Chiropractic care to becoming an advocate for change. Today, she aims to influence and demonstrate to not only her children, but also those who she works alongside at Banner or in our communities, to embrace who they are as well who others are – despite our differences. For more than 5 years, Jackie has successfully led the Diversity and Inclusion council which allowed her to create a dedicated department that focuses on diversity and inclusion strategy systemwide. Dr. Jackie Hunter has accomplished several milestones including, but not limited to the rollout of systemwide unconscious bias trainings, successfully created an Administrative Fellowship Program, and created more inclusive practices and policies that foster a safe and welcoming environment for all. She has also developed partnerships with community leaders to tackle healthcare disparities in the communities that Banner serves. Within her Talent Pipeline space, she oversees the Banner Center for Health Careers which serves over 15,000 students and interns in Banner. The departments efforts work to empower Banner’s employees to purse higher education by providing and facilitating grants, scholarships, tuitions reimbursement, and academic partnerships for current team members. Within this space, her team helps to diversify Banner’s Talent Pipeline through sourcing efforts and programs such as the Veterans Fellowship, Project Search, and Business Intern Program.

At Banner Health, with the rise of women leadership, Jackie has seen a rise in the culture that is founded on the principles of people. From the Mission, Vision, Values and to the strategy of the organization, Banner is really putting people first. The rise of women leadership not only brings awareness about a woman’s capability to lead and give more opportunity for leadership development and advancement, but it begins to acknowledge and respect the roles we all hold personally and professionally and aims to provide every one of us life balance without compromising one or the other.

With her team, Jackie strives to empower and challenge them by thinking outside the box, going above and beyond, not being limited by their titles, being involved in the community and integrating who they are into the work they do so we can truly make life better for all.

Alena Wicker | 12 year old Mechanical Engineering Student

Alena Wicker | 12 year old college student

Those are just a few of the words used to describe Alena Wicker, who at 12-years old is headed tocollege to Major in Mechanical Engineering on a full 4-year scholarship, but that’s only part of herstory. With a bold dream of becoming the youngest girl of color to work and intern at NASA, Alena is also using her voice by launching The Brown STEM Girl and she is also the founder of The BrownSTEM Girl Foundation.

Alena was not only both traditionally schooled and homeschooled but she was also world schooled. She is an experienced world traveler which enabled her to attend school in Amman, the capital of Jordan, a city located in the Middle East. LEGO® sets, Robotics, and NASA are the things that excite Alena. It started at 4-years old when she began traveling to NASA sites to fuel her passion. Phenom. Prodigy. Whiz kid. Those words don’t fully describe the essence of Alena Wicker. Her intellectual brilliance is only a glimpse into who she is. It’s the depth of her warm-heartedness, quiet spirit, and gracious nature that sets her apart even more.

Alena has received international recognition through her features on Good Morning America, The Kelly and Ryan Show, Black Entertainment Television, and a host of news outlets throughoutthe world. In addition, she has also been honored by the Phoenix Mercury (WNBA) as part of theirBelieve in Women campaign.

Alena was not only both traditionally schooled and homeschooled but she was also world schooled. She is an experienced world traveler which enabled her to attend school in Amman, the capital of Jordan, a city located in the Middle East. LEGO® sets, Robotics, and NASA are the things that excite Alena. It started at 4-years old when she began traveling to NASA sites to fuel her passion. Phenom. Prodigy. Whiz kid. Those words don’t fully describe the essence of Alena Wicker. Her intellectual brilliance is only a glimpse into who she is. It’s the depth of her warm-heartedness, quiet spirit, and gracious nature that sets her apart even more.

With a clear vision, Alena is on the path to knock down doors for other brown STEM girls, just like her.

Jennifer King | Washington's Assistant Running Backs Coach

Jennifer King | Washington’s Assistant Running Backs Coach

In 2021, Jennifer King was named the Washington Football Team’s assistant running backs coach after serving as the team’s full-year coaching intern in 2020. With the promotion, King became the first African American female full-time coach in NFL history. King also became the second female assistant position coach in the NFL behind Tampa Bay Buccaneers assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust.

In 2020, King was hired as a full-year coaching intern with Washington. In her role, she worked with the offensive staff throughout the course of the offseason, training camp and regular season and specifically assisted running backs coach Randy Jordan. During the 2020 season, King assisted Jordan with a running back group that compiled 423 attempts for 1697 yards and 20 rushing touchdowns. King worked closely with running back J.D. McKissic in developing his skills in the pass game. McKissic finished the regular season with 80 receptions, which is second-most in a season for a Washington running back in franchise history.

King came to Washington from Dartmouth College where she was an offensive assistant. She primarily worked with the wide receivers and created defensive scouting reports and secondary specific scouting reports for the wide receivers. Dartmouth finished the 2019 season 9-1 and captured the Ivy League Championship. The team averaged 33.3 points per game and averaged 382.4 yards per game.

King interned for the Carolina Panthers during the offseason in 2018 and 2019. In 2018, she was an intern wide receivers coach and assisted Lance Taylor with on-field development drills and in position meetings. She assisted with the creation of scouting scheme cards for the opposing defense and charted practice and in-game player participation and defensive schemes. In 2019, she returned to the Panthers in the role of intern running backs coach and worked with the running backs in organized team activities, mandatory mini camp and training camp. She worked one-on-one with rookies on playbook proficiencies and individual skill development along with analyzing drill efficiency and drill concepts. She worked with the Panthers running backs, including Pro Bowl running back Christian McCaffrey.

In between her two internships with the Panthers, King was an assistant wide receiver coach and special teams assistant for the Arizona Hotshots of the Alliance of American Football. The Hotshots were 5-3 and tied for first place in the AAF Western Conference before the league disbanded. At the time of the league being dissolved, the Hotshots ranked No. 2 in yards per game (343.9) and points per game (23.2).

King has participated in NFL coaching clinics from 2015-18 and also took part in the NFL Women’s Career in Football Forum in January of 2018. The forum was a highly selective two-day event which connected qualified female candidates for positions in football as coaches, officials, scouts and athletic trainers.

King also has experience as a player. She was a seven-time All-American quarterback and wide receiver for the Carolina Phoenix women’s tackle football team from 2006-17. In 2018 she played wide receiver and defensive back for the New York Sharks women’s tackle football team and captured the 2018 WFA National Championship. Most recently, King played wide receiver and safety in the District for the D.C. Divas women’s tackle football team in 2019.

King also has experience coaching women’s basketball. She was the Head Coach of Johnson & Wales University Charlotte from 2016-18. During King’s tenure the team had an 37-10 record, and they captured the USCAA Division II National Championship in 2018. She was named the USCAA Division II National Coach of the Year in 2018. King also was an assistant coach on the Greensboro College women’s basketball staff from 2006-16. During King’s 10 years with the team, they went 136-54, won five conference titles and appeared in the NCAA tournament five times.

King holds a Master of Science in sports administration from Liberty University and holds a Bachelor of Science in sports management from Guilford College. She was a member of the Guilford College women’s basketball and softball teams from 2002-06.

Adia Barns | UoA Women's Basketball Head Coach

Adia Barns | UoA Women’s Basketball Head Coach

Adia Barnes was introduced as Arizona’s head women’s basketball coach on April 4, 2016 and agreed to a contract extension to lead the program through 2026 in May of 2021. The leading scorer in Arizona women’s basketball history and a WNBA Champion, Barnes came to Tucson after serving as an assistant coach at the University of Washington for five seasons.

Barnes led the Wildcats to the National Championship game in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, the first time Arizona advanced past the Sweet 16 in school history.

Through her first five seasons as head coach, Barnes has won 89 games, the most of any Arizona coach in program history in their first five seasons. She is also the only coach in school history to win at least 20 games three times in her first five seasons.

In her fifth season, Barnes was a finalist for the WBCA Coach of the Year and was a semifinalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year. Heading into the NCAA Tournament, she became the 11th coach to play and coach in the NCAA Tournament at their alma mater. Once the Wildcats reached the National Championship game, she became the fourth coach to lead her alma mater to the title game.

Barnes became the youngest coach since 2014 to make the Final Four and was also the first coach since 2016 to reach the Final Four in their first five years as a head coach. She also helped Arizona become the first team ever to reach the National Championship game after missing the previous 10+ NCAA Tournaments.

During the NCAA Tournament, Arizona defeated UConn in the Final Four, which was the first time in school history Arizona knocked off both the No. 1 team in the nation as well as a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The Wildcats finished in second place in the loaded Pac-12, their highest finish since the 2003-04 season when Arizona won the Pac-10. During the year, Arizona swept the regular season series vs. Oregon for the first time in 10 years and also swept Oregon and Oregon State in the same weekend for the first time in 10 years.

Prior to becoming the head coach at Arizona, Barnes joined the staff at Washington in 2011 and helped boost the Huskies profile in the Pac-12 and nationally, culminating in a trip to the Final Four this year. After three seasons on staff, Barnes was promoted to recruiting coordinator, where she handled all aspects of recruiting including budget, compliance and planning, in addition to her role in player development.

A three-time all-conference selection and ’98 graduate of Arizona, Barnes was voted USBWA first-team All-American and Pac-10 player of the year in 1997-98. Her 2,237 career points currently rank ninth on the Pac-12’s all-time scoring list. Following her collegiate career, Barnes played professionally for 12 seasons in the WNBA and overseas. She won a WNBA Championship with the Seattle Storm in 2004, was named to the Storm’s All-Decade Team, and also played for Cleveland, Minnesota and Sacramento. Her overseas career included stops in the Ukraine, Israel, Turkey, Russia and Italy.

A native of San Diego, Calif., Barnes is married to Salvo Coppa, who coached for 14 seasons prior to arriving at Arizona, including 10 professionally in Italy and with three separate national teams. She is also the mother of one son, Matteo and one daughter, Capri.

Board Member, Helios Education Foundation

Jane Roig | Board Member, Helios Education Foundation

Jane LaRocca Roig began her career in banking, but spent most of it managing state and federal student aid programs in Kentucky state government and Arizona’s non-profit sector. Her lifetime interest in politics and public policy led her to focus on national initiatives to simplify student aid programs, with an emphasis on removing barriers for families and ensuring access to higher education and its assistance programs.

As Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Southwest Student Services Corporation, Jane, together with her husband Vince, helped lead the creation of the Helios Education Foundation, an organization established to enrich the lives of individuals in Arizona and Florida by creating opportunities for access and success in post secondary education. She serves on the Helios Board and chairs its Public Policy Committee. She also serves on its Executive Committee.

Jane’s passion in the belief that every child deserves a quality education led her to devote her energy to other non-profit organizations that improve the quality of life for individuals in the community. In addition to her work with Helios, she serves on the boards of Phoenix Suns Charities, the Arizona Science Center, the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute and the Leadership Council for the Congressman Pastor Center for Politics and Public Service at ASU. She is a past Vice Chairwoman for the American Red Cross, Grand Canyon Chapter. Jane and Vince were the 2019 recipients of College Success Arizona’s Leaders and Legends award.

Jane credits her grandmothers and parents for inspiring her beliefs in education equality, breaking down systemic issues and her sense of community. She enjoys spending time with her family, genealogy, and is an avid basketball fan. She is an enthusiastic traveler and has visited all seven continents. Jane is a graduate of the University of Kentucky.

Angela Hughey | co-founder and President of ONE Community and ONE Community Foundation

Angela Hughey | ONE Community/Foundation

Angela Hughey is the co-founder and President of ONE Community and ONE Community Foundation. Founded in 2008, ONE Community is the coalition of socially responsible businesses and organizations moving diversity, inclusion and equality for all Arizonans forward. ONE Community Foundation provides educational opportunities to ensure better understanding of nondiscrimination and the importance of being LGBTQ inclusive.

In 2013 Angela and the ONE Community team launched the UNITY Pledge a concerted effort by Arizona businesses and individuals to advance workplace equality and equal treatment in housing and public accommodations for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBTQ) individuals and their allies. Over 3,200 businesses and organizations and more than 20,000 Arizonans have taken the UNITY Pledge; the largest equality pledge in the nation. Ms. Hughey is also credited with the Multicultural Conversation with the Candidates, Spotlight on Success Local Heroes Awards and The State of LGBTQ Arizona collaborative report, which was released in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Ms. Hughey is a 2012 graduate of Valley Leadership Institute. She has won awards for her work as an independent filmmaker and was honored with the YWCA 2013 Tribute to Leadership Award for Public Service. Ms. Hughey has received the HRC Individual Equality Award and was inducted into Echo Magazine’s Hall of Fame. Angela is a 2012 Business Journal Diversity Champion and sits on the President’s Advisory Council for Phoenix College. ONE Community is the recipient of the 2012 Phoenix Pride Howard and Patricia Fleischmann Community Spirit Award. Ms. Hughey is a 2013 inductee into the Phoenix College Alumni Hall of Fame. Angela and ONE Community led the open for business to everyone coalition in the first quarter of 2014 in response to SB1062, which led to an educational campaign of the same name, which focuses on diversity, inclusion and equality for all Arizonans to ensure the economic sustainability of the state. Echo Magazine named Angela their 2014 Woman of the Year. In 2015, Angela became the founding Chair of Valley Leadership’s Leadership Advance Program for high potential leaders, overseeing the program for two years. Angela was the 2016 recipient of the Anti-Defamation League’s Al Brook’s Community Leadership Award. Angela was a member of the Arizona Community Foundation’s LGBTQ Philanthropy committee from 2016 through 2018.

Ms. Hughey is the recipient of the 2018 Positively Powerful Woman of Equality Leadership Award and is a 2018 Diversity Leadership Alliance Diversity Leader honoree. Ms. Hughey sits on the City of Phoenix and State of Arizona 2020 Complete Count Census Committees. Angela currently serves on the board of the Phoenix Community Alliance.

Milani & Noelle | Game Growers

Milani & Noelle | Nike Game Growers

Milani and Noelle were chosen from many applications to represent the Mercury in the inaugural year of the Nike Game Growers program. Milani and Noelle were among 72 8th grade girls across the country who were chosen as ambassadors to represent their respective NBA and WNBA teams.

They visited Nike Headquarters in Portland Oregon to hone their ideas to encourage more girls to stay involved in and explore opportunities in sports. They brought these ideas back to their home community to implement them there. Milani and Noelle’s idea was to create a sports camp every Sunday where they could teach their friends different sports and share the benefits of sports. They hoped that this would help their friends build confidence and self-esteem. Both girls worked very hard in the program and in starting their test idea. They are committed to continuing to get girls involved in sports and inspiring the Game Growers that come behind them.

Emily Robinson | COO, FirstBank

Emily Robinson | COO, FirstBank

Emily Robinson is Chief Operating Officer (COO) of FirstBank, one of the nation’s largest privately held banks with over 110 locations throughout Arizona, Colorado and California. Prior to being named COO, Robinson served as Regional President for FirstBank’s Palm Desert, California and Northwest Denver locations, where she was responsible for over 33 branches and more than $4.5 billion in deposits. She’s previously held several leadership positions after starting her career with FirstBank in 1993.

Throughout her tenure, Robinson has been instrumental in amplifying the company’s corporate training and employee engagement efforts, leading FirstBank to garner multiple recognitions including Arizona Business Magazine’s Most Admired Companies, Phoenix Business Journal’s Best Places to Work, Denver Post’s Top Workplaces and more.

As a longtime board member and the former chair of Community First Foundation, Robinson was also influential in helping FirstBank and Community First Foundation launch Colorado Gives Day, a 24-hour online giving movement, which has raised over $250 million for nonprofits. That success sparked FirstBank and the Arizona Alliance of Nonprofits to start a similar online giving initiative in the Grand Canyon State in 2013. Coined Arizona Gives Day, the one-day online giving campaign has raised over $20 million for local charities.

An avid community supporter and volunteer, Robinson has served with over a dozen nonprofit groups that support seniors, education and economic development. She currently sits on the board of Craig Hospital Foundation and El Pomar Foundation’s Metro Regional Council, a grant-making and giving organization.

Bridget Pettis | WNBA Player, Coach and Executive

Bridget Pettis | WNBA Player, Coach and Executive

Bridget Pettis has three decades of experience in the WNBA as a player, coach and executive. Her WNBA career began in 1997 when the Phoenix Mercury selected her with the seventh overall pick in the WNBA Elite Draft. She played in the league for eight seasons with the Mercury and Indiana Fever before joining Phoenix’s coaching staff as an assistant in 2006, helping lead the team to two WNBA championships (2007 and 2009). She then served as the Mercury’s director of basketball operations from 2010 to 2013 before joining the Los Angeles Sparks as an assistant coach in 2013. She spent three seasons as an assistant coach with the Dallas Wings (2014 to 2017), and as an assistant coach at the Chicago Sky (2019 to 2020).

Currently, Pettis is focusing her energy on her newly launched nonprofit, Project Roots AZ which she founded in late 2019. Project Roots AZ is a 501c3 organization that aims to educate the community on growing their own food through various educational programs. They also support the homeless by feeding them from their community gardens and mobile kitchen service, supplying hygiene items, clothing, and shelter.

LaChina Robinson | ESPN Analyst

LaChina Robinson | ESPN Analyst

LaChina Robinson serves as an analyst for ESPN’s WNBA and College Women’s Basketball coverage. Robinson is also the host of espnW’s podcast “Around The Rim” which was chosen as one of the best sports podcasts of 2017 by Sports Illustrated. In 2018 Robinson co-founded “Rising Media Stars”, a mentor lead training program for women of color that want to work in sports broadcasting. Also in 2018 Robinson was the recipient of the Dawn Staley Excellence in Broadcasting Award. LaChina is also a very sought-after facilitator and keynote speaker through her company “Stretch Beyond” where she guides student-athletes through personal and professional brand transitions.

Nichole Freeman | Labor and Delivery Nurse

Nichole Freeman | Labor and Delivery Nurse

Nichole has been a Labor and Delivery Registered Nurse for six and a half years, and it’s all she has ever loved. She was a travel nurse in L&D from 2015-2018, working in Texas, Los Angeles and Arizona. Nichole was accepted into Nurse Practitioner school in 2018, which she will complete in December of this year. During this uncertain time of COVID-19 she’s been balancing a life between working her usual L&D position, screening for COVID-19 symptoms at the point of entry into her hospital facility and seeing patients in clinic for school. However, being on the front line has brought her much anxiety and uncertainty. In March of this year, Nichole tested positive for COVID-19, along with 15 other members of her family. Since then, she’s recovered with a negative test and has returned back to work. Nichole continues to remain optimistic, knowing that having positive antibodies against COVID-19 may keep her somewhat safe from contracting it again, but the verdict is still out on that matter.

In what little spare time Nichole has, she enjoys watching basketball, going for walks in the neighborhood as the sun sets and going to Disneyland or Disney World as often as she can, traveling as much as possible. Most people know Nichole for never sitting still for long without taking a trip out of town. She looks forward to her next step in life as a Practitioner, caring for her own patients and hoping to remain in Women’s health.

Pam Giannonatti | Fry's Food Stores, a division of Kroger

Pam Giannonatti | Fry’s Food Stores, a division of Kroger

Fry’s Food Stores is beloved in Arizona, not only for their food but for their community engagement. This is a result of Pam Giannonatti’s commitment to the company’s purpose to Feed the Human Spirit.

She spends down time with her family and friends and loves to read and create different works of art. She practices meditation as well as remaining present in each waking moment. She believes that life is what you make of it and she truly believes in the quote “If you are not changing it. You are choosing it.”” Life is full of choices and it’s important for us to consciously make choices from a place of love and understanding, not fear and programming.

Managing Corporate Affairs, Pam directs resources to nonprofit organizations and community programs tied to Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social impact plan. She also maintains Fry’s reputation through media and government relations and oversees internal communications for more than 20,000 associates.

Pam is an active community leader and avid volunteer, serving on the board of directors or advisory councils of many nonprofits. She also is a proud Valley Leadership alumna and remains involved with the organization. Her involvement and leadership have led to many awards for both herself and Fry’s.

While all very important, her true pride and joy and most important role in life is caring for and being with her family.

Angiah Harris Author, The Magical Mermaid and the Moon

Angiah Harris | Author, The Magical Mermaid and the Moon

Angiah Harris is a member of the Talking Stick Resort Arena staff and author of The Magical Mermaid and the Moon, her first published work. She was born in Aurora, Colorado and spent her childhood in Colorado Springs until she left for college at the University of Wyoming. She was a part of the 2007 WNIT championship cowgirl basketball team. She graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology and entered into the social work field by chance. She remained in that field for almost eight years. She is now working in a field more closely related to her degree as well as writing.

She spends down time with her family and friends and loves to read and create different works of art. She practices meditation as well as remaining present in each waking moment. She believes that life is what you make of it and she truly believes in the quote “If you are not changing it. You are choosing it.”” Life is full of choices and it’s important for us to consciously make choices from a place of love and understanding, not fear and programming.

Mary Mitchell Deputy Director Girl Scouts Arizona Cactus – Pine Council

Mary Mitchell | Deputy Director Girl Scouts Arizona Cactus – Pine Council

Mary Mitchell serves as the Deputy Director, Girl Scouts—Arizona Cactus-Pine Council. She serves as a member of the council’s senior leadership team. Over the course of her 21 years at the organization, she has held various roles in the areas of fund development, finance, volunteer services, membership and community engagement. She serves as the senior advisor and co-lead for the organization’s work related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Mary has spent the majority of her professional career working within the non-profit sector. She has also worked for the government sector (city, county and state).

Mary is a recipient of the 2020 YWCA, Dare to be Powerful, Tribute to Leadership Award. She is also a 2017 Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Fellow, as well as a graduate of Valley Leadership, Class 26. She values the power of honest and authentic conversation and has an unquenchable thirst for collective dialogue spaces within communities and organizations. You will often find her sitting with leaders from a wide spectrum of disciplines, engaging in conversations centered around deep questions that matter and that create action and systemic change.

She has served on several nonprofit boards and community coalitions and is a current Board Member for Arizona Legal Women and Youth Services, a nonprofit community legal center focused on balancing the scales of justice for Arizona’s most vulnerable youth, via the provision of no-cost legal services, in the areas of human-trafficking, immigration, homelessness and abuse.

Mary is the mother of 4 adult children, and 8 grandchildren, ranging in age 6 months to 12 years of age. She enjoys reading all genres of literature, especially those written from a historical perspective, long bike-rides, music and theatre.