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The volunteer board of directors of Grand Canyon Conservancy is composed of business and community leaders who commit their time and expertise for the benefit and improvement of GCC.
Mitchell Walker spent the first 18 years of his life as a third-generation resident of Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from Trinity University, he started a career in commercial banking. Mitchell currently serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Commercial Lending for Jefferson Bank in San Antonio. He is a member of the Board of Directors for Compass Rose Schools and has previously dedicated time as a board member for Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas and KIPP San Antonio’s finance committee. His unique Grand Canyon upbringing provides a rare connection to the canyon that has been adopted by his wife, Stacy, and daughter, Eleanor, on frequent trips to the Park.
Shantini Munthree is strategic advisor to growth businesses, a board director, and a former marketing executive who has helped build and transform some of the world’s leading brands for Vanguard, Procter & Gamble, Miller Brewing Company, Sara Lee, and Caterpillar. Today, Shantini brings this multi-sector, global marketing and operational experience to clients at BRANDKIND, a strategy and brand consultancy in the San Francisco Bay Area. Shantini serves on the GCC board as an extension of her commitment to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Lizabeth Ardisana is CEO of ASG Renaissance, a technical and communications firm, and Performance Driven Workforce (PDW), a scheduling and staffing firm. She is an active business and civic leader in the Michigan and Hispanic Communities, serving on the board of Huntington Bank, Focus: Hope, Kettering University, Metropolitan Affairs Coalition, Michigan Colleges Alliance, Skillman Foundation, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Mott Foundation, and United Way of Southeastern Michigan. Beth has worked on many projects with the national parks, including the restoration of the red buses in Glacier National Park, and she enjoys hiking and rafting in the Grand Canyon.
Ann Becker is Vice President of Sustainability for APS, leading the company’s environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and corporate governance functions. She previously served as Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer and Vice President of Environmental for APS, as well as Associate General Counsel for APS’s parent company, Pinnacle West Capital Corporation. Before joining APS, she practiced environmental law with the law firm of Foley & Lardner. Ann is on the board of Downtown Phoenix Partnership, and in 2017 she received the Most Influential Women in Arizona award from Arizona Business magazine. Ann and her husband, Brett, enjoy hiking in northern Arizona and southern Utah.
Randall Brown is a partner in the international law firm of Haynes and Boone, LLP. He has more than 35 years of experience in intellectual property law and served as the chair of the firm’s Intellectual Property Department for 15 years. He currently serves on the board of the Dallas Opera, where he is the chair of the audit committee. He fell in love with the canyon on his first visit in 2003 and has since completed eight backpacking trips and three river trips. Randy is passionate about preserving and protecting this sublime and majestic landscape.
Awenate is the CEO of Bedrock Group LP, an investment firm primarily focused on retail-based business and consumer-facing companies, including Detroit-based Shinola and Seattle-based Filson. Additionally, Awenate is Chairman of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Executive Committee, having been appointed by the Governor of Michigan in 2019. From May 2020 until March 2021, Awenate was the Director of Operations for the Biden-Harris Transition, and, from 2015-2020, Awenate Cobbina was the Vice President of Public and Business Affairs for Pistons Sports & Entertainment (PS&E) and the Detroit Pistons, as well as the Executive Director of the Detroit Pistons Foundation. Previously, he served almost six years in the Obama White House, including roles in the Chief of Staff’s Office, Office of Legislative Affairs, and Office of Management and Budget, including as Special Assistant to the President and Policy Advisor to the Office of the Chief of Staff immediately before joining PS&E. Awenate has rafted the Colorado River through the canyon and would like to preserve it to allow future generations to experience all that the park has to offer.
Jason Coochwytewa (Isleta Pueblo/Hopi) is the Chief Executive Officer for Urias Communications, a brand management, advertising, and public relations agency. A seasoned professional with more than 25 years of industry experience, with special expertise in multicultural markets (particularly Native American), he has been recognized with distinguished honors by the Phoenix Business Journal, the American Indian Excellence in Leadership Awards, and the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. Underlining the significance of the homeland of the Indigenous people whose emergence comes from the Grand Canyon, and elevating Tribal Nations' representation, is a priority for Jason.
Aaron Craft is a Partner at Deloitte & Touche LLP and is based in Arizona. He has more than 25 years of public accounting and industry experience, with a primary focus on serving public and private companies based in the Southwestern U.S. Aaron also currently holds leadership roles within Deloitte’s real estate practice, along with local leadership roles related to marketplace activities, accounting advisory services, recruiting, and university relations. Prior to joining Deloitte, Aaron held accounting leadership roles at Fender Musical Instruments Corp. He has an MBA and a BS in Accounting from Arizona State University. He is also active in the Phoenix community and his most passionate hobby is being an avid hiker of trails across the state of Arizona, including Grand Canyon National Park.
Ann Figueredo is a Principal and co-Founder of Momentem Consulting Group LLC. Ann has over 35 years of experience in senior roles in the higher education, financial services, and pharmaceutical industries. Ann has functional expertise in nonprofit board governance, strategic planning, and a proven track record in securing resources for mission driven organizations, including most recently as the Vice President Institutional Advancement at Haverford College where she successfully led the largest capital campaign in the history of the College. Ann is passionate about the culture, history, environmental challenges, and geography of the desert Southwest, where she and her husband raised their three young daughters. She has enthusiastically hiked on four continents. Ann earned a bachelor’s degree with high honors from Haverford College and an MBA from Columbia University Graduate School of Business. She lives with her husband and a menagerie of critters outside Philadelphia.
Nigel Finney spent most of his professional career in airport management, retiring as Deputy Executive Director of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Airports Commission. The last years of his career were spent overseeing the planning and implementation of a $3 billion airport development and expansion program. Nigel is a graduate of Dartmouth College and has two master's degrees from Georgia Tech. Nigel and his wife Jeanne currently divide their time between Tonto Verde, Arizona and Flagstaff, Arizona. His exposure to Grand Canyon began in the late 1970s and, over the past 40 years, has included numerous backpacking and hiking trips below the rim. He continues to hike Grand Canyon several times a year and is passionate about the preservation of this magnificent landscape.
Deborah has 20+ years’ of experience as CEO at health-tech companies ranging from startup to Fortune 100. Deb has been a member of 10+ corporate boards alongside private equity, venture and strategic investors. Deb has served on Corporate and Advisory Boards, Public University Boards, and non-profit Boards. Deb’s functional expertise as a CEO and Board Director includes board governance, finance, and fund-raising. Deb is currently providing advisory services to senior executives. She’s serving on three Boards and is active as a limited partner of HC9. She is an advisor to several private equity and venture firms. In her most recent CEO role, Deb was President and Chief Executive of Medecision, where she led the turn-around and profitable growth of the Company to over $100M. Deb enjoys sharing the outdoors with her friends and family. She is an avid traveler and is often found rafting, boating and hiking in wilderness places like the Grand Canyon where she hikes several time per year, National Parks around the US, the State Parks of Texas and Michigan, where she has homes, and most recently as part of an expedition to Antarctica with colleagues.
Charlie Galbraith (Navajo) is a partner at Jenner & Block LLP in Washington D.C. where he serves as co-chair of the Native American Law Practice and represents Native American tribes across the country. Previously, he spent a decade working for the federal government as a staff member to a U.S. Senator and an Assistant United States Attorney in Arizona, and as the White House tribal liaison for President Barack Obama. He is passionate about ensuring people of color are represented in the outdoors community and ensuring visitors can learn about the Native people of North America. He is an avid hiker and climber who is determined to continue to explore every corner of the Grand Canyon on foot or by raft.
M. Alejandra Lillo is an architectural and interior designer, real estate developer, and adjunct architecture professor at the University of Southern California. She is the founding principal of Undisclosable Inc, a Los Angeles-based architecture and design studio. Her work has been widely published and exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, UCLA, The Chicago Athenaeum’s Museum of Architecture and Design, and more. Alejandra has participated in many philanthropic enterprises. Alejandra fell in love with Grand Canyon on a hike in 2016 and is passionate about committing her energy to preserve it for future generations.
Carissa Rollins is the Chief Information Officer at Illumina, the leading developer and manufacturer of sequencing and array technologies. Prior to Illumina, Carissa held positions of executive and senior roles at United Healthcare, Gander Mountain, Kohl’s Corporation, Manpower Global, and Miller-Coors. Carissa holds a bachelor’s degree and an MBA in Management Information Systems from Marquette University. She and her husband have been traveling to and enjoying our national parks for over 30 years. Their first trip to Grand Canyon was in 1993, and for their 10th wedding anniversary, they traversed the canyon on a raft down the river for a week. They have exposed their two sons to Grand Canyon and other parks many times, traveling the country in their RV almost every summer since the boys were young. In addition to Grand Canyon Conservancy, Carissa serves on the Board of Directors for the YWCA, Minneapolis, and is currently the Board Chair.
Rich Rudow began his career as an engineer in the defense industry. He became an entrepreneur in the early 90s, leading two successful technology startups before selling the last one to Trimble in 2001. During his 13-year tenure with Trimble, Rich ran several businesses, acquired multiple companies, sat on the board of a strategic investment company, and spearheaded Trimble’s smartphone technology transition. Rich retired from Trimble in 2014 and has since dedicated his time to his 30-year passion for Grand Canyon. He has explored 190 limestone slot canyons, floated down the Grand Canyon Colorado River fifteen times, and has spent more than 1,200 days below the rim, including a 57-day continuous through-hike in 2015. Rich has acquired a unique perspective of the Canyon's majesty and threats. He often shares his Canyon knowledge at public events and has appeared in three Grand Canyon films. His photographs bring a unique view to one of the most photographed places on the planet.
Michael J. (Mick) Rusing graduated from Stanford Law School and is a fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and the American College of Trial Lawyers, practicing law for 40 years. Mick currently practices in Tucson, Arizona, as a Managing Partner of Rusing Lopez & Lizardi. In addition to being a trial lawyer, Mick is a Charter Member of the Arizona Antelope Foundation and a Life Member of the Desert Bighorn Sheep Society. In 2006, Mick was named Environmentalist of the Year by the Arizona Game & Fish Commission. Mick is a Trustee of the Pima Air & Space Museum and an Advisory Board Member of the Steele Children's Research Center. Mick's love of the Canyon began during his formative years when he visited the Havasupai reservation with his boy scout troop. Over the years, Mick hiked to the Canyon numerous times, including, most recently, a rim-to-rim trek with his three brothers. He has also enjoyed multiple river trips down the Colorado River and has fished Lee's Ferry innumerable times.
Stephanie Sklar retired in August 2020 after a 35-year career in environmental conservation and philanthropy, most recently as CEO of the Sonoran Institute from 2013–2020, leading its natural resource conservation work in the Colorado River Basin. Before joining the Sonoran Institute, she was the founding Director of Development for the Institute of the Environment at the University of Arizona, which initiated climate research and action across disciplines and departments. She serves on the Imago Dei Middle School board and advises Friends of Aphasia in Tucson and private donors. Stephanie's passion for the Grand Canyon began with rafting and hiking adventures and continued through her work on water sustainability in the Colorado River Basin.
Stan Sutherland spent four years as a high school physics teacher before going to law school. He then became an attorney in the Solicitor’s Office at the U.S. Department of the Interior, followed by a position in the law department of S.C. Johnson & Son, where he retired as Deputy General Counsel in 2004. Stan has served on several nonprofit boards in Flagstaff, including Theatrikos Theatre Company, where he has also acted and directed. He holds a B.S. in physics from the University of Illinois and M.S. in physics from Purdue University and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. Stan has backpacked rim-to-rim and to Clear Creek, and he and his artist wife Dawn have completed two 10-day river trips through the canyon.
Merl Waschler retired as the President and CEO of Valley of the Sun United Way, where he led a group of passionate community volunteers and staff committed to improving the lives of families and children in Maricopa County. Merl’s work allowed him to be an active business and civic leader most recently serving on the boards and committees of Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Expect More Arizona, Greater Phoenix Leadership, ACLU of Arizona, McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Governor’s P-20 Committee. In 2015 the Phoenix Business Journal included Merl in its list of the 25 Most Admired Leaders in the Valley. Along with his wife Susan, Merl enjoys hiking and exploring Arizona and New Mexico, and both are passionate about the preservation of the canyon and expanding access to those who might not traditionally have that opportunity.
Tyson Winarski is a registered patent attorney and adjunct professor at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and the University of San Francisco School Of Law. His law practice focuses on patent licensing and patent prosecution in Silicon Valley. Tyson is also the inventor of 31 patents in the areas of renewable energy, nanotechnologies, optical communication fibers, and social networking. Tyson also helped found Mesa Media, a non-profit corporation dedicated to revitalizing the Hopi language by creating Hopi language materials. Tyson has hiked the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim and has rafted from Lees Ferry to Lake Mead.