Community Leadership Accelerator 2024 Participant Bios

ANA SOFIA CABELLO
The Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project

Ana Sofia Cabello

Ana Sofía has been working with the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project (FIRRP) since 2019, when she joined the Detention Action & Response Team (DART), first as a Legal Assistant, later as a Senior Legal Assistant, and now as a Managing Legal Assistant. She emigrated from Venezuela in 2015, is passionate about public education, and is very proud and honored to support detained immigrants in Arizona using the pro se model started by The Florence Project in the late 1980s. Ana lives southwest of Phoenix and loves going on excursions with her 2 puppies and her partner.

ANDI HAMMONDS
Owl and Panther


Andi is the Program Director at Owl & Panther, a Tucson-based non-profit serving immigrant survivors of traumatic dislocation & their families. In 2009 Andi co-founded the Arizona Survivors of Torture Program at the International Rescue Committee in Tucson, for which she received the Sarlo Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award in New York City in 2014. Andi is a Ben’s Bellee, inspiring kindness in community via collaborative partnerships. She holds a BA in Psychology & Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan, and attended Harvard Medical School’s Global Mental Health program in Orvieto, Italy. Andi is a neurodivergent lover of babies & animals who enjoys helping people feel seen, heard & understood, so they can do the same for others.

ARIELLA WALKER (She/Her/Ella)
Ajo Regional Food Partnership, Laughing Javelina Farm

Ariella Walker

Ariella Walker is an anti-capitalist small business owner, humanitarian organizer and a public relations communicator. As owner at Laughing Javelina Farm she is building a small homestead and farm steeped in ideals for stewarding land in indigenous appreciation. She is an active volunteer with Ajo Samaritans, an organization seeking to alleviate death and suffering in the desert due to US border and immigration policy. She is also a volunteer with Ajo Regional Food Partnership focusing on food access and food sovereignty. Ariella was once a public relations manager for multiple food and beverage brands in Chicago, IL. She holds a degree in Advertising and Public Relations from Columbia College Chicago.

BURRELL JONES
AFP


Burrell comes to the Community Leadership Accelerator through the Arizona Food Systems Network.  He works with several nonprofit organizations, including with food and water sovereignty projects on the Navajo Nation and with a nonprofit based in Minnesota on philanthropy and activating informed giving to Native led nonprofits. Currently, he is helping local Navajo communities build water plans and building connections with food sovereignty work. Previously, he was a project manager installing water running systems for Navajo families who did not have access to running water. He was also an MIT Fellow with Indigenous Communities. He spoke on a UN Food Systems Youth panel. 

CHELSEA SACHAU
The Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project

Chelsea is the Managing Attorney of the Border Action Team at the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project. As the Managing Attorney, Chelsea focuses on guiding a team of attorneys and legal assistants providing critical legal orientation and education, direct representation, and strategic advocacy to asylum-seekers displaced at the Arizona/Sonora border. Chelsea first came to Arizona in the summer of 2018 as a Florence Project legal intern, and later returned in September 2020 as an Equal Justice Works (EJW) Fellow for the Border Action Team. Chelsea was promoted to Managing Attorney in October 2021. Chelsea graduated from UC Law San Francisco (formerly UC Hastings). During law school, Chelsea’s clinical and internship work focused on immigration law and different forms of relief from removal, including but not limited to: asylum, international fact-finding and cross-border studies, U-visa petitions, VAWA petitions, and the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. Prior to law school, Chelsea spent five years providing administrative and legal assistance to vulnerable populations in various legal settings, focusing on immigration, special education, and landlord-tenant law.

CRISTAL FRANCO
International Sonoran Desert Alliance


Cristal is from the rural Southwestern desert and after traveling and living abroad elsewhere, enjoys being home in the Sonoran Desert. Currently she manages a small business support center for a community development nonprofit, the International Sonoran Desert Alliance (ISDA). As part of her nonprofit work with ISDA she is rebuilding the Ajo Regional Food Partnership.

JESSICA ALVARADO
The Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project

Jessica is a native Phoenician and daughter of Guatemalan immigrants. Growing up she spent her summers exploring Guatemala with her parents and getting to know her Mayan culture. Jessica graduated from Arizona State University with a B.A. in Psychology, a B.S. in Justice Studies, and a Minor in Women’s Studies. She obtained her J.D. at Arizona Summit Law School. Jessica is a managing attorney with the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project. On her time off she enjoys spending time with her family and exploring the outdoors.

JESSICA POPE
Organ Pipe National Monument


Jessica works as the Interpretation, Education and Community Engagement Program Manager at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Prior to coming here in October 2020 she worked at Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa and before that was on the North Rim of Grand Canyon for 9 years. The National Park Service was a mid-life career change and before putting on those green pants and funny hat she worked in public health first as a government relations program manager for the American Heart Association in the Southwest; as a program manager for a Ryan White Part B HIV/AIDS program in Flagstaff Arizona and finally directing the Northern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault. Intermingled in all that she’s been a Grand Canyon boatmen with seven row trips under her belt, a river guide in Utah on the San Juan and did occasional backcountry guiding in Colorado and sea kayak guiding in Alaska. She is a mother of 3 and grandmother of 7, loves quilting, knitting, painting, playing music and staring at the sky.

JULIE HEINEKING
DES


Julie holds a degree in Early Childhood Education. She has over 15 years of experience working with children. Julie has completed a year of service with Public Allies Arizona. She volunteers with several organizations in the valley including being on 2 boards. Julie has worked in the nonprofit space for many years and enjoys being able to connect individuals to resources they need.

JUSTIN CURRY
Cradle to Career

Justin Curry serves as the Administrative Assistant for Cradle to Career, a nonprofit anchored with United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona. While handling day-to-day tasks with documenting, overseeing budgets, and organizing schedules; he finds a lot of enjoyment in project management and creative writing tasks. Although his current position does not regularly call for leadership attributes, Justin is no stranger to working in corporate management and training positions. As well as acting as a mentor to youth and young adults in his community. Outside of work, Justin is an avid member in the Hip-Hop dance community in Tucson where he regularly creates opportunities for aspiring artists and athletes. While also assisting others with their graphic designing, grant writing, and volunteer needs.

LAURA HAFERKAMP
United Way Tucson

Laura is a data manager at the C2C (Cradle to Career) partnership anchored at the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona. She started in August 2023, after completing her third AmeriCorps term. She loves cooking, eating, Dungeons and Dragons, hiking, and most animals. She’s excited to develop her potential!

MARGARET (Meg) KABOTIE ADAKAI
Flagstaff Mountain-Town Market/Flagstaff Foodlink/Indigenous Circle of Flagstaff

Meg is a mama of two beautiful children, an educator, an artist, and a lover of nature and community. She holds a degree from NAU in Biomedical Science and Psychology with a minor in Chemistry. She was born and raised in Flagstaff and has worked with many non-profits and local businesses over the years. She comes from a line of Hopi artists on her dad’s side whose work can be found throughout Northern Arizona and the world. She is Co-President of Flagstaff Foodlink, President of the Indigenous Circle of Flagstaff and serves on the Indigenous People’s Advisory Council of Coconino County. She owns and operates Flagstaff Mountain-Town Market, a budding market/community space supporting Arizona and regional agriculture, local small business with a special emphasis on businesses owned by women and POC, local art, and local music. In her spare time she teaches children about the importance of nature, creative expression, kindness, confidence, farming, local food, and healthy lifestyle. She also enjoys working with friends and family on farming and artistic endeavors.

MILES CHANDLER
United Way Tucson


Miles is the Program Manager with the Cradle to Career Partnership overseeing the Empowering STEM Innovators space. He is leading C2C’s new program for middle-grade youth, Up and Atom, to help create STEM pathways for future innovators in Pima County. Miles comes to us with experience in the K-12 education system as well as experience with AmeriCorps, the Boys and Girls Club, and the Liberty Center for Language and Learning. Miles is a Tucson native with a BA in Elementary Education with an English Second Language Emphasis. He enjoys reading, writing, and hiking.

REBECCA CURTISS
The Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project

Rebecca grew up in Tucson, Arizona. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.A. in Latin American Studies and is a proud graduate of the City University of New York School of Law, class of 2009. Rebecca spent 6 years representing parents and children in dependency matters and served as guardian ad litem for child victims of misdemeanor domestic violence charges. Rebecca has been representing unaccompanied children in removal proceedings and in their applications for immigration relief since 2016. Additionally, she serves as co-chair of the Southern Arizona Transnational Families Task Force, a group dedicated to addressing issues faced by families in dependency matters who are impacted by immigration laws or the US border.

RUBEENA MALIK
The Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project

I received my master’s in legal studies and alternative dispute resolution from Pepperdine Caruso School of Law in 2018. I have spent the last 9 years working with domestic and foreign national victims of human trafficking through non-profit agencies. I have provided leadership to my supervisees throughout my career but also in other aspects such as teaching specifically on the topic of human trafficking, creating programs, overseeing case management, and other areas. I recently started working at the Florence Project as a Managing Legal Assistant. I look forward to learning all that this program will teach me in order to grow as an individual and an effective manager.

SHELBY THOMPSON (She/Her)
Pinnacle Prevention/Arizona Food Systems Network

Shelby is the Arizona Food Systems Network coalition coordinator and serves on the steering committee for the Pima County Food Alliance. Shelby has worked and played in various parts of the southern Arizona food system over the past eight years and is committed to creating an equitable and sustainable local food system. Shelby’s work focuses on convening food system stakeholders across the state of Arizona to foster collaboration, capacity, and advocacy work, Her overarching goal is for Arizona to have a local food system in which farmers, eaters, and the Earth thrive. She relies on relationships with local organizations, coalitions, and people to advance this work.

TRICIA KINNELL
Yuma HEAL Coalition

Tricia has been active in the field of public health for 24 years with Yuma County Public Health Services District, with a special focus on community food systems. Additionally as co-chair of the Yuma HEAL Coalition and a Master Gardener she specializes in building communities around food gardens and advancing strategies that increase the availability and equitable access to nutritious food. A long-time resident of Yuma County, she has nurtured deep relationships with the community, dedicating many of her years here collaborating with local and regional partners to improve food systems.


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