Nonprofit Conference: Reimagine!

May 3 , 2023

Please reach out to Andrea Macias at 915-218-2644 if you're interested in purchasing tickets. 

The Paso del Norte Community Foundation is pleased to announce the third annual Nonprofit Conference: Reimagine! Recognizing the need to build capacity of nonprofit organizations in the region, the conference provides access to high-level thought leadership and skill-building. 

The conference is designed for nonprofit executive leadership, staff, and board members, to come together to think, develop, network, and grow. The conference will take place on May 3rd and features diverse programming by sought-after nonprofit professionals, philanthropists, corporate leaders and partners.

Don't miss this thoughtfully-curated professional development opportunity!


8:00 am


9:00 am

Welcome Remarks

Tracy Yellen, Paso del Norte Community Foundation

9:20 am

Keynote Address

Rose Gailey, Heidrick & Struggles’ Costa Mesa 

10:35 am


10:50 am

Masterclass: Digital Transformation in Nonprofits

Jonathan (J.J.) Childress, Microsoft

11:45 am


1:00 pm

Deep-Dive Discussion: The Changing Landscape in Workforce

Leila Melendez, Workforce Solutions Borderplex

1:25 pm


1:35 pm

Deep-Dive Discussion: The Changing Landscape in Philanthropy

Laura MacDonald, Giving USA

2:00 pm


2:15 pm

Keynote Address: Jimmy LaRose

Jimmy LaRose, Author 

3:00 pm


3:15 pm

Masterclass: Fundraising Beyond the Basics

Andrea Tawney, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

4:15 pm

Closing Remarks

Mica Short, Paso del Norte Community Foundation

4:30 pm

Networking Hour

5:30 pm


Speaker Biographies

Rose Gailey

Rose Gailey is a partner in Heidrick & Struggles’ Costa Mesa office and the global lead of the Organization Acceleration and Culture Shaping Center of Excellence. She brings expertise in organizational culture and transformation to Heidrick Consulting’s value proposition, to accelerate performance through future-ready leadership and thriving cultures. Rose’s experience in culture and organizational transformation spans more than 25 years. Drawing on her expertise in future-ready organizations and cultures, Rose has worked with leaders from the boardroom to the front lines to further their development, strengthen alignment, and accelerate strategy execution. Given the importance of the shadow of the leader in shaping cultures, her background in counseling and organizational psychology is foundational to developing strong leadership shadows. Her work with organizations centers around aligning strategy, structure, and culture to accelerate high performance.

Jonathan (J.J.) Childress

J.J. is a passionate leader in economic development and community empowerment, currently spearheading Microsoft's TechSpark Initiative in Texas. This transformative program is dedicated to nurturing talent and equipping communities for the opportunities of the 21st century. He is currently leading TechSpark’s national expansion and recently launched the TechSpark Community Engagement Fellowship.

J.J. has played a pivotal role in establishing innovation accelerators, broadband access, digital inclusion, and entrepreneurship programs across the United States and Mexico. As a proud El Paso native and serial entrepreneur, J.J. has founded a range of successful businesses, earning him the Small Business Administration's Young Entrepreneur award in 2017.

J.J. holds a BBA in Finance and Accounting and an MBA from the University of Texas at El Paso. He has also completed Stanford University's Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative program and the University of Washington's Accelerating Social Transformation program, showcasing his unwavering commitment to social impact and community development. He is an active member on several nonprofit and civic boards.

Leila Melendez

Leila Melendez is CEO of Workforce Solutions Borderplex, a public non-profit member of the Texas Workforce Commission network. WSB serves the 6-county region in Southwest Texas by connecting employers with the well-prepared talent in our region. She works closely with local businesses, educators, and economic development partners towards disrupting poverty by enhancing the skills and competitiveness of the Borderplex region. Leila is product of El Paso, having graduated from Bel Air High School, attended El Paso Community College, earning her bachelor’s degree in Management from the University of Phoenix and her master’s degree in Business Administration from UTEP. In 2016, she completed an Executive Education Course at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in Behavioral Insights. Leila is very active in the community, serving on boards that promote and serve El Paso and its citizens, including the Fireman and Policemen’s Pension Fund Board and Executive Forum. She tried her hand as an entrepreneur for a short while in 2015, launching a food mail service business. She was recognized as a Woman of Impact by El Paso Inc. and recognized as a Breakthrough Leader from the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce.

Laura MacDonald

Laura MacDonald, Principal and Founder of Benefactor Group, has served the nonprofit sector for four decades. In 2000, she established Benefactor Group to serve the needs of those who serve the common good. The firm works with healthcare, arts, culture, and educational institutions; human service organizations; women’s funds; and others as they pursue their vision of a better world. The team at Benefactor Group has served hundreds of clients, ranging from universities, art museums, hospitals, and global NGOs, to start-up community organizations. Prior to establishing Benefactor Group, Laura served as the vice president and creative director of a national fundraising firm, chief development officer in arts and higher education, and as a key volunteer for community organizations. Laura was chief development officer at The Ohio State University’s Wexner Center for the Arts where she also served as a senior development officer in the University’s $1.2 billion capital campaign. Laura is constantly curious about innovations in fundraising and philanthropy and an astute storyteller. She is a frequent speaker at local, regional, and national conferences (AFP, AAM, AMDA, Fundraising Bootcamp, Ronald McDonald House, etc.) and has addressed hundreds of nonprofit boards. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and was named her chapter’s “Fundraising Professional of the Year” in 2007.

Jimmy LaRose

Jimmy LaRose’s passion for “people who give” has inspired philanthropists around the world to change the way they invest in nonprofits. His belief that donors are uniquely positioned to give charities what they truly need – leadership rather than money – is the basis for his work with individuals, governments, corporations and foundations, in the U.S., Europe, Asia & Middle East. Jimmy, in his role as author, speaker, corporate CEO & nonprofit CEO champions all civil society’s vital causes by facilitating acts of benevolence that bring healing to humanity and advance our common good. Now, in his twenty-fifth year of service, his message that money is more important than mission and donors are more important than people or causes has resonated with policy institute scholars, social activists, doctoral students, business leaders, think tanks, nonprofit and NGO executives who rely on him and his team of veterans to meaningfully grow their charitable enterprise.

Andrea Tawney

Dr. Andrea Tawney is the Vice President for Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso where she oversees marketing and communications and fundraising. She has built a team of strong leadership that has transformed philanthropic giving and expanded the visibility of Texas Tech El Paso’s mission by growing strategic marketing, partnerships and community engagement. Before joining TTUHSC El Paso, Dr. Tawney served as New Mexico State University Foundation’s President. Under her leadership, the foundation launched the most ambitious cash campaign in the system’s history. Within five years, her team raised more than $100 million. In 2016, Dr. Tawney was named one of Albuquerque Business First’s 40 under Forty and a 2019 Women of Influence. In 2022, she received Diversity Journal’s Women Worth Watching in Leadership International Award.

Dr. Tawney is a proud Air Force veteran and earned a Ph.D. from Texas Tech University. She holds a Master of Education and a B.A.S. in Justice Systems, Policy and Planning from Northern Arizona University. She serves on a number of boards to include Borderplex Alliance, El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Texas Lyceum,  New Mexico Economic Development Advisors, and USO El Paso/New Mexico.

Tracy Yellen

Tracy J. Yellen is the Chief Executive Officer of the Paso del Norte Community Foundation, which includes the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, Fundacion Paso del Norte para la Salud y Bienestar, El Paso Giving Day and a growing community of philanthropy.

Prior to joining the Foundations in 2013, Tracy served as Managing Partner of MJD & Associates, Campaign Director for the World YWCA Global Campaign, Development Director for the YWCA El Paso Del Norte Region, Public Outreach Director for the Border Environment Cooperation Commission, and Program Coordinator in the Office of Border Affairs for the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. Tracy has been recognized with numerous awards including the 2014 El Paso Inc. Woman of Impact, 2014 Project Amistad Humanitarian of the Year, 2012 Association of Fundraising Professionals Executive of the Year, and 2012 Nolan Richardson Charities Elaine Pharr Woman of the Year.

Tracy earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Studies from The Johns Hopkins University and Masters in Public Administration from the University of Texas at El Paso. 

Mica Short

Mica Short joined the Paso del Norte Community Foundation as Vice President of Development in October of 2018. In her role as VP, Mica is responsible for the development and implementation of a robust fund development program to include donor development, communications, donor relations, and supervising her team of committed and community-minded leaders.  Mica is part of a forward-thinking team dedicated to the philanthropic goals of individuals, corporations, foundation, and nonprofit organizations to improve health, education, economic development and quality of life in the Paso del Norte region. 

Prior to joining the Paso del Norte Community Foundation, Mica served as Community Relations Manager for Texas Gas Service Texas Gas Service and as Executive Vice President at the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce. Mica is a native El Pasoan, and a graduate of Loretto Academy.  She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, both from the University of Texas at El Paso.  She was named Outstanding Academic Graduate Student by the Institute for Policy and Economic Development when she received her Master’s in 2004, and she is a member a Pi Alpha Alpha, the National Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration.


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