Nonprofit Conference: Reimagine!

May 8 , 2024
8:00 to 5:00 pm

Tickets are now sold out!

The Paso del Norte Community Foundation is pleased to announce the fourth 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 8th and features diverse programming by sought-after nonprofit professionals, philanthropists, corporate leaders and partners.

Don't miss this thoughtfully-curated professional development opportunity! Tickets have since been sold out. 


8:00 am


9:00 am

Keynote Address

This keynote address provides tested and actionable strategies to help continually level-up impact as an individual, manager, and leader. Walk through the process of developing a leadership mentality that balances three key elements to achieve sustainable success: Purpose, Vitality, and Agility.

10:15 am


10:25 am

Understanding AI and Technology

AI and technology have the potential to transform almost every aspect of our work and lives – but where are we now, and where are we going? Amy Sample Ward, co-author of "The Tech that Comes Next," will lay a critical foundation for how this technology impacts the nonprofit sector and will address the opportunities for change makers, technologists, philanthropists, and policymakers to build an equitable world with technology.

11:25 am

Understanding the Nonprofit Sector

Understanding the landscape of the nonprofit sector is crucial as it provides insights into the economic impact, resource allocation, and developmental needs necessary for fostering community well-being and driving positive social change. Developed by the Paso del Norte Community Foundation and Paso del Norte Health Foundation, Dr. Michael Kelly discusses the findings of the Nonprofit Study, and the dynamics and challenges facing the sector. 

12:00 pm


1:05 pm

Collaborate to Elevate: The Power of Partnerships in Nonprofit Success

In today's interconnected world, nonprofits are increasingly recognizing the value of working together to amplify their impact, leverage resources, and advance shared missions. This panel will feature leaders who will share insights, experiences, and best practices on fostering effective collaborations and strategic partnerships.

2:15 PM


2:25 pm

Personal Insights on the Journey of Transformational Gifts

Gain profound insights into the transformative power of giving. Join Dr. Andrea Tawney as she sits down with Steve Fox, Fox Auto Team, and the Fox Family Foundation, to discuss the fundraising cycle, as well as personal journeys and reflections on the purpose and impact of philanthropy in our region. Together, they’ll unlock the secrets that inspire sustainable donor engagement and support!

3:15 pm


3:25 pm

The Funding Landscape: Insights into Corporate and Foundation Giving

Securing financial support is vital for nonprofits to sustain their operations, implement impactful programs, and achieve their mission-driven goals. This panel brings together seasoned funders to provide valuable insights into what funders are looking for when considering grant applications and partnership opportunities.

4:45 pm

Closing Remarks

Tephanie Hopper

Meet Tephanie - a highly accomplished and decorated professional with a wealth of experience in several areas. She started her career in the Army and served as the Fort Bliss Army Volunteer Corps Manager for over a decade. Her passion for diversity and inclusion led her to become the first Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator for Schriever Space Force Base before transitioning to her current role as the USDA-APHIS Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Specialist.

Tephanie loves to stay involved in various organizations and initiatives. She was the Diversity Director and Vice President of Programs for the El Paso Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM), served on the City of El Paso Veteran Affairs Advisory Committee, and volunteered as a mediator for the El Paso Alternative Dispute Resolution. Tephanie also served as the Team RWB Chapter Captain and has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Federal Executive Association of El Paso Excellence in Public Service Award, the Fort Bliss Commanding General Award for Outstanding Activity, and the Extraordinary Ladies in the Community Award.

She's even hosted a podcast called “Talking Nonprofits with Tephanie” and published an article in a national magazine called “Trail Groove”. Tephanie holds an MBA in Human Resource Management from Park University. Currently, she serves as the NAACP El Paso Branch Communications Chair and is one of the coordinators of DisruptHR El Paso 2.0. When she's not working or volunteering, Tephanie enjoys hiking and traveling.

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 is active in the El Paso community. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas El Paso Branch, Borderplex Alliance, PHIX Health Information Exchange, Fundacion Paso del Norte, and ROICOM. She was previously on the boards of the University Medical Center of El Paso, YWCA El Paso Del Norte Region, Women’s Fund of El Paso, Mesita Elementary, Wiggs Middle and El Paso High School PTAs, Kern Place Association, Keep El Paso Beautiful and The Johns Hopkins University.

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. She is a former college basketball player and marathon runner. Tracy is married to Steve Yellen and has two children.

L. Frederick Francis

Rick is the Chair of the Paso del Norte Community Foundation Board of Directors, and Chairman of the Board and CEO of WestStar Bank Holding Company, Inc., and Executive Chairman of WestStar Bank.

Rick also serves on various boards including the Medical Center of the Americas Foundation, El Paso Electric Company, Hospitals of Providence, and Borderplex Alliance to name a few. With a rich history in community service, he has been recognized for his contributions, including being named "El Pasoan of the Year" and inducted into the El Paso Business Hall of Fame and the El Paso County Hall of Honor by the El Paso County Historical Society, as well “Distinguished Alumni” by the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University, among many other accolades.

Ed Manfre

Ed Manfre is a partner in Heidrick & Struggles’ Los Angeles office. He is a trusted business advisor and accredited executive coach (ACC) with two decades of experience helping CEOs and C-Suite leaders energize and align their organizations for success.

Ed’s clients include members of Fortune’s “World’s Best Places to Work” and “World’s Most Admired Companies” lists. He coaches, advises, and consults broadly across industries, from start-ups to the Fortune 100. He has worked in both executive and commercial leadership roles as a business builder and people leader.

A sought-after public speaker and award-winning writer, Ed is a columnist for the Forbes Human Resources Leadership Council and author of the USA Today National Bestselling book, “Lead Through Anything: Harness Purpose, Vitality and Agility to Thrive in the Face of Unrelenting Change,” which was published in November 2023 by McGraw Hill.

As a USC international fellow, Ed earned a certificate in doing business in the European Union from WHU – Otto Beisheim Graduate School of Management. He speaks English and German.

Ed earned a Leadership Consulting Certificate from the Hudson Institute and is recognized as an accredited executive coach (ACC) by the International Coaching Federation. He is certified in Heidrick & Struggles assessment tools, including TAQ, LAQ, Culture Signature, and ALP.

Amy Sample Ward

Amy Sample Ward  (they/them) believes that technology should be accessible and accountable to everyone, especially communities historically and systemically excluded from the digital world. They are the CEO of NTEN, a nonprofit creating a world where missions and movements are more successful through the skillful and equitable use of technology. 

Amy's second book, “Social Change Anytime Everywhere,” was a Terry McAdam Book Award finalist. Their latest book, “The Tech That Comes Next,” co-authored with Afua Bruce, addresses the opportunities for change makers, technologists, philanthropists, and policymakers to build an equitable world with technology.

Dr. Michael Kelly

r. Kelly joined the Foundation in 1999. In his role as Vice President of Programs, he provides leadership for the Health Foundation’s health priority areas and supervises a talented program staff. Dr. Kelly plays a central role in Health Foundation leadership, including staffing the Allocations Committee and overseeing grantmaking. He also is instrumental in designing, implementing, and evaluating Collective Impact initiatives and leading special projects.

His philosophy is for all people to have the ability, environmental support, and freedom to pursue health and quality of life. He has an unsurpassed ability to predict and navigate the many complex vicissitudes in philanthropy and population health.

A native of Houston, Dr. Kelly received a Ph.D. in health education from Texas A&M University. He also holds a Masters of Education in Health Education and a B.A. in biology.

Dr. Eric Boyer

Dr. Eric J. Boyer is a tenured Associate Professor of Public Administration and Director of the Master of Public Administration program at the University of Texas El Paso. His Ph.D. is from the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at George Washington University, and his Master of Public Administration is from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He has published twenty peer-reviewed publications on topics including nonprofit management, public-private partnerships, and cross-sector collaboration.  He teaches graduate courses on Social Entrepreneurship & Nonprofit Management and Program Evaluation for UTEP’s Master of Public Administration and Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration. Prior to his graduate studies, he worked in the nonprofit sector for five years, most recently for the Council for Economic Education in New York City, where he managed programs funded by federal grants.

Christopher Villa

A member of the American Evaluation Association since 2007, Christopher C. Villa received his B.S. in Civil Engineering at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) in 1998. Upon graduation, he was employed as a payloads engineer at the Boeing Company in Seattle, Washington, where he worked until June 2003. In August 2003, he enrolled in UTEP’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. In 2004, he added the Master in Public Administration (MPA) curriculum to his coursework and was accepted into the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Work Study Program. Villa earned the dual MBA/MPA degrees and received the “Outstanding Public Administration Research Award” in May 2007. During his academic tenure, he came to the realization that the El Paso community had a need for objective program evaluation for non-profit and public organizations. As a result, Helix Solutions was formed. Villa was also recognized as an “Outstanding Alumnus” by the UTEP MPA program in 2016. His work has been published in The Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning.

Laura Uribarri

Laura Uribarri is the Associate Professor NTI, Program Director Healthcare Management for UT Health Houston School of Public Health. She was formerly the Assistant Dean for the College of Business Administration at the University of Texas at El Paso. During her time with the College, she has managed the undergraduate and MBA programs. Currently, she is responsible for the College’s co-curricular programming and she oversees corporate partnerships and external communications. She is also Co-principal Investigator for a multi-year Prudential Grant for the initiative titled “Risk Management and Advancing Latinx in the Actuary Profession.”  

Laura served as the Vice President of the Government Relations Division of the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce for several years before joining Mayor Joe Wardy’s Administration at the City of El Paso. Following her appointment in the Mayor’s Office, she joined El Paso Electric as their Senior Government Affairs Representative in Austin, Texas for two years.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Relations with honors from Stanford University. She holds a Master of Public Affairs Degree from the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. She also earned Master of Arts in History and a Ph.D. in Borderlands History from The University of Texas at El Paso.  

Laura is a member of Executive Forum and the Paso Del Norte Stanford Alumni Club. She is a proud alumnus of the Texas Lyceum and Leadership El Paso. She currently serves on the board of directors of the El Paso Downtown Management District.

Karen LaShelle

Karen LaShelle is the Executive Director of Austin Together, an organization dedicated to strengthening nonprofits in Central Texas through sustained collaborations that increase capacity and maximize impact. Karen is a highly respected nonprofit leader and was instrumental in the success of Creative Action where she currently serves as a consultant in the development of a new collaborative arts education facility. During her 20-year tenure at Creative Action, the organization grew from a grassroots startup into one of the largest arts education organizations in Texas, reaching more than 20,000 students every year.

Karen has received many accolades for her leadership, including the 2022 Learn All the Time Legacy Leader award, being named 2015 Mission Capital Executive Director of the Year, being recognized as a finalist for the 2012 and 2013 Ernst and Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year and receiving the 2011 “Austin Under 40” Award. Since 2016, Karen has been a trustee of the National Guild for Community Arts Education where she has served as the co-chair of the Racial Equity Committee and is the current Board Chair. She holds a BFA from Illinois Wesleyan University and an MA in Community Based Arts from New York University.

Cathy Gaytan

Cathy Gaytan, LCSW-S received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Notre Dame and her Master’s degree  in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has worked in various mental health settings including inpatient, outpatient, in-home and community mental health. Prior to moving to El Paso, she worked in Atlanta at the Georgia Center for Children, a children’s advocacy center for child victims of sexual abuse, as both a therapist and forensic evaluator. After moving to El Paso in 2007, she joined the El Paso Child Guidance Center as a therapist working with children and families. She is trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy and in Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). Starting in 2009 she served at the El Paso Child Guidance Center as Director of Clinical Services for five years and was promoted to Chief Executive Officer in July 2014. Her areas of clinical interest include treatment of child and adolescent exposure to traumatic stress and child abuse and neglect. She serves on numerous local advisory boards and is Vice Chair of the El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium’s Family Leadership Council.  She participated on the committee to oversee El Paso’s behavioral health need assessment in 2021.

 Cathy is an innovative, visionary leader who is working to revolutionize mental health in the El Paso community and increase access to services for our most vulnerable populations. She is a strong believer in community collaborations and partners with numerous nonprofits and is committed to promoting and supporting fellow leaders.

Ivonne Tapia

For over twenty years, Ms. Tapia has worked in both clinical and administrative positions in the behavioral healthcare industry. She holds a master’s in counseling, is a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor, and Advanced Certified Prevention Specialist.

Ms. Tapia strongly believes that community involvement is critical to our community’s success. She has served in several boards and advisory groups to include the Standards Committee Chairwoman, Board of Directors for Texas Certification Board, Member of the Consortium Executive Committee and Family Leadership Chair for the El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium, Paso Del Norte Health Foundation and Past President, Board of Directors for the Association of Substance Abuse Programs. She also served as an advisory board member for the Recovery to Practice Advisory Board for UNT. Tapia has also served as a Subject Matter Expert in helping the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium with a number of test development activities for Prevention Specialist Examinations.

Dr. Andrea Tawney

Dr. Andrea Tawney is owner and president of ATawney Consulting, LLC. As a female, Hispanic and veteran-owned business, she is proud to focus her talents and expertise on organizations that lift their communities with sustainable and collective impact. Dr. Tawney provides strategic planning for fund development growth and campaign feasibility of non-profits as well as the facilitation of board vision planning for corporate and private foundations.

In her role as Vice President for Texas Tech Health El Paso 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. In 2023, she and her team announced a historic gift of $25 million to establish the first comprehensive cancer center in West Texas. Before joining Texas Tech 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 and in 2023 was honored as El Paso Inc.’s Woman of Impact.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. from Northern Arizona University. She serves on a number of regional boards and the National Advisory Council for Foundations, Inc.

Steve Fox

Steve Fox, of El Paso, is president and chief executive officer of Fox Auto Group and founder of the Fox Family Foundation. 

Alexandra Chavez

As the El Paso Market Executive, Alexandra is responsible for the overall representation Bank of America has in the El Paso and Las Cruces communities. Alexandra manages the relationships with local key influencers, elected officials, nonprofit partners, clients, and internal local market teammates. Her role entails identifying the needs of clients, community members, and employees and strategizing where Bank of America can play a vital role to make a difference in the lives of those we touch. Alexandra acts as a liaison to line of business partners by connecting them to client solutions that may be out of their scope.

Alexandra has been with the bank for 10 years, and has held several roles ranging from Customer Service Representative to Financial Solutions Advisor delivering financial advice and proactive solutions to clients in El Paso, TX.

Active in the community, she is the Board President of Candlelighters, a local non-profit which is dedicated to enriching the lives of children who have cancer by providing hope, support, encouragement, advocacy and education to those children, their families, and the community at large. She also sits on the United Way’s Young Leaders Society Advisory Board and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund El Paso Advisory Committee. Alexandra is currently in graduate school aiming to pursue a Master’s in Public Administration.

The variety and intersectionality of Alexandra’s trajectory both professional and personal, has led to her continued need for growth and development. Alexandra is at a critical time in her career where she is at the cusp of becoming a stronger executive for her community, clients, and teammates.

Wherever Alexandra lands in her career, she aims to create an environment where Hispanic-Latino voices are heard and supported.

Abel Bustillos

Abel Bustillos graduated from The University of Texas at El Paso with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 2009. He followed with a graduate degree from the University of Texas at El Paso with a Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering in 2010. Upon graduation, He was employed by the Department of Defense in 2011 as an Electronics Engineer in Crane IN. Abel was later employed in 2012 by EPE as a Real Time Scheduler at System Operations. In 2013, he was laterally moved onto the Distribution System Engineering department to help oversee the design, construction, and maintenance of the Far East Distribution area. In late 2015, Abel was given the opportunity to return to System Operations as an Outage Coordinator. In this position he oversaw and coordinated outages to ensure reliability of the EPE Bulk Electric Grid. In April 2018, Abel was promoted to Interim Manager of Grid Operations. This team is responsible for real time operation and engineering for System Operations to help support the EPE BES and support the interconnection. In April 2020, he was promoted to Manager of Grid Operations. In April 2021, he was promoted to his current position as Director of System Operations, where his duties expanded to oversee all areas of System Operations which is inclusive of Engineering, Outage Coordination, Compliance, Scheduling, Energy Accounting, Balancing and Interchange, and Transmission.

Lizette Villareal-Montes

Lizette Villarreal-Montes is a Program Officer at The Meadows Foundation, one of the largest statewide private philanthropies in Texas, where she leads their Education and Environment portfolios. She enjoys being a resource to nonprofits and partnering on innovative solutions for all Texans.

Prior to this, Lizette served as the Annual Fund Manager at Casa Mañana, the oldest performing arts theatre in Fort Worth. At Casa, she oversaw their grant program, worked to cultivate their giving profile with corporate and private partners, and executed fundraising events. Before her return to Texas, Lizette worked in Washington, D.C. in Corporate Affairs for the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, in Development for the mentoring nonprofit BEST Kids, and in Federal Affairs for Salt River Project, the third-largest provider of water and electricity in the United States. An experienced leader in Texas, she has also worked in Higher Education and held different positions with nonprofits.

Lizette serves as a Co-Chair for the North Texas Asset Funders Network and on the Resource Development Committee for Philanthropy Southwest. She is an active and founding member of the Emerging Leaders Council for Cristo Rey Fort Worth College Prep and mentors students at Cristo Rey, through her alma mater, and through Kappa Delta Chi, a Latina sorority she founded in college. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Southwestern University. And while a proud native of Laredo, Texas, Lizette currently lives in Fort Worth with her husband and their two dogs.

VJ Smith

VJ is a member of Marathon Petroleum’s CSR Leadership Team and leads Tribal Affairs across Marathon Petroleum’s business relationships with 18 Native American Tribes. Prior to MPC he served as President of the Albuquerque and El Paso Divisions for Clear Channel Outdoor. VJ also owned and operated a commercial construction company performing work in New Mexico and Texas. VJ is a graduate of Fort Lewis College and holds a degree in Geology. He currently serves on numerous boards including the United Way as Board Chair, The El Paso Chamber Foundation and previous Board Chair, The Texas Tech School of Dentistry, the USO, NHS Tribal College CTE, New Mexico Oil and Gas Tribal Affairs Lead, the Borderplex Alliance and Make a Wish Foundation.

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, foundations, 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, where she led the company’s local public affairs, was the main liaison for governmental entities in the West Texas Service area, and where she spearheaded El Paso funding priorities through the ONE Gas Foundation.  Previously, Mica served as Executive Vice President at the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, where she oversaw the Chamber’s advocacy efforts at the local, state, and federal levels in the areas of healthcare, transportation, education, infrastructure and development, and border issues.  Mica served as the Chamber’s chief lobbyist and she worked with her staff and government relations volunteers to develop the Chamber’s legislative agendas and the Chamber’s position on key legislative issues.  Before joining the Chamber, Mica worked for four years as the community outreach liaison for an El Paso County Commissioner.

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.

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