Alverta McKenzie is a professional in the field of Child and Family Studies. For over 30 years she has worked to help strengthen the well-being of children and families, and to help prepare others to do this important work. Alverta is the Department Chair in Applied Technology Family and Consumer Sciences at Phoenix College. She teachers many courses in the Child & Family Studies discipline and was awarded the “Distinguished Teacher of the Year” in 2015/2016. Alverta’s degrees include a Master of Arts in Child & Family Studies, Prescott College, Bachelor of Arts in Business Management, University of Phoenix, and Associate in Applied Science in Child Care Administration, Phoenix College. Alverta held the national Child Development Associate Credential from 1977 to 2005. Memberships include the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and the National Council on Family Relations.
As a mentor and coach, Joy is dedicated to supporting women on their journey to self-sufficiency. Joy partners with the women she serves by providing encouragement and guidance to assist them in overcoming blocks and barriers to their success. She also facilitates workshops and presentations on topics to support women in learning life skills such as adjusting to change, stress management, and self-esteem.
Joy’s professional experience includes medical social work, training, workshop facilitation, life coaching, and mental health services. In addition to mentoring and coaching for Live and Learn, Joy is a life coach focused on mindfulness, mediation, and spirituality. Joy has also facilitated workshops for community organizations on self-care, habit change, and mindfulness. Joy’s education includes a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in social work. To further hone her skills, she has taken life coaching and guided meditation courses at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts.
Susanne Johnson is principal and founder of Verbena Sky LLC, an e-commerce company that sells ethically sourced products by emerging brands based in the US, UK, and France. At Verbena Sky, Susanne directs business strategy, marketing initiatives and operational functions. She sources business partners to expand product offerings, fine tune digital marketing, improve website functionality, and ultimately grow top line sales.
Prior to founding Verbena Sky, Susanne was a consultant providing marketing research, financial analysis, and capital raising support. She has spent most of her 25-year career providing expertise to global corporations and start-up companies in a wide range of industries including technology, health care, retail, and business services.
Prior to consulting, Susanne served as a Director of Industry Research and Analysis at Fitch Ratings, a Wall Street bond firm. At Fitch, she oversaw a portfolio of bonds ranging from $50 million to $1 billion in size. She published research on data technology companies. She provided investors and journalists with insight on bond investment risk. Before that, Susanne was a Strategic Accounts Manager at Experian Group where she partnered with other technology companies to build products and grow top line revenue.
Early in her career, Susanne was a Senior Associate at accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers, LLC, where she provided expertise to private equity firms and Fortune 500 companies on a number of merger and acquisition transactions. Susanne is a graduate of Flagler College and earned an MBA from Boston University Graduate School of Management.
Ruby Cervantes is a Family Therapist working with the General Mental Health adult population providing direct client clinical services in individual and group counseling setting. Ruby first began her career working with lower income families in the Head Start program. She then joined Live and Learn AZ in 2017 as a Client Coordinator working with referral agencies, training partners and employment partners to support the women in the program be successful during their career pathways. Working with a diverse impoverished population in the community for 5 years Ruby has learned the skills to understand how to empower, encourage, and educate these individuals. Ruby holds a B.S. from Arizona State University, and a Master of Science in Professional Counseling from Grand Canyon University.
Client and Program Manager
Stephanie earned her B.S. in Nonprofit Leadership & Management from Arizona State University. She completed her internship with Live and Learn, where she showed great passion and dedication to the clients. Stephanie became a full-time Client Coordinator in 2016. Her efforts towards establishing employment partnerships with other organizations have allowed Live and Learn to develop some of our most successful career pathways, including our TOTAL (Training on Technology and Life Skills) Pathway. Stephanie has made a huge impact on the lives of many of our clients.
Client and Development Coordinator
Gail earned her B.S. in Marketing and Sales from The University of Akron in Ohio. Her 10-year recruiting background includes working closely with candidates who are seeking new opportunities and working with employers to assist in bridging the gap to ensure a smooth process. Gail is passionate about helping others become well prepared for an interview by reviewing resumes and providing interview tips and techniques.
Clara Arenas is a teacher, physical therapist, writer, holistic coach and practitioner of the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). Clara’s passion for teaching led her to start her own company in Phoenix, Az (Avante Seminars, LLC) with Mirna Pineda. She has dedicated the last 25 years to study human co-behavior and learn techniques to facilitate the process of forgiveness. Ms. Arena’s passion is to help people to re-discover themselves, their potential and their connection with the Universe, in such a way that they can find inner peace, as she has done, through forgiveness. Clara wrote the book "The challenge of changing your life" in Spanish, together with Mirna Pineda, my partner and friend.
Michelle has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a Master of Arts in Education. She is also a registered yoga teacher. Michelle worked in elementary education in inner city schools before deciding to stay at home with her children. She is the owner of Pranayama Mama Yoga where she works to empower women to take charge of their mental and physical health through the healing and restorative power of yoga. She is passionate about sharing her life experiences of motherhood and postpartum depression with others and strives to create an environment where women feel heard and connected.
Dr. Mullady works for ASU’s Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions in the Office of Education Innovation. She also teaches courses for the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College in early childhood education. Dr. Mullady has served as both a director of a university-based inclusive preschool and an Early Head Start in South Phoenix. She has 25 years of experience in education including positions in PK-3 classroom teaching, college teaching, administrative leadership and curriculum development. The mission of Live and Learn is close to Dr. Mullady’s heart, as she witnessed firsthand the positive results for her staff when she was an Early Head Start director.
Erin earned a B.A. from Loyola University Chicago and a Masters in Public Administration with a focus in Nonprofit Management from the University of Colorado Denver. Having begun her career working with homeless populations, Erin was inspired by the impact of Live and Learn: “It isn’t just a band-aid; it empowers women to really take control of their family’s future”. In her role as Development Coordinator, Erin has focused on diversifying funding sources, establishing a volunteer program, and implementing a marketing and communications plan.
Katie is a graduate from the University of Technology, Sydney (Australia) with a BA in Communications. She worked in television media for over 15 years until an opportunity to relocate to the US presented itself to her family. Katie joined Live and Learn in 2012 and was instrumental in shaping and implementing mentoring services as well as career track training opportunities for all Live and Learn participants. Ms. Johnson possesses depth of knowledge in all aspects of program administration, development, ad implementation and was thrilled to take on the role of Executive Director at Live and Learn in March 2015. Katie has the Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professionals (CNAP) national accreditation.
Brian is a vocational education specialist, with extensive knowledge of training and employment opportunities in the healthcare industry. He understands the challenges and obstacles facing at-risk individuals enrolling in vocational training, and has a proven ability to develop successful action plans that culminate in graduation and employment. Brian holds a BS in CIS and worked for AT&T in his early professional career. Brian joined Pima Medical Institute in 2008 where he is responsible for Admission Compliance and Community Outreach.
MJ is committed to serving vulnerable women and their children, with an interest in basic skill acquisition and career training. She holds a BS in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Psychological Counseling from Indiana University. She spent 10 years as an executive in the financial industry. In 2001, MJ founded Career Solutions, Inc. in Indiana, an organization that helped women improve their lives through education, job training, and employment. MJ moved to Phoenix in 2004 and founded a medical billing business that provided paid training for women in the areas of medical billing, coding, and accounts receivable.
Denise founded Live and Learn in 2012. She holds a BA in Economics and an MBA from the University of Chicago. Her career includes over 20 years in the financial services industry, including an executive position with a Fortune 500 company, as well as time as the CFO of a start-up biotech firm. She moved to Arizona in 2005 and spent six years working for the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Business. Denise stepped down as the Executive Director of Live and Learn in 2015 and has served on the Board since.
Casey Sanders brings more than 24 years of experience in the financial services industry and 12 years overall with Bank of America. Throughout her career, Casey has held numerous production leadership roles. She is currently the National Underwriting Business Support Manager where she is accountable for the execution of critical processes and key performance metrics across the country. Responsibilities include: capacity management, staffing, business continuity, employee engagement, associate readiness, training, compliance, process improvement, and performance trending. Casey also brings mortgage and leadership experience from her former roles at Wells Fargo and Security Pacific.
Leane’ Kok is an energizing, goal-oriented executive dedicated to getting things done. As the Founder/CEO of Carefree Consulting, Leane’ provides product agnostic ERP, CRM, and BI consulting services to nonprofit and public-sector organizations. Her clients trust her to ensure that their business needs are driving technology, not vice versa.
Prior to founding Carefree Consulting, Leane’ worked for 5 years with Business & Decision, a global consulting and systems integration group. Leane’ lead the Public Sector line of business, focusing her efforts on developing pursuit teams to work on complex, multi-practice deals from start to finish. Additionally, she oversaw the implementation of solutions and lead a team of 65 technical-focused professionals.
Leane’ has a well-rounded career reflecting strong leadership positions coupled with “hands-on” technical and functional expertise.
Leane’ hold a Master's Degree in Information Technology from American InterContinental University and a B.B.A. degree in Accounting from Georgia State University.
Genevieve Dombrowski holds the position of Vice President, Talent. In this role, she leads the talent acquisition, organizational development and learning solutions functions. She is responsible for leading the teams that connect talent to opportunity and developing employees to create an environment to become an employer of choice.
Genevieve has been with Republic for seven years serving for the past three years leading the human resources operations team. The first two years of Genevieve’s career with Republic was spent as the lead human resources partner in the former New England Area. In this role, she oversaw the human resources activities in the field, leading all employee relations, acquisitions, labor relations, engagement and turnover efforts. She also led the corporate human resources function, focusing on building relationships and talent at headquarters prior to moving into the VP, Field HR role leading the HR field operations. Prior to coming to Republic, Genevieve worked for ten years with Aramark in the Sports and Entertainment line of business.
Genevieve leads a team of 76 talent-focused professionals. As a business partner to the field, she helps staff our business with diverse talent; creates strategies to develop our employees to become future leaders and creates impactful learning solutions that add value to the organization. Throughout her career, she has participated in and led critical business initiatives including large acquisitions, union campaigns, change management and engagement strategies.
Genevieve holds a B.S. degree in Business Management from Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio.
Interim Executive Director
Kristin was Live and Learn’s Program Coordinator from 2015 to 2019. Her passion for our mission made her a vital part of our team. In her role as Program Coordinator, Kristin oversaw the Client Coordinators, assisted with clients in crisis, and coordinated the supplemental support offered to clients. She seamlessly led our program through its first major growth stage in 2017, when we doubled the number of clients served annually. In May 2019, Kristin was named Live and Learn’s Interim Executive Director. Kristin holds a B.S. in Finance from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Chapman University.
Adelaine Sin is a Senior Director Strategic Alliances at Experian Information Solutions in Costa Mesa, California. In her role, she works on developing and expanding key partnerships within the mortgage industry, including pursuing M&A opportunities. During her tenure at Experian, Adelaine has held various positions such as product / program management and vertical market development for business information and marketing services divisions. She was responsible for developing strategies and managing partnerships with global social media and digital marketing entities. Early in her professional career, Adelaine worked for Dun & Bradstreet in Orange, California. Adelaine supports various organizations in the community such as University of California Irvine’s Executive Mentoring program as a mentor since 2014 and Compassion International as a sponsor since 2000. Adelaine holds Bachelor and MBA degrees from California State University Fullerton.