Carolyn Manning, Founder of WTAP
Current Roles: Currently, Mrs. Manning serves as the Economic and Community Development Manager for the Arizona Refugee Resettlement Program. She also participates in the Refugee Women’s Health Clinic, Maricopa Integrated Health Systems.
Education: She has a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame and a Masters in Public Administration from Seattle University.
Charity Experience: She has worked in the social service field with elderly, seriously mentally ill, abused children, and for refugees as a volunteer, crisis worker, case manager, and director since 1987. She founded WTAP in 2001.
Community Recognition: She has won numerous awards for WTAP and most recently was selected as a CNN Hero of 2009.
Board of Directors
Sentari Minor, Board Member, President
Current Roles: Sentari Minor is Development Officer at the Arizona Humane Society (AHS), oversees initiatives and programs to increase fund development.
Education: Mr. Minor is an alumnus of DePauw University, located in Greencastle, Indiana where he studied English.
Charity Experience: With broad and extensive experience in the nonprofit sector, Mr. Minor currently sits on the board of directors of Social Venture Partners, KEEN Phoenix, Phoenix Collegiate Academy, Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, and on the advisory board of Blueprint Education as well as their charter school board. Outside of Phoenix, Sentari handles communication and marketing for Community Arts Create (CAC), a Seattle-based nonprofit. He also acts as consultant to CAC’s executive director. Additionally, he was a member of Cohort IV of the Generation Next Leadership Academy through Arizona State University’s Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation.
Community Recognition: For his dedication to the sector, Sentari was the recipient of the YNPN “Pay it Forward” award and was also recognized as a “Rising Star” at the 2012 Future in Review (FiRe) conference. He was awarded the “Rookie of the Year” award from Hands On Greater Phoenix recognizing the outstanding new project leader.
Sharon Flanagan-Hyde, Board Member, Vice President/Secretary
Current Roles: Sharon Flanagan-Hyde is president of Flanagan-Hyde Solutions, LLC, a consultant firm that supports nonprofits and other organizations with facilitation, research, and writing.
Education: Ms. Flanagan-Hyde holds a B.A. from Williams College and an M.A. in Organizational Change from Prescott College.
Charity Experience: As a founding member of the Arizona Humanity Council’s Project Civil Discourse, Ms. Flanagan-Hyde provides leadership for large-scale community conversations on issues such as health care and immigration. She served as a recorder, report chair, and development director for Arizona Town Hall, is a nonprofit management student mentor, and has volunteered for domestic violence and childhood abuse prevention programs.
Community Recognition: Ms. Flanagan-Hyde is an IABC accredited business communicator and was selected by the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust and St. Luke’s Health Initiatives for BoardSource Advanced Nonprofit Governance Consulting Training.
Samuel Chang, Board Member, Treasurer
Current Roles: Mr. Chang is an Associate with Lewis and Roca, LLP and has successfully represented juvenile refugees in obtaining special immigrant juvenile status. His current professional affiliations and community involvement include the Maricopa County Bar Association, Arizona Asian American Bar Association, Arizona Students’ Association – Advisory Council, and Florence Immigration and Refugee Rights Project volunteer.
Education: Mr. Chang received his law degree from The University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law, Tucson, Arizona in May 2006.
Charity Experience: In college, Mr. Chang served as the Primavera Men’s Shelter Legal Aid Co-Chair and VLP Child Advocacy Program Volunteer.
Community Recognition: Mr. Chang received the Namesake for the Samuel Chang Award for Excellence in Public Service.
Alexander J. Cudzewicz, Board Member, Development Chairperson
Current Roles: Alex Cudzewicz, CPA/PFS, is the President of Oak Brook Asset Management Corporation which provides investment advisory services for individual clients. Mr. Cudzewicz is also currently an Advisor to the International Finance Committee for the Society of Medical Missionaries.
Education: He received his BA in Philosophy from Kilroe College, earned an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management, and his CPA certificate from University of Illinois.
Charity Experience: Mr. Cudzewicz has served on the Board of Directors and Advisory Boards of several not-for-profit art organizations, including the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra, Chicago a cappella, and Jan Erkert and Dancers. Also, he was an active fundraiser for the Chicago Choral Artists.
Community Recognition: He is a Registered Investment Advisor and has been awarded the Personal Financial Specialist designation by the AICPA.
Paul Pachence, Board Member, Communications Chairperson
Current Role: With over 6 years of experience in technology and marketing, Paul Pachence’s skills and expertise include executive networking, business execution, team management and direct marketing. Mr. Pachence most recently serves as a Solutions Architect for Standard Register, where he onboards and consults with Fortune 500 customers. Notable, is Mr. Pachence’s involvement with business and community social groups, where he has built an expansive network of contacts.
Education: Mr. Pachence received his BS in Graphic Media Publishing from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY.
Charity Experience: Mr. Pachence has been heavily involved with non-profit organizations over the years, including Second Harvest Food Bank in Charlotte, NC, Habitat for Humanity, and as a Disaster Services volunteer for the Red Cross.
Sean Garrison, Board Member
Current Roles: Sean Garrison is a partner in the Intellectual Property and Technology Practice Group of Lewis and Roca, LLP.
Education: Mr. Garrison obtained his law degree from Columbia University in 1992 and his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1989.
Charity Experience: Mr. Garrison is an active member of the legal and business community. He has provided pro bono legal services to charitable organizations such as Fresh Start Women’s Foundation. He has previously volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, StandUp for Kids, and the St. Vincent de Paul and Paz de Cristo meal service kitchens. He has also served a variety of community and professional committees, including on the International Trademark Association’s Monetary Remedies Subcommittee, the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce’s Airpark Committee and has served as Past Chair of the E-Commerce, Internet and Technology Law Section of the State Bar of Arizona.
Community Recognition: He has an “AV/Preeminent Attorney” rating with Martindale Hubbell. He is listed in the 2007-2011 editions of The Best Lawyers in America by Woodward/White, Aiken, S.C. in the category of Intellectual Property Law, the 2007-2011 editions of Southwest Super Lawyers in the category of Intellectual Property.
David L. Stoll, Board Member
Current Roles: David Stoll is a partner with the Phoenix law firm Beaugureau, Hancock, Stoll & Schwartz, P.C. where he has practiced for over 26 years in the fields of insurance defense, products liability and personal injury litigation.
Education: David received his Bachelor of Arts (1982) and Juris Doctorate (1985) degrees from the University of Kansas.
Charity Experience: For years David was actively involved as a volunteer and fundraiser for the Rancho Feliz Charitable Foundation, Inc. He is also the past Chairman of the Animal Law section of the State Bar of Arizona and a member of the Maricopa County Bar Association, the State Bar of Arizona and the Arizona Veterinary Medical Association.
Community Recognition: David and his musical band “box of rocks” received the 1998 Award of Recognition from the Rancho Feliz Charitable Foundation in connection with the Orphan Aid Benefit Concert which led to the construction of the Exchange Dormitory at the Rancho Feliz Orphanage in Agua Prieta, Mexico.
Matthew Berens, Board Member
Current Roles: Matthew Berens is a founding member of the Berens, Kozub, Kloberdanz & Blonstein, PLC. Mr. Berens has over 27 years of experience in real estate, finance, corporate and securities law. His practice focuses primarily on the representation of lenders, home builders and developers in real estate and finance related matters and the representation of businesses with respect to entity governance and finance issues.
Education: Mr. Berens is a graduate of Arizona State University (BS Accounting 1978, Summa Cum Laude) and he graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law in 1981.
Charity Experience: Mr. Berens is actively involved in the community through the coaching of youth and high school football as well as serving on the Board of Directors of various youth sports organizations and various entities which provide scholarships to local private high schools. He is also active in the Diocese of Phoenix in an advisory capacity for schools and real estate matters.
Julia Thorn, Board Member
Current Roles: Julia is an associate with Bridges Media Group representing client of the travel and hospitality industry in Phoenix and Scottsdale. Her current professional affiliations and community involvement include (PRSA) Public Relations Society of America and (HSMAI) Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International.
Education: Julia is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a BBA in Marketing.
Charity Experience: Over the last 20 years, Julia has made long term volunteer commitments to the Covenant House in Houston, Texas; The Settlement Home for Children in Austin, TX and the Humane Society of Santa Barbara, CA.
Kristin Romaine, Board Member
Current Roles: Kristin Romaine is a talented nonprofit strategist and community leader. She currently serves as a Consultant and Chapter Executive for ACG through Capitol Consulting AZ. Kristin works with nonprofit clients to provide strategy and organizational analysis to meet mission goals and objectives.
Education: Kristin, and her husband Terrance, are Arizona natives, ASU graduates, and a proud residents of Central Phoenix. Kristin has her MBA in Nonprofit Management from Regis University.
Charity Experience: Kristin and Terrance had one of their very first dates on aSaturday delivery with WTAP. They are active community volunteers and advocates and were recently inspired by their work at WTAP to become foster parents. Kristin’s goal is to become a leader for community-based change and social justice and use her life, talents and skills to serve others through empowering individuals and organizations.
Slava Imbragimov, Board Member
Current Roles: Slava Ibragimov currently serves as Assistant Vice President at FirstBank’s Phoenix Metro market. Slava oversees the day to day operations at his location and is responsible for business development and all facets of residential and commercial lending in his trade area. He is a former refugee himself, having arrived at a young age with his parents and sister to Las Vegas.
Education: Slava received his BS in Business with a concentration in Management from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Charity Experience: Downtown Scottsdale’s Kiwanis chapter, Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce, Graduate of Scottsdale Leadership’s class 26. In addition, during his time at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Slava helped the campus outreach programs to organize in-class teacher assistance, tutoring labs, academic advising sessions, social activities, etc. for “at risk” students of UNLV and the surrounding Junior High and High Schools.
Megan O’Connor, Executive Director
Megan O’Connor is an Arizona native with several years experience working with local resettlement organizations in Phoenix before coming to WTAP as the Executive Director. Here, she works to give direction and leadership toward the achievement of the organization’s mission, programs and strategy. “My vision is to expand the community’s world view and understand that international human rights abuses impact us every day, right here in our neighborhoods.” She strives to live the vision of the organization – to create a welcome community. Megan is an ASU graduate, and has studied politics and international studies at Charles University in the Czech Republic. In 2011, she was awarded a Carl Wilkens Fellowship in order to continue to advocate locally for victims of genocide and mass atrocities arriving in Arizona. As a Scottsdale Community College (SCC) alumna Megan is actively involved around the campus with Genocide Awareness Week and the international student program. Through the State Department’s Community College Initiative Program she has volunteered as a host parent to students from Ghana, Turkey, Brazil, Pakistan, and South Africa. Megan is also a current candidate for Class 34 of Valley Leadership. Contact Megan.
Ophelia Bachini, Family Advocate
Ophelia Bachini joined WTAP in a volunteer capacity working the Clothes Closet and deliveries prior to assuming her current role of Family Advocate in October 2009. Before joining WTAP she spent 7 years as a volunteer with the Dobson Academy doing everything from fund-raising, to assisting in the classroom to operating the on-site library. While with Dobson Academy she received numerous awards including the presidential award for community service involvement. Ophelia worked for Tempe St. Lukes and Lutheran hospitals in admission and staffing which included scheduling of the nurses and support staff. She is also a Voting Inspector and supervises at polling places for each election. Contact Ophelia.
Jack Bigus, Lead Driver
Jack Bigus is a retired UPS driver with over 30 years experience in customer service and driving in the Valley. As Lead Driver, Jack has excelled at connecting local furniture stores to the mission of WTAP in order to provide donated in-kind materials. Jack manages the logistics of driving and pick-ups as well as furniture selection for each family.
Johnny Momoh, Assistant Driver
Johnny Momoh, a former Liberian refugee, has worked for WTAP for 2 years as an Assistant Driver. Johnny enjoys working for WTAP and giving back through the organization that provided him support upon his arrival from Africa in 2008. Johnny is an enthusiastic team member, speaking often to new groups of students and volunteers to educate them on refugees in Arizona.
Venant Vyamungu, Assistant Driver
Venant Vyamungu is a former refugee from Burundi. He holds a degree from the university in Bujumbura and has worked with refugees in many leadership roles in Arizona and abroad. Venant is an active member of the Burundi Association in Maricopa County and performs with the group’s drummers in cultural presentations across the Valley.
Alexis Niragira, Assistant Driver
Alexis Niragira is the newest member of our team, joining as an Assistant Driver. Alexis was born in Burundi and, due to war, grew up in a refugee camp in Tanzania where he lived for 13 years. In the camp he graduated from secondary school, being certified to teach elementary school French, Math, Science and other subjects. He enjoyed sharing his knowledge with children and planning activities. Alexis has been working for two years at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and attends classes at Phoenix College. His goal is to become a certified teacher here. Alexis is excited to be working with WTAP as he remembers our delivery to his family in 2008. Alexis says he was happy to meet the volunteers because, “I felt I was not alone in the USA, and I found family.”