6 Women Who Make Esperança’s Mission Possible

International Women’s Day 2021 – Celebrating the Women of Esperança

Around the world, Esperança empowers women through health education programming, microloans for small businesses, leadership positions for community water and housing projects, and more. We choose to challenge the norm, working towards health equity for all women in every community.

International Women’s Day – celebrated annually on March 8th – is a day to do just that; to lift up women from our global community and highlight their accomplishments as well as share the disparities they face.

At Esperança, we are proud to be a woman-led organization, for who better to understand and advocate for those still suffering from stigma, inequality and discrimination?

Take a moment to read about the public health professionals driving forward our mission of health equity for all

Jeri Royce

Position: President & CEO

Years of Service: 3

Connect with Jeri

In 2018, Jeri Royce was elected Esperança’s first female CEO in the organization’s (now) 51-year history, and the effects of her leadership have been felt around the world. She has bolstered the sustainability of Esperança in Phoenix as well as the longevity of our international partners by investing in professional development and sustainable practices. Outside of Esperança, Jeri inspires hope in the Valley by serving as a board member for the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits and Love & Light Ministries, and as a long-time mentor to an at-risk teen with New Pathways for Youth. Jeri also teaches ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation, sharing her expertise in subjects like High Impact Leadership and Becoming a Person of Influence. Most recently, Jeri was named the 2020 Arizona Business Angels Nonprofit Executive of the Year by AZ Big Media.

Mistie Weishaar

Position: Board Chair

Years of Service: 6

Connect with Mistie

Mistie has served on Esperança’s board for seven years, providing guidance to increase reach and financial performance, which is reflected by the increase in donors and budget during her years in office. In 2020 Mistie was elected Board Chair and also serves as Co-Chair, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force and Chair of the Governance Committee. She also plays a large role in recruiting new board members, with a determined eye on diversification. Outside of Esperança, Mistie serves as the Marketing Manager for Greenberg Traurig where she leads the company-wide philanthropic endeavors, most notably planning the “day of service” held the day after MLKJ Day. Mistie also serves as the Board Vice Chair of the Friends of Public Radio and as a member of the African-American Women's Giving and Empowerment Circle through the Arizona Community Foundation.

Maria Valenzuela

Position: Domestic Program Director

Years of Service: 22

Connect with Maria

As a first-generation American, Maria experienced firsthand the shortcomings of Arizona’s public health system, specifically the lack of resources dedicated to the Latinx population. In 1999, Maria established what would become one of the largest minority-centered preventative health programs in the state of Arizona. Serving 22 years as the Domestic Program Director of Esperança, Maria has provided over 40,000 families with education on chronic disease, nutrition, oral and breast health, and more. She has presented her nationally recognized curriculum with the United States Congress, two WHO global forums and the Aspen-Aetna Healthy Communities Fellowship. Outside of Esperança, Maria serves on the Board of Directors for Valley Leadership, a member for the Mayo Clinic Community Advisory Board and the Health Improvement Partnership of Maricopa County.

Anna Ortiz, MPH

Position: International Program Director

Years of Service: 4

Connect with Anna

A self-proclaimed “public health nerd”, Anna works with Esperança’s global partners to implement sustainable community development programming as well as coordinate volunteer surgical missions. She vetted and established Esperança’s newest partnership in Ecuador in 2019. In the same year, noticing a growing number of Arizona-based international organizations, Anna founded and the Arizona Global Development Network, a resources group for nonprofits working in development and humanitarian aid. Outside of Esperança, Anna is a Peace Corps veteran involved with the Arizona Alliance for Nonprofits, learning how she can better advocate for the nonprofit sector, is an advocate for Dreamers, DACA and immigration rights, by participating in local events organized by Aliento, and sits on the scholarship review board for applications submitted to the Arizona Community Foundation. Internationally, she serves on the Board of Directors for the International Association for Community Development, where she represents as the Regional Director for Latin America & the Caribbean Islands.

Tami Bohannon, CFRE

Position: Chief Development Officer

Years of Service: 1

Connect with Tami

The newest member of Esperança’s leadership, Tami brings 25 years of experience and professionalism with an extensive background in managing communications and fundraising efforts for both faith-based and secular organizations, including Catholic Charities Community Services, Boys Hope Girls Hope of Arizona, St. Francis Xavier Jesuit Parish, the Sisters of Mercy, Ronald McDonald House Charities and the American Cancer Society. She is passionate about forming meaningful relationships with Esperança’s supporters, grantors and volunteers. Outside of Esperança, Tami recently completed a term on the Board of Directors of the Greater Arizona Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where she chaired the signature annual event and awards celebration and served as marketing chair. She also serves as a mentor for the Association of Fundraising Professionals and guest lectures at both ASU and the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy at Maricopa Community Colleges.

Elizabeth Greene, MBA

Position: Board Vice Chair

Years of Service: 3

Connect with Elizabeth

Elizabeth provides guidance to Esperança as the Board Vice Chair, Co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force, and Member of the Board Advancement Committee. Her efforts steer the organization towards a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance and financial management policies, as well as by making sure Esperança has adequate resources to advance its mission. Outside of Esperança, Elizabeth is the Global Director of Diversity & Inclusion Business Development at ON Semiconductor, where she was recently elected a member of the Women's Leadership Initiative Corporate Steering Committee at ON Semiconductor, a volunteer position aimed at creating content and opportunities related to increasing business, strategic and financial acumen. She is also celebrating 12 years as a Wish Grantor with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and serves as a mentor and trainer with Asian Corporate and Entrepreneur Leaders (ACEL).

Join us on March 8th to celebrate International Women’s Day. You can join in by:

  • celebrating women’s achievements
  • raising awareness about women’s equality
  • lobbying for accelerated gender parity
  • fundraising for female-focused charities like Esperança