2020 Cohort – Phoenix

We would like to share some of their commitment to leading within their family, parish, community, and in business.

2020 Cohort – Phoenix2020-07-07T22:47:23+00:00

Cesar Verduzco

My commitment is based on my faith and participation in Tepeyac Leadership Initiative program. I’m taking action to launch myself as a political candidate based on my Catholic Values. First, I will run for a seat at a School Board to learn and gain experience. Then, I will enroll in the new American leadership program for new candidates seeking a higher office. Once finished, I will prepare the path to seek an office in the city as a city council. All this will give me the foundation to become a state representative. What comes next I put it in the hands of God.

Eileen Sullivan

I plan to reach out to other Catholic Professionals in Flagstaff and create awareness of the new TLI Online platform, soon available nationwide. As a lawyer, I am committed to representing indigent defendants with dignity and respect. I am committed to seeking justice in the cases that I am appointed. I am committed to always remembering Pope Francis’s words, “There is a need in every case for the assistance of God, who is the source of all reason and justice.” I am committed to serving as a Catechist at San Francisco de Asis, my new parish. Pope John Paul II said about catechists “The Church needs you. She needs you in order to be able to accomplish her absolutely fundamental task of forming Christ in the hearts of people, of putting people in intimate communion with Christ.” I believe my feminine genius calls me to serve in this capacity.

Jorge Sandoval

TLI has re-ignited my desire to do great things for Our Lord and Our Lady. As an executive, educator and evangelizer, I can positively impact thousands of youth in South Phoenix. I commit myself to form virtuous young leaders through educational and evangelization programs. They will be inspired to live a life of the seven virtues, collaborate on service projects for those in need, and produce good fruits in their families and communities. I will be a strong pillar for Mary Town/ESPIRITU and continue the legacy of Reyes Maria Ruiz. All for Jesus through Mary in union with St. Joseph!

Mariana Rodriguez

Pope Francis said, “Being a Christian entails promoting the dignity of our brothers and sisters, fighting for it, living for it.” Through the grace of God, I am committed to support catholic based organizations that strive to affirm the dignity and rights of migrants. I plan on donating and volunteering with these organizations, as well as advocating for just policies. Lastly, I intend to practice the virtue of courage to carry out my commitment through adversity and fear. I will keep my heart open to God’s will for me.

Shelly Potter

I am passionate about my vocation as a health care provider and I desire to contribute to the common good through my profession as a Catholic Physical Therapist. My current mission is to serve those aging in Arizona through leadership and advocacy. I will do this through involvement in the American Physical Therapy Association, specifically with the Arizona chapter of Board Certified Geriatric Clinical Specialists. I will contribute to the local community through participation in health screening events for the elderly focusing on prevention of chronic disease and falls. In addition, I commit to involvement with the Phoenix Catholic Medical Association. I hope, through ongoing networking with like-minded, Catholic health professionals, I will continue growing spiritually and professionally.

Gerardo Peña

I deeply care about the sanctity of life and dignity of the human person. I desire to lead a prolife focused non-profit organization and share my acquired leadership abilities, knowledge and passion for the underserved and underprivileged. This year I will request a meeting with Bishop Olmstead and offer to serve on a diocesan committee or board in my need to develop stronger community and diocesan connections and increase networking opportunities. This will support me to successfully reach my eventual goal of executive leadership.

Refugio Payan

The Tepeyac Leadership Initiative program has awakened my desire to personally grow in my Faith, my relationship with God and Parish engagement. It has inspired me to become a Virtuous Leader. As a graduate of the TLI 2020 Cohort I will commit to help promote and grow the Catholic Faith within the Families I serve by creating a virtual networking group that will help them grow spiritually and bring awareness to honor their human dignity and support their well-being. I will also Volunteer to support the Catholic Charities mission in helping and advocating for Immigrant and Refugee families.

Elizabeth Moore

The rights of preborn children are THE social justice issue of our day. So much evil comes out of banishing their humanity from the mind of society. The innocence of children is also preyed upon in our schools through inappropriate and harmful sex education, which research shows leads to earlier sexual activity and increased abortion rates. I pledge to defend the rights of the innocent through pursuing volunteer and board service opportunities for nonprofits with this same aim. TLI has also placed the desire in my heart to serve in public office and I am beginning conversations with professionals who can help me discern the right path forward.

Fernando Marquez

Participating in TLI has opened my eyes to the number of youth that lose interest and move away from our Catholic faith, especially when they leave their family. My TLI leadership commitment is to have a stronger prayer life and better understanding of our faith, to ultimately become a mentor to youth. I commit to working with our youth by taking a more active role in my parish and joining a board that involves my commitment. 

Elvia Lish

I am blessed to work for St. Vincent de Paul. There I have experienced the true impact of what can occur when a community comes together to help vulnerable populations. Diabetes self-management education programs play an essential role in improving health outcomes in populations in need of health care resources. Yet programs like this are not readily available in the Phoenix area. Today my TLI commitment is to expand our mission to heal and become an advocate in increasing access to diabetes management programs. Thus, promoting dignity and advancing the welfare for every person in our community impacted by diabetes.

Jason Kohl

I have a passion and enthusiasm for networking with like-minded professionals in the business community, who hold their faith and values as the cornerstone of how they conduct themselves in the public square and lead virtuously. My mission is to assist fellow professionals make meaningful relationships and fruitful connections, through network introductions and referrals. I would like to help fuel the momentum and assist with the Tepeyac Leadership Society and personally strive to serve its mission. I will be a contributing member by bringing ideas for fundraising, community involvement, TLI awareness outreach, networking, etc.

Luke Kircher

TLI has provided me fortitude for Christ’s mission and a wonderful group of peers. Four pillars that I have a passion for are; leadership development, education, evangelization, and a strong conviction for the sanctity of life. My strength is the ability to build community. My goal is to introduce others to TLI to help them identify their purpose, strengthen their faith, and develop into virtuous leaders to become witnesses to Christ in our communities. As such, my commitment is to support TLI as a presenter, ambassador, alumni and donor for as long as it provides value to the organization.

Elva Hooker

I am grateful to have joined TLI at this point in my life as a mother, a wife, and a professional. I gained self-knowledge and a focused and re-ignited purpose. As a health care provider that works with the community, I commit to advocating for equitable care for the most vulnerable to chronic diseases. As a TLI graduate, I commit to using the virtues God has given me to empower the people I serve to live healthy lives, as well as those I mentor to uphold human dignity through servant leadership.

Maria Gonzalez

Participating in TLI has broadened my vision on what kind of leader I want to become within my profession. The topics taught in the program have shown me what it is to truly be a virtuous leader in today’s society. It has shaped my views on how a leader should set an example by faith. In gratitude for being able to experience this program, I am committed to taking my leadership role more serious than I have in the past. My profession in the medical field will challenge me, as there will be procedures that I will not partake in. I am committed to following the health directives that the Catholic faith teaches to protect and preserve every human life including life in the womb.

Page Goetz

TLI has provided me with a greater understanding of the virtues and the importance of cultivating them in both the personal and professional life. With the persistent encouragement of St. Teresa of Calcutta, who said that: “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family,” and my desire to make a difference, I am excited to make a commitment to loving my family more intentionally. I will also work to develop virtue, knowledge of the Catholic faith, and my talents and gifts to be able to love and serve my community more authentically wherever life leads me. 

Edmundo Garcia Fimbres

I commit to living a meaningful Catholic life and build and share those values around me through living my vocation and the exercise of the virtues at the workplace. I commit to the use of my charisms through service, as member of these lay apostolates: the Holy Family Institute, the Knights of Columbus and our parish marriage preparation program. I further commit to re-arranging my life activities, simplifying and organizing them, to better serve this purpose, with the help of God’s grace, calling the assistance of the Holy Family. In addition, by truly living the liturgical seasons and good traditions of our Catholic faith, developing a culture of work-family balance, I will leave a Legacy on my family and inspire others.

Ana Gama

In the Catholic Social Teaching session, we learned one of the ways to achieve the common good is by ensuring the social well-being and development of our communities. What I’ve learned during my time in the TLI program has encouraged me to take a closer look at what it means to pursue the common good. I feel called to contribute to this effort by serving the youth in my community. My commitment is to volunteer in a non-profit that provides mentorship programs to our youth population, be able to share my experiences and learn from theirs.

Parker Fox

As a state attorney for the Arizona Department of Child Safety, I advocate for the interests of neglected and abused children on a daily basis. From this experience I see the overwhelming need for volunteer foster families. Because Catholic social teaching uniquely positions Catholics to care for the young and disenfranchised, I believe our diocese has the potential to become the gold standard in foster care. My commitment is to coordinate a diocese wide effort to inform Phoenix parishioners of the need for volunteer foster families and to provide parishes with information on how to become a foster family. 

Jose Luis Escobedo

My leadership commitment is to create a supplemental retreat as a capstone to the Exodus 90 program designed for men. The retreat will give participants an understanding of the need to be an active Catholic and what a properly ordered and excellent Catholic life entails. It will be helpful in discerning God’s will for them. This retreat will build on the rigorous formation found in Exodus 90. This will act as a catalyst for Catholic men to begin or continue their call to a virtuous Catholic life. This retreat will also allow me to discern where I will be fulfilling my board service.

Juan Carlos Duran

Like many immigrant families, mine came to the U.S. looking for better economic opportunities. We have been blessed to have started a successful family business, and at the same time, I have been blessed to have had a great business education from some of the top schools in the country. My leadership commitment as part of the TLI class of 2020 is to serve God by helping other Hispanic businesses achieve their potential by providing business advice and helping them make a better life in this country come true.

Monica Diaz

TLI has allowed me to think on a grander scale about the impact I want to have on society. It has shown me what qualities are necessary to become an effective and virtuous leader. Through TLI I have learned to appreciate and become more confident in the skills and opportunities God has blessed me with. My plan is to leverage those skills and opportunities to pursue my Master of Science in Dietetics, then a doctorate degree with an emphasis in diabetes research to be able to better serve God in the Hispanic population in the prevention and management of diabetes.

Alvaro Davila

Supported by the TLI education and community we have gained, I commit to serving both life and the family, two values that are under special attack today. In regard to the defense of life, I will volunteer my research experience to the Scottsdale-based Bioethics Defense Fund. I hope to find ways to apply my current studies in Data Science to the pro-life movement. In regard to the family, I commit to facilitating recurring Consecration to St. Joseph groups for men in the Diocese of Phoenix, yearning to promote his magnanimous example of fatherhood and sacrificial love.

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