2019 Cohort

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

2019 Cohort2019-07-26T20:33:18+00:00

Esperanza Hodgers, Kyrene Elementary School District

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Monsignor Chavez is the head of the commission for the Canonization of San Juan Diego at the Archdioceses of Mexico City, and an expert in the history and message of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Like other Catholics, I thought I knew about Our Lady of Guadalupe. However, after partaking in one of the institutes online courses, I was blown away by how much there is to know about her! My leadership commitment is to help perpetuate the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe within the Diocese of Phoenix by promoting the work of Monsignor Eduardo Chavez and by connecting the work of his institute to the Diocese of Phoenix.

Katrina Winn, Aid to Women Center

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My TLI Leadership commitment is to facilitate a program for families designed to help them grow together in prayer. This program will be based on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius and run yearly at my parish. Through a three-night long series of talks, activities, discussion, and Adoration, it will create a shared prayer experience that will strengthen the family’s collective prayer life. The desired outcome is a strengthening of familial relationships in the spirit of Bishop Olmsted’s exhortation Complete My Joy.

Ryan Wiensch, Spectrum Graphics

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As a graduate of TLI and a leader in the business community, I commit to living a balanced work and personal life. I commit to a stronger fuller prayer life and a greater understanding of our faith. Through these commitments I will look to bring men closer to Christ by playing an active role in my parish community, taking time to provide board service and working every day to lead the life Christ has called us to live.

Reymundo Torres, Aramark – Arizona State University

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Pope Francis has said “A good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of himself, so that those who govern can govern.” Per the guidance of the Holy Father, I intend to meddle. With numbers approaching one million souls and growing, the Roman Catholic Church is, by far, the largest religion in our state. Unfortunately, this is neither generally well known nor politically unifying among Catholics in Arizona. Through various faithful entities, I will work to identify, educate and support viable Roman Catholic leaders who hold their faith as a central factor of their public advocacy.

Eunice Sepulveda-Martinez, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality

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Discovering the meaning of becoming a virtuous leader and how to influence others positively, is extremely rewarding to me. Most importantly, the gift of being a wife and mother motivates me to help other families discover the love of God. I commit to taking more Natural Family Planning (NFP) courses to become an NFP representative at our parish. Respectfully and lovingly, I want to reach out to families (in person & through social media) to promote the importance of NFP and praying the rosary.

Micki Schroeder, Trilinear HR Consulting and Business Solutions

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As a graduate of the TLI Class of 2019 and in response to the constant reminder that my own life is no less than a miracle, I plan to increase my efforts to protect the sanctity and dignity of human life. I will maintain my current board leadership roles as I move forward in consideration for board membership at Life Choices Women’s Clinic as well. Additionally, I will keep my heart open to God’s will for me and to the requests for any additional needs of my parish, the Diocese and future expansion of TLI and Alumni opportunities.

Erin Sarotte, Society of Saint Vincent de Paul

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My participation in TLI has reignited my desire to be a leader in the Catholic Church. As I enter into the vocation of marriage this November, I feel called to serve married couples in a special way. My fiancé, Joe, and I have decided to begin a Christian Family Movement group at our parish. The Christian Family Movement is a lay Catholic movement that promotes Christ-centered marriages and family life, to help individuals and their families live the Christian faith in everyday life, and to improve society through acts of love, service, education, and example.

Marco Porras, Mas Vale Saber

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Participating in TLI has helped me understand the beauty of God’s work, the path he lights for me and the many blessings he bestows upon me. For my leadership commitment, I intend to discern my faith and vocation so that I may continue to grow spiritually while seeking out and allowing the Lord to place me in a board member position, which will allow me to confront injustice in society and to extend care to the ignored, abandoned and marginalized.

Erika Peña, Catholic Charities Community Services

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My leadership commitment is to re-strengthen my formation to better lead the Charismatic Renovation group Mimicas. John the Baptist said the Messiah “will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Luke 3:16) As a group, we are entrusted to represent and spread that “fire” through dynamism in events by engaging with the community. Because of personal battles, there were times I wanted to abandon my commitment as a leader, but I felt that “fire” burning within me. TLI has helped me renew my commitment to prayer and a closer relationship with Jesus. I will call on the gifts and charisms of the Holy Spirit to become a better leader.

Melissa Moreno, City of Phoenix

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It was troubling to learn about the number of young people leaving the Faith, year after year. My commitment is to create a comfortable environment that leads youth into self-reflection including the critical role parents and the parish community play in youth formation. This would include partnering with my Parish Pastor to create opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Eucharistic Adoration and personal invitations to ask questions about the Faith.

Jennifer Miraval, KSAZ Fox 10 News

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With God’s grace, I’m committing to create a documentary. Its mission will be to shine light on the truth behind one of the most controversial topics today; abortion. This movie will give a space for women who have been victimized by abortion to share their story. The hope for this film is to not only expose the truth but also to show that healing is possible. This documentary will honor the human dignity of every single person including those in the pro-choice movement.

Jennifer Miranda, Americare Hospice and Palliative Care

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My leadership commitment is to be a founding member of Salutem Et Fidem, meaning “Health and Faith.” Our mission is to become a Catholic guided forum that will provide members support for their physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, and intellectual health, and also a way to reflect on their role in healthcare through a Catholic lens. We will strive to provide education and support through a guided forum to discuss various ethical issues in healthcare.

George McNeely, State of Arizona

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After nearly two decades of war, the spiritual and social services need of our veterans are greater than ever. As a Marine veteran, I understand the pride of service to the country comes at a high price. Veterans face high rates of homelessness, suicide, and unemployment. As my Leadership Commitment, I pledge to secure an appointment to the Arizona Veterans Service Advisory Commission for at least one three-year term. This Commission promotes public awareness of veteran’s issues, providing policy advice to the Governor and Director of Veterans Services.

Jaime Martinez, LPI

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After my TLI journey, a passion for service and spiritual growth has flourished in me., Because of the work I already do in the area, and my professional and Church connections, I commit to supporting TLI in reaching Catholic professionals in Los Angeles. I will also join the St. Gregory’s Church project at my parish. Personally, I commit to a close observance of my relationship with Christ, my wife and family, and a renewed commitment to the Sacraments and spiritual reading.

Lorin Marchese, Grand Canyon Education

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In addition to changing my profession to teaching business classes at a local Catholic high school, my TLI commitment is to start a Bible study at the school. I want to invite ALL students to participate – no matter their gender, religion, grade, interests or academic standing. I intend that these students will know through this experience how important and valued they ALL are and that they will, in turn, do the same for others.

Miranda Maciel, Catholic Community Foundation

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As part of my leadership commitment, I will work to further develop my limited Spanish by taking weekly classes with the students of Bourgade Catholic High School with a Summer Immersion program in 2020. These classes and immersion program will allow me to better serve our Spanish-speaking community and incoming families in my role as Admissions Coordinator. I also commit to furthering the mission of TLI by serving as a member of the TLI marketing and communications committee.

Maria Lipp, Spotlight Media Services

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My leadership commitment is to continue helping the Tepeyac Leadership Initiative reach professionals who want to lead with principle and dignity. I look forward to continuing my collaboration with TLI’s social media team to grow its following and provide insight, that will help further TLI’s virtual presence as well as spread the message of virtuous leadership in the community. I hope the social media communications team–I will be part of–will help other professionals reconnect with their faith through their vocation as a result of experiencing TLI.

Irma Leyendecker, Society of Saint Vincent de Paul

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During TLI, I found myself thinking about the conscious choice to “Choose Love,” the path Jesus would take. I see it as my calling to help facilitate this problem-solving skill of making decisions with the love of Jesus in mind with our kids in our Catholic schools. I think in today’s world they need to know how to make smart and loving decisions with others in mind. I would like to join the diocesan school board and help start a program, helping children to make thoughtful choices by always “Choosing Love”.

Cecilia Lavallade, Diocese of Phoenix

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As a graduate of the TLI 2019 cohort, my leadership commitment is to continue to form myself in my faith and grow in a deeper relationship with God. In addition, I desire to serve on at least one of the following boards: 1) Young Professional Board for Catholic Charities; 2) Maggie’s Place; or 3) Catholic Leadership Circle. I hope to continue promoting TLI in hopes of inspiring future participants and at the same time continue to encourage fellowship opportunities among TLI Alumni.

Lisa Johnston, StreamLine Accounting

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My leadership commitment is three-fold, for my children, I have taken on the role of president of the Parent Service Organization to help build a better school and community for them. For my church, I will be handwriting notes to the parents of teens who are not attending the parish Life Teen program in order to increase participation and increase spirituality for young adults.
TLI has also reignited in my desire to run for public office, from a lofty aspiration into a concrete reality. I have begun discussions with professionals to learn about where I can best fit into a nominated board, or elected position.

Larry Herrera, City of Tempe

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There is a great need for building a professional Catholic leadership community. We can do more to unite and collaborate with Catholic professionals in Arizona.I commit to help to moderate the next cohort of TLI 2020 and beyond. Catholic leaders are needed at every cornerstone and helping build the network that lays the foundation, will shape the future of our Catholic faith in Phoenix.

Monica Grijalva, DMMG

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My leadership commitment is to support the dissemination of the papal encyclical Laudato Si by writing a monthly column for my Facebook Page and Blog Desierto Vivo, also to be sent as opinion columns to newspapers and church bulletins in Spanish and English. I hope for others to understand the responsibility of care for our common home, the urgency of our environmental challenges, and to join Pope Francis in looking to our common home with candor and humility.

Arturo Gonzalez, Ryley Carlock & Applewhite

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As an attorney who is privileged to represent injured workers and the underprivileged in our society, my commitment is to represent my clients through the lens of the Catholic Church, to treat all of my clients with dignity and respect, and to ensure that I keep taking bro-bono cases from the Florence Project to assist unaccompanied minors seeking a better life in the United States.

Sonia Galaviz, Remax New Hights

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I see a great need for young men and women of high school age to know more about their Catholic faith. As a TLI Graduate, my commitment is to develop a formation program for young adults in my parish that focuses on teaching the apologetics of the church. I would like to provide these young adults the knowledge and help them see the richness of our Catholic faith, so they know the truth and never leave their home, the Catholic church.

Jimmy Flores, We Build Phoenix

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Catholics are constantly yearning for comradeship with fellow Catholics but building long-lasting relationships through programs like TLI can be costly. I’m called to help create TLI’s Scholarship Fund for people not able to pay tuition fees. TLI’s Scholarship Fund will be supported by the community through donations, individual meetings, and an annual dinner. My responsibilities include direct communications with TLI, fund organization, and most importantly, fundraising efforts.

Bill Fathauer, Arizona Department of Transportation

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I will use my charism for writing to start a political blog geared towards helping lay Catholics both apply the teachings of the Church in the public square and identify opportunities for civic engagement. In the more mid-term, I will found a podcast with one or two other politically minded Catholics towards the same end. Additionally, I will seek an appointment to the City of Phoenix’s Human Services Commission to help address the increasingly problematic issue of homelessness in my hometown and I will seek to restart the Arizona chapter of a non-profit dedicated to advocacy for persecuted Christians with an event later in the fall.

Christine DuPont, Relevant Radio

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I am passionate about being Catholic, America, and Freedom. As Catholics, we must enact just laws and to protect our most sacred rights. I believe that if Catholics vote for candidates who uphold true Catholic teaching, we would have a better state, country, and society. My leadership commitment will be to create awareness and opportunities for Catholic’s to form their conscience in preparation for elections. I will be working with different organizations to educate Catholics, so they vote in a way that is pleasing to God.

Carlos Caraveo, JPMorgan Chase

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We all have a responsibility to bring Christ to our brothers and sisters. This upcoming fall I will be joining the Hospitality Team for RCIA at St. Mary Magdalene. The mission is to make the catechumens feel welcomed, connect them with other parishioners, and walk alongside them as they learn more about the Catholic faith.

Brandon Buck, Society of Saint Vincent de Paul

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There is great enthusiasm and potential magnanimity in my fellow graduates. My calling is to connect people. With regular quarterly gatherings, that include faith, education, and networking, we will build momentum with the first two TLI cohorts. My commitment is to support the development of the TLI Alumni Association.

Mar Bonilla, EBS Health Care – Littleton Elementary School

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As a school speech-language pathologist, I advocate for those who need representation daily. After participating in TLI, I plan on joining a board or organization that focuses on ensuring children with disabilities have access to adequate academic and religious education, along with community participation. I would also like to assist youth leaders in identifying how they can better support teens with disabilities who are part of their groups.

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