Meet Our Leaders

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Jenna Biancavilla: president, executive committee member & board of directors member

Jenna is a fearless entrepreneur, financial expert, captivating public speaker and life-enthusiast whose life mission is to serve others. She is the Founder and CEO of Pearl Capital Management, a financial services firm with a passion for helping people.

A graduate of The University of Arizona with a degree in Economics, a trained leader through Scottsdale Leadership, and a seasoned business trailblazer, Jenna is one of Phoenix’s rising stars in the community.

Jenna finds meaning and purpose by serving others. In business this takes the form of helping her clients navigate the investment world and reach their wealth goals.  Personally, she devotes her time to many local community service organizations.

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Aaron Gough: Board of Directors Member and Service Committee Liaison

A valley native and entrepreneur, Aaron was drawn to Emerging Leaders by the in-hospital volunteer opportunities available to members.  He’s passionate about spending time with patients in order to help them enjoy their time in the hospital.  A graduate of Arizona State University, he currently runs both a real estate company and software company in Tempe.  He’s also a member of Suns Charities 88 and active in the local political community.

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Jon Nauert: Executive Committee Member, Board of Directors Member, and Secretary

Jon currently serves as an Investment Lead at a single-family office in Scottsdale, AZ, where he sources, analyzes, executes and manages investment opportunities across private equity and real estate.

Previously, he was a Lead Associate & Founding Member at B2 Partners, an independent private equity sponsor primarily focused on the energy and environmental services sectors. Prior to B2, Jon was an Investment Banker at HSBC, where he focused on cross-border acquisitions & divestitures across the oil & gas sector.

During Jon’s college tenure, he served in private equity internship positions at Pegasus Capital Advisors, and Goldman Sachs & Co., respectively. He started his entrepreneurial endeavors while studying at Barrett, The Honors College at ASU, where he  double majored in Finance and Marketing and at The London School of Economics.

Jon is the Founder, Executive Director & Chairman of the Board for Millennials for Mental Health Awareness. In addition, he is a Board Member at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, an Ambassador for TGen, a Co-Chair for Maverick PAC, and an Advisory Board Member for Mindot.

He has lectured at Harvard College on early-stage and lower middle-market private equity investing; and at The Concordia Summit in Bogota on food sustainability.

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Steven Simpson: Board of Directors Member and Marketing Director

Steven is the proud father of Isabella and Steven II and husband to Carol Simpson. He earned his bachelor of science in business and certificates in digital marketing and marketing from the University of Phoenix. He will have his master’s in management degree with a concentration in organization leadership & change completed in February 2019.  Steven’s passion to lead, give and serve in his community starts with his daughter Isabella. She was a patient at Phoenix Children’s Hospital for most of her life and after she passed in March 2016, Steven and his wife wanted to give back to PCH in any they could. They started a non-profit organization, The Isabella Rose Foundation to raise awareness about the diseases she battled. In two years they’ve donated over $20,000.00 to PCH. And in April of 2017 Steven and Carol welcomed their rainbow baby child Steven Christopher II.

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Riley Koltsova: Leadership committee liaison & board of directors member

Riley works for the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage & Hour Division, as a Government Contracts Specialist enforcing a number of different labor laws. She also works as the Regional Data Coordinator for the western region. Riley is a valley native and earned her BA and MA from the University of Arizona. Riley is passionate about volunteering her time in the hospital playing bingo and assisting with the Family Care Cart. She is also a member of the Junior League of Phoenix. In her spare time, Riley loves to travel to new places with her husband, Alex.

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Grant M. Boland: Board of Directors Member and Membership Counsel Liaison

Grant M. Boland, J.D., LL.M., is a Partner at Boland Law Group, PLLC where he focuses his practice in the areas of trust and estate planning, business planning and tax representation. Grant’s practice emphasizes the design, implementation and defense of advanced strategies to transfer ownership of family businesses and legacy properties from one generation to the next (or to charity). Grant is passionate about volunteering his time with the Membership Committee for Emerging Leaders at PCHF and as a volunteer attorney for the Wills for Heroes Legal Clinic at the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education, State Bar of Arizona and the Disabled American Veterans organizations. Grant is involved with other various groups across the Valley including, the Scottsdale Bar Association, Central Arizona Estate Planning Council, and the Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations.

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Derek Buescher: Board of Directors Member

Derek joined Conor Commercial as a Development Analyst in January 2016 and was subsequently promoted to Senior Development Analyst in 2017. He is responsible for supporting the firm’s development initiatives throughout Arizona and the greater Southwest Region.

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Shaniqua Lewis:  Board of Directors Member

Shaniqua is an aspiring entrepreneur who recently founded Enchanting Eventz LLC. Her mission behind starting her business is to work with individuals from all walks of life to accomplish they’re party goals no matter the size of their wallet.

Shaniqua believes that is important to make people smile every day in her personal life as well as her professional life. She receives that and more when working with clients and volunteering at the Children’s hospital.

 

She holds a MBA from DeVry University and a Bachelor’s degree in Communication. Shaniqua has landed many opportunities to travel abroad to observe various cultures and gain an interest in philanthropy.

 

She loves donating time to AZ dog rescue and the salvation army. Spending time at Phoenix Children’s hospital is very important to Shaniqua and brings her so much joy to see the children smile. She learns so much from the children each time she comes and it makes her cherish and appreciate each hour spent with them.

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Vanessa Hall:  Board of Directors Member

Always a New Yorker at heart, Vanessa loves the heat of the Phoenix valley!  She is a graduate of Penn State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology and has had impactful communications training through Landmark Education.  Vanessa has been featured in Phoenix Magazine, The Produce News, The Packer and will be featured in The Know Book Phoenix, 100+ Women You Must Know and Do Business With 2019 Vol. 2.

 

Vanessa is a partner of Performant Scout, an executive search firm that places high caliber professionals across North America in the Agribusiness and Food & Beverage Manufacturing industries.  She finds great value in being a member of both the Produce Marketing Association and Southeast Produce Council given the connection and engagement in her industry they each provide.

 

In addition to her commitment to growing her company, Performant Scout along with her partner and team of recruiters, Vanessa is serving as a committee member of the American Cancer Society’s Hope Gala 2019 and board member of the Emerging Leaders Program through the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Vanessa is excited and passionate about advancing the Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s mission of providing hope, healing and the best healthcare for children and their families.

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Joel Fugate: Leadership Committee Chair

Joel Fugate is a trial attorney at Cronus Law, PLLC. Joel joined Emerging Leaders to connect with other influencers in Phoenix and help further Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s mission to provide hope, healing, and healthcare to children and their families. When he’s not at the office, Joel enjoys traveling and trying new restaurants with his wife, Ali. Joel is also an avid outdoorsman and spends many weeks a year in Arizona’s wilderness areas. Joel’s two bulldogs, Harvey and Zoe, ensure that he laughs every day.

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Amy Hammerand:  Service Committee Chair

Amy Hammerand joined Emerging Leaders in January 2017 after moving to Arizona from Chicago. As a former Auxiliary Board member of Chicago’s National Museum of Mexican Art, she sought out a similar opportunity where she could volunteer and give back to her community while meeting likeminded professionals. She feels thrilled to serve as the Emerging Leaders Service Chair for 2018! As a lifelong learner, Amy holds a Master of Arts in Hispanic Literature with a Minor in Latin American Studies and a Master of Education in Instructional Leadership. During her 13 years working for Chicago Public Schools, she taught K-8 Spanish for 9 years, and at the district-level she administered world languages and international studies programs for 4 years. She currently teaches high school Spanish in Scottsdale and recently completed a medical interpretation program in August.

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ALEXANDRA FUGATE:  Giving Committee Chair

Ali practices commercial real estate law at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner.  She earned her law degree from ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and joined Emerging Leaders shortly thereafter. Ali is passionate about giving back to the community and is proud to support Phoenix Children’s Hospital in its mission to provide hope, healing and the best healthcare for children and their families. In her spare time, Ali enjoys traveling, cooking and dressing up her French bulldogs.

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Natalia mihilli:  Past President, Board of Directors

As a former patient at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Natalia understands the importance of educating others about the hospital and empowering people to make an impact. A graduate of Arizona State University and University of Phoenix, Natalia currently serves as Senior Business Development Director at the American Heart Association and is also the founder of BBrave.