Meet Our Leaders

Gia DeMichele 2020

Gia DeMichele: President, Executive Committee Member & Board of Directors Member

Board Member Since: 2019

Gia DeMichele is an Organizational Psychologist by background, earning both her Masters and PhD in Organizational Behavior and Change Management from Claremont Graduate University.  Her interest in Organizational Psychology began at Davidson College in North Carolina, where she earned her BS in Psychology.  She currently works for Dignity Health in Arizona, leading their work to change the organizational culture to support a high reliability approach to all that we do. The ultimate goals include reducing medical errors, increasing consistency in quality and patient experience outcomes, and engaging all employees to foster a culture of mutual accountability and respect.

Gia’s passions extend beyond culture change to serving the community.  She currently serves as the President of Phoenix Children’s 40/40, a group of young professionals under 40 supporting Phoenix Children’s with their time and their donations.  She also serves as the Chair of inspiRED, affiliated with the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women cause.  In addition to these leadership roles, she serves as an active member within the Desert Botanical Garden’s Emerging Leaders; and the O’Connor Institute’s Emerging Leaders Network.

Mike Hemken

Mike Hemken: Board of Directors Member & Leadership Committee Chair

Board Member Since: 2020

Michael graduated from Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business with a bachelor’s degree in 2012.  Shortly after, he began his career with Stifel at the Phoenix, Arizona, branch as a Cashier.  In 2017, he joined the Hagen Wealth Management Group as a Financial Advisor Associate.  He also holds Series 7 and 66 securities licenses.

Michael resides in Phoenix and enjoys an active lifestyle as well as giving back to his community.  He is a member of 40/40, a group of young professionals dedicated to advancing the mission of Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Yijee Jeong 2020

Yijee Jeong: Board of Directors Member & Leadership Committee Co-Chair

Board Member Since: 2020

Yijee Jeong is an associate at Littler Mendelson, advising clients on labor and employment law matters.  Prior to joining Littler, Yijee maintained a broad-based complex commercial litigation practice, with a particular emphasis on business matters.

In addition to her involvement with the Phoenix Children’s Hospital 40/40, Yijee also serves on the board of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association and is involved in other community organizations such as the Desert Botanical Gardens Emerging Leaders.  Yijee takes great pride in her commitment to these various organizations.

Shaniqua Lewis 2020

Shaniqua Lewis: Board of Directors Member & Giving Committee Chair

Board Member Since 2019

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 their 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 an 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.

Claudia Palazuelos 2020

Claudia Patricia Palazuelos Spence: Board of Directors Member & Service Committee Chair

Board Member Since: 2020

Passionate for design, nature, and creating a positive impact in the community, Claudia graduated with honors with a bachelors in Architecture, and completed her Master’s Degree in Architecture and Sustainability from the Universitat Politenica de Catalunya in Spain. She has 12+ years of experience working in commercial, hospitality, and residential projects.

While Claudia is an official thalassophile, she relocated to the Valley in 2017 to work in her first projects in the US, and now loves exploring Arizona.

40/40 has given her the opportunity to continue her lifelong purpose of service, and giving back to the community while creating a community itself.

Becca Banes 2020

Rebecca Banes: Board of Directors Member & Service Committee Co-Chair

Board Member Since 2020

Rebecca is a third-generation Arizonan and a double graduate of Arizona State University. She completed undergraduate degrees in political science and anthropology and then earned her law degree from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU. She currently works as an attorney for the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. Rebecca chose to serve her community through 40/40 for the opportunity to positively impact and interact with hospital patients and their families.

Gonzalo Belloso 2020

Gonzalo Belloso: Board of Directors Member & Marketing Committee Chair

Board Member Since: 2020

A marketing strategist and entrepreneur, Gonzalo is currently the Managing Director for Genesis Marketing Services based in Phoenix, AZ.

Ambitious and cause-driven, he was drawn to 40/40 as an opportunity to grow as a leader while exploring volunteer opportunities within Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

A graduate of Arizona State University and former Sun Devil football player, he explored entrepreneurship through e-commerce, consulting, and website design services during his tenure as a first-generation college student.

As a first-generation American, Gonzalo nurtures his desire to serve the community by mentoring first-generation American children, building homes through Habitat for Humanity, and providing pro-bono marketing consultations to emerging nonprofits.

During his spare time, he prefers exploring Arizona’s wilderness and taking on new experiences. Always drawn to growth oriented opportunities that will support his professional and personal goals.

Vanessa Hall

Vanessa Hall: Board of Directors Member & Fundraising Committee Chair

Board Member Since: 2019

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 and 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 a board member of the PCH 40 under 40 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!

Lillian Turner

LILLIAN TURNER: Board of Directors Member

Board Member Since: 2021

Lillian moved to Arizona in 2019, following her graduation with an Honors College degree in Finance from the Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. She has worked with Baird Private Wealth Management for the past four years as a Client Specialist, where she creates financial plans and helps individuals achieve their financial goals.

Lillian has dedicated her life to the education and empowerment of others in their journey to financial freedom. She has a unique knack for behavioral finance and enjoys exploring the psychology behind investing. Lillian maintains a commitment to increasing financial literacy in her community and can often be found promoting such initiatives.

Lillian serves on the 40 under 40 Board for the Phoenix Children’s Hospital and takes pride in her work as a Wish Granter for Make a Wish Arizona.

Derek Buescher 2020

Derek Buescher: Board of Directors Member & Membership Committee Liaison

Board Member Since: 2019

Derek joined Conor Commercial in 2016 and brings 10 years of commercial real estate development and design/build construction experience across a wide range of product types including industrial, office, and medical office.

As a Development Manager, Derek is responsible for managing the firm’s development initiatives throughout Arizona and the greater Southwest Region. Derek monitors economic and industry trends and identifies new build-to-suit and land purchase opportunities for industrial and commercial development. Derek leads the project team through the development life cycle from land acquisition through entitlements, design, construction, lease up, financial performance and project disposition. Derek is recognized for establishing and enhancing close working relationships with brokers, equity partners, architects, land planners, civil engineers and lenders.

Derek is an active member of various industry organizations including NAIOP, ULI and CCIM and serves on the Board of Directors for Arizona Training & Evaluation Center (AZTEC) and the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation 40/40 Board.

Kimmie Rodriguez

KIMMIE RODRIGUEZ: Board of Directors Member

Board Member Since: 2021

Kimmie Rodriguez joined LGE Design Build Residential, a local design-build firm in the Valley specializing in building high-end custom homes, to spearhead the business development and marketing efforts. She serves as the client liaison between the design and construction team to ensure a seamless communication and build process. Prior to her time in Phoenix she played softball at and graduated from The University of Akron.

Kimmie is passionate about volunteering her time with various industry organizations including NAWIC, NAIOP and the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation 40/40 Board.

Patrick Touche

PATRICK TOUCHE: Board of Directors Member

Board Member Since: 2021

Patrick is a University of Arizona alumni having a background in many different industries, but has focused on helping companies managing their risk is licensed for property & casualty insurance as well as employee benefits.

Patrick has lived all over the valley, but has recently settled down in the Lafayette neighborhood and looks forward to helping his community grow. He is also a member of 40/40 and looks forward to helping the Phoenix Children’s Hospital in any way that he can.

Jenna Biancavilla 2020

Jenna Biancavilla: Past President, Board of Directors

Board Member Since: 2014

With over a decade of experience in the financial services industry, Jenna Biancavilla personifies expertise in comprehensive retirement, real estate, and investment planning. She provides her clients with a winning blueprint for planning and achieving their financial goals. Using an array of sophisticated investment, financial planning, and lending solutions, her clients experience what it means to have a trusted advisor who truly understands the complexities of wealth management.

In 2016, Jenna founded Pearl Capital Management, a comprehensive and family-focused wealth management firm. To offer more solutions for her clients, she is also the branch manager of Geneva Financial’s Arcadia Branch, a home loan company with a strong emphasis on a customized human experience and exemplary service.

Jenna and her firms offer a full-service wealth management experience that goes far beyond the typical financial advisor’s single-perspective approach.  By offering a truly comprehensive analysis of her clients’ entire financial portfolio, Jenna’s approach creates all-inclusive solutions that are custom-tailored to each client.

As past president of Phoenix Children’s 40/40, formerly known as Emerging Leaders, Jenna passionately dedicates her time to further the mission of Phoenix Children’s Hospital.