Meet Our Leaders
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: Board of Directors Member & Leadership Committee Chair
Board Member Since: 2020
Michael graduated from Arizona State University’s W.P. Carrey 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: Board of Directors Member & Leadership Committee Co-Chair
Board Member Since: 2020
Yijee Jeong is an associate at Sherman & Howard and maintains a broad-based complex commercial litigation practice, with a particular emphasis on business matters. Prior to joining Sherman & Howard, Yijee worked as an employment litigation attorney, with experience in matters in front of various government agencies including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Department of Labor, and National Labor Relations Board.
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 and the Phoenix Chapter of the American Heart Association. Yijee takes great pride in her commitment to these various organizations.
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 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.
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.
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: 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: Board of Directors Member & Fundraising Committee Chair
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 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 40/40 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.
Lauren Lovell: Board of Directors Member & Membership Committee Co-Chair Board Member Since: 2019
Lauren represents companies in their real estate negotiations throughout the valley as a Commercial Real Estate Broker at Jones Lang LaSalle. Before joining JLL, Lauren managed real estate finance for a tech start-up company headquartered in San Francisco. Lauren graduated from the University of California-Santa Barbara with a degree in Economics.
In addition to serving on the Membership Committee of 40/40, Lauren is also a College Coach for ScholarMatch, a non-profit whose mission is to enable low income, first generation college students to apply for and succeed in college. She leads the Charity Committee on JLL’s Women’s Business Network and is an active member of The Sandra Day O’Connor Institute. As a multi-national champion equestrian, Lauren serves as a delegate to the United States Equestrian Federation.
Grant M. Boland: Board of Directors Member & Membership Committee Liaison
Board Member Since: 2018
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 40/40 at Phoenix Children’s 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.
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.
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.