Officers and Staff



Susan M. Pepin, MD, MPH
President and CEO
Susan is a nationally recognized medical educator, clinician, and researcher. Dr. Pepin joined Piper Trust as president and CEO in July 2014. Prior to joining the Trust, she served as associate dean for diversity and inclusion and associate professor of surgery and pediatrics at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth; she is known for diversifying the medical school’s student body and is a leader in the field of neuro-ophthalmology. She serves on the boards of the Health Futures Council at ASU (Arizona State University) and Philanthropy Southwest; she is also member of the Center for the Future of Arizona Advisory Council and Greater Phoenix Leadership. Dr. Pepin holds a BA from Yale University; a BA and MA from University of Oxford; a MD from University of California, San Francisco; and completed a Master of Public Health from Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice. She is a 1987 Rhodes Scholar.


Mary Jane Rynd
Executive Vice President
Mary Jane is responsible for all financial and operational aspects of the Trust. She is a certified public accountant and a former partner in KPMG and Rynd, Carneal & Ewing. Mary Jane is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas in Houston and holds an M.P.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. She currently serves on the board and the audit and administrative program committees of Foundation Financial Officers Group and as treasurer of Arizona Women’s Forum. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the Foundation Financial Officers Group.


Carey Chambers
Chief Financial Officer
Carey oversees accounting and tax compliance for the Trust. She is a certified public accountant with more than 20 years of experience in financial statement audit, audit of internal control, performance improvement advisory, due diligence, and staff mentoring/development. Formerly, Carey held leadership positions for 15 years at KPMG’s Phoenix office, most recently as managing director. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants. Carey serves on Northern Arizona University’s accounting department advisory board.


Marilee L. Dal Pra
Vice President of Programs
Marilee oversees Piper Trust’s community initiatives and strategic program development. She also researches model programs, introduces special initiatives, reviews grant proposals, meets with potential grantees, and visits nonprofit locations. Marilee formerly served as the director for the Governor’s Division for Children, where she coordinated policies and programs for children, youth and families. She holds a master’s degree in education from Northern Arizona University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Arizona State University.



Anna Bettis, MSUS
Resident Scholar, 2016-2018
Anna joined Piper Trust as the inaugural Resident Scholar in August of 2016. In collaboration with Trust staff, she will contribute to a range of substantive projects such as working on grantmaking strategies and strategic learning efforts and conducting related research activities. During her two-year tenure (2016-2018) as a Resident Scholar, Anna will develop and manage a self-designed project that will be mentored and supported by the Trust. Prior to joining Piper Trust, she was a graduate research assistant for the Executive Director of Arizona State University’s (ASU) Global Institute of Sustainability and managed programs designed to advance positive social change at ASU’s Changemaker Central. Anna holds a master’s degree in sustainability solutions from ASU’s School of Sustainability; her graduate studies focused on how to apply sustainability theories that address complex social and environmental challenges at local community levels.


Alma Cuellar
Facilities Coordinator
Alma is responsible for building maintenance, event management, and meeting coordination. Prior to joining the Trust, Alma worked as a facility services supervisor and in the healthcare industry.


Debbie Dickey
Administrative Coordinator
Debbie aids the program staff and grantees to ensure that all requirements in the grantmaking process are completed. She also helps the director of research and evaluation to facilitate evaluation of the Trust’s awarded grants. In the past Debbie managed and created designs for a family-run florist business and worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


Erin Goodman
Program Associate
Erin is responsible for administering small grants, Piper Academies and other trainings, and best-practice resources designed to help nonprofits strengthen their management and leadership. She has worked in fund development and nonprofit administration for 15 years, most recently serving as director of administrative services for Save the Family Foundation of Arizona. Erin holds a bachelor’s degree in humanities from Arizona State University.


Krista Ivey
Accounting Officer
Krista supports Piper Trust’s accounting and tax compliance activities. She has extensive leadership experience in accounting for the nonprofit sector and more than 10 years of experience working in the private sector. Krista holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and a Master of Business Administration. She is a member of the Foundation Financial Officers Group.


Renée Khoury
Receptionist/Facilities Supervisor
Renée works as Piper Trust’s receptionist and facilities supervisor “at large”—providing a variety of staff support services including event and meeting planning. Prior to joining the Trust, Renée worked as an assistant project director at a community college district in California where she administered non-credit programs for the community. Renée is a Phoenix native and graduate of Phoenix Community College.


Karen Leland
Director of Communications & External Relations
Karen is responsible for advancing the mission of the Trust through the creation and implementation of effective communications and public relations strategies. She works to communicate about the opportunities and impacts of Piper Trust’s many initiatives as well as on the activities of its grantees. Karen formerly led communications and marketing operations for several units at Arizona State University including the Global Institute of Sustainability, the Office of Research and Economic Affairs, and Morrison Institute for Public Policy; and for economic development organizations such as Greater Phoenix Economic Council. She is a graduate of Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business.


Terri Leon
Program Officer
Terri serves as the initial contact for nonprofits wishing to submit proposals related to the Trust’s core funding areas, with the exception of arts and culture. She is responsible for meeting with organizations, reviewing proposals, and making recommendations to the Trustees. Terri is a fifth generation Arizonan and has worked in the education, human services, and nonprofit communities for over 25 years, formerly serving as chief operating officer of Friendly House, Inc. A respected leader in the community, Terri was the recipient of the 2012 Profiles of Success Raul Yzaguirre Community Leadership Award. Terri graduated from Arizona State University where she earned her master’s degree and bachelor’s degree in social work and completed the Lodestar Nonprofit Management Certificate Program.


Roberta Lind
Communications & Technology Associate
Roberta works with the director of communications and coordinates a variety of Piper Trust’s communications efforts, social media, and special events. Previous to joining the Trust, she worked with the marketing department at Northern Trust, NA in Phoenix. Roberta holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.


Gary Romero
Director of Grants Management
Gary works closely with program, finance and communications staff to ensure effective monitoring and tracking of grants from initial inquiry to grant completion. Gary previously acted as the Trust’s grants management associate and also worked for a foundation in New York City. Gary holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.


Linda Smith
Board and Executive Assistant
Linda supports Piper Trust’s Board of Trustees, president and CEO, executive vice president, and chief financial officer. Prior to joining the Trust, Linda worked for PGH Wong Engineering, Inc. as a consultant to Valley Metro Rail on the $358 million Northwest Extension to the Phoenix Light Rail system. She was also a former 911 Operator for the Phoenix Police Department—a role that strengthened her talents in assisting multiple people and priorities. Linda began her career at the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Boston; over the past 20+ years she has supported executives in Phoenix and Washington, D.C.


Ellen Solowey
Program Officer
Ellen serves as the initial contact for nonprofits wishing to submit grant proposals related to arts and culture and is responsible for meeting with organizations, reviewing proposals, and making recommendations to the Trustees. Ellen also oversees the Trust’s organizational effectiveness programs to strengthen nonprofits, focusing on multi-year investments and support for grantees. Originally a specialist in Soviet studies, Ellen lived overseas in the Soviet Union and then the Russian Federation; she worked for the U.S. Consulate in Leningrad/St. Petersburg assisting Americans in crisis and repatriating Russians with American parentage back to the United States. She also has worked with refugees in Arizona and the former Soviet Union. Ellen holds a master’s degree in social work from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in international affairs and Soviet studies from Columbia University.


Tim Wilmot, PhD
Director of Strategic Learning
Tim Wilmot is responsible for Piper Trust’s new learning and knowledge management agenda and guides research and evaluation-oriented activities. Tim formerly served as a research and evaluation director at the San Antonio Area Foundation, the Marin Community Foundation, and the Charles & Helen Schwab Foundation, and as a knowledge management consultant for Ernst & Young, LLP. Tim holds a PhD in organizational behavior from Case Western Reserve University and a bachelor's degree in economics from Eckerd College.