Piper Fellow Recipients 2016
2016 Piper Fellow Katherine Cecala
“We must equip today’s generation—our future community leaders—to be even greater than our own. The Piper Fellowship offers me an incredible opportunity to share experiences, learn from, and collaborate with my peers. I truly believe our combined efforts and service to the community will ensure a vibrant and robust future for today’s youth.”
– Katherine Cecala, President, Junior Achievement of Arizona
Katherine Kemmeries Cecala is the President of Junior Achievement of Arizona (JAAZ), a nonprofit dedicated to educating and preparing more than 90,000 young people annually to succeed in work and life. Cecala has a diverse background in nonprofit leadership, healthcare administration, law, industrial engineering, utilities, and business. She also has extensive knowledge of our community and nonprofit landscape as she has served on numerous nonprofit boards. A master’s level instructor of nonprofit leadership at Arizona State University, Katherine has a degree in industrial engineering from Louisiana State University, an MBA from Louisiana Tech, and a law degree from the University of Arkansas.
Cecala’s fellowship will focus on strengthening JAAZ’s revenue model and long-term financial sustainability. In addition, she plans to work on developing collaborations to enhance JAAZ’s programs related to pathways to prosperity. She will attend Stanford Graduate School of Business Design Thinking Boot Camp to expedite innovation related to these system changes. She will use this opportunity to further develop her skills and gain expert insight about the future for nonprofits, and use this knowledge to redesign the organization to thrive in the future. As a result, JAAZ will be able to ensure that even more young people are prepared to lead productive and successful lives.
2016 Piper Fellow JoAnne Chiariello
“Through my Piper Fellowship, I’m excited for the opportunity to be reflective about myself and my agency in an effort to reenergize the child welfare field. I plan to identify innovations that improve the lives of youth and families and am eager to learn from the experiences of other Fellows. ”
– JoAnne Chiariello, Director, Family Support Services, AASK—Aid to Adoption of Special Kids
For nearly two decades, JoAnne Chiariello, MA, LMFT, works daily in support of youth and families, serving both behavioral health and child welfare needs. Chiariello joined AASK in 2008 and developed what quickly became the largest kinship program in Arizona. She also developed Arizona’s only program to reunite siblings not living together due to out of home care. Chiariello holds Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Communications from The University of Arizona as well as a Master’s in Clinical Psychology from John F. Kennedy University. She is also a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
Chiariello’s fellowship is an opportunity to look at other industries and discover innovative ways to overcome some of the many challenges faced by the child welfare system. She seeks to transform her organization and personal leadership style and as such, will consider how technology can be used to help educate and empower families. The Innovative Organization at UC Berkeley will be one way to explore new ideas and Harvard Business School’s Strategic Negotiations will facilitate collaborative skill-building. Understanding the power of mobilizing and organizing families will be explored at Harvard University’s Leadership, Organizing & Action: Leading Change; and, the Midwest Academy Workshop: Organizing for Social Change. She will synthesize her learning through reflection at the Stanford Innovations Conference.
2016 Piper Fellow Leah Fregulia
“The arts have the power to transform us, elevate our experiences, stimulate our creativity and our curiosity, and connect us with one another. Beyond this intrinsic value, study in the arts contributes to student achievement, success, and happiness, My Piper Fellowship is a first step toward showing the power of the arts as a transformative agent in school and toward building a case for equity and access to artistic study for all children.”
– Leah Fregulia, Head of School and CEO, Arizona School for the Arts
Leah Fregulia is the Head of School and CEO for Arizona School for the Arts (ASA) where she was a founding faculty member when the school opened in 1995. She served as the school principal for nine years, and has led the organization in her current role since 2008. Her leadership helped to establish the school as one of the top academic schools in Arizona while maintaining its dual focus in the performing arts. During her leadership tenure, the school has doubled in size, built a permanent campus in the Phoenix Central Arts District, and established partnerships throughout the business, arts, and education sectors. Fregulia is the 2015 Athena Public Sector Award recipient and a member of Valley Leadership Class 35. She holds a Master of Science from the London School of Economics in England and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California.
Through her fellowship, Fregulia will develop a platform to raise the visibility of ASA’s unique school model and distinct successes and simultaneously build the tools to advocate for equity and access to arts education. She plans to use Arizona School for the Arts as a leading example in current research and thinking on the impact of arts on student achievement and community connectivity. Her research time will lead her to cities such as Chicago, New York, and Washington D. C. that have thriving arts education initiatives and policy/research centers where she can connect with a national coalition of arts leaders and advocates. She will then embark upon specialized coaching for speech crafting through On the Line and training in creating digital and social media for social change with the Framkeworks Institute. Ultimately, Fregulia will complete her fellowship with a toolbox of content and communication tools for ASA’s successful branding and arts education advocacy that can be delivered to stakeholders, local and state decision-makers, and a national audience of educators, funders, and influencers.
2016 Piper Fellow Amy Schwabenlender
“I am deeply honored to participate in this unique opportunity for personal and organizational development. I recognize my privilege in being able to use my career to guide United Way through learning and leading alongside community stakeholders to understand and address systemic causes of poverty. It is imperative that we come together to eliminate poverty in the Valley.”
– Amy Schwabenlender, Vice President of Community Impact, Valley of the Sun United Way
Amy Schwabenlender joined Valley of the Sun United Way in 2005 after a career in for profit sales and marketing. After starting at United Way as a Community Investment Manager, she moved into the Vice President position and today oversees United Way’s work to end hunger and homelessness and to increase the financial stability of individuals and families in Maricopa County. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Communication from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX and an MBA from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI.
In alignment with United Way’s desire to accelerate social impact and affect systems change to “break the cycle of poverty,” Schwabenlender’s fellowship will focus on investigating the work of other communities across the country that are making progress on alleviating poverty. She will travel to communities with poverty research centers, including San Francisco and Chicago, to learn about efforts that are working and not working, as well as seek out training opportunities for United Way staff/volunteers/ policy-makers to create a culture of competence in understanding, communicating, and measuring poverty. She will also conduct local site visits and shadow case managers. Schwabenlender will seek the input of a variety of stakeholders and conclude the fellowship with a local community dialogue to share and discuss how the Valley might work together to address the root causes of poverty.