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Piper Fellow Recipients 2018

2018 Piper Fellow Katie Cobb

Katie-Cobb “The Piper Fellowship will give me the inspiration and road map to spark my own innovative spirit to build a global organization that is recognized as best in class. It will offer me the ability to retool with new skill sets and revitalize with a fresh approach to excellence and allow me to gain context, understanding, and shared experience while building the confidence in my leadership skills to take Barrow Neurological Institute to the next level.”
– Katie Cobb, President, Barrow Neurological Foundation

Katie Cobb serves as president of the Barrow Neurological Foundation (BNF), leading a team responsible for all philanthropic activities supporting the treatment, research, and educational needs of Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI), the world’s leading neuroscience center. Since joining BNF, Cobb successfully helped cultivate and close the largest philanthropic gift to a brain cancer center in history and managed an effective capital raise for a new Barrow Neuroplex building. Prior to Barrow, Cobb was the senior vice president for advancement for Great Hearts Academies, leading philanthropy across 23 schools for Arizona’s largest charter management organization. She has also served as executive vice president and chief operating officer for The Phoenix Symphony; managing partner with Actual Media, a producer with Fox News Channel and MSNBC; and deputy press secretary for Arizona Gov. Fife Symington. A graduate of Loyola Marymount University, Cobb was appointed by Gov. Jan Brewer to the Governor’s Tourism Advisory Council and currently serves as a vice chairman of the board of directors of The Phoenix Symphony.

Cobb’s fellowship will provide the benchmarking and training necessary to achieve Barrow Neurological Foundation’s vision to be recognized as the world’s leading neuroscience foundation in alignment with BNI CEO Dr. Michael Lawton’s strategic vision, called Barrow 3.0. Her fellowship will consist of a series of “InfoQuests” exploring best-in-class foundations that have an intersection with BNI’s key service lines in addition to foundations that have demonstrated an innovative approach, including The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, SickKids Foundation, and Direct Relief. She will also attend The Women’s Leadership Forum at Harvard University and the Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders at Stanford University. Following these activities, Cobb will work with an executive coach to assimilate her findings into a manageable action plan for her foundation.

2018 Piper Fellow Trinity Donovan

Trinity-Donovan “AZCEND has experienced tremendous growth in recent years. As we help people on their journeys toward prosperity, one major roadblock is finding meaningful employment that allows people to support themselves and their families. How do we address this barrier with an opportunity to strengthen our organization and establish a new funding stream? How do we equip ourselves to respond to emerging opportunities to further serve our community and utilize people’s strengths in this process? The Piper Fellowship will allow me to explore these questions, further develop skills and knowledge, and put practical tools in place that will strengthen our employees, our programs, and the people we serve.”
– Trinity Donovan, CEO, AZCEND


Trinity Donovan serves as the CEO of AZCEND, a nonprofit that helps people as they move from crisis to stability and ultimately to prosperity. Working in nonprofit leadership positions for the past 19 years, her areas of focus have included hunger and homelessness, early childhood, senior programs, financial stability, and youth development. Donovan also served two terms as a councilmember for the City of Chandler and has represented the city on a regional and national level in areas of human services, transportation, water, and sustainability. Donovan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, and a Master’s Degree in Sociology—both from Stanford University. She is a graduate of Valley Leadership, a Phoenix Business Journal Forty Under 40 awardee, and has served on a variety of boards and commissions.



Through her fellowship, Donovan will explore successful social enterprise models in order to bring an additional source of revenue to AZCEND and provide jobs for participants to support themselves and their families. She plans to attend the Stanford Social Entrepreneurship Executive Program and to visit successful social enterprises throughout the U.S. Seeing the value in positive psychology and increased engagement, Donovan will complete the Diploma of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing through the Langley Group Institute and focus on positive leadership, positive HR, positive parenting, and positive communities. She will attend the StoryBrand workshop to improve her storytelling and messaging skills, and also attend a creative writing retreat as a time for reflection.

2018 Piper Fellow Major Barbara A. Sloan

Mjr-Sloan “I am honored to join superlative leaders in our community as a 2018 Piper Fellow. My hope is to become a voice for the voiceless, to increase what is known as social mobility by strengthening, connecting, and amplifying the best ideas across Maricopa County to end homelessness for families with children. My goal will be to describe how and why community mobilization will contribute to creating sustainable culture change related to housing for homeless families and their children”
– Major Barbara A. Sloan, Executive Director of Phoenix Family Services, The Salvation Army

With 25 years of service as an officer in The Salvation Army, Major Barbara Sloan has always endeavored to change the broader culture so that the existence of societal ills is no longer acceptable

Serving as executive director of Phoenix Family Services—providing emergency shelter for homeless families with children, emergency rent and utilities assistance, emergency food box and food distribution—Major Sloan has learned how to integrate non-service activities into local Salvation Army operations to reinforce The Salvation Army’s collaboration with the local community. She holds double undergraduate degrees from San Jose State University and San Jose Bible College and an MBA through Capella University’s Advanced Leadership Program.

The faith that allowed Major Sloan to be transformed by the suffering of others has brought her to a Piper Fellowship, understanding that change, whether individual, familial, or organizational, has to involve letting go of familiar ways of doing things. Major Sloan will use the Piper Fellowship to better understand social mobility, to see how others have successfully implemented it, and how she can strengthen her leadership skills to initiate social mobility to end homelessness for families with children in Maricopa County.

2018 Piper Fellow Meg Sneed

Meg-Sneed “In our ever-changing work, it’s critical that Fresh Start Women’s Foundation build in resiliency measures throughout the organization to ensure the capacity to anticipate, minimize harm, and rebound quickly in the face of dynamic change. The Piper Fellowship will benefit Fresh Start by allowing us to go from seven data systems to one, which enhances our efficiency and effectiveness organization-wide. It will allow us to better serve our clients, improve our programs, and more closely track our outcomes.”
– Meg Sneed, Director of Quality and Data Services, Fresh Start Women’s Foundation

Meg Sneed has worked in the Arizona nonprofit community for the past 15 years and is currently the director of quality and data services for Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, a nonprofit serving nearly 5,000 women each year. Sneed began her journey with Fresh Start five years ago and has been committed to bringing Fresh Start up to speed with modern data practices and QA reporting. Sneed has won several awards for her service work, including the Dr. Martin Luther King Living the Dream Award from the City of Phoenix and the Richard L. Schlegel National Legion of Honor Award for a Visionary Leader from American University. In January 2019, Sneed will graduate with her Master’s in Information Technology from Colorado State University.

Sneed’s fellowship will focus on site visits, trainings, and educational journeys from San Francisco to Harvard, allowing her to integrate resiliency into Fresh Start Women’s Foundation data systems and client outcomes, enhancing the organization’s efficiency and effectiveness. Simultaneously upgrading outcome and long-term impact tracking is investing in the future of Fresh Start clients and the longevity of the organization. Eventually, Fresh Start will leverage its expertise by instilling what the organization has learned into its vast community of partner organizations. Fresh Start will work with these nonprofits to evaluate their data, programs, outcomes, and overall impact by sharing knowledge, as well as Sneed’s time and expertise, to allow the community to strengthen and grow together.

2018 Piper Fellow Kate Wells

Kate-Wells “A number of years ago I was introduced to the concept of ‘collaborative leadership.’ Done well, this philosophy engages diverse stakeholders and creates more innovative and resilient work. I believe this type of leadership particularly lends itself to arts, cultural, and educational organizations and that my natural collaborative tendencies as a leader would be amplified by adopting this style in a comprehensive and consistent way. My fellowship work will allow me to explore the crossroads where leadership and collaboration meet—and I hope to develop a framework to use within my organization, with our partners, and with other community organizations.”
– Kate Wells, President & CEO, Children’s Museum of Phoenix

Kate Wells rejoined the Children’s Museum of Phoenix in December 2013 as president & CEO. In this role, she leads one of the most loved and visited arts and cultural institutions in Arizona, with more than 350,000 young children and families visiting each year. Prior to re-joining the Children’s Museum, Wells was the associate general manager of Eight, Arizona PBS and a founding member of Children’s Museum, where, as director of development and communications, she successfully led a $23.8 million capital campaign to open the museum. A graduate of San Diego State University and Arizona State University’s Nonprofit Management Institute, Wells has an extensive background in strategic marketing and fundraising, and has consulted for ASU and more than 25 Arizona nonprofits.

As a Piper Fellow, Wells will explore the concept of “collaborative leadership,” and how using a framework that focuses on inclusion, collaboration, and continual learning can transform work, organizations, partnerships, and our community. Her plans include attending programs at both Harvard and Northwestern Universities, focusing on leadership and constructive collaboration. Additionally, she will explore innovative collaborations around the U.S. to learn firsthand how these partnerships flourish. These partnerships include museum schools, university preschools, co-located medical clinics, and business incubation/co-op work spaces. Finally, Wells will attend TEDWomen and will reflect on her fellowship work on a walking and meditation journey.

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