Piper Fellows 2023

Ryan Corry

Chief Philanthropy Officer
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul

“I am honored to join the Piper Fellows, who work to create a more resilient and vibrant home for all Arizonans. This Fellowship will allow me to further develop my skills and expertise as I strive to expand St. Vincent de Paul’s community engagement and sustainable funding models to better serve our community. It is a personal and professional privilege to learn from and contribute to this incredible group of leaders.”

Ryan Corry serves as Chief Philanthropy Officer for St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) and is part of a dedicated team that inspires public and private investment to feed, clothe, house, and heal neighbors in need. Over the last 10 years at SVdP, Corry has been part of two capital campaigns, significant endowment growth, and a 400 percent growth in giving. Before to joining SVdP, he lived in Las Vegas, NV, where he was part of the successful public-private funding partnership of $490 million for the city’s first major arts institution, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

Corry’s Fellowship will focus on learning and reflection to become a more well-rounded thinker, a stronger business analyst, and a holistic organizational developer. He plans to spend time with leaders like New York Times bestselling author and personal coach Bob Goff, study at Vanderbilt University and Stanford Graduate School of Business, and learn from the best (and most joyful!) nonprofit leaders from around the country.

Kate Fassett

Chief Advancement Officer
Valleywise Health Foundation

“I am truly honored and humbled to be selected as a Piper Fellow—this opportunity to grow professionally and personally is something I do not take lightly. I aspire to be purpose-filled and inspire my team and others to be a mirror for their own values and potential. Through the support of the Piper Fellowship, I plan to access world-class learning opportunities and engage with a myriad of nonprofit and business leaders locally and across the country who are inspiring action.”

As Chief Advancement Officer, Kate Fassett oversees the development team that has raised over $50 million for Maricopa County’s public health system, Valleywise Health. Fassett was also instrumental in raising more than $1.4 million with the passage of Proposition 480, a 2014 bond measure enabling Valleywise Health to continue its work through the building of a new medical center, behavioral health facility, and federally qualified health centers. Prior to Valleywise, Fassett worked in public affairs consulting for HighGround Public Affairs where she worked on the fundraising campaigns for several notable public officials.

Fassett’s Fellowship will focus on experiences that specifically further her growth and development as a leader for Valleywise Health Foundation. She plans to attend the Harvard Business School Executive Education Women’s Leadership Forum; the Madison Institute Association of Healthcare Philanthropy Conference; and the Aspen Institute Executive Leadership Seminar, designed to help leaders gain access to their own humanity by becoming more self-aware, more self-correcting, and more self-fulfilling.

Carmen Guerrero

Executive Director
Cultural Coalition, Inc.

“My ancestral practices keep me focused and healthy to lead from my heart, and our organization believes that culture heals! We share the arts and its full power in all its forms to inspire, motivate, and educate. My Fellowship will allow me to increase the capacity of my organization and to research the viability of the Mask Museum and Cultural Center in order to better serve our community for generations to come. I am extremely honored and grateful to be a Piper Fellow. ”

As Executive Director of the Cultural Coalition, Carmen Guerrero produces annual community festivals including Mikiztli, the Día de Los Muertos Festival (Phoenix); the Mask Alive Festival (Mesa), Portal Festival at S’edav Va’aki Museum, and El Puente Festival (Tempe). Under her leadership, the Cultural Coalition has grown to partner with numerous local arts organizations and artists. As an artistic producer, she is committed and dedicated to issues of cultural literacy and social justice. As an educator and teaching artist for various area schools, she shares her indigenous roots through music and art to foster multicultural understanding. As an artivist/arts advocate, she co-founded Xicanindio (now Xico, Inc.), the Arizona Latino Arts Center, and the Cultural Coalition.

Guerrero’s Fellowship will allow her the time and resources to strengthen her leadership and take the Cultural Coalition to the next level. She plans to visit nationally recognized and established art and indigenous museums that share similar missions focused on promoting Indigenous Art and preservation of ancestral practices. Guerrero will meet with curators and directors who are leaders in diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion, as well as decolonization practices.

A Brazilian by birth, Guerrero has been a musician and a beader since age 5. She is a descendant of the Kambiwá tribe from the northern state of Pernambuco. Upon moving to Arizona, she formed the band Zúm Zúm Zúm and currently sings and plays vibraphones, guitar, and accordion.

Matthew Kasper

Artistic and General
Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestras

“It is a true honor and privilege to have been chosen as a Piper Fellow. Music, with its artistic, spiritual, and emotional resonance, has the power to connect us profoundly. My aspiration is to broaden the impact of this art form within the Phoenix community. At Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestras, we firmly believe in the transformative influence of music on minds and hearts. Through this Fellowship, I am committed to exploring avenues to expand our outreach, establish a communal space for sharing, and further nurture young musicians into future community leaders and advocates for the arts in our world.”

In 2015, Matthew Kasper made Phoenix his home, serving in roles with The Phoenix Symphony as the Resident Conductor and with the Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestras (PYSO). He became PYSO’s first-ever Artistic and General Director. In this dual capacity, he guides the organization both artistically and administratively. Since assuming this role, PYSO’s budget has increased and transformative collaborations have been forged with institutions such as the ASU Herberger School of Music, Dance and Theater; SOUNDS Academy; The Phoenix Symphony; The Phoenix Chamber Music Society; and, the School of Ballet Arizona (resulting in the first-ever all youth performance of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake at the Desert Botanical Garden).

Kasper initiated his musical journey on the violin before the allure of conducting became irresistible. Before his tenure in Phoenix, Kasper was on the faculty at the Aaron Copland School of Music, served as the Interim Music Director of the Queens Symphony Orchestra, guest conducted in Europe, and founded the Chicago Composers Orchestra. He is a graduate of the Aaron Copland School of Music and the Chicago College of Performing Arts.

Kasper’s Fellowship plan encompasses a dual focus on artistic and leadership development, along with study of the evolution of youth music programs and the establishment of a dedicated facility for a youth orchestra. He will collaborate with conducting mentors, including Esa-Pekka Salonan, Hannu Lintu, and Jukka-Pekka Saraste, and spend time with Paul Hughes, the former head of the BBC Symphony, and Elena Armijo, founder of the C-Suite Collective. Visits with industry-leading youth music programs include Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, the Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic, and the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras.

Monique Lopez

Chief Operating Officer
UMOM New Day Centers

“As I embark on my Piper Fellowship journey, I’m filled with a deep sense of honor and gratitude. This Fellowship is a remarkable privilege that provides me with the time and resources to explore, innovate, and advance my role in this pivotal phase of my career at UMOM New Day Centers. I’m excited to make the most of this opportunity by creating new learning experiences and strengthening my leadership skills—it has fueled my enthusiasm and determination to become a more effective leader to benefit my organization and the community we serve.”

As Chief Operating Officer, Monique Lopez provides strategic leadership and evaluation-focused support to achieve UMOM’s mission of preventing and ending homelessness for vulnerable individuals and families. Her responsibilities include the oversight of finance, people operations, evaluation and learning, information technology, culinary enterprises, facilities, and government grant writing. Lopez’s two decades of experience in the nonprofit sector have been devoted to the human services field, starting as a residential counselor in a group home. Her career has grown to include increasingly complex positions perfectly suited for her deep empathy and dedication to assisting people facing adversity, juvenile justice, and homelessness prevention.

Lopez’s Fellowship will focus on experiences that will further her development of a robust business model that enables UMOM to broaden the reach of its Helpings Café. Her plans include connecting with organizations that have successfully incorporated social enterprise models in their programming, such as Kitchens for Good (San Diego, CA), DC Central Kitchen (Washington, D.C.), and Homeward Bound (Marin, CA). She will also enrich her leadership skills through study at Disney Leadership Excellence Institute and the Berkley Executive Leadership Program.

Shelby Pedersen

Chief Executive Officer

“I am thrilled and humbled to be a Piper Fellow. After several years leading rapid growth at ICAN, I find myself at a crossroads in my leadership, balancing the ever-growing needs of our community and the wellness of our team with the quickly evolving education landscape. The demands within the sector are higher than ever, and I’m eager to elevate my leadership to meet this moment.”

As CEO, Shelby Pedersen focuses on expanding access to ICAN’s no-cost/out-of-school programs for school-aged youth living in underserved communities. She has led the expansion of ICAN, which has grown from one site serving 200 youth to five sites serving more than 750 youth. Pedersen joined ICAN in 2008 and led its philanthropic efforts and hard-working team to substantially grow the organization’s annual operating capacity and brand awareness. She helped lead its $5.65 million capital campaign, culminating in a new 21,000 square foot facility that more than doubled program capacity in 2012, In 2016 she was appointed CEO. Prior to ICAN, Pedersen served in nonprofit leadership roles for nearly two decades; her experience includes working in marketing and business development for the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Project C.U.R.E.

Pedersen’s Fellowship will focus on further developing skills to lead community-level change and innovation, keeping the wellness of those who carry the work at the forefront. As she leans out of operational leadership and into a more community-minded strategic leadership approach, she strives to evolve her community collaboration skills to lead true innovation in educational partnerships that better meet the growing needs of students. Her plans include attending Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program (with a focus on leading and building a culture of innovation), engaging in an intensive Spanish immersion program, and participating in 1440 Multidiversity—A Transformation Workshop for Women in Leadership. Pedersen believes that with the number of families in crisis, innovation and a focus on collective impact are needed more than ever to move forward successfully—and because collaboration is extensive and can be challenging, she is also eager to grow her tool belt in leading and empowering teams around individual wellness.

David M. Roche

Dickey Family Director and CEO
Heard Museum

“The Piper Fellowship will give me the time and resources to invest in the creative and intellectual aspects of my job more deeply. The chance to dream and have ideas that might become reality is a rare gift. I am grateful to Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust for this opportunity and look forward to learning from the other leaders in the Fellows community.”

As Director and CEO of Heard Museum, David Roche oversees the largest private museum in the world dedicated to American Indian art and culture. As a recognized national and international leader in the field of American Indian art, his prior role was serving as the senior specialist for American Indian art at Sotheby’s Auction House in New York. He is a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors, lectures at museums and universities in the United States, United Kingdom, and France, and contributes to numerous scholarly publications.

Roche’s Fellowship will focus on developing a new, long-term exhibition that will draw on the Heard Museum’s permanent collection (which spans 1,500 years of Indigenous creativity and comprises 45,000 works). His plans include myriad meetings and site visits to cultural institutions that have recently mounted major installations of Indigenous art, such as Denver Art Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian (Washington D.C.), and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (New Mexico). Efforts will also be made to meet with tribal cultural preservation officers on Sovereign lands in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California, and Oklahoma. He will also participate in programs at The Harvard Division of Continuing Education to enhance his leadership and effectiveness within the organization, and especially related to the exhibition project, which will require working with a large, diverse, and intergenerational team of employees and advisors.

Torrie A. Taj

Chief Executive Officer
Child Crisis Arizona

“I am grateful for this uniquely tailored Fellowship to expand my learning and better align with the growing number of Spanish-speaking clients served at Child Crisis Arizona. The valuable skill-building component, along with a physical wellness and reflection opportunity, will inspire a renewed energy and demonstrate my continued commitment to strategic growth.”

As CEO of Child Crisis Arizona (CCA), Torrie Taj focuses on creating big visions for and growing programs with the goal of “Safe kids, Strong families.” She leads a dedicated team with passion, persistence, and contagious optimism as together, they provide 24/7/365 love, safety, and hope through foster care, early education, and family support services. Taj is an executive coach, a professional mentor and also serves as the board chair of AZ Impact for Good and as an advisory board member of Enterprise Bank & Trust. She has taught nonprofit management and other fundraising courses at Arizona State University (ASU) and other educational institutions over the last decade. An ASU graduate, Taj has dedicated her 30+ year career to “social benefit organizations,” aka the nonprofit sector.

Child Crisis Arizona’s clients come from a range of backgrounds, but are primarily low-income, have experienced trauma and, in many cases, speak mostly Spanish. Taj’s Fellowship will afford her a deep-dive into Spanish language and culture to enrich her relationships and connections with staff and clients through bilingual communication. Her plans include participating in an immersive Spanish language program along with a walking pilgrimage at The Camino. The pilgrimage is specifically designed for her to build physical endurance and gain cultural insights similar to the refugee experience. Overall, Taj is seeking comprehensive learnings and development that will inform plans to strengthen CCA early education and refugee shelter programs that serve Spanish-speaking clients.

Kris A. Volcheck, DDS

Founding President and CEO
Brighter Way Institute

“The Piper Fellowship will bestow upon me invaluable opportunities to cultivate new relationships, explore novel ideas, and gain diverse experiences. These resources will significantly augment my leadership capabilities, foster innovation, and, most importantly, elevate the standard of patient care in both quantitative and qualitative aspects. In essence, the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Fellowship represents a profound contribution to the well-being of our underserved patients, exemplifying a transformative gift for their healthcare.”

Kris Andrew Volcheck has had a passionate career spanning over three decades, dedicated to serving underserved populations. Following his graduation from Emory University Dental School (Atlanta), he embarked on a nine-year tenure as a private practice dentist in Globe, Arizona. His commitment to community service led him to volunteer at the CASS Homeless Shelter for two years, ultimately motivating him to transition from private practice to a case manager at CASS. After seven years of immersive involvement in the multifaceted challenges faced by unhoused people, Volcheck established Brighter Way Institute, a dental clinic tailored to meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness. The Institute now encompasses the Bruce and Diane Halle Dental Center, specializing in serving unhoused people and veterans; the Parsons Center for Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics; and the BWI/United Healthcare Mobile Dental Center.

Volcheck’s Fellowship will include attending the Arizona Coalition for Housing Conference, the Executive Program for Nonprofits in Stanford, California, and the International Fundraising Conference. His plans also include visiting other longstanding dental nonprofits, such as the Berkeley Free Clinic, that have executed successful succession planning when the CEO is also a Founder. Through this combination of conferences and research visits, Volcheck strives to bolster his leadership skills by gaining global insights into nonprofit best practices as he ultimately seeks to make profound impacts on people’s lives.