MEET OUR TEAM
The Boys Hope Girls Hope of Arizona’s Team of professionals is committed to continuous learning, effective programming and improvement through impact evaluation and innovation.
Amy Pfeifer, Executive Director
Amy is an Arizona native and has 25 years of not-for-profit professional experience with leadership in social service operations, private fundraising and impact assessment. Amy has worked with children, youth, adults and older adults and has a special passion for social justice. Amy is a Piper Fellow award recipient and her sabbatical focused on social enterprise and evaluation. Amy completed Harvard Business School’s Performance Measures for Nonprofits course and has a degree in accounting. Amy has served as executive director for Boys Hope Girls Hope of Arizona since 2015. “It is an honor to provide support and access to quality education for youth and families who are working hard to build a positive future for themselves” says Amy. Amy lives in Phoenix with her husband Paul and enjoys gardening and her two Labradors, Lily and Maggie.
Marghan Miller, Development Director
Marghan, a graduate of the University of Connecticut, was a lifelong resident of the Nutmeg state before coming to Phoenix eight years ago. While volunteering at her hospital’s charity golf tournament in Connecticut, she heard a patient speak of how the funds being raised would allow him to save 12 hours of travel time each week to get lifesaving treatments. This fundamentally changed the course of her career and she joined the hospital’s foundation staff. As events manager, employee giving manager and then annual giving manager, she obtained critical development skills. Since arriving in Phoenix, she has worked at Banner Health Foundation as Stewardship Manager and Events Manager, and at Ryan House as Individual Giving Officer and then Development Director.
Marghan attended the 2016 Success Starts with Hope Breakfast and was moved by the mission and the scholars of BHGH. Having had open access to quality education in her life, she understood the impact that this program has on the futures of BHGH scholars and their families. Arizona needs a well-educated and diverse workforce to face the challenges ahead and a quality education is the starting point.
As Development Director, she leads the fundraising, marketing, and communication initiatives of BHGH of Arizona. Marghan lives in Phoenix with her husband Kevin, and enjoys spending time with her daughter Thea, reading, golfing, and exploring the state of Arizona.
Meghann Gintz, Program Director
Meghann grew up in Wisconsin, attending college at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and graduating with degrees in Psychology and Spanish. After college, she worked at a Residential Treatment Center with adolescents with a variety of behavioral and mental health diagnoses. While initially planning on working with younger children, this role made her realize that she truly enjoyed working with adolescents. Meghann moved to Arizona in 2009 and soon began working at ICAN, a social profit prevention organization in Chandler where she learned how significantly youth programs can make an impact on entire families and communities. She then spent some time working at a therapeutic group home for adolescent girls, which confirmed her passion for working with adolescents and also helped her realize that working in prevention and education, rather than treatment, was where she feels the most effective change can occur.
When she learned about Boys Hope Girls Hope, she was excited by the mission, the long-term commitment to scholars and their families, and the opportunity to be a part of strengthening the community through access to education. Since beginning her role as Program Director in 2015, Meghann has worked to help advance the mission of BHGH through building community partnerships, monitoring and evaluating current programming, and leading the program team in providing holistic support to all of our scholars. She has enjoyed watching these bright, motivated scholars grow up over the years and is grateful to be part of an organization that helps them attain a quality education, build critical skills and, ultimately, gives them greater choice and opportunity in their futures.
Meghann lives in Phoenix with her husband Victor and their 4-year old daughter, Penelope. They enjoy cheering on the Packers, travelling back home to Wisconsin regularly to visit family, and spending time exploring nature.
Angela Lopez, Development Manager
Originally from Gurnee, Illinois, Angela moved to Phoenix in 2016 after serving 3 years in Colombia with the United States Peace Corps. She has a BA in Spanish and a BA in Secondary Education from Lake Forest College and holds a K-12 Certification to teach foreign languages. During Peace Corps, Angela discovered her desire to work for nonprofits and Boys Hope Girls Hope patiently waited after hiring her two months before she returned home.
Angela has a passion for education and serving the community. She is a devoted Rotarian with the Phoenix Rotary 100 Club preparing to serve as President in the 2021-20222 year. She has participated in many community service activities most notably having been a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters since 2009. She is an avid Rugby 7s fan and enjoys spending her free time playing video games and sewing.
During Angela’s time at Boys Hope Girls Hope she has obtained her Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from Arizona State University. She uses her experience to serve BHGH Scholars by organizing the Volunteer Program, planning and designing Social Media outreach, preparing scholars to be good public speakers, processing donations and so much more.
“Being at BHGH for 4 years has allowed me to watch the scholars growing up in a way teaching never could. Working at BHGH means I’m a part of the family and I’m there for the struggle and the success. BHGH scholars deserve everything from this life and work so hard to make their goals a reality. It’s their determination that motivates me every day to help share their stories with those who seek to make a change in their community.” -Angela Lopez
Anel Mercado, Residential Program Manager
Anel Mercado has a passion for working with the community, from mentoring youth to engaging key stakeholders at all levels to create avenues for systems change. She loves her role at the Residential Program Manager at Boys Hope Girls Hope (BHGH), especially working with the scholars and the BHGH team! Anel has worked in various leadership, program development and consultant roles that allow her to use her project management, business experience and heart-led leadership skills. She is proud of her Mexican American heritage and values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of her life. Mercado has served on various community non-profit boards, commissions and is a long-standing volunteer and supporter of the national Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. She received her Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Washington.
Xavier Gonzalez, Academy Program Manager
Hola! Xavier or Javier as many know him is a graduate from Northern Arizona University was born and raised in sunny Phoenix, Az! It is a dry heat as they say. When Javier is not working, he likes to spend his time volunteering, cooking, creating playlists, and the occasional day trips out of town. While at NAU Javier got his degree in Public Administration and has experience working in out-of-school time programming and career/college access fields. Since graduating back in 2015 Javier has worked at New Pathways for Youth as Program Coordinator and Earn to Learn as Success Coach – Program Specialist.
Javier first learned about Boy Hope Girls Hope during his time at Earn to Learn a scholarship program academy and residential scholars were applying to. He was intrigued by the program model. Javier along with his twin brother participated in a program like Boys Hope Girls Hope that they joined back in fifth grade through the completion of their bachelor’s degree. Seeing the work that was being done Javier was moved and seeing a program that exists like what he went through was more than enough to make him join the Boys Hope Girls Hope team.
As Program Manager – Middle School, Javier shepherds the young scholars and aid in recruitment each year. Javier sees himself in many of the scholars at their age. The scholar’s parents are reflections of his own too. Knowing the difference, a program like Boys Hope Girls Hope can have on scholars and their family is the reason he is here. Javier knowing that families can navigate, thrive, and master the private education system and post-secondary education is his goal. Scholars being able to self-efficient and one day return to their community and give back, is what it is all about. The impact that Boys Hope Girls Hope is making on our community is the everlasting effects and forever changing the trajectory of each scholar, their family, and the community.
Chelsea Vicente, Academy Program Manager
Chelsea is our High School Academic Program Manager. She holds a B.A. in Africana Studies and a M.Ed in Secondary Education with a focus on Educational Leadership. She is a Doula and Holistic Health Practitioner. She relocated in Phoenix five years ago and has been active in the local community. She believes that education is a right and socio-economic status or zip code should not determine who is given access.
Alexandra Harmon, College Success Manager
Alexandra holds a bachelor’s in Spanish and Nonprofit Leadership and Management and a masters in Secondary Education – both from Arizona State University – and is a certified College Access Professional through College Success Arizona. After college, knew she wanted to fight in the front lines of education before moving into the nonprofit field, so she taught English and journalism at Camelback High School for seven years. When she was ready to make the jump into nonprofits, she applied to many positions but was most excited about the balance of academics and personal connections that Boys Hope Girls Hope would offer.
As the College Success Manager, Alexandra helps scholars craft their vision for college, starting in their junior year in high school. She then assists them in attaining that dream by guiding them through their college research process, connecting them to scholarship and other opportunities, and walking them through the endless applications and forms. She also begins preparing them with tools and skills they need to make that enormous transition into adulthood and continues to cheerlead them through the completion of their bachelor’s degree.
Alexandra loves living in her new house in west Phoenix with her two cats, one dog, and husband, Alberto. There, she spends a lot of time baking, making excellent breads and homemade ice cream. She also loves watching foreign, cult, and classic films.
Jose Hoyos, Residential Counselor
José arrived to Boys Hope Girls Hope through a recommendation from another employee and friend, Angela, whom he served in the Peace Corps with. José has made a career in youth development working with youth in different capacities for 18 years, including teaching high schoolers financial literacy, entrepreneurship, community engagement, teaching life skills, and youth philanthropy amongst other capacities. He studied Sociology at the University of Arizona and has worked in banking, biology, international development, and education, currently serving as a school board president for a school he helped open in Tucson. Working in the residential program for Boys Hope Girls Hope has allowed him to incorporate his knowledge, skills, and passion into his role and with the scholars he loves so much.
José has had the honor of living abroad many years, growing up in Mexico, studying in Chile, and working in Colombia, providing him with a rich understanding of his Latino heritage and the various diverse cultures within Latin America. He is also an avid traveler and enjoys nature and hiking.
Mike Gutmacher, Residential Counselor
Born in Phoenix during last ice age, Mike attended Alhambra High School. Mike was active in Boy Scouts and at his church. He attended Colorado Outward Bound after High School graduation. Mike received an AA degree at Glendale Community College and attended U of A and graduated with a BA. Enjoy traveling, music, reading.
Art Museums are my favorite hangout. Love Cinema as well. I have a place in Payson where I am most happy and will no doubt relocate there in a short time. I have worked at BHGH 3.6 years and love it!
Brianda Bermudez, Residential Counselor
Brianda is a young, aspiring professional who graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology and a minor in Sociology. She has been a lifelong resident of the Grand Canyon state and as such has grown to love hiking and site seeing. Brianda began her journey with BHGH as a scholar back in 2010. Through her firsthand experience she has learned the value and importance of the BHGH mission.
Now, as a Residential Counselor for the Girls House, Bri can witness other scholars start their journey with the program while understanding the unique experience of being a scholar. She is currently preparing for her LSAT, and enjoys spending her free time with friends, family, and her dog Ruby.
Carly Hagen, Residential Counselor
Carly was born and raised in British Columbia, Canada, until moving to the United States in 2001. She lived in the Midwest and graduated with a psychology degree from Evangel University in 2013. That very same month, she and her mother moved to Arizona, where Carly came across Boys Hope Girls Hope in an ad online. She had a desire to work with youth after graduation, and the description of the Residential Counselor role greatly appealed to her. The moment she was introduced to the scholars during a dinner at the home, she knew this was where she was meant to be.
Carly has enjoyed spending the last seven years with the organization, and has witnessed the growth and evolution of both the scholars and the organization. She takes pride in her ability to create authentic, meaningful connections with the scholars that last well over their time in the program, as well as cultivating those relationships with each new cohort that enters the program.
When not caring for the scholars, Carly enjoys reading, cooking, antiquing, road trips to Sedona, and spending time with friends and her cat, Eclipse. She dedicates time to her community through birth doula services and other birthing community events.
Rusamarirwa (Rus) Bigege , Residential Counselor
Rus was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and moved to the United States in 2006 as a refugee with his grandparents. Through the help of various loving families, he was able to assimilate to US cultures through sports, and eventually, was able attend Brophy College Preparatory for high school and went on to play Division 1 soccer at the University of New Mexico for two years before coming back home and finishing college at Grand Canyon University. Rus graduated with a major in Business Administration and a minor in Law. He hopes to one day get a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management and to pursue a Law Degree as his long-term goals. After college, Rus worked as a volunteer teacher for his alma mater, Brophy, where he taught Physical Education and coached multiple sports for Loyola Academy.
Growing up, Russ’ role models have always been his coaches, mentors and the many adults who helped him navigate through life in the US. After his one year as a volunteer teacher at Brophy, he heard about the Boys Hope Girls Hope and identified with the mission of the organization and wanted to be a part of it. As a Residential Counselor, it means the world to him to be able fill the role for the scholars that others have done for him in the US; to help them navigate through their day-to-day life and help them become successful individuals in whatever endeavors they want to pursue.
When he is not working at Boys Hope Girls Hope, he loves spending time and getting to know his biological family who came to the US in 2013, playing soccer and basketball, going to the gym, running, hiking, and hanging out with friends.
Kathryn Fallon, Business Office Manager
Kathryn- Nova was born in the Midwest, but spent her childhood traveling all over the States & Canada before settling in Arizona in the mid-90s. Her favorite places to be as a child was Pacific Northwest, Montana, & Wyoming. She studied Communications all during high school and college until deciding on a degree in Apparel Manufacturing at a local school in Los Angeles. Many nights were spent cutting fabric, sewing, and making patterns! While still having a passion for design, she found herself gravitating towards Finance. She has 17years experience in the Accounting field with a background in IT. While she is a left brainer, she still activates her right creative side! She loves being outdoors and making her own lotions & potions. She is a rescue Fur-Mom with a zoo (never a dull moment!), loves “chefing” it up for family and friends, and an avid photographer. She is passionate about bees, gardening, plants. She is in her first year as Office Manager for Boys Hope Girls Hope and am excited for the years to come.
Genesis, National Volunteer Corps
Genesis moved out of the Girls Home and graduated from Xavier College Preparatory in 2018 and went on to attend Smith College. This year she has decided to take a year of service before continuing her studies next fall and joined BHGH as a National Volunteer Corps service member. She is very excited to be back with BHGH and looks forward to gaining new skills.