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 nonprofit 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 three 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 2021-2022 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 grow 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 as 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 nonprofit 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 and was born and raised in sunny Phoenix, AZ! When Xavier is not working, he likes to spend his time volunteering, cooking, creating playlists, and taking occasional day trips out of town. While at NAU, Xavier got his degree in Public Administration and has experience working in extra-curricular programming and the career/college access fields. Since graduating back in 2015, Xavier has worked at New Pathways for Youth as Program Coordinator and Earn to Learn as a Success Coach – Program Specialist.
Xavier first learned about Boy Hope Girls Hope during his time at Earn to Learn, a scholarship program to which BHGH Scholars frequently apply. He was intrigued by BHGH’s program model having participated in a similar program with his twin brother when they were in fifth grade that helped them all the way through their college educations. Seeing the comparable work being done at BHGH, Xavier was moved to join the team!
As the Middle School Academy Program Manager, Xavier shepherds the young scholars and aids in scholar recruitment each year. The scholar’s parents are reflections of his own parents and the scholars are reflections of himself. Knowing the difference a program like Boys Hope Girls Hope can have on scholars and their family is the reason he is here. Xavier goal is helping families navigate and thrive in the private education system and through post-secondary education. Scholars becoming self-sufficient and one day returning to their community to pay it forward is what it is all about. The impact BHGH makes is by forever changing the trajectory of each scholar, family, and the community.
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, with whom he served in the Peace Corps. 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” he jokes. Mike attended Alhambra High School and was active in Boy Scouts and at his church before attending Colorado Outward Bound after high school graduation. Mike received an AA degree at Glendale Community College and attended U of A graduating with a BA. He enjoys traveling, music, reading, cinema and art museums are his favorite hangout! Most of all, he loves sharing all these artistic passions with BHGH Scholars! He has a place in Payson where he is most happy and will be retiring there soon. He has worked at BHGH since 2017 and it has been an amazing experience!
Jose Perez "JP", Residential Counselor
Born and raised on the central coast of California, Jose Perez, or “JP” is a father of one little boy Jose Jr. and has been married for five years to his wife Valerie. “I have been with BHGH for a little over a year and I enjoy working here because of the great scholars and staff that we have. I look forward to working here as long as I can because it helps me become a better father and helps me develop more as an individual for my professional career.” JP currently works full time at Mission Foods as a Supervisor in charge of outbound logistics while working a few shifts at the Boys Hope residential home. Before Mission Foods and BHGH, JP worked for 10 years with at-risk teenage boys at a camp called RM Pyles Camp in the Sequoia National Forest.
Brianda Bermudez, Residential Counselor
Brianda is a young 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, and moved 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 BHGH 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 culture through sports, attend Brophy College Preparatory and play Division 1 soccer at the University of New Mexico for two years before coming home to finish 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. 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, Rus’ role models have always been his coaches, mentors and the many adults who helped him navigate through life in the US. After his year as a volunteer teacher at Brophy, he heard about Boys Hope Girls Hope and identified with the mission and wanted to be a part of it. As a Residential Counselor, it means the world to him to be a guide, role model, and mentor for scholars as so many others have been for him. He helps scholars navigate through their day-to-day life and helps them become successful individuals in whatever endeavors they want to pursue.
When he is not working at Boys Hope Girls Hope, he loves playing soccer and basketball, going to the gym, running, hiking, hanging out with friends and most of all spending time getting to know his biological family who came to the US in 2013.
Marisa Jorden, Residential Counselor
Marisa Jordan, is thrilled to be part of the BHGH team as a part-time Residential Counselor. She is a Phoenix native, ASU graduate, and is currently finishing her last class to complete a Master’s Degree in School Counseling and Preventative Mental Health with Creighton University. She has been teaching for the Diocese of Phoenix for 21 years and is currently a 6th and 8th grade Language Arts Teacher at St. Francis in central Phoenix. She and her husband Jason just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary two months ago and continue to cherish the memories being made with their five daughters and one son. She looks forward to continued growth and learning with BHGH and thanks everyone for the warm welcome!
Baseemah Uqdah-Abrantes, Residential Counselor
Baseemah was born and raised in CA and came to AZ to pursue her education and career in the Forensic Sciences. While pursuing that career, she volunteered at her church working with children in the community and that is where she found her passion for the community. Once she graduated, she decided to commit her career to helping her community. She is an activist, mentor, and advocate. She believes everyone has a voice that should be heard. “When we strengthen the youth of our communities, we strengthen our communities and create leaders and doers.” – Baseemah
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 the 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 17 years of 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 is an avid photographer. She is also passionate about bees, gardening, and plants. She is in her first year as Office Manager for Boys Hope Girls Hope and is 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.