2020 ATHENA Nominees

The nominees for this year’s ATHENA Awards are:

Nancy Emerick
CEO, Haven Health of Flagstaff
Nancy Emerick is truly a respected healthcare provider in northern Arizona. As CEO of Haven Health of Flagstaff, since 2013, she was recently honored with the Executive Leadership Award by the Arizona Health Care Association.  She has led the organization through a multi-million dollar renovation and has been a caring professional for over 20 years throughout the country.

Nancy is an active participant in the Flagstaff community, regularly seen in the Chamber’s July 4th parade, receiving volunteers and students from Northern Arizona University, hosting physicians and other community healthcare providers and their spouses and families. Nancy is a role model for women of the Haven Health Community. She has mentored numerous women helping prepare them for leadership in healthcare roles. Having navigated a male-driven field, she is a listener, a teacher, and a cheerleader for women under her charge.


Bonnie Bouschet
General Manager, Flagstaff Mall
Bonnie came to Flagstaff in 2007 successfully opening the new Best Buy and by 2013 she was named the General Manager of Flagstaff Mall. She has taken her role at the mall very seriously, by reinventing and positioning the mall as a family-friendly destination. As a mentor she is intentional in her efforts to tap the potential in each of her team members. Bonnie’s efforts have brought together community-oriented activities to the mall, which include Clifford the Big Red Dog, Paw Patrol, Daniel the Tiger, an air show, local musicians and much more.

She is an advocate for countless non profits in Flagstaff and quickly became involved with the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce as an Ambassador, where she sits currently as a dedicated leader. In 2016 Bonnie was honored to receive the Ambassador of the Year award. For more than five years she has used her photography skills to help others. Shadows Foundation, Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Club, Salvation Army’s Angel Tree are just a few of the organizations that Bonnie volunteers for and helps lead. She is currently serving on the board of the Flagstaff Professional, helps promote the We Care Suicide Prevention, and was recently the recipient of the Vitalant Blood Services HERO Award, their most prestigious honor that is reached by only 3% of blood drive coordinators across AZ. Bonnie is laser focused on mentoring and advancing other women, starting with Women of Leadership Forums, known as WoLF.  Its mission is to empower women leaders to lead with passion and also become mentors. Bonnie has started WoLF packs in Syracuse, Phoenix, and Flagstaff.  She is known to honor and ignite the talents and potential in others.


Ross Altenbaugh
Executive Director, Flagstaff Shelter Services
Ross is a role model to many; this AmeriCorps alum has a history of service dating back to her childhood. She serves as the Executive Director of Flagstaff Shelter Services with a fierce passion for serving the most vulnerable populations. Ross has led by using the Housing First vision and putting it into practice while she chaired the Front Door Coordinated Entry Program which was a coordinated effort of all agencies to work together to have a single point of entry for housing assistance. Her vision expanded the emergency shelter site so that more families could be served, and additional programs could be offered at Flagstaff Shelter Services. She oversaw grant writing along with working with the City of Flagstaff for Community Development Block dollars to support shelter expansion. In total Ross raised an additional 1 million dollars for shelter expansion for a single project. In her tenure with Flagstaff Shelter Services, she has increased her budget from $350,000 to $3,000,0000. Ross is a leader in ending homelessness in Flagstaff.

Ross loves her community, in 2018 when the Arrowhead Village trailer park was given 6 months to vacate, she stepped up to the plate and helped ease the transition that earned her a thanks from the City of Flagstaff. In the summer 2018 our forests closed due to the wildfires, Ross and her team assisted households displaced from camping in the national forest. Also, Ross mentors social work student interns and has lots of young professional employees who call on her for advice day and night.  She is known as one of the most down-to-earth Executive Directors you’ll ever meet.


Gail Jackson
Interim President & CEO, ECoNA
Gail shows professional leadership daily as the Interim President & CEO, ECoNA with her deep commitment to furthering the goal of economic growth in northern Arizona. Recently Gail was appointed from the City’s Business Attraction Manager to Interim President & CEO of ECoNA illustrative of her public and private sector experience and ability to successfully engage with business, elected officials and many stakeholders, generating positive results.  She has a proven track record of professional leadership with innovative approaches to problem-solving and excellent communication. Gail is a leader that leads with her heart and does whatever it takes to do the right thing. She is a never-give-up team player.

Gail has served on the board of many professional and service-oriented boards. Beginning with Theatrikos Theatre Company. Then by 2015, Gail was tapped to serve on the following boards, United Way of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff Women’s Leadership Network, Flagstaff Shelter Services, Flagstaff Auto Mall Development, and the Executive Board of Directors for Flagstaff Leadership Program. She has been called a leader with the desire to be expectational in all she does.


Jennifer Rolley
Owner, Sweet Shoppe Candy
Jennifer opened in 2011 the Sweet Shoppe Candy store, which for six straight years has won the Arizona Daily Sun Best of Flagstaff award. Her reputation has statewide appeal with articles appearing in the Phoenix Magazine and Mt. Living Magazine and on Phoenix TV stations Channel, 3, 5, and 12 all shooting broadcast video of the amazing candy manufacturing business.  Jennifer has learned how to make 50% or more of her product lines including caramels, brittles and English toffee.  Her passion for bringing up new candy makers is evident in the number of younger employees she mentors daily on the business and manufacturing side of The Sweet Shoppe Candy store.  The business initially opened with a team of 8 but with annual 12%+ growth she now employees up to 30 with 90% of her associates being young women.  She takes great pride mentoring each one individually in best business practices, leadership and customer service for the next career move.

After she and her family moved to Flagstaff in 1998, Jennifer served on the American Cancer Society’s Denim and Diamonds Committee for five years; co-chaired the United Way of Northern Arizona’s Summit Society Campaign. In 2019 Jennifer joined the City’s Tourism Commission to help develop and maintain Flagstaff as a year-round destination. Jennifer has a strong sense of community service giving back regularly to 60 plus organizations with donations and gifts of products.


Cherylee Francis
Owner, CF Productions LLC
Cherylee is a native North American tribal member of the Navajo Nation, an award-winning video production specialist with nearly 20 years’ experience in the TV industry. She has been on production crews for KUAT-TV(PBS), Citadel Broadcasting Corporation, KGUN9 Journal Communications (ABC), and on the video crew of the University of Arizona Intercollegiate Athletics/Video department.

She provides high-end video production services through commercials, educational and training instruction videos for corporate and non-profit organizations.

Her winning style has earned her numerous accolades including the Savvy Awards, NACo Achievement Award, and winner of the 24th Annual Communicator Awards by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts.  She has been part of multiple productions of the Emmy Award-winning PBS series “In the Americas with David Yetman.” She is also the recipient of the 2018 American Indian Business of the Year.

She is very active in her community as a member of the Flagstaff Leadership Program, Flagstaff Citizen’s Police Academy and a volunteer violinist for Orchestra Northern Arizona. She also volunteers her time with Indigenous Circle of Flagstaff, American Indian Chamber of Commerce, National Center for American Indian Economic Development. Currently, Cherylee is the Executive Director of the Native American Women Entrepreneurs of Arizona. She is truly dedicated to mentoring her Navajo peers to successful business careers.


Jennifer Conn, MD
Emergency Department Medical Director, Flagstaff Emergency Physicians and FMC
Jennifer is the respected and trusted Emergency Department Medical Director, providing amazing care to improve the lives of people in the northern Arizona community. She is a collaborator and inspirational leader in her field. Dr. Conn started working at Flagstaff Medical Center in 2002, at a time when the community emergency department was only staffed by 11 physicians. In 2005 she became the Emergency Department Medical Director and began working with local general surgeons to create a trauma program to assure that FMC’s equipment, education, staff, and care protocols were in place to help quickly treat patients. In 2008 she assisted Northern Arizona Healthcare to adopt Cerner as its electronic medical record. She worked with practitioners to develop an 80 symptom-based computerized order set so that admission was seamless. In 2015 she helped revamp FMC’s inefficient systems to transfer patients from small regional hospitals in northern Arizona to the hospital. This new “Transfer Center” has specialty protocols to ease the transition and admission of patients.

Dr. Conn has a passion for the community. Since 2013 she has served on the board of the Flagstaff Snow Sharks. Snow Sharks offer low-cost swim lessons to ages 2-18 in a competitive team environment. Her passion started in the ER, where she treated many nearly drowned victims. Jennifer also serves as a USA Swimming Judge and Referee. Also, twice Dr. Conn has been on a HERO Medical Mission to Nicaragua, where she served communities with no local access to medical care. Dr. Conn has mentored students at FMC’s Future Health Leaders Summer Camp, where she educates teens on future careers in healthcare. Dr. Conn uses FMC’s ER as a learning environment, mentoring volunteers, scribes, and EMTs that often go on to become flight nurses or nurse practitioners. Also, during her tenure, she has mentored two ED nurses to become leaders at FMC, recently taking on director roles.


Dr. Colleen Smith
President, Coconino Community College
Dr. Smith has lived a life of serving community, mentoring and being a true champion for women and the underserved for the past 40 years. Colleen is a first-generation college graduate, earning her bachelor’s and master’s at Texas A&M and her doctorate at Texas Women’s University. She has always been a pioneer for women entering male-dominated fields. In 1995 she took a position in Wyoming overseeing programs such as welding, electrical, mine maintenance, plumbing, and pipefitting – careers that are filled by mostly men which sets the tone for other women to follow in her footsteps. Also, Dr. Smith was the first female president of the Southwest Junior College Football Association.  In 2016 Dr. Smith became the fifth president of Coconino Community College, serving 375 administrators, faculty and staff, and a student body of 9000 annually. And today, only one in three college presidents are female which demonstrates her extraordinary professional excellence and her high-level talent that garners confidence and trust among her peers in a male dominated arena. Under her leadership, she was able to secure a 1-million-dollar grant from Del E. Webb Foundation to allow the college to update its construction management facilities and add much needed classes in the trades. In her short tenure, she has created over a dozen collaborations in the Flagstaff community.

Colleen is committed to giving back to Flagstaff outside of her role at CCC. Dr. Smith is an active member of the Arizona Community Coordinating Council, United Way of Northern Arizona, ECONA, LAUNCH Flagstaff, and the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce. She has won more than a dozen distinguished leadership awards over the past years.  Also, her passion for advancing and supporting women shines with leadership through the following organizations: Flagstaff Women’s Leadership, Arizona Women in Higher Education, League of Innovation Executive Leadership Institute and American Association of University Women. As an advocate for women, she has guided and advised students considering careers predominantly filled my men. Dr. Smith notably takes women under her wing, even opening her closet, to help young women advance to be strong leaders.


Deana Keck
VP of Marketing and Culture, Pine Canyon
Deana is a mother of four and a top leader at Pine Canyon, and a true role model to the women in this organization. She started with the company as a receptionist over 15 years ago and has worked her way up to be VP of Marketing and Culture and the Designated Broker. As a top executive leader, she manages a large project portfolios and mentors leaders and associates to heighten their professional growth and goals.  She helped roll out “Search inside Yourself” a cutting-edge happiness in the workplace and leadership program.  She exemplifies the fact that if you work hard, you can achieve your dreams and anything you put your mind to.

Deana is a Flagstaff native and committed to community service having sat on the board of a domestic violence charity; helping found Pine Canyon Cares, which focuses on giving back to the Flagstaff community.  Additionally, she has volunteered locally with Children’s Domestic Violence Shelter and Charity, Humane Society, Flagstaff Family Food Center, Dream Court for the Boys and Girls Club. Deana is a mentor for many employees at Pine Canyon, someone who people look up to. She has become a role model and inspiration to many that know her.


The nominees for this year’s ATHENA YOUNG PROFESSIONAL Awards are:

Anna Kurn
Project Engineer, Loven Contracting
Anna Kurn is an up and coming women leader in the construction industry.  At a time when this field is comprised 92.3% by men, Anna decided to pursue a degree in Environmental Engineering at NAU. She began her professional career as an intern with Loven Contracting while finishing her degree. In partnership with Loven Contracting’s technology team, Anna took initiative to transition the company to Bluebeam Studio software setting up 75 plus projects giving the field personnel and subcontractors new levels of interactivity and data access across on jobsites across the State of Arizona.  Anna has been instrumental in the creation of Loven’s training documents. She now works in the Healthcare Division supporting 50 plus vendors and Flagstaff Medical Center stakeholders. Anna Kurn has had a positive impact on the construction industry in Flagstaff.

Ana’s community service is centered around her desire to pass along the same gift of mentorship as she received. Her focus is on women pursuing careers in STEM fields. For the past few years, she has been a dedicated member of NAU’s chapter of the Society of Women Engineers both nationally and locally. Her projects included the Society’s Let Girls Learn committee, where she wrote grants and pursued opportunities to introduce girls to the engineering process across the Colorado Plateau. Anna is also a member of EPIC (Equal Partners in Inclusive Community) at NAU’s College of Engineering. Here she provides community-based mentorship, career resources, and connections to female students. Anna Kurn truly demonstrates that in a traditionally male-dominated profession, female mentorship is one of the most important factors for female retention in STEM.


Melissa Dohse
Founder and Clinical Director, Cultivate Counseling
Melissa Dohse is a champion for women survivors of trauma. She began her studies at NAU obtaining a bachelor’s in social work, then later earned her masters at the University of Denver. While in Denver she worked for the Human Trafficking Clinic, completed her thesis on the intersection of Juvenile Sex Trafficking and the probation system. After a move back to Flagstaff in 2014, she continued working with women survivors through Postpartum Support International. While doing this work it became obvious that there was a need for therapists and practitioners in Flagstaff.  In 2017 Melissa started Cultivate Counseling to fill the gaps. She created a practice that would provide women practitioners, that are mothers and new mothers, a platform to work and thrive with the flexibility that motherhood requires.

Since Melissa’s return to Flagstaff, she has joined the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce, Flagstaff Young Professionals, Women Empowering Northern Arizona, and her business is a member of One Community. She is also a member of the National Association of Social Workers and spends most of her volunteer hours at her son’s school. Before her return to Flagstaff, Melissa traveled the world with her human trafficking research. Destinations included Southeast Asia, Mexico, Vanuatu, Guatemala, and Kenya. What a testimony to excellence in her field and her passion for mothers and motherhood.

Courtney McCarron
Case Manager Inpatient Behavioral Health, Northern Arizona Healthcare
Courtney McCarron is an emerging leader in the mental health field in Flagstaff. Her career began 4 years ago when she became one of Flagstaff Medical Center’s youngest case managers. She is a Mental Health First Aid instructor and has trained over 86 FMC team and community members since the program was started. Courtney is the chair of the Professional Governance Coordinating Council for Northern Arizona Healthcare.  She has a passion for suicide prevention and was instrumental in bringing a program from American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to FUSD. Courtney helped introduce the program, More Than Sad, to Sinagua Middle School 6th to 8th grades in 2019. FUSD has committed to expanding the program to other schools in the district. She will graduate in March with her Master’s Degree in Public Health.

Before Courtney graduated from high school her passion for the community started as a volunteer with Soroptimist, where she attended with her Grandmother, who was a member. At an early age, she was taught the importance of empowering women and bringing a better life to females in the community. During that time she helped at Hope’s Closet, a pregnancy resource center in Flagstaff. During college, Courtney was a member of Pi Beta Phi Sorority where she was the fundraising chair. The sorority’s focus was volunteering for kids who struggled with reading at Kinsey Elementary School. After school Courtney traveled to Tanzania to help with sustainability and English education to villagers. As a member of the American Foundation Suicide Prevention, she serves as a Mental Health Mermaid who attend local festivals in costumes, spreading the word about suicide prevention.  At the age of 26, she is a leader at NAH, a leader in the non-profit community and an inspiration to her friends and others her age to be a part of the community and mentor others.  She is the youngest member of the Flagstaff Leadership Program Class 2020, where she spreads the word about Mental Health First Aid.


Jesica Barker
Owner/Founder, DancEvolution
Jesica founded DancEvolution in 2011 to teach her 3-year-old twin daughters to dance in their basement. She had a total of 10 girls at the time. In 2018, enrollment exceeded the capacity of their home and moved into a commercial building. Currently, Jesica has over 200 girls enrolled at her studio. During her 9 years as a dance instructor, she has impacted the lives of over 500 girls. Her annual revenue has grown over 600% since her first class. Jesica taught all classes until she bought the building. She now employs 4 women teachers who help with the busy schedule at DancEvolution. Jesica also recruits a half dozen other women to help with web design, costumes, social media, photography and more. One thing that makes Jesica and her business stand out is her installation of “LEAP” values, Love, Excellence, Accountability, and Positivity, among her students.

When Jesica is not busy with her empowering dancers, she is volunteering at her church mentoring women ages 11-18. She teaches these women lessons on faith, divine nature, individual worth, choice and accountability, good work, integrity, and virtue. She also sets up weekly activities to help women set goals in their spiritual, intellectual, social, and physical life. The activities include clothing and bedding drives for homeless shelters and Hope Cottage. They have also helped with the city’s Graffiti Busters program. Jesica also donates her time tutoring math to students. Finally, Jesica does outreach to the special need’s community, by donating her time and energy to a group of women with Down’s syndrome.

Jessica Young
Sales and Marketing Specialist, Discover Flagstaff
Jessica is a passionate and creative professional who is an example of a young woman striving to make a real difference. She has her BS in Hotel Restaurant Management from NAU, which led her to a position at High Country Conference Center (HCCC) as the event coordinator. While at HCCC Jessica became the Planning Manager responsible for NAU Summer Camps and Conferencing. In 2014 Jessica became of a member of Team Flagstaff working at the CVB, known as Discover Flagstaff. In her role as the Sales and Marketing specialist she is tasked with promoting Flagstaff’s four seasons of events with planners. In her 5 years with Discover Flagstaff she has booked over 37,000 rooms for an estimated economic impact of 12.6 million dollars.

Jessica loves to serve the community where she was born and raised. In 2017 she became an alum of the Flagstaff Leadership Program and now serves as the board president. She is also a board member of the Flagstaff Arts Council Executive Committee and a steering committee member for the Flagstaff Women’s Leadership Network. Jessica is a member of the Arizona Meeting Professionals, Arizona Small Business Association, Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International and the Arizona Society of Association Executives. Jessica received the 2018 Tourism Employee of the Year and was recognized by the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce as a 20 under 40 leader. Jessica also works closely with Lancaster Consulting as an ambassador for the 2020 Women’s Leadership Summit.


Macy Kiim
Co-Founder, A New Dawn AZ
Macy Kiim co-founded A New Dawn AZ in 2015 with Pearl Santillan, which focuses on removing barriers for adults seeking oral health care. The agency was awarded $23,000 through a Northern Arizona Community Health Grant in 2018, and continues to serve Arizonans needing access to dental care. Her upbringing in a very small community in northern Arizona led her to become community minded. Macy is passionate in her belief that access to oral health care is a human right. So far, A New Dawn AZ has made 5,800 contacts, 550 people have visited the Northern Arizona Oral Health Coalition website and over 70 adults have been supported on their journey to increased oral health related quality of life through the program.

In 2018, she joined efforts to begin a co-housing project, aimed at fostering connectedness, increasing social capital for residents and creating opportunities for the more conscious use of social, natural and man-made resources. As a contributor to the creation of Flagstaff Cohousing, she brings inter-generational connections to those in the community who could benefit. The goal is to bring 30 households together to grow, care for one another and engage actively in Flagstaff. This passion for creating new ways of living in community started 11 years ago when she and her family began cohabitating with Ted Garland, a beloved Flagstaff citizen who experienced cerebral palsy. She spent over a decade living in Ted’s home and became like family. In her time with Ted, Macy guided and supported his aides, teaching these young women cooking skills and helping instill in them a deep passion for wholesome, real food and what it means to be in service of others. She has attended She Wolf Project meetings, a group that comes together to lift women up in their endeavors. Macy is currently a student in the Master of Arts in Sustainable Communities program at NAU.

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