Tim O'Neal

Director/CEO

tim.oneal@excelcenteraz.org

With nearly three decades of experience working in the thrift industry, Tim O’Neal has spent the past 18 years focused on the vision of ending poverty through the power of work.

When O’Neal was brought on with Goodwill of Central Arizona, the organization was in serious financial trouble and at risk of having its membership removed by Goodwill Industries International. O’Neal’s arrival marked a turning point in the 70-year history of the organization, and his leadership was instrumental in keeping the organization running by increasing retail operations by 3000 percent during his tenure as the Vice President of Retail Operations (1999 – 2007).

O’Neal brought a distinct level of professionalism to the retail side of the organization, a characteristic that quickly spread throughout the organization. O’Neal values the time and effort of his employees above all else. He knows the successful reach of Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona’s mission is due to the hard work and innovation all employees exhibit every day. O’Neal recognizes talent and feels it is important for the organization to cultivate leadership at all levels. He is most proud of the transparency the nonprofit presents, as well as the workplace culture that regularly earns top marks on “Best Places to Work” rankings.

Goodwill’s founder, Edgar Helms, envisioned providing people in need with the skills and opportunities that lead to self-sufficiency by providing a hand up, not a handout. O’Neal believes wholeheartedly in carrying out this mission to better the lives of everyone in our state. He knows the best way to bring a positive impact to Arizona is to work together, collaborate, and cultivate partnerships with community members, organizations, and leaders.

Tim O’Neal is proud of his employees and proud of the positive impact Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona leaves on the local community.

O’Neal holds a Certificate in Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management from the Harvard Business School Executive Education program. O’Neal graduated in June 2010 from Goodwill Industries International’s Executive Leadership Development program, which drives excellence, strategic planning and personal development skills for top executives in the industry.

Jonae Harrison

Jonae Harrison

Director

Jonae has two decades of legal and policy experience in government, non-profit, corporate and private practice. Her most recent roles demonstrate vast experience in folding law and policies together for largescale impact.

Jonae currently supports Adelante Healthcare’s mission of Healthy People, Sustained by Healthy Communities. As Adelante’s General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, Jonae believes that sustaining healthy people and communities is grounded in sound legal practices and a culture of compliance. In doing so, she aims to collectively elevate the care and compassion given to those Adelante reaches and serves.

As the Equity and Inclusion Manager for the City of Tempe, Jonae oversaw Tempe’s AntiDiscrimination Ordinance and the workforce Safe Haven process, which reviewed claims of discrimination, retaliation, hostile work environment, and harassment. Among other things, she also spearheaded and implemented two equity initiatives – Equity in Action and The Right to Breathe – to create measurable engagement and access outcomes for Tempe’s vulnerable communities. These initiatives required the collaboration of 19 city departments, city council and external stakeholders.

Before joining the City of Tempe, Jonae was the Director of Equity and Special Finance Services for Chicanos Por La Causa, where she designed and implemented a program division for leveraging new federal tax legislation to bring investment and community-led development in historically underrepresented neighborhoods. While at CPLC, she also laid the framework for the CPLC Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) which advocates for social justice and equity in underserved communities.

Akshai Patel

Akshai Patel

Director/Treasurer

Akshai J. Patel, a Director in Municipal Finance, joined RBC Capital Markets in 2019. He focuses specifically on helping educational leaders in innovative and quality schools find affordable financing for their facilities – ensuring more education dollars go to classrooms where they can have the largest impact on students. He previously served as Chief Strategy Officer for ASU Preparatory Academies, a charter school network of 12 schools and over 3,000 students sponsored by Arizona State University, and was co-founder of Phoenix Collegiate Academy (PCA), which was recognized as 2012 Arizona Charter School of the Year.

Driven by a passion to support the neediest students in his hometown, Mr. Patel joined Teach for America and taught for five years. Motivated to change those students’ lives permanently by helping his scholars find a path to college, Patel joined two fellow TFA alumni to co-found PCA, the first university preparatory in that community, a Building Excellent Schools incubated charter school which grew into a preK-12 network serving an over 90% high-poverty and 90% minority student population. As CEO, he led the school to produce three graduating classes where over 90% of students were accepted to a university, more than 90% matriculated to post-secondary and over 90% have persisted there. In 2011, he was recognized as a finalist for Arizona Charter School Leader of the Year. He authored a one-of-its kind merger with Arizona State University, which was noted on S&P’s Charter Sector Outlook, transforming the schools into the 6th ASU Prep region in 2018: “ASU Prep South Phoenix PCA.” As head of strategy for that network, he designed a growth plan to expand the footprint of ASU Prep to other underserved communities, especially Arizona students in rural, reservation, and incarcerated settings.

Mr. Patel earned his MBA at Columbia University and M.Ed at ASU’s Teachers College. He graduated summa cum laude from ASU with a B.A. in Economics and a B.S. in Political Science. He was a Fulbright grantee to Chile, an alumnus of the Pahara NextGen Fellowship, and the lead founder and Board Member of DeansList, an education software company that helps hundreds of high-performing schools nationally use data to improve results. He was recognized among 40 under 40 Honorees for leadership and community impact by the Phoenix Business Journal and has been an instructor at ASU Teachers College and currently teaches an introductory leadership course at ASU Public Service Academy. He serves on the Board for the Phoenix Public Library Foundation and Goodwill AZ’s Excel Center adult charter high school.

Jackie Halleen

Jackie Halleen

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/Officer (Non-voting Member)

Jackie Halleen, President of Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona (GCNA), serves as The Excel Center’s Executive Director where she oversees The Excel Center operations and its leadership team.

Since 2001, Halleen has served as an Enterprise-leader whose dedication to empowering people has fueled Goodwill’s incredible growth and impact. Leading with warmth, compassion and a deep desire to uplift the lives of those in need, Halleen has guided a variety of initiatives across Goodwill’s Retail and Mission Services verticals to help the organization realize its vision of ending poverty through the power of work. Halleen champions The Excel Center and deeply believes it can be a life-changing resource for adults in Arizona to earn the diploma that they deserve and increase their ability to financially provide for their families. Through her multi-decade career at Goodwill, Halleen has become one of Arizona’s leading builders of intergenerational wealth and is driven each day by her belief that every person who wants a better life is deserving of the opportunity to build it.

In addition to her roles at GCNA and The Excel Center, Halleen currently serves on the board at Foundation for the Blind, and previously served on the board of the American Heart Association for five years.

Sentari Minor

Chair

Sentari Minor is most passionate about bringing the best out of individuals and entities. His love languages are strategy, storytelling, and social impact. As Head of Strategy for evolvedMD, Mr. Minor is at the forefront of healthcare innovation with a scope of work that includes strategy, growth, branding, culture, and coaching. Prior to evolvedMD, he worked with some of the Nation’s most prominent and curious CEOs and entrepreneurs advising on philanthropy, policy, and everything social good as Regional Director of Gen Next (PHX + DAL + SFO) and strengthened social enterprises as Director at venture philanthropy firm, Social Venture Partners.

A Phoenix native, Mr. Minor continued his education in the Midwest and is an alumnus of DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana where he studied English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. He is also a member of Class IV of the American Express Leadership Academy through the Arizona State University Lodestar Center. If you want to profile him: he’s an ENTJ (Myers Briggs), a Maverick (Predictive Index), and trimodal Blue/Green/Red (Emergenetics).

Where does he shine? In high-touch stakeholder engagement, capital raising, public relations, and strategic planning. With his background, Mr. Minor serves on the board of directors for a diverse set of social impact organizations, as a venture mentor for socially conscious companies nationwide, and as a facilitator for businesses who want organizational clarity. Passionate about strengthening brands doing good in the world, Mr. Minor speaks nationally on governance, leadership, capacity building, social entrepreneurship, and engaging high-profile leaders in the dialogue of today.

When he’s not busy changing the world, he enjoys working out, stirring the pot on social media, being an amateur author, and spending time with the people who make him smile.

Bryan Davey

Dr. Davey is Board Certified as a Behavior Analyst at the Doctorate level and a Licensed Behavior Analyst in Arizona and Michigan. His clinical expertise includes training personnel in applying behavioral principles and procedures, functional behavioral assessments, assessment and treatment of severe and complex behaviors, organizational behavior management, and effective teaching practices. His professional experiences include being an executive, administrator, past certified special education teacher, consultant to schools, businesses, health plans, state agencies, behavior analytic agencies nationwide, and agency owner. Dr. Davey advocates for behavior analysis by supporting certification and practice standards and monitoring and developing legislation and policy at the state and national levels.

Dr. Davey was appointed to the Arizona Board of Psychology Examiners in 2017 and currently serves as Vice-Chair. He is a past Board Member and Public Policy Chair of CalABA (California Association for Behavior Analysis), founding member of AZABA (Arizona Association for Behavior Analysis), a past Board Member and Past-President of APBA (Association of Professional Behavior Analysts), and served on the National ABA CPT Code Steering Committee. Dr. Davey currently serves on the Arizona Governor’s Autism Spectrum Disorder Advisory Committee and Telehealth Advisory Committee. In 2018, he was appointed to the Arizona Complete Health-Complete Care Plan Board of Directors. Dr. Davey serves as a subject matter expert to multiple behavior analytic organizations, the BACB (Behavior Analyst Certification Board), CASP (Council of Autism Service Providers), health plans, and managed care organizations.

Vanessa Garcia

A Penn State graduate, Vanessa studied abroad in Sydney, Australia where she cultivated many deep professional and personal relationships. This rewarding experience helped foster a lifelong passion to get out of the traditional mindset and comfort zone, engage with diverse communities and help people to achieve more. Vanessa started her recruiting career in 2007 working in the legal, light industrial and consumer product goods industries and did for three years.  After a unique opportunity working in luxury goods sales on cruise ships in the Caribbean for two years, in 2012 she joined a local recruiting firm and supported the development of their Agribusiness and Food Manufacturing division.

Vanessa and her business partner launched their firm, Performant Scout in 2015 to take advantage of their vision, passion, strategic collaboration and deep experience in the executive search space. Their motivated team of talented recruiters place various levels of mid-management to C- level talent across all functions with major produce, food manufacturing and consumer goods companies.

Vanessa is passionate about engaging within her community and welcomes opportunities to improve the lives of those in need. In 2019, Vanessa served on the fundraising committee for The American Cancer Society’s Hope Gala. Vanessa completed her 3 – year term as a board member of Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s 40/40 program in December 2021 and remains active. Vanessa is currently serving as a TGen Ambassador, a network of working professionals and leaders that are united to promote TGen’s groundbreaking research and life-changing results through philanthropy, advocacy and networking. Most recently in January 2022, Vanessa joined Social Venture Partners Arizona! SVP AZ takes a venture capital approach to philanthropy by providing expertise and funding to emerging and growing non-profits that are working to make children successful!  Being a mentor to budding entrepreneurs through Seed Spot’s Start Up Spring Training series was an incredible growth opportunity for 2022!  Vanessa is also an active volunteer for Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels, a non-profit, support and educational foundation with the mission to bring dignity and comfort into the harsh world of childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. With two young children, Vanessa is driven to contribute to causes that can help support a brighter, healthier future for the next generation!

Caroline E McGroder

Caroline is an associate of Beus Gilbert McGroder PLLC, a premier boutique law firm concentrating on High Stakes Litigation, Real Estate and Zoning Law, and Plaintiffs Catastrophic Injury & Wrongful Death. Ms. McGroder is a member of the firm’s Plaintiffs Catastrophic Injury & Wrongful Death practice.

For more than a decade, Ms. McGroder has fought to secure the rights of victims and their families in a number of high-profile, complex catastrophic litigation and wrongful death cases. Previous clients include family members of the Yarnell Granite Mountain Hotshots, sexual assault and abuse survivors, a US Navy Seal who testified in the widely publicized Bowe Bergdahl desertion hearing, the wrongful hazing death of a college fraternity member, disaster victims, as well as countless catastrophic motor vehicle and medical malpractice cases.

An advocate for social justice and victims’ rights, Ms. McGroder is both humbled and honored to represent those who have suffered unimaginable tragedy and loss as a result of negligence. As a plaintiff’s attorney, Ms. McGroder brings her endless passion and unwavering persuasion to every case and is steadfast in her commitment to social advocacy through the civil justice system.

A proud graduate of Xavier College Preparatory, Ms. McGroder received her BA from Creighton University in American Studies. Upon graduation, Ms. McGroder headed East to Washington, DC where she worked as an aide to the late Senator John McCain. After a number of years in Senator McCain’s office, McGroder returned to Arizona to attend law school. A champion of victims’ rights early on, McGroder supplemented her law studies with a clerkship at a prominent law firm in their Wrongful Death and Catastrophic Injury Division. Following graduation, McGroder continued her crusade in securing justice for her clients, working as an Associate on complex litigation cases.

In 2016, Ms. McGroder returned to Washington to study at American University’s Washington College of Law, where she graduated magna cum laude and received a Master of Laws in International Human Rights.

McGroder’s deep passion for human rights ultimately led her to defend and advocate for survivors of enslavement by religious extremist groups, as well as international victims of mass atrocity crimes.

During her tenure in Washington DC, Ms. McGroder worked closely with the US State Department, where she received federal Top-Secret Security Clearance. With the US State Department, Ms. McGroder worked on a transnational justice initiative involving the criminal prosecution for mass atrocity crimes, including cases devoted to international human trafficking, genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Ms. McGroder was trained to prosecute these cases at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, an experience she found both rewarding and life-affirming. In 2017, Ms. McGroder traveled to Abuja, Nigeria to prosecute the well-known religious extremist group Jamā’atu Ahli is-Sunnah lid-Da’wati wal-Jihād, commonly known as Boko Haram.

Soon after, Ms. McGroder returned to Arizona where she worked as an Assistant Attorney General in cases involving child abuse, child sex crimes and neglect in the state’s Child and Family Protection Unit.

A firm believer in healing, change, and accountability, Ms. McGroder has made it her life’s mission to stand up for those whose lives have been irrevocably altered by tragedy to ensure their voices are heard and bring those responsible to justice.

Community and Philanthropy:

A passionate member of her community, Ms. McGroder serves on the Board of One Vision One World, a non-profit dedicated to providing resources and housing to struggling communities in Haiti, traveling frequently to support her work. She also serves on the Board for Cultural Coalition, an organization whose mission is to further community engagement through cultural programs that focus on the education, promotion, and development of indigenous artists throughout the state of Arizona; and is an active fundraiser for Childhelp, a national non-profit dedicated to assisting children whose lives have been adversely impacted by child abuse and neglect. Previously, Ms. McGroder worked with Elaine, a non-profit dedicated to helping the homeless navigate the complexities of the healthcare system. She also spent more than ten years as a volunteer with The Theater Artists Studio, coordinating resources for the Studio’s theatre camp in an effort to engage and reward vulnerable children in underserved communities and promote healing through the arts.

In addition to her law career and community endeavors, Ms. McGroder also serves as an Adjunct Professor in the Paralegal Department of Phoenix College where she teaches Legal Writing and Civil Procedure. A longtime proponent of higher education and the opportunities that come with it, Ms. McGroder is thrilled to be able to share her experiences with her students and never ceases to be impressed by their knowledge and commitment to their legal studies.