Ross Zimmerman

Ross Zimmerman
President & Chief Science Officer
Retired

Ross Zimmerman

President & Chief Science Officer
Retired

Ross Zimmerman was born in Indiana, but moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico when he was 8.  His mom was an elementary school teacher, his father was and is a practicing entomologist, a taxonomist.  Ross stayed there until he graduated from New Mexico State University with a B.S. in Biology.  He wandered around to different graduate schools, picking up an M.A. in Zoology from Indiana University in 1978 and a Ph.D. in Entomology at the University of Arizona in 1983.  He started running again in Bloomington, Indiana (IU) and to his surprise was good at it.  He did his first marathon in 1978, the Marathon Marathon in Terre Haute, past the Clabber Girl Baking Soda factory (very smelly).  He had in mind running in the mountains around Tucson when he moved here in 1978 to go to grad school.  He had also been interested in computers since a Fortran class in high school.  He did his first 100 mile run in 1982, got a bit less interested in running for a bit, and noticed computers had gotten more interesting.  He and his first wife got one that he taught himself how to use and did the charts and graphs for his Ph.D. dissertation on a termite native to the Sonoran Desert.  He was staying home taking care of Gabe and his younger brother Ben at the time. Jon Beck, the boyhood buddy of running friend Wally Shiel (the first person to run across the Grand Canyon 4 times in one run) had a business machines place and wanted to start a computer division.  He asked Ross to join him 2 days a week for child care costs.  That became a 33-year career building computer networks for organizations like the Pima County Attorney’s Office, Tucson Medical Center, and Pima Community College.  He retired from PCC in 2017.

On another track, Ross has been involved with the Tucson Trail Runners since 1979, helping lead the group from about 1990 until 2018. He paced a Tarahumara runner in the Leadville 100 in 1993 (http://www.nutritionequation.org/sources/born-to-run/).  He has run into and across the Grand Canyon many times.  He started riding bikes in 2003 when the effects of an infant operation that puts stress on his back became started to seriously impair his running.  Ross has done various long bike rides, most notably El Tour and the Death Ride (https://deathride.com).  Lately Ross has been a Designated Campus Colleague in the UArizona’s College of Education, President of the Beyond Foundation, and Race Director of the Colossal Vail 50/50 (https://runazt.org/colossal-vail-50-50/). And a grandparent, the best part…

Beyond was created as a response to the shooting in which Gabe was killed, along with 5 others. Thirteen people, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, were wounded. Gabe was Gabrielle’s Outreach and Constituent Services Director. Beyond grew out of conversations convened by Pam Golden’s (Ross’s wife, Gabe’s stepmom) cousin Steve Golden, who had helped create the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program. Michelle Crow applied when they decided they needed a project manager. Turned out she was Gabe’s counterpart in Raul Grijalva’s office and a friend.  She’s done all the heavy lifting since. Circa 2014, she and Ross started talking about doing things year-round, then maybe turning Beyond into a foundation, which they did in 2016, with the blessing of Julia Strange, who had taken Beyond under their wing for several years. Michelle stepped down as Executive Director in late 2020 to devote her full time to her role as Southern Arizona Director of the Children’s Action Alliance. Daniela Diamente, founder of El Grupo, has joined our team now as ED.  Gabe’s brother Ben lives in Watertown MA lately. He’s been working for a company where he was in charge of building big upscale apartment complexes (~250 units). Gabe and Ben were both good soccer players and all around athletes.  Ross was only good at persistence motion activities. Gabe ran across the Canyon with Ross on two occasions.

Bruce Johnson

Bruce Johnson
Secretary
Dean, College of Education, University of Arizona

Bruce Johnson

Secretary
Dean, College of Education, University of Arizona

Bruce Johnson is Dean of the College of Education and Professor of Environmental Learning and Science Education at the University of Arizona. He was previously an elementary and middle school teacher in Arizona and New Mexico and director of outdoor schools in New Mexico and Australia. He also serves as Director of the Earth Education Research and Evaluation Team, which conducts research on children’s ecological understandings, environmental values/attitudes, and environmental actions and has provided evaluation services to centers and schools in several countries. As International Program Coordinator for The Institute for Earth Education (IEE), Dr. Johnson oversees the development and implementation of earth education programs and leads sessions on earth education around the world. IEE is an international, not-for-profit, educational organization that develops and disseminates earth education programs that are designed to help people live more harmoniously and joyously with the natural world.

Patty Valera

Patty Valera
Treasurer
Social Worker, Department of Veteran Affairs

Patty Valera

Treasurer
Social Worker, Department of Veteran Affairs

Patty Valera moved to Tucson Arizona from Mexico 22 years ago with the goal to complete a technical degree at Fred G. Acosta Job Corps. Not only did she achieve this goal, she eventually became the first generation in her family to complete a master’s degree. She holds her Master’s in Social work and is working on completing her LCSW.

Patty fell in love with Tucson and is honored to be part of the community. She shows her dedication by volunteering, attending local events and supporting local businesses. She has a diverse background working with Veterans, people who have been diagnosed as Severe Mentally Ill, and those who struggle with addictions. With over 15 years of experience in the Social Work field, she highly values the integration of holistic health that correlates with BEYOND’s 5 pillars.

Julia Strange

Julia Strange
Director
Vice President of Community Benefit, Tucson Medical Center

Julia Strange

Director
Vice President of Community Benefit, Tucson Medical Center

Julia Strange holds leadership positions that focus on building coalitions to address critical community health needs, strengthening the nonprofit regional health system and advocating for policy to support access to care. She is chief executive officer of Benson Hospital and vice president of Community Benefit for TMC HealthCare. Julia is a member of the board of directors for the Southern Arizona Hospital Alliance and the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association. She serves on numerous community boards including the Copper Queen Hospital Foundation, Tucson Festival of Books, the Beyond Foundation, Arizona Chamber of Commerce, HealthOn Tucson and Arizona Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee. Formerly, she served on the Pima County Workforce Investment Board, Science of Sport, Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, Mobile Meals of Tucson, the Tucson Healthcare Federal Credit Union and the Employers Health Alliance of Arizona. In 2016, Strange was awarded the Grassroots Advocate Award for Arizona from the American Hospital Association. In 2018, she was a finalist for the Tucson Women of Influence Lifetime Achievement Award.

Prior to joining TMC HealthCare in 1996, Julia was a reporter/writer for University of Southern California, Inside Tucson Business and the Indianapolis Business Journal. She is a 1988 graduate of the Indiana University School of Journalism. Strange received a Master’s in Jurisprudence from Seton Hall School of Law in 2017.

Christine A. Ferraris

Christine A. Ferraris
Director

Attorney, A. FERRARIS LAW, PLLC

Christine A. Ferraris

Director

Attorney, A. FERRARIS LAW, PLLC

Christine Anderson Ferraris is licensed to practice law in state and federal courts of Massachusetts and Arizona. She graduated with a B.A. in French, and a certification in Le Français Commercial (business), with studies in the Japanese language from the University of Colorado. Ms. Ferraris’ work and time spent overseas, combined with her knowledge of French and Japanese lead her to start her own litigation support company (2000), through which she has been engaged by law firms throughout the U.S. to facilitate transnational service of process and discovery. Ms. Ferraris graduated from Roger Williams University School of Law (2007). Her interests in business and consumer related matters has led to representing parties in the following areas: finance, purchase, and warranty contracts, healthcare (contract disputes), investment and retirement benefits (fraudulent schemes), retail (federal regulation violations), real estate transactions (contract disputes, drafting), commercial and residential property (contract disputes, drafting) utility (contract disputes, regulation), as well as wine and spirits import and distribution (contracts, licensing, contract disputes). Upon relocation from Massachusetts to Arizona, Ms. Ferraris was employed by the Arizona Attorney General in the Consumer Fraud Unit from 2015 to 2017. Currently, she is in private practice in Tucson, Arizona providing legal guidance to businesses and consumers. Prior to her legal career, Ms. Ferraris had a ten-year career as a professional athlete representing the United States, Nike, Fila, competing and working with aspiring athletes of all ages.

Kendra Johnson Alvarez

Kendra Johnson Alvarez
Director
Arizona State Director, All On the Line

Kendra Johnson Alvarez

Director
Arizona State Director, All On the Line

Kendra Alvarez, a Tucson native, is currently working as the Arizona State Director for the All On the Line campaign, working to ensure a transparent and fair redistricting process in Arizona following the 2020 census. This role continues a career of public service in federal government and non-profit work, most recently as a Congressional aide in Southern Arizona.

Kendra brings years of experience as a community advocate, caseworker, and organizer to her role on the Beyond board. She is the daughter of two public school teachers in the Tucson area and has grown up with a love of hiking, running and enjoying the Arizona outdoors.

Michelle Crow

Michelle Crow
Director
Children's Action Alliance

Michelle Crow

Director
Children's Action Alliance

Michelle Crow was the founding Executive Director of the Beyond Foundation. In 2020, she stepped down as Executive Director and transitioned to the Board of Directors.

Previously, Michelle was the owner of a small business, Crow Communications, and in that capacity spearheaded a variety of projects for local organizations, such as developing issue advocacy campaigns, conducting strategic communications, fostering community engagement, and facilitating coalition-building across organizations.

It was during this time that she became involved in a community-wide effort to honor those who lost their lives in the tragic shooting at Congresswoman Giffords’ Congress of Your Corner event in 2011, including her friend Gabe Zimmerman, aide to the Congresswoman.  Nearly ten years later, the Beyond Foundation has grown out of those inspiring commemorative efforts to be what it is today – a full formed 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to improving individual and community health through good science and rational analysis.

Previously, Michelle worked for Congressman Grijalva for eight years as a community outreach liaison in his Congressional office, switching over to manage his re-election campaigns every other year. Prior to that, she worked for a domestic violence agency as a counselor, case manager, and crisis line advocate and also as an legal assistant to a family law attorney.

Today, she serves as Southern Arizona Director for Children’s Action Alliance, advocating for kids health, education and security.  She is married to a TUSD Kindergarten teacher and is the mom of two college aged kids, who are pursuing their own interesting academic studies, leading up to new and exciting career paths that she loves watching unfold.

Michelle is a proud two-time alumnus from the University of Arizona having received her Master’s in Public Administration in 2011 and her Bachelors in Political Science in 1994.

She is honored to have helped build the Beyond Foundation with an amazing group of dedicated individuals who literally go BEYOND every day.  In her spare time, she loves hanging out and laughing with her family, getting outdoors and hiking Arizona trails with friends, and is currently obsessed with her biggest “comeback” of all – starting to run again after having had open-heart surgery in early 2020 to replace her bi-cuspid aortic valve. She is thrilled to say that day-by-day, she makes progress in meeting her newest health goals and is loving every minute of it!

Damion Alexander

Damion Alexander
Director

Real Estate Agent, Long Realty

Damion Alexander

Director

Real Estate Agent, Long Realty

Marylyn Valencia

Marylyn Valencia
Director
Program Director for Changemaker and Educator for Mexicayotl Academy

Marylyn Valencia

Director
Program Director for Changemaker and Educator for Mexicayotl Academy

Marylyn Valencia Rivera, Ph.D. is a proud daughter of Sonoran parents who always-instilled high expectations and hopeful dreams. She was born and raised in South Texas and is a three-time alumnus from the University of Arizona. She has successfully attained her doctoral degree in Educational Psychology through the Department of Education, in 2018 and a Master’s of Science through the College of Mexican American Studies, in Latino Health, in 2006. Her research interests focus on improving college knowledge of parents of aspiring first-generation college students providing both parents and students with the tools necessary to plan for realistic future goals. She has over 15 years of experience working with children and youth of all ages in various settings, including college advising and guidance.

Jannie Cox

Jannie Cox
Director, Meet Me Committee
Retired

Jannie Cox

Director, Meet Me Committee
Retired

Jannie graduated from nursing school in Chicago, IL in 1967 and arrived in Tucson in 1971. After volunteering for eight years in the prenatal clinic at St. Elizabeth’s, followed by numerous board positions throughout the years she began her 26-year career at Carondelet Health Network in 1984. In 1986 she became CEO of Carondelet Foundation and VP of Community Benefit and Public Policy. She still calls it her dream career, and never aspired to be anywhere else. Today Jannie serves on the board of Rio Nuevo District, is a member of Southern AZ Leadership Council and is an active volunteer in her historic Ft. Lowell neighborhood.

After retirement Jannie pursued her passion for fitness and community wellness. She and her husband David Syverson, and Randy Accetta, founded Meet Me at Maynards in 2009. In 2012 they launched Meet Me at La Encantada, which became Meet Me Wednesdays in 2016 at St. Philip’s Plaza. Both events serve her goal of building community through fitness. In 2011 Jannie and David started “Rock the Ages,” for people 60+, based on the book, “Younger Next Year.” The purpose was to engage older adults in regular measured fitness activities. In 2018 she closed the RTA website and continued with a 60+ Urban Hiking Club.

Jannie has served on the boards of United Way, Community Food Bank, The Gregory School, Arizona Theatre Company, Southern AZ Leadership Council, Catholic Foundation and was a founder of Tu Nidito. 

Alexander LaMear

Alexander LaMear
Outreach Coordinator

Alexander LaMear

Outreach Coordinator

Alexander, a Tucson native, has a passion for the outdoors and healthy living. With a background in exercise physiology, nutrition, and wellness, he believes health is something all should have access to. While in school to pursue a major in Public Health with an emphasis in Health Promotion, he is currently working as the Outreach Coordinator for Beyond and looks forward to bringing his passion for the outdoors into the community.

Daniela Diamente

Daniela Diamente
Executive Director

Daniela Diamente

Executive Director

Daniela Diamente believes in the capacity of all people, especially youth, to be healthy, engaged and good people. She has a Masters in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Arizona with a focus on youth development and education. She helped to build up the education program at BICAS (a bicycle recycling center) and launch Cyclovia Tucson for its first two inaugural events. She co-founded El Grupo (with a mission to empower youth through bicycles) with her husband Ignacio – who re-introduced her to the bicycle and the worlds that it opens. She stepped down after 15 years as the Executive Director in 2019 and completed a yearlong bicycle trip with her family. She likes to inspire movement, confidence and leadership in others. She loves to ride bikes and move every way you can, especially with her 11-year-old son. She is the new business owner and co-leader of Tucson CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and a Certified Fletcher Pilates Instructor at BodyWorks Pilates in Tucson. Favorite mantra: how you do anything is how you do everything.

Lisa Delaossa

Lisa Delaossa
Event Coordinator - Meet Me Program

Lisa Delaossa

Event Coordinator - Meet Me Program

Lisa Delaossa is a native Tucsonan who grew up in south Tucson.  She earned her bachelors degree from the University of Arizona with a double major in finance & marketing.  Having an aptitude for math, she built a 16 year career in the Finance/Lending industry with American General Finance.  A decision to maintain a focus on family first, Lisa has worked for many other organizations throughout the years but her family has always and will continue to be her first priority. In addition to family, a constant love to her has always been activity & movement, whether cycling, hiking, yoga, walking, dancing or weight training, her need to stay active never falters.  In 2021 Lisa joined the Beyond Foundation as the Event Manager for Meet Me at Maynards and Meet Me Wednesday; free weekly social walk/runs  encouraging activity for the Tucson community all while enjoying the beauty of downtown Tucson & the Rillito River path.