Where are you from originally and what do you do for a living?
I am originally from East Africa and came to the United States to pursue my college education. I hold a degree from Arizona State University. I am currently a Senior Talent Development Partner, where my focus lies in retention, career strategy, culture building, diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as leadership coaching and development.
What do you bring to Swift?
My passion for education, helping others, and empowering individuals aligns seamlessly with the mission of Swift Youth Foundation. I firmly believe in the trans-formative power of meaningful programs and mentorship relationships, as they hold the key to unlocking the full potential of children and young adults. I have had the privilege of collaborating with organizations of all sizes in people development and talent management.
What do you do for fun?
Beyond my professional pursuits, I try to remain deeply invested in people and community. In my leisure time, I nurture connections with friends and family, explore new destinations through travel, and capture cherished moments through my passion for photography. I am actively engaged in volunteer work utilizing my skills and knowledge to create positive change.
Melissa Fried has worked with various Nonprofits for most of her life. At a young age, she was involved in various camps as a camper, wrangler, counselor, and program creator. At the young age of 16, Melissa worked as a wrangler with the YMCA and assisted in developing the first Cowboy Camp program that is still running today. It was then that her love for the nonprofit world began. Over the past decade, Melissa has worked for several nonprofits as a parent educator, life skills coach, and resource coordinator, leading efforts in achieving blue ribbon status. Additionally, Melissa owned an operated her own business for many years where she had the pleasure of managing volunteers and staff while organizing events and fundraisers.
Melissa completed her bachelor’s degree in Recreation Management with an emphasis in community recreation and her masters degree in Family Life Education. In 2022, Melissa earned her doctorate in Leadership in Innovation and Continuous Improvement.
Melissa has been married to her husband, David, since 2002 and they have four beautiful and intelligent daughters, Chloe, Layla, Glory, and Paisley. She was born and raised in Arizona and after spending the last 4 years in Washington State, she is happy to be back in the Valley of the Sun. Melissa is both excited and proud to represent Swift Youth Foundation and looks forward to the future.
Please welcome our newest team member - Sr. Director, Development - Julio Espinoza!
Julio is a professional in nonprofit management. He has worked for government agencies, political partisan organizations and chambers of commerce. Julio has experience working with grass-roots (members of the civil society, advocates, activists, private citizens) as well as the grass-tops (elected officials, business leaders, donors, journalists, influencers, and foreign dignitaries). Julio is passionate about empowering underserved communities by promoting capacity building programs. He is excited to work with the clients and stakeholders of Swift Youth Foundation as he sees a brighter future for raising Arizona. When not working you can find Julio hanging out with his dogs, working out, playing soccer, reading and watching documentaries. He is a nerd of policy and business and is eager to bring his skillset to the service of Swift Youth Foundation.
We are thrilled to introduce you to our newest team member, Danielle Downs!
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