Aimee Sitzler is the founder and Principal Consultant of Community Alliance Consulting LLC. Ms. Sitzler offers a variety of systems-change facilitation, place-based evaluation, and strategic planning services. She has Bachelor of Arts degrees in Spanish and French and a Master of Social Work from Arizona State University (ASU). Ms. Sitzler has worked as a social worker in various capacities including direct practice, research, and evaluation. She has worked as a Research Analyst for a Center of Excellence in Minority Health and Health Disparities at ASU, where she partnered with government agencies and nonprofits. She also coordinated a promotora/community health worker project using the Chronic Disease Self-Management program with monolingual Spanish speaking communities in South Scottsdale in partnership with Virginia G Piper Trust.
In 2014, Ms. Sitzler became an Alliance Fellow at Vitalyst Health Foundation where she and other community leaders focused on building alliances to effect large scale social change. She currently lends her facilitation expertise to the Arizona Department of Health Services’ State Nutrition and Physical Activity Plan, Maricopa Department of Public Health's Building Better Communities Advisory Boards, and the federally qualified healthcare center NOAH. Ms. Sitzler also offers non-profit organizations utilization focused strategic planning services and staff retreats. She is the former the Chair of the Arizona Evaluation Network’s Phoenix Cluster and served on the Arizona Public Health Association's Board of Directors from 2013 to 2021.
Mara de Luca Funke, MPH Senior Evaluator
Mara de Luca Funke is a seasoned evaluation research professional with a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Bachelor of Sociology from Michigan State University. Go Green! Mara enjoys both quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis, as well as strategic planning and grant writing. Her background includes both academic research as well as the evaluation of real-life programs in a range of health, education, and social service fields. After spending six years the nation’s largest county public health department, she’s been working as a consultant since 2014 for a variety of non-profits, corporations, and governmental agencies. Mara is also an adjunct professor of public health at A.T. Still University.
Catherine Gouge, MS, PMH Project Coordinator
Ms. Catherine Gouge holds a Master of Science and Master of Public Health degree from the Brody School of Medicine. She has worked in various capacities including epidemiology, informatics/data analytics, clinical research, instructional design, evaluation, and consultant positions. Ms. Gouge has been facilitating groups in Maricopa County that focus on public health, performance management, Lean foundations, policy development, grant writing, and operations. Prior to joining the Community Alliance Team Ms. Gouge worked for the Department of Health Services as the Chief Informatics Officer and as their Accreditation and Performance Improvement Manger. During her tenure she was tapped to work for the Governor’s Office to deploy Lean principles and performance management foundations in various state agencies. Before moving to Arizona Ms. Gouge worked as a researcher and database administrator for the Society of Thoracic Surgery at the East Carolina Heart Institute. Here she also collaborated on several projects with the Rural Healthcare Institute and clinicians. Click the link below for a list of publications.
Xochitl Wilson Early Childhood Nutrition Facilitator
Xochitl Wilson received her bachelor’s in nutrition management from Arizona State University. Her passion, education and professional experience has allowed her to work with children of age birth to adolescents and adults alike. Most of Ms. Wilson’s work has served the disparate communities in Maricopa County. From Diabetes education, Childhood Obesity Classes and General Nutrition to both children and adults. Xochitl’s desire to help those with limited community resources, specifically with nutrition, has been her driving force to continue working in health and well-being promotion. Xochitl currently participates with Urban Strategies Policy Council as a community representative, served in the Health Improvement of Maricopa County Steering Committee for 5 years; the Community Advisory Board Member of the Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center and as a community member of the City of Phoenix Head Start Policy Council for 4 years.
Courtney Hayden Facilitator / Project Manager Courtney Hayden is an accomplished Public Health Project Manager with a proven record in national and international program leadership across diverse sectors. Recognized for her commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, Courtney excels in developing and executing strategies that drive equitable outcomes within underserved communities. Adept at building trust and fostering relationships, she navigates challenges with high emotional intelligence, leading multicultural and cross-functional teams. Courtney's expertise spans Continuous Process Improvement, DEI policy execution, strategic planning, cross-functional collaboration, and impactful public speaking. In her free time, she enjoys wilderness hikes and travel.
Natalee Sticht Team Administrator Natalee Sticht is first and foremost a wife of 15 years and mom to 4 boys. She received her bachelors degree in Public Relations and minor in Communications from Arizona State University. She has a passion for health and wellness dedicating most of her life to not only her own physical health (through marathons and fitness competitions), but advocating for health and well-being in her community through personalized health solutions and motivational support. From owning her own gym to hosting health podcasts to virtual retreats and in person workshops, Natalee has a vision for happy and healthy families.
Meet the CAC Collaborative Team
In order to meet the unique needs of each project, leadership at Community Alliance organizes a team of individuals whose areas of expertise are best suited to meet the contractor's needs. Community Alliance project teams meet on a regular basis to provide organization and oversight of all activities to ensure that the work advances in a timely manner and with high quality. Learn more about the local professionals working on CAC project teams below.
Melanie Mitros, Ph.D.
As a seasoned professional with cross-sector experience in and collaboration with academia, nonprofits, philanthropy, government and communities, Dr. Melanie Mitros brings skills in organizational development, grant and project management, evaluation, and facilitation. She has championed inclusive and trust-based grantmaking, chaired funder collaboratives, influenced state policy and regulation, and developed systems and processes to implement more equitable investments. With a relocation back home to Alabama in 2021, Dr. Mitros founded MPW Consulting to grow partnerships for change - helping organizations create the conditions for successful systems change. She was selected as a Women’s Foundation of Alabama Fellow, provides pro bono work supporting local initiatives, and is an active member of the Cover Alabama Coalition. Dr. Mitros joined the Nonprofit Lifecycles Institute in June 2022 as the fractional Chief Operating Officer, where she remotely manages daily operations, communication strategies and oversees proposals, contracts, and projects.
Dr. Mitros served as the Director of Strategic Community Partnerships at Vitalyst Health Foundation from 2015-2021 where she led $2.5 million in grant and contract design, implementation, review, and evaluation including competitive, donor advised and programmatic funds. From 2010-2015, Dr. Mitros was the founding Director of the Arizona Living Well Institute where she developed the quality and technical assistance center for evidence-based health promotion programs. Dr. Mitros holds a PhD from Arizona State University, M.S. from Wake Forest University, and B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University.
Melissa Kovacs, Ph.D.
Melissa Kovacs has a Ph.D. in public policy and econometrics from the University of Maryland. Dr. Kovacs is the founder of FirstEval, LLC, a data analytics and statistical consulting firm that helps clients find meaning in their data. Client engagements include program evaluations for nonprofit organizations; statistical consulting for governments and foundations; data analytic work for marketing firms; and statistical litigation support for attorneys. http://firsteval.com/
Belen Aguilar, LMSW
Belen Aguilar has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Master of Social Work from California State University of Long Beach. Mrs. Aguilar is a Licensed Social Worker with 17 years of experience working with adults, families and persons with disabilities. She has professional experience in resource management, individual and group psychotherapy, crisis intervention and facilitating psychoeducational groups in Spanish to families and caregivers. Ms. Aguilar is bi-lingual Spanish-English and provides translation, focus group, key informant interview and promotora capacity building support to CAC projects.
Colleen Conely, MNLM
Colleen Conley is the co-founder of ckSYNERGY, a consulting firm that focuses in the areas of strategic planning, facilitation, training and coaching, relationship building and cross-sector partnership planning. She has been facilitating groups of corporate executives, nonprofit leaders, community members and government entities for more than 15 years. Some of her local work has been with Vitalyst Health Foundation, City of Phoenix, Maricopa Association of Governments and the Junior League of Phoenix. She began her career working with national and international law firms facilitating client teams to improve client service through greater communication and collaboration. In addition to her many years of experience, Colleen has a Masters Degree in Nonprofit Leadership & Management from Arizona State University and a certificate in facilitation through the American Management Association. Ms. Conley was also recognized as an exemplary facilitator and selected to be a member of the Alliance fellowship with Vitalyst foundation where she worked with community leaders to work together to make systems level change.
Amanda Kaye, MNLM
Amanda Kaye, MNLN, co-founder of ckSYNERGY, has worked with organizations in all sectors, focusing on creating healthy communities. Ms. Kaye’s specialties include cultivating relationships, facilitation, training, coaching, strategic planning, assessment, and impact measurement. Ms. Kaye completed a Master of Nonprofit Leadership and Management (MNLM) degree from Arizona State University. Prior to ckSYNERGY, Ms. Kaye developed donor and partnership cultivation, event strategy, and brand management skills in both for-profit and nonprofit organizations. She pursued a career at a national nonprofit, where she cultivated mutually-beneficial, corporate relationships. At another local nonprofit, she conducted a program evaluation, presented the findings and recommendations to the organization's key stakeholders, and assisted in implementing those recommendations. In the corporate world, Ms. Kaye not only trained staff members and fostered personal accountability to meet company objectives, but she also worked with other local businesses and organizations to promote collaboration by managing competing agendas and focusing on common goals.
Dan R. Sitzler, M.ED.TECH
Dan is an expert in advanced instructional development and learning. Having earned a Masters in Educational Technology, Dan worked for the Adult Probation Department of the Superior Court in Maricopa County first as an Adult Education Instructor for 8 years and then 10 years as an Instructional Developer for the Superior Court of Arizona Training Department. He is an advanced leader in program development and management with knowledge and skills in methods and techniques of curriculum and educational program development for adult learners.