Executive Leadership

President & CEO, Joanne Thomson

Joanne Thomson, President and CEO of Benevilla, developed a deep commitment and passion for charitable work in the nonprofit field early in her career and grew committed to helping people who have: intellectual and cognitive disabilities, dementia, survived a stroke, mental illness, and Parkinson’s Disease. Thoughtful in her leadership style, she strives to enrich the lives of community members and makes positive changes in how we care for our loved ones. Through her guidance Benevilla’s programs and services have thrived. The number of persons served throughout the years has been on the rise.

She is an Aging Services CARF Surveyor and travels around the U.S.A. and Canada to assess other aging service providers’ best practices. She is Co-Chair of the Dementia Caregiver Alliance, Dementia Friends Champion, and a Leadership West Class XXVI Alumni. Joanne also previously served as a Board Member for Northwest Valley Connect and an Honorary Commander for Luke Airforce Base.

Joanne Thomson was born and grew up in Reno, Nevada and attended California State University, Chico where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Recreation Administration with the option of Therapeutic Recreation in 1999. She was awarded top recreation therapy student of the graduating class.

Joanne, the Benevilla Board of Directors, and the Executive Leadership team have a deep appreciation for how nonprofits seek to improve the quality of life in our community and plan to lead the organization to meet the needs of the Baby Boomer generation and help them age in place gracefully.

CFO, Anthony Valencia

Mr. Valencia’s professional experience gives him a unique perspective in both nonprofit and for-profit organizations. He began his career in an entrepreneurial environment, ultimately serving as Chief Financial Officer for several for-profit ventures. He spent the next 16 years in various leadership roles at two Arizona nonprofit agencies. For 4 years he was the Chief Financial Officer for the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, then he spent 12 years at Chicanos Por La Causa Inc. (CPLC), most recently as Vice President of Real Estate Operations. Prior to that, he was CPLC’s Vice President of Finance where he was responsible for managing all finance and accounting initiatives for CPLC and its subsidiaries. Immediately prior to joining Benevilla, Mr. Valencia worked for a startup transportation company focusing on finance operations and strategy to help the business scale and operate more efficiently.

Vice President of Donor Relations, Sara Villanueva

Sara Villanueva is originally from Vermont and graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Health and Human Services Administration from the University of Arizona. Sara began her career as the wellness coordinator for Emeritus Assisted Living at their corporate offices in Seattle, WA. After returning to Arizona for family and sunshine, Sara continued her career in the health and senior care field as Regional Director of Sales & Marketing for the United Healthcare hospice division. Most recently, prior to joining Benevilla, Sara was a Development Director with Sun Health Foundation for 6 years. As a Certified Fundraising Executive, Sara loves building relationships with donors and has a love for connecting their passions with Benevilla programs to make a true difference in the community.

Vice President of Program Operations, Courtney Allen

Courtney Allen is a native of Arizona. She went to Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri and graduated with a Masters Degree in Recreation Management and Double Bachelor’s Degree in Corporate Recreation and Recreation Management. Courtney has been working with Benevilla since she graduated with her Master’s Degree in 2006, where she started at the Restorative Life Enrichment Program as the Activity Therapist.

Director of Marketing, Taylor Gurney

Taylor Gurney was born in Omaha, Nebraska. She attended Arizona State University in Phoenix, Arizona and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Cronkite School of Journalism. Previously, Taylor worked as the Marketing Manager for a small local business and started a freelance marketing and communications business servicing six different clients in the valley. With a passion for the non-profit sector and the world of communication, marketing and design, Taylor began working with Benevilla in early 2015 and looks forward to creating innovative ways to share the mission and impact of Benevilla with the community.

Director of Human Resource, Tricia Smith

Tricia Smith grew up in northwest Phoenix, Arizona.  After completing her studies in Business Administration at Intermountain Bible College, she began her career in human resources in 1980 as a Human Resource Specialist.

Tricia has worked in the engineering manufacturing field for over 27 years.  She has been an active member of the Society for Human Resources since 1995.

Tricia has a passion for serving others and being a resource for employees. She began working in the non-profit sector as Benevilla’s Director of Human Resource in 2018 and has a deep appreciation for the values and mission of Benevilla to “enrich lives”.

Executive Administrative Assistant, Sue Stumbough

Sue Stumbough has worked as an Executive Assistant in Arizona since 2005. She has worked at Scottsdale Unified School District and Midwestern University. In 2016, she moved to the west valley to be closer to her parents. Her family discovered the jewel, named Benevilla, in 2015 when her mother attended Lucy Anne’s Place and Restorative Life Enrichment Programs. One day in 2016, Sue said to her husband, “I want to work for Benevilla.”

Sue Stumbough started work at Benevilla in 2016. She shares a passion for Benevilla’s mission and vision and feels blessed every day that she is part of an organization that is a true community asset.

Benevilla Board of Directors

Shannon Arriola,
Board Chair

Lora Johnson
Board Vice Chair

Larry Vering
Board Treasurer


Dawn Tompkins
Board Secretary


Conrad Graff

John Bridgford

Merlyn Carlson

Arlene Dixson

Erica Dorward


Birt Kellam

Pastor Kim Sterner

Oana Constantinescu

Dick Stuckey

Harriet Doolittle

Gary Frisch

Brian Laurie