Event Information

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Honoring the Man and Woman of the Year 2024. Through your generosity, the funds raised at our annual gala allow us to continue to support East Valley women.

DoubleTree by Hilton
1011 W Holmes Avenue
Mesa, AZ 85210

5:00pm Check-In
5:00pm Silent Auction Begins
6:00pm Dinner
Cocktail attire


Through your generosity, the funds raised at our annual gala allow us to continue to support women. We believe that when you assist women, you help entire families and strengthen communities.

Positive Paths' Man & Woman of the Year 2024

Greg Peterson headshot

Dr. Greg Peterson

Dr. Greg Peterson, President of Chandler-Gilbert Community College, will be the first to tell you that you should call him Greg. His humble, service-focused approach to leadership is at the center of all that he does. He is driven to ensure access and opportunity for all students at the college and is committed to supporting success for faculty and staff. Greg is acutely aware of the needs of women, who frequently need additional support, especially if they are the caregivers for children or others in the family.

Among the accolades his staff shared during his nomination process, Dr. Peterson is “cultivating a culture of inclusion and support” for both students and employees. They spoke to that fact that he supports female administrators far more than most people. In the past several years, as the college searched for qualified female leadership in three open vice president positions, all formerly held by men, Greg ended up selecting three qualified women, two of whom are women of color. And he has continued to mentor those women to ensure their success.

Dr. Peterson is also committed to ensuring that students who enroll in college are able to see the economic mobility that results from their hard work. After reviewing economic data, the college invested in two curricular areas of focus that will no doubt help many students, particularly women. Associate degrees and university transfer programs in community health, exercise science, nutrition, speech and hearing sciences, and fitness and sports performance offer comprehensive training for work in hospitals, healthcare facilities and fitness settings. The nursing program has also grown significantly over the past years and graduates are well-regarded by the healthcare systems in which they are now employed.

Because women are underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, the college has made an extra effort to initiate more short-term programs that lead to immediate employment in high-paying jobs. There are fast-track certificates in areas such as Amazon Web Services, Android App Development, Cisco Networking, Red Hat Linux, and more. CGCC’s engineering program is ASU’s College of Engineering largest feeder community college. In fact, three recent Positive Paths women who achieved their bachelor’s degree in engineering all started in CGCC’s engineering program.

It is a challenge to recruit women into male-dominated fields like engineering, but industry leaders like Intel have worked with CGCC to develop a “Hermanas program” that reaches into middle schools and high schools to encourage Latinas to pursue STEM careers. CGCC is currently working with 10-14 schools each year, to provide exploratory experiences and strong math and science preparation to encourage pursuit of STEM fields. A Dean at CGCC spoke to Dr. Peterson’s financial support and advocacy for the Hermanas program as critical to its ongoing success.

Women make up the majority of the student population at CGCC. Dismantling their barriers to success has been front and center on Dr. Peterson’s mind. He has demonstrated in his actions and words the power that education has to lift all people, especially women and families, into better lives. For that we are proud to celebrate him as the 2024 East Valley Man of the Year.

Carina Burtell headshot

Carina Burtell

Carina Burtell has made substantial and meaningful contributions to the empowerment and support of women in the East Valley by demonstrating outstanding leadership and vision, introducing innovative ways to assist women, and dedicating significant volunteer time to various causes that benefit women.

Carina's involvement with A New Leaf for more than 20 years reflects her commitment to introducing new and innovative ways to assist women in the East Valley. Serving as the chair of the Planned Giving Advisory Council which she co-founded and actively serving on the Philanthropy Committee, she has effectively educated donors and clients on the significance of planned giving, enabling them to make informed decisions about contributing to the cause. By leveraging her expertise as a financial advisor, she has introduced creative approaches to fundraising and financial planning, ensuring the sustainability and growth of resources for supporting women in need.

Her work with A New Leaf extends well beyond her leadership role. She commits significant volunteer time to the organization, as well as to Faith House, a domestic violence shelter for women. Her hands-on support at Faith House is a testament to her dedication to the welfare of women facing challenging circumstances. By volunteering at the shelter, she offers tangible assistance and emotional support to women in need, demonstrating her deep commitment to their well-being.

Carina's role as a spokesperson for helping women is exemplified through her engagement with the Valley of the Sun United Way. Serving as a member of Women United and the Steering Committee since 1995, she has actively contributed to planning events and initiatives that promote community impact and networking, furthering the mission of the organization to support and uplift women in the community.

Demonstrating outstanding leadership and vision, Carina Burtell has played a pivotal role in guiding and supporting women in both her professional and volunteer capacities. As the Women's Inclusion Leader at Edward Jones, she has actively mentored and fostered the professional growth of numerous female advisors, emphasizing the importance of empowerment and inclusion in the workplace. Her leadership has paved the way for the recruitment and retention of a significant number of female advisors within the company, helping to build confidence in female advisors and preparing them to become leaders in their own right, contributing to a more diverse and inclusive financial industry.

In summary, Carina Burtell's profound contributions to women in the East Valley are characterized by her exceptional leadership, innovative approaches, significant volunteer work, and collaborative efforts. It is clear Carina has a heart for women of the East Valley and could not be more aligned with Positive Paths’ mission of providing a life bridge to economic stability and empowerment for women. We are proud to honor Carina as the 2024 East Valley Women of the Year.

On behalf of the Positive Paths Board of Directors, we want to extend our sincere gratitude for your contributions at the Gala which helped us raise more than $150,000. Your generous support will have a major impact on helping the women we serve. We couldn’t have done it without you.

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