Author Archives: jovanna.anzaldua

schmooze profile: Carla Chavarria

Name: Carla Chavarria

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Hometown: Mexico City  

Favorite Arizona place: Core Crossfit ??

Favorite drink: Iced Vanilla Lattes – I hate you Gennaro for introducing these to my life

Favorite local project: AZCNLThey do a great job empowering youth in their community

THIS or THAT: Cardio or weights? Weights * flexes *



 What was your first real job?Still looking for one 😉

How do you describe the work you do? I like to build brands that connect with people.

What activity do you consistently make time to do, or at least try to? Working out. I think that helps my life have balance and a schedule to stick to.

Being an entrepreneur can be very dangerous if you don’t have self-discipline and I think that working out makes me have more of that self-discipline.

When do you feel most in your element, zone, etc.? When I’m creating / building something with people who I care about.


What advice do you have for your younger self? Keep working on that jump shot lil baller! Just kidding, I would say, … “Don’t be so shy.  People are people, you will be ok.”

What direction would you like your life to take from here? I would like to keep doing what I am doing in a larger scale. Work with national entities building national brands making them profitable and having fun along the way.




schmooze profile: Máxima Guerrero

Name: Máxima Guerrero

Hometown: Morelos, MX/ Phx, AZ


Favorite Arizona place: South Mountain. It was the first and only place ‘outside’ of the city that I ever visited with my family when I was little.

Favorite drink: Vanilla Iced Latte, with a pop of cinnamon.

Favorite local project: PUENTE, AZ being able to capture great images, art, history of our people, and action for social movement.


Cardio or weights?

Weights! Definitely. Every time I do cardio I have to break it down in my mind by increments of 10 minutes, otherwise it seems like I am running forever. A weight provides me the ability to build strength, and has taught me a lot of disciple to get some gainz.

What was your first real job?

Community organizer. My first job was working for a local civic engagement campaign to recall former US Senate President Russell Pierce. I traveled in public transportation from Phoenix, AZ to Mesa, AZ almost everyday for 3 months. The campaign meant more than just becoming politically aware; Pierce is the creator and author of Proposition 300 here in AZ. Proposition 300 prohibits undocumented students (like myself) to obtain state or federal funds as scholarships, and forcing me to pay out of state tuition (3x more than in state).  The campaign meant being able to recall a politician that for a long time broke my dreams of obtaining a college education. We were able to succeed in the campaign, and he was out of his seat the following January.

How do you describe the work you do?

Everything is an outlet to create change. I do what I can and have been blessed with opportunities and a community where I can be honest and exposed to create a systems change.  My passion is youth and leadership development.


What activity do you consistently make time to do, or at least try to?

This would definitely be to workout and be in nature. I think that is one of my goals through Ganaz Apparel, is about pursuing passion with Ganaz, that no matter where that inspiration goes we are capable and in control of bringing it back to ourselves. We deserve to give to the community, but also invest in ourselves. I do that through investing in my body in an actively lively style, but also feeding my soul in reconnecting with my indigenous roots and mother earth.



When do you feel most in your element, zone, etc.?

When I am alone. It has come with practice, and self-growth, self-reflection but I am not afraid of silence and facing myself. It is the connection to the universe that has helped me realize the magnitude of my pursuance on this earth.

What advice do you have for your younger self?

Be bold and be afraid to connect with people. It will build you to a side of you and movement you have no idea exists.

What direction would you like your life to take from here?

Not sure, I am passionate about so many things. I hope I continue to discover my roots, share and connect with people. Every year my main goal is to not be in the same place I was a year ago. One of my favorites quotes is “When was the last time you experience something for the first time?” I just hope to never lose that spirit of mine. I hope to continue to discover, learn, share, and connect, and to live though life with Ganaz.


schmooze profile: Vianey Olivarria


Name: Vianey (as in DNA but with a V) Olivarria

Hometown: Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.

Favorite Arizona place: Jerome, and Urban Beans.

Favorite drink: Chocolate Iced Chai Latte.

Favorite local project: The Baby Box project! Mountain Park Health Center, the awesome organization I work for, started this project back in December. We’re giving every single of our pregnant patients a safe space for their child, with a box that includes a mattress and products such as clothing, blankets, healthcare kits, and so much more for their babies. It’s incredibly special because in talking to our mothers, so many of them have expressed how helpful the Baby Box has been, and how needed all of the products are – things that so often many people just can’t afford. We’re also connecting them to affordable, quality healthcare services at their closest clinics. It’s awesome!  



Coffee or lunch dates? Un cafecito is always welcomed. 

What was your first real job? Writing Tutor at ASU, fork ‘em devils!

How do you describe the work you do? We work for the community, and in everything I do, I’m always looking for the impact it’ll have in our people. I get motivated when I talk to our patients, and they tell me how their life changed with access to holistic healthcare, because that’s not easily available in so many places in Arizona, let alone in the entire world. Healthcare is a human right, and the fact that people are often unable to receive it is appalling.

I also volunteer in various issue-based campaigns, translate for volunteer Pro-Bono lawyers to provide free legal advice to our patients, and actively advocate for basic human rights, such as healthcare, immigration, and women’s reproductive rights. To me, my volunteer work is essential; it feeds my heart and soul to meet and work with so many inspiring leaders, but I also consider it a responsibility. I’m privileged in so many ways, and I’ve had so many mentors guide me on my path, that it’s my responsibility to give back and fight so my family, my friends, y mi comunidad is treated with dignity and equity.

What activity do you consistently make time to do, or at least try to? I mentor a young lady who’s amazing, so I always try to make sure we have time to go out and talk. My family is so very important to me; I go out with my little sisters and I try to always call my mama and papa in Mexico to check up on them. And I read, a lot, it calms me down and gives me motivation to keep on going.

What advice do you have for your younger self? Trust your gut and continue being a “mula”. That’s what my dad calls me, it means stubborn, or at its best tenacious.  A weakness and a strength if you must, but it gets you far.

What direction would you like your life to take from here? I want to see results. I think that’s what everyone who works in nonprofits, volunteers, or works for the community through grassroots organizing wants. I demand to see results from our elected officials, who are there solely to represent us. I’d like my life to take me where I can see the results of our combined work and where I can see the positive impact we can have in our communities. I’m getting ready for Law School, so I’m taking my life towards becoming a Civil Rights lawyer and advocate.



schmooze profile: Bré Thomas

Before you read the profile below and learn about Bré Thomas, CEO of the Arizona Family Health Partnership, let us drop some local Arizona family planning knowledge on you.

Arizona Family Health Partnership (AFHP) is a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to making reproductive healthcare and education available and accessible to all women, men and teens in Arizona, even if they lack health insurance or money. Full disclosure, Jovanna sits on the board.

The majority of AFHP services are provided through Title X (title ten) funding. Title X is a federal program that ensures that high quality and cost-effective family planning and related preventive health services are available for low-income women and men. These services range from contraception to cancer screenings.

In 2014 alone, AFHP had a hand in preventing an estimated 6,800 unintended pregnancies and an estimated 510 cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea infections. To break it down in dolla dolla bills: for every dollar spent of public funding spent on contraceptive and preventative health services, Arizona saves $11.27.

Needless to say, we are super excited about the services provided as well as what those services mean for the bodily autonomy, health/well-being, career trajectory, pocketbooks, etc. of those who receive them. Stay up to date on AFHP and Title X funding by visiting the AFHP site and subscribing to email alerts!

Name: Bré Thomas
Hometown: Olympia, WA (but have been in AZ since 1984)
Preferred title: Ms.


Favorite Arizona place: I love the Aravaipa Canyon
Favorite drink: Grapefruit Shandy
Favorite local project: Our new program promotion effort to provide teens with medically accurate information on birth control. Check it out.


Salty or Sweet?
I can’t possibly choose between the two, the best thing to satisfy this Trader Joe’s Salty, Sweet & Nutty Trek Mix.

What was your first real job?
My first real job was checking petition signatures for the Washington Secretary of State.

How do you describe the work you do?
I am the CEO of the best non-profit in Arizona. (We compete for a federal grant that allows us to provide birth control to low income individuals in Arizona.)

What activity do you consistently make time to do, or at least try to?
Exercise, I started doing triathlons last year and signing up for a race is the best motivator to get out of bed in the morning.

When do you feel most in your element, zone, etc.?
I feel the most in my element when I am hanging with my daughter who is 13 years old. We often times read or binge watch NCIS.

What advice do you have for your younger self?
Take better care of yourself, exercise more and eat clean!

What direction would you like your life to take from here?
I am practicing mindfulness and being present, so for now I am concentrating on the current moment and I know my life will unfold in the way it is meant to unfold.

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Name: Viridiana (Viri) Hernandez

Hometown: Jojutla, Morelos, MX

Preferred title: Public Policy Director, Center for Neighborhood Leadership

Favorite Arizona place: Road trip to Flagstaff, Sedona, Jerome, Prescott. Take the 89A for best views of Arizona!

Favorite drink: Blue Moon

Favorite local project: One Phx ID! One Phx ID is a community-driven initiative to obtain a municipal identification for everyone in Phoenix.  Many people in Phoenix—immONEIDigrants, children, students, people with disabilities, elderly, indigent community, runaway youth and adult survivors of domestic violence, and others—currently suffer from the lack of identification, which restricts their access to law enforcement, financial institutions, housing, and home and workplace protections. As a result, we have people in our community living in fear and being denied access to everyday necessities. One Phx ID is an idea that came from the community for the community. I am honored to help lead this fight with the strongest and most caring coalition partners.

THIS or THAT: Morning person or Night owl? Hoot Hoot (My bad impression of a night owl)

What was your first real job? Does selling my grandma’s doughnuts, cleaning offices with my mom or working at the swapmeet count? If not, the first job that had hours and hourly payment was at a taxi company; night shift (10pm-6am) as the dispatcher. This was brutal when I had class at 9am! ZZZzzzZZZ

How do you describe the work you do? Powerful.  At CNL, we aim to rebuild broken systems (school, city, state)  that hurt our families by valuing our community’s input, stories, culture and identity.  As the Policy Director for Center for Neighborhood Leadership (CNL), I help oversee our 3 projects: Valor Women Organizing for Justice Program, Safe Schools Now and Academic and Leadership Accelerator for Service (ALAS). Our role is to build local neighborhood leaders. We are blessed with some of the most inspiring and hardworking staff. They work in neighborhoods and schools everyday to build leaders, those leaders build community power through teams and guide those teams to create transformational change through community-driven policy. One of those community-driven initiatives is the One Phx ID, an idea that originated from migrant women in Maryvale, through the Valor Program. We value and reinforce our community’s ability to identify their own problems and solutions.CNL

We understand there are leaders everywhere, many who have not realized their potential and power. I provide training, support, development,  and structure for our staff, projects, policy and leaders. I also have the opportunity to build new partnerships, work with value-aligned organizations and lead coalitions.  It is a humbling experience to take individuals and projects through that growth process. At the end, whether those leaders stay in CNL, form their own organizations, go into another field or to other organizations; we are confident we have built leaders that will lead with their values and love for community. They will understand their responsibility to create change and be equipped with the necessary tools to be successful anywhere in their life.

What activity do you consistently make time to do, or at least try to?

I make sure to make time to visit my family in Buckeye. Especially to get play time with my niece and little brother and sister. They were once the perfect excuse to watch Pixar and Disney movies and gave me the courage to do it on my own 🙂 I also make time to do my nails, it makes me feel prepared for the weeks ahead and it is a visible reminder when I need to “take care” of myself.

When do you feel most in your element, zone, etc.?

When I am  developing/ training an upcoming leader, especially women and youth. I play a role as people gain confidence to  create the community they want to live in. It is the most beautiful and humbling feeling to know people trust me to get them through their insecurities and unrealized power.


What advice do you have for your younger self?

I would let my younger self know an important lesson I have recently learned, “You do not control other people’s actions, but you are fully responsible for your own.” Be the best version of yourself. Learn about yourself; every inch of yourself, face the demons in your life, forgive yourself, and don’t base your actions on other people’s expectations or actions. Do something every day to learn about yourself; let’s be the most authentic version of Viri!

What direction would you like your life to take from here?

I am open to all the different ways that my life can take me. The last few years have been a personal struggle; identity crisis,  heartbreak, pain, loss… I have found that even in those moments, especially in these moments, I have been connected to the most amazing people, the most beautiful love, the most unconditional support. I am excited for everything that is to come in my life. In terms of my role in my life, I will make sure to enjoy every minute and increase my impact in the world. Increase the smiles I give, the love I show, and the support I provide.




Viri accepting her award for Activist of the Year at the 2015 Stylos Awards.


Hey there…it’s been a minute!

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Hello…from 2016! Our inaugural year at schmooze was filled with great conversations (listen to our archived episodes here) and provided us with many opportunities to connect with incredible women in our community- we can’t believe it’s already been two years! Life in 2015 was so jam packed with excitement for the both of us that we unintentionally took a hiatus- but don’t fret, we’re back.

Now that we’ve rung in a new year and prepare to mark our second anniversary, we are delighted to share new plans for schmooze as well as a couple of episodes that were recorded last year. You can find episodes 7 & 8, featuring conversations with our sparkly friend Hayfa Marengo & two brave female veterans, here.

Looking ahead, we will be leaving the podcast studio behind (though we might revisit it every once in a while) and are excited to explore new ways of connecting you with amazing women and interesting projects. We have some cool ideas for a variety of multimedia formats and in person events that we think you’ll dig. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and blog for details to unfold.

We are thrilled to kick off this new year with an evolution of sorts, thank you for your continued support!

Cheers –

Jovanna & Jaclyn