The CAA is overseen by a diverse Board of Directors representing multiple facets of the community who are dedicated to improving the lives of children and families in Nevada.
Gard received his undergraduate degree at Stanford University, his MBA from the University of San Francicso, his PhD from Pacifica Graduate Institute. He spent 25 years as a CPA, working for Deloitte & Touche, Laventhol & Horwath and, most recently, as a partner of Piercy, Bowler, Taylor & Kern, as their director of Financial Planning. He is the author of two volumes, Phaethon, Our Mythic Moment, and Monkey, Our Mythic Moment. He teaches Chinese and Indian Philosophy at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is a Founding Board Member and Trustee Emeritus of the Nevada Community Foundation, a Founding Board Member and past Chair of the Children’s Advocacy Alliance, Treasurer of Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada, Chair of the Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada, Board Member of the Stillpoint Center for Spiritual Development and The Raymond M. Alf Museum of Life. He is married to Dr. Florence Jameson and has two children, Michael and Julia.
A quick drive down the famed Las Vegas Strip is enough to acquaint you with the work of Lynn Purdue. As a public relations force in Las Vegas for more than 20 years, she is expert in the region’s players and politics, helping to acquaint the world with many of the city’s modern landmarks and experiences.
After a successful public relations career that included work for notable clients such as the Monte Carlo Hotel, the Rio and Megabucks, Lynn partnered with Bill Marion to found Purdue Marion & Associates. The goal was to create a firm that integrated itself seamlessly into the actual business plan of its client companies, thus operating in a true partnership. This objective has been met – and exceeded – every day since the firm opened its doors.
Over her extensive career – and more than 30 years as a Nevada resident – Lynn has developed deep relationships with all types of local, national and regional media working with clients in a vast array of industries. This provides her with an unrivaled insight into the political and communications landscapes of the region. She’s not only adept at responding to trends and changing tides, she also helps motivate them.
A journalist by formal training with a degree from UNR, Lynn is an award-winning member (and past president) of the Public Relations Society of America, who recognized her as Agency Principal of the Year in 2006. She has donated time, talent and resources to countless good causes, and sits on the board of the Rotary Club of Las Vegas West and the Children’s Advocacy Alliance, is past chair of the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and sits on the Dean’s Council for the Reynold’s School of Journalism.
Aside from helping to shape innovative initiatives for a full roster of clients, Lynn also manages to find time to shape the hearts and minds of her three beautiful daughters.
Ms. Valentine’s first experience with child welfare came when she adopted her daughter in 2000. She continued working with child and family issues after being appointed as an assistant county manager by Clark County overseeing several departments including Family Services, Social Services and University Medical Center. She was very involved in completing the integration of state and county child welfare started under her predecessor, Thom Reilly. She worked extensively with the Youth Law Center, the state and the department to improve services and improve the outcomes for children in the system.
In 2006, she became the Clark County Manager responsible for the executive oversight of the country’s 15th largest county providing both regional and municipal-type services to more than 2 million residents. In that position she was responsible for oversight of the county’s $5.9 billion budget and administrative oversight for the county’s 38 diverse departments and the more than 10,000 employees.
Previously, Ms. Valentine served as the city manager for the City of Las Vegas, Nevada and for consulting engineering firms and is a registered professional engineer in Nevada. She was the first chief engineer and general manager of the Clark County Regional Flood Control District.
Ms. Valentine has a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the University of Idaho. She also serves on the board for the Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation.
Ms. Valentine is currently the president of the Nevada Resort Association (NRA). The NRA represents Nevada’s resort/casino industry on state and local issues that affect the gaming industry.
Sheila Leslie is the Behavioral Health Program Coordinator for Washoe County, Nevada. Nevada. Sheila has an extensive background in public sector and non-profit human services, previously serving as the Specialty Courts Manager for the 2nd Judicial District Court and as the Executive Director of the Children’s Cabinet. She has a Masters Degree in Spanish Language and Literature and is the author of many articles and studies on human services issues. She is a former Nevada Assemblywoman and State Senator.
Sheila has received numerous awards for her public service, including:
• Hannah Humanitarian Award, Committee to Aid Abused Women
• Veterans Hero, NV Veterans Service Commission
• Community Visionary Award, National Alliance on Mental Illness, No. NV Chapter and Crisis Intervention Team
• Legislator of the Year, NV State Psychological Association
Amanda N. Connor is a founding partner of Connor & Connor PLLC – a boutique law firm that practices in the areas of business law and personal injury. Amanda has always had a passion for education, learning and children as evidenced by her four degrees and career in education. After graduating valedictorian from high school, Amanda attended Pepperdine University in Malibu, California where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with her Bachelor’s of Liberal Arts. Amanda then received a Masters in Education from the University of California San Diego, also graduating Magna Cum Laude. While working as a dual language kindergarten teacher in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Amanda received her Masters of Administration from New Mexico State University graduating with Honors. Amanda then attended the University of New Mexico School of Law where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. As Connor & Connor PLLC has grown and become successful, Amanda Connor is working to give back to the community she calls home. Specifically she is looking to help the children and educational systems of Clark County. Amanda Connor serves as a pro bono attorney for the Children’s Attorney Project, part of the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada and works with other charitable organizations that focus on children.
Dawn Gibbons is the former First Lady of Nevada and the only one to have been a state legislator. Dawn has advocated for many important causes such as autism, children’s issues, domestic violence, human trafficking, drug addiction, health concerns, and our military. She helped propel the well-known Crystal Darkness campaign statewide, nationwide and worldwide. She co-chairs the Organ Donor and Tissue Task Force at the University of Nevada Medical School, a program she initiated as an Assemblywoman. Recognized for her many legislative efforts, Dawn was recognized as Assemblywoman of the Year by the Nevada Police Protective Association. Ms. Gibbons changed the Nevada Constitution twice through an initiative petition with overwhelming voter approval — Gibbons Tax Restraint Initiative and the Education First Initiative.
Dawn is a graduate of the University of Nevada. She was a successful entrepreneur owning five businesses. She has received many accolades including Business and Professional Women Woman of the Year, Who’s Who in Business, Who’s Who in Politics, Who’s Who of Women, Attorney General’s Role Model of the Year, and Las Vegas Women to Watch. Dawn has served on many prominent boards such as Desert Research Institute, Reno Tahoe Airport Authority, Washoe County Visitor’s and Convention Authority, Sierra Bank of Nevada, American Red Cross, Children’s Cabinet, Westcare, National Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free, Positively Kids, American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women 2011/2012 Chairwoman and Children’s Advocacy Alliance.
Most recently, Dawn had a radio talk show with Fox News 1270 and a news show segment at KSNV NEWS 3 with Jim Rogers called Dawn & Jim and a political commentary with Rory Reid called Dawn & Rory. Of all of her accomplishments, Dawn is most proud of her son, Jimmy Gibbons, a Navy aviator and instructor pilot.
Amy Ayoub is the founder of the Zen Speaker. As a member of the Las Vegas Community, Amy has been active in the fight to better the lives of all Nevadans through her political and community participation for over three decades. In February 2013, she testified before the Nevada State Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committees, using her personal survivor story in support of Assembly Bill 67, which increased penalties for those convicted of sex trafficking. Amy served as a Commissioner on the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities, as appointed by then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), providing a voice for our nation’s youngest citizens. She was honored as a 2016 Distinguished Nevadan Award by the Board of Regents at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Amy was a featured speaker in the October 2014 television series of MAKERS: Women in Nevada History, a partnership program by Vegas PBS and UNLV’s Women’s Research Institute of Nevada.
Amy was appointed by Governor Kenny Guinn as the first female to the Nevada State Athletic Commission (known as the Boxing Commission) in 1999; recognized by the National Conference for Community and Justice with the Community Hero award (2000); named one of the women responsible for shaping the city during its first 100 years of growth by the Las Vegas Centennial Committee; and, acknowledged In Business Las Vegas as one of the Most Influential Businesswomen of 2003. In 2012, Amy was honored as one of the “Women of Distinction” in her field by the Southern Nevada chapter of National Association of Women Business Owners.
Justice Miriam Shearing
Senior Justice Miriam Shearing has served in the Nevada judiciary for over thirty-five years. She retired from the Nevada Supreme Court as Chief Justice in 2005 after serving twelve years. She had previously served as Juvenile Court Master, Justice of the Peace of the Las Vegas Township and Eighth Judicial District Court Judge, including a term as Clark County Juvenile Court Judge. She now serves as a substitute Judge throughout the State, as needed.
In addition to serving on the Board of the Children’s Advocacy Alliance, Justice Shearing now serves as President of the Southern Nevada Senior Law Project and as Chair of the American Bar Foundation Research Advisory Committee. She has previously served as Chair of the American Judicature Society and on the boards of the Northern Nevada International Center and the Nevada International Women’s Forum. In 2012 the Nevada Supreme Court awarded her the Legacy of Justice Award. She received her Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Cornell University and her Doctor of Jurisprudence from Boston College Law School.
André C. Wade, a native Las Vegan, has worked in human services for more than 15 years in a variety of public and non-profit contexts. Additionally, he spent several years working in D.C. as a policy analyst for a national think-tank, The National Alliance to End Homelessness. His policy portfolio included runaway and homeless youth, youth aging out of foster care, LGBTQ youth and young survivors of commercial sexual exploitation. He has traveled the nation presenting at conferences to promote policy and practice related to youth homelessness. André spent several years in Child Welfare, in Las Vegas, working for the Department of Family Services developing the child-specific adoptions program and recruiting foster and adoptive parents, which included within the LGBTQ community; and developing the Department’s community engagement efforts. Currently, André is the Director of Operations for the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada where he oversees all programming, day to day operations, data and grant writing. André earned a master’s in Public Administration from UNLV and volunteers his time serving on the Board for the Southern Nevada Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration and NevadaGIves, as well as on several national advisory boards and councils including The Human Rights Campaign’s All Children All Families and Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund. André enjoys spending his time traveling and practicing yoga.
More than 20 years ago, Hilary Westrom, came to Las Vegas as a District Manager for the retail chain the Limited. In 2000, Ms. Westrom completed a master’s degree from UNLV to pursue a career in counseling. Together with her significant other, John Ritter, their goal has become investing in the community that they call home.
As a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in a private practice, Hilary provides treatment for children, adolescents, adults and families for various issues including sexual abuse and domestic violence.
Hilary and John hold the belief that it is the responsibility of those who have experienced success in their community to reach out and help those that are less fortunate. This has led them to the establishment of the Ritter Charitable Trust which is a supporting organization to the Nevada Community Foundation.
The Ritter Charitable Trust supports children and families in need in southern Nevada. In addition to serving their own organization, Hilary also makes it a priority to give her time, talent and resources to many other community organizations. Currently, she serves on the board for Boys Town Nevada, the Children’s Advocacy Alliance, the Clark County Mental Health Consortium, and Three Square. Hilary is the founder of the Southern Nevada Child Welfare Network.