Board of Directors
Vermon Pierre president
Vermon Pierre is the founding and lead pastor of Roosevelt Community Church in downtown Phoenix, a uniquely multi-ethnic community of people based out of a historic building along Roosevelt Row. He currently serves as the president of the Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation, which he has been a part of since 2006. Vermon is a board member of the Surge Network, a network of local churches in Arizona committed to partnering together for the good of the various peoples and communities in Arizona. Vermon is also the author of Gospel Shaped Living, which is part of the Gospel Shaped Church curriculum published by The Good Book Company and The Gospel Coalition.
Vermon was born in New York City and grew up in northern New Jersey. He has a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and master of divinity from Trinity International University.
He and his wife Dennae live in downtown Phoenix and have 4 children.
Megan Schmitz vice president
Megan Schmitz currently serves as Vice President of the Roosevelt Row CDC Board of Directors and has volunteered with the organization since 2015. In her full-time job, Megan is Chief of Staff to the Chairman, President, and CEO of Arizona Public Service (APS), Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electric company. In this role, Megan is responsible for ensuring that the Chairman’s strategic priorities and special projects are implemented effectively. She researches and prioritizes critical issues, provides guidance and oversight on projects of high importance, and serves as a point of contact for the company’s leadership team to
the Chairman’s office. She also directs the advance logistics and administrative functions of the Chairman’s office.
Prior to this role, Megan served as Chief of Staff to the District 4 Office of the Phoenix City Council, where she managed day-to- day and strategic operations, community outreach, constituent services, media relations, and public policy. Her previous nonprofit experience includes three terms on the board of one n ten, an organization that provides social and support services for LGBTQ youth.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Megan has lived in downtown Phoenix in 2006. She holds a Political Science degree from The Ohio State University, she is a graduate of Valley Leadership Institute, and is currently pursuing an MBA at Arizona State University. In her free time, Megan enjoys ceramic arts, cooking, hiking, and spending time with her wife, Lauren and their two pups, Moses and JimJim.
Greg Esser vice president
Greg Esser is an artist and Associate Director, Dean’s Office, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University. Esser has worked in the public sector on cultural policy for over 27 years. He is the founder and former CEO of Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation. He received the Phoenix Community Alliance Starr Award, 2014, the “Contemporary Catalyst” award from the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 2009, a Governor’s Heritage Preservation Honor Award, 2009 and was named a “Diversity Champion” by the Phoenix Business Journal in 2013. He is the co-author with Nicole Underwood of the Arcadia publication “Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row” (2016). He holds a bachelor of arts degree from Oberlin College and a master of fine arts degree from Arizona State University.
Cindy Dach secretary
Cindy Dach, a writer, artist and community advocate, is co-owner and General Manager of Changing Hands Bookstore, Arizona’s oldest and largest independent bookstore and a national leader for literary events and programming. Her presenting authors have included former Presidents Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter, Madeline Albright, Gloria Steinem, Billy Idol and Ozzy Osbourne.
Dach is a co-founder of eyelounge, an artist-run contemporary gallery and owner of MADE art boutique which features one-of-a-kind handmade crafts by over 100 artists. Dach is also a co-founder and executive board member for Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation, an internationally-recognized creative district in downtown Phoenix. She is a co-founder of Local First Arizona and serves on the Board of Directors for the Hance Park Conservancy. Dach is also a Mayoral appointee to the Board of Directors of Downtown Phoenix, Inc.
Dach has worked in creative writing and non-fiction, hand-made books, photography and embroidery. Her writing has appeared in publications including Harper’s Magazine, The Denver Post and Westword and her work is represented in numerous private collections. Dach was born in Detroit and grew up in New York. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from S.U.N.Y. and received an Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at The Naropa Institute. She currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
Leah Marché is an active member of Phoenix’s arts & culture community as a performance poet, journalist/writer and event curator. She has presented/performed at events such as: Scottsdale Arts’ Canal Convergence; Phoenix Art Museum Local Opener; TEDx Phoenix/Scottsdale; Ignite Phoenix; Arizona Storytellers Project; GreenBiz Forum; Governor’s Arts Awards; and Arts & Business Council of Phoenix. The two-time Phoenix National Poetry Slam team member has had her work featured on several Valley theatrical stages.
Listed among the 2016 installment of Phoenix New Times’ 100 Creatives, Leah has co-founded or founded: BlackPoet Ventures; Storyscope; L!VE POET!C; WE JAZZ JUNE; and Black Horizons Festival. She co-produces an ongoing JAZZmeetsPOETRY series (at The Nash) and a monthly entrepreneur storytelling event (at Crescent Ballroom). An alumni of SEED SPOT’s inaugural community program for social entrepreneurs, she has volunteered with Project B.R.A.V.E./South Phoenix Youth Center, Phoenix Festival of the Arts and The Black Theatre Troupe. Currently, she is part of the administrative staff of Herberger Theater Center and belongs to the Talking Drum Performance Studio.
Ruben Alonzo is an Executive Director for Government and Community Engagement at Arizona State University. Prior to joining ASU, Alonzo served as Mayor Stanton's Chief of Staff for Operations, a role he took on after successfully managing Stanton’s mayoral campaign. Born and raised in the border town of Somerton, AZ, Alonzo moved to the valley to attend Arizona State University as a Flinn Foundation Scholar. After graduating, Alonzo worked on various political campaigns, including serving as Campaign Manager for Attorney General Terry Goddard’s re-election in 2006 and Ruben Gallego's primary election bid to replace retiring Congressman Ed Pastor in 2014. He also served as a Senior Policy Advisor to Goddard in the Attorney General’s office. Alonzo is on the board of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and lives in central Phoenix with his wife Catherine.
Liliana Gomez is an Artist and resident of downtown phoenix. Liliana is a dance maker that focuses on site specific performances, choreographing outside of the theater. Much of her performances happen outside just like public art, so a lot of her time is spent with collaborating and coordinating with other Artist, Art museums, galleries, festivals, public libraries and or parks. Liliana has also given movement to theater works by choreographing for a handful of local theater companies, like Rising Youth Theater, Orange Theater, Phonetic Spit and ASU’s theater program.
Liliana has been a performer for the Phoenix Opera as a dancer and has been a guest choreographer at local art schools, high schools, community colleges and universities. Liliana produces the annual BlakTina Dance festival, a festival that gives choreographers of color a platform to present their work on a main stage. She contributes to the development and growth of the arts by mentoring teens through Rising Youth Theater, was a teaching artist at ChildsPlay and taught creative movement for kids age 3-5 years old. Liliana is currently the dance department coordinator at The Phoenix Center for the Arts where she oversees the departments dance program. Liliana’s work has received much recognition, winning awards like the Stylos Artist of the Year Award, Phoenix New Times’ “100 Creatives,” The Phoenix Mayor’s Arts Award, a finalist nominee for the Governor’s Arts award for year 2017 and 2018. She was named 2017 Best of Phoenix “Best Dancer” by Phoenix New Times and in AZ Central’s “Who’s Next” series.
Liliana has volunteered for countless Roosevelt Row Chile Festivals, Pie socials, street clean ups, Growhouse garden days, and events. Liliana is passionate about supporting Artist in downtown Phoenix, you can see her at gallery openings, community meetings, restaurant openings, markets, festivals and coffee shops. Currently Liliana is in the works of producing BlakTina 2018, and has a jammed pack few months of dance performances. Liliana works full time for The Phoenix Public Library, at Burton Barr, where she gets to serve her community through free resources and spaces. Liliana is passionate about Phoenix, and the future of the Artist that have built this beautiful district. Liliana hopes to be an asset for local creatives while serving as a board member for Roosevelt Row.