Nonprofit Executive Mastermind Group

Fundraising & Event Planning

A.J. Steinberg, Queen Bee Fundraising

With over 20 years’ experience as a nonprofit event producer and engagement strategist, A.J. Steinberg has worked on over 100 successful events and raised millions of dollars for organizations with her Los Angeles-based production company. A.J.’s team has produced almost every type of fundraising event, including intimate high net-worth donor gatherings, galas, festivals, golf tournaments, and fashion shows.

In 2015 A.J. launched Queen Bee Fundraising to share the art and science of nonprofit event planning, sponsorship acquisition, and engagement strategies with organizations worldwide. She is a recognized topic expert and trainer, and presents on subjects such as nonprofit event planning, event sponsorships, committee and volunteer leadership, generational giving, fundraising, and guest engagement.


Advocacy & Board Governance

Pat Libby, Pat Libby Consulting

Pat Libby is a change management consultant who views the work of third-sector organizations through the lens of her experiences as a nonprofit CEO, academic, board member, and consultant to innumerable organizations.

A self-described “recovering academic,” Pat founded and led The Nonprofit Institute at the University of San Diego for 14 years – creating graduate programs at the master’s and doctoral levels, an endowed research center, and community education programs serving hundreds of people and organizations each year. Today she works with nonprofits to hone their strategy and structure, advance their work through advocacy and lobbying, find the right leaders, and better connect to the communities they serve.

“My favorite piece of professional advice: Always give people three choices when you’re asking them to make a decision.” – Pat Libby




Shannon Ayala, Certified Public Accountant

Shannon Ayala, Certified Public Accountant with 21 years of audit expertise, is a dedicated professional who specializes in financial statement audits of nonprofit organizations, municipalities, and special districts. Her experience encompasses grant-specific audits for funds distributed by federal, state, and county governments, as well as Single Audits in compliance with Uniform Guidance.

Notably, Shannon’s dedication to the financial world extends beyond her professional life, as she currently serves as the Treasurer on the Board of the North County Philanthropy Council, contributing her financial acumen to the council’s mission of promoting philanthropy and community engagement.


“Leadership is not about being in charge; it’s about taking care of those in your charge.”


Stephen Gamp, VP Nonprofit Banking at Banc of California

I have been working in San Diego for 25 years and serve my clients and local Nonprofits with pride. I have worked hard to build a strong reputation by delivering a wide range of customized banking and lending solutions that fit the needs of Nonprofit organizations. My personal pursuits are a natural extension of my professional endeavors and I proudly serve:

– La Jolla Music Society, Learning and Engagement Chair, Finance Committee member
– San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, Board Member
San Diego State University’s Campanile Foundation, Arts Committee Member
San Diego Rescue Mission, Junior Achievement, San Diego Gives, Chicano Federation of San Diego County and Aztec Mentor Program as a volunteer
Banc of California Foundation, member

My goal is to be a valuable resource to our Nonprofit community at every step of their business journey.  I actively connect organizations with much needed resources and other impactful contacts. In recognition of my commitment to the San Diego workforce and community, I have been named to the 2021 and 2022 SD 500 – The Most Influential People in San Diego by San Diego Business Journal.


“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when we bring what is within us out into the world, miracles happen.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson


Candyce Yee, Grants Administrator and Community Liaison for San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond

Candyce Yee is the Grants Administrator and Community Liaison representative for Fifth District, San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond. She graduated from the University of California, San Diego and upon graduation began working for former County Supervisor Bill Horn. Candyce has enjoyed helping the residents of District 5 for over 15 years. She has served as a guest speaker on panels to help businesses and nonprofit organizations in the community gain a better knowledge of successfully navigating the world of government grants.


“Give your job meaning. Don’t let your job give meaning to your life. You have the ability to determine what impact you make on others, what impression you want to leave, and how you define yourself in your role in your organization. Use that to make a difference but also find other hobbies or interest to create a meaningful purpose for yourself. Don’t let your job define who you are as a person.”

Funder Communications

Karen Winston, Director of Communications & Special Initiatives at Alliance Healthcare Foundation

For the last five years, Karen Winston has been managing external communications for San Diego-based Alliance Healthcare Foundation (AHF), including its branding and messaging across AHF’s digital media. Additionally, she is a member of the AHF Program Team and holds responsibilities for special program initiatives, including AHF’s Innovation Initiative (i2) $1 Million Challenge Grant, San Diego Mission Support Grant, and in a liaison role for AHF, she works with Imperial Valley Wellness Foundation, providing strategic communications support.

With more than 40 years’ experience in marketing communications for a variety of organizations (nonprofit and for-profit), Karen has worked in and with nonprofits in many of her roles. Prior to joining AHF, she was Vice President of Programs for business accelerator CONNECT, where she created and marketed programs designed to educate entrepreneurs in how to build successful businesses.


“Failure is an option. The trick is to fail fast and move on to the ‘next.’”


May L. Harris, For Purpose Law Group

May L. Harris (she/her) founded For Purpose Law Group (FPLG) in 2012, and currently serves as the firm’s CEO and Managing Attorney.

Serving in the roles of nonprofit founder, board member, corporate counsel and executive director over the course of her career, Ms. Harris has been instrumental in the development of each of the organizations she has led, and she understands the challenges facing nonprofit executives every day. To confront these challenges she pioneered The Nonprofit Counsel Podcast, a show built to bridge the gap between nonprofit leaders and nonprofit professionals, as well as provide guidance to the nonprofit sector.

Over more than two decades of legal practice, Ms. Harris has developed widespread recognition of her expertise & knowledge specific to the challenges facing tax exempt organizations and social enterprises.



Gitta Pazar, Blue Surf I.T.

With 20 years of non-profit I.T. support experience, Gitta is a technology powerhouse. She has extensive knowledge of the unique resources that are available for nonprofit organization, many of them free or at greatly reduced cost. She is also familiar with the cycles of funding and the difference it brings to I.T. planning.

Her expertise reaches all areas of nonprofit technology: Mac and Windows computers, servers, networking equipment, VOIP phone systems, Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace for Nonprofits, printers, websites, cloud solutions for data storage and sharing, cybersecurity and more. She is truly an advisor besides an excellent troubleshooter who can fix technology issues of all kinds.

She has a Master’s Degree and is an MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer).


“Pain is inevitable, growth is optional.”

Employee Benefits

DeAndrea Brazel, REBC

DeAndrea manages Benefit Pro’s dedicated small business department. With over 20 years’ experience in group benefits sales and service, she brings extensive experience, creative solutions and exemplary customer service to our small business clients. She expertly handles renewal marketing analysis, customized employee communications and open enrollment support, as well as guidance on benefits technology, automation and legislative compliance.

DeAndrea is also a Padres baseball and San Diego State men’s basketball fan (Go Aztecs!). Married for 30 years with a grown daughter, she and her husband reside happily in Rancho Penasquitos.




Heather Bischoff

Heather Bischoff is a dynamic HR professional with a passion for innovation and impact. Beginning her career in non-profits, she quickly rose to prominence, winning national recognition for her innovative programming. Transitioning to HR leadership, Heather excelled in strategic planning, achieving a remarkable 95% retention rate with zero budget for merit increases. In 2021, she launched Upskill Consulting to extend her expertise, partnering with companies to tackle HR challenges and drive holistic business success. Heather’s mission is clear: to create workplaces where meaningful work and exceptional teamwork thrive, bringing fulfillment to all involved.



Nonprofit Executive Mastermind Group