NSA-Arizona Board of Directors 2024-2025

Matthew Silverman, President

The Blueprint Organization

Matt Silverman is the founder and CEO of The Blueprint Organization, a consulting firm that provides guidance and resources to companies and communities looking to build champions networks. An attorney with over 16 years of experience, Matt has worked for and advised Fortune 500 companies, global law firms, government agencies, charitable groups, and academic institutions. He is a contributing author to numerous industry publications and a sought-after speaker on compliance, network building, and leadership. Matt’s book, The Champions Network: A Blueprint to Expand Your Influence and Spread Big Ideas in Any Organization, is the first of its kind dedicated to the development of champions networks. Matt is from Evanston, Illinois, and is a proud alum of the University of Michigan. He lives with his family in Oro Valley.

Ana Melikian, PhD, President-Elect

Ana Melikian, Ph.D., is an international speaker, author, and host of the MINDSET ZONE, which ranks among the top 1% of podcasts worldwide. A survivor of two bouts of cancer, Ana embodies resilience and champions change through effective self-leadership. Recognized on the LeadersHum PowerList 2023 for her contributions to unlocking human potential, Dr. Melikian is also a Board Certified Coach (BCC) and an active member of the Association of Corporate Executive Coaches (ACEC). Ana earned her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Sunderland, UK, laying a solid foundation for her work that integrates research data with practical applications. Currently, Dr. Melikian is at the forefront of exploring Human-Centered AI. Her work aims to harness the power of artificial intelligence to augment human potential, ensuring that technological advancements enhance, rather than diminish, our humanity and collective well-being.

Lee Jenkins, Treasurer

From L to J Consulting

Lee has been active in education for 50 years as teacher, principal, university professor and school district superintendent. For the past 20 years he has devoted himself to writing, consulting and speaking. Lee has authored 30 books for either teachers or children including his most recent book for educators entitled How to Create a Perfect School. Lee has spoken in most states plus 10 other countries. His work focuses upon the systems that impact negatively on students’ learning and  then the replacements. One question he loves to ask audiences is, “Who has the most control over education in the USA? This is the same person for both public and private schools.” The answer quickly gets to the power of harmful systems. 

Rita Hudgens, Immediate Past President

Transform University
Rita Hudgens is an expert on how our brains impact our thoughts, decisions, motivation, and behavior.
As a Mental Strengths Coach, with almost a decade of experience working with executives and entrepreneurs across the country, Rita is sought after as a coach, speaker, and group facilitator because of the results people experience due to her coaching and training programs. She has the ability to take complex ideas, simplify them, and make them easy for her audiences to understand and put to action. Rita’s message inspires, motivates, and challenges her clients to think and act differently; consequently getting the results they want.

Vanessa Emerson, Director

Jeff Leshay, Director

Leshay Communications

Jeff Leshay is an executive presentation coach, media trainer and crisis communications specialist who has enhanced the communication skills and “executive presence” of senior leaders at dozens of Fortune 500 companies and hundreds of other for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Time and again, Jeff’s storytelling techniques have helped clients demonstrate leadership, strengthen teams, rally support, and improve their business results. Jeff spent the first decade of his career as a journalist, starting at The Associated Press and then as an award-winning, on-air television news correspondent at CNBC and several network affiliates. He went on to serve in leadership roles at three of the world’s largest public relations firms and two multi-billion-dollar public companies, including Abbott Laboratories, before founding his own firm, Leshay Communications, in 2011. Jeff holds a Master of Science degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and has authored two books – “How to Launch Your Career in TV News,” and the recently published TV news and financial thriller, “Dangerous Trades.” He has also just launched an online master class titled, “Presenting with Persuasion: The Premier Fast Track to Powerful Storytelling.”

Alaina G. Levine, Director

Quantum Success Solutions, LLC

Alaina G. Levine is an award-winning professional speaker, entrepreneur, career coach, speaking coach, TEDx speaker, science journalist and corporate comedian. Her first book, Networking for Nerds (Wiley, 2015), beat out Einstein (really!) for the honor of being named a Top 5 Book of 2015 by Physics Today, and her next book is Create Your Unicorn Career. As President of Quantum Success Solutions, LLC, she is a prolific speaker and writer on career development and professional advancement for STEM nerds and word nerds, and she has delivered over 850 keynotes, workshops, and training for clients in the US, EU, Mexico, Canada, Africa, Asia, and South America (including over 100 gigs in 2020). Levine has written over 500 articles in publications like Science, Nature, Scientific American, National Geographic News Watch, World Economic Forum, and Smithsonian. She also writes “Your Unicorn Career”, a careers column for Science Magazine about designing a customized career that honors your authenticity. Levine authored two online courses for Oxford University Press on career development and entrepreneurship, and is a consultant, speaker, and writer for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, where, as a panel moderator, she stopped a fist fight between Nobel Laureates and the CEO of a global, multi-100-million dollar company. As a career coach and consultant, she has helped 100s of clients in diverse fields, professions, industries, and regions create and grow their own Unicorn Career and has enabled companies to develop strategic career development plans for recruiting and keeping top technical talent. She holds bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and anthropology and a certificate in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Arizona, and studied at the American University in Cairo as a US Department of Defense Boren Fellow. And as an award-winning billiards player in college, she competed at national events under her moniker Lady Dyn-o-mite. 

Isabella Meadows, Director

Jim Plouffe, Director

The Lazy Manager

Dan Shinder, Director

Advanced Social Marketing

Dan Shinder has built a global presence with over 1 million active followers reaching millions more people a week and growing by thousands more each week from over 130 countries, reaching millions more people a month using content marketing on social media and brandbuilding strategies he developed while growing a lifestyle brand, Drum Talk TV. The high-level of engagement yields a monthly average of 10 Million in reach, 2 Million post engagements, 4 million video views, 100 Million+ video views and people reached per year since 2013. Dan has never paid for advertising or boosting posts of the brand’s content and no focus on SEO whatsoever. With Dan Shinder’s Social Media On Steroids courses and consulting, Dan shares exactly how he turned Drum Talk TV from an idea into a profitable business, and how you can utilize these strategies to grow your business too, no matter what stage you are at currently! What Dan teaches can work for any business in any industry, from a local model to a global model! Dan understands busy, as he and his wife have a blended family of 11 kids and 19 grandchildren, two cats and three dogs! He says, “You should never be too busy to learn exceptional marketing strategies. If you are serious about what you do, get serious about how you market it.

Kristy Siefklin, Director

Brenda Smull, Director

Brenda Smull is the Chair for NSA Arizona Speaker Studio and has been a member since late 2022.   She is a Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) and has been an active member and leader in Toastmasters International since 1994 and served in club, state/district and international officer roles.

As author of the book, Strong Words and Simple Truths: The Courage to Communicate, Brenda’s passions are public speaking, mentoring, and health and wellness. Brenda received an Army Officer commission from the ROTC program at Rutgers University, NJ and has a BA in Biochemistry. She served as a Signal Platoon Leader in the 1st Cav Division during Operation Desert Storm. As Commander of American Legion Post 64 in Phoenix, she is active in veteran service organizations and volunteering. When not speaking or attending veterans events, Brenda can be found running, hiking or biking.

Cassandra Thompson, Director


10869 N. Scottsdale Road

Suite 103, PMB 238

Scottsdale, AZ 85254




NSA-Arizona is a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization. 

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