• Armando Contreras

    Chief Executive Officer

    armando contrerasSignaling its commitment to strengthen fundraising efforts, building internal capacity and developing new alliances, United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona (UCP) appointed longtime Valley community leader, Armando Contreras, as Chief Executive Officer in June of 2010.  Leading one of the state’s largest nonprofit health and human services organizations, Armando currently manages a staff of more than 320 and an operating budget of over $15 million. As CEO, he directs and coordinates all operations and is responsible for leading UCP’s Mission to provide comprehensive services to individuals with disabilities by way of physical and developmental support, as well as educational growth. UCP of Central Arizona serves approximately 5,000 children and adults with various disabilities, including Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, Autism, learning delays, developmental disabilities and other conditions.

    “It is a true honor to have served as CEO for United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona for almost 5 years,” said Armando. “It is a blessing to work with a passionate, committed, and dedicated staff that make dreams come true for countless children and adults with disabilities and their families. It is also a privilege to work closely with the UCP distinguished and committed Board of Directors.  My goal in 2015 is to empower our dedicated and dynamic team to enhance the lives of the many that seek our services.  In addition, together we will strengthen UCP’s core operating and financial structures to be a model of sustainability, and heighten awareness for greater partnerships in Arizona.  This strategic direction will expand the organization’s services aimed at reaching out to the disabilities community with more programs and initiatives.  UCP is also grateful to all our generous donors, especially Circle K!  For over 30 years Circle K has raised millions of dollars for UCP of Central Arizona and we are forever grateful for these monumental efforts!  Last, I’m proud to report UCP of Central Arizona is ranked #2 (non- profit health services category) in the 2014 Phoenix Business Journal’s Book of Lists.”

    Prior to joining UCP, Armando was the President and CEO of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (AZHCC) where he strengthened the internal and external capacity of the Chamber increasing its small business reach, boosting corporate support and developing vital government relationships. At AZHCC, Mr. Contreras also oversaw the operations of the federally funded Minority Business Enterprise Center (MBEC) in Phoenix, one of only 32 centers nationwide. He also served as a member of former Governor Janet Napolitano’s Cabinet as Executive Director of the Arizona Registrar of Contractors and as Small Business Advocate for the Arizona Department of Commerce.

    Recently, on behalf of UCP of Central Arizona, Armando received The City of Phoenix 2014 Mayor’s Commission on Disabilities Issues, “Business Award.”  In addition, he was selected by the Arizona Harvard Business School Club to attend The Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management at the Harvard School of Business in July of 2014.  Armando has been a featured CEO in the Arizona Business Magazine, November/December 2013 issue.  Furthermore, he received the Phoenix Business Journal’s, “Diversity in Leadership” Award in 2012.

    In the community, Armando is a member of the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix Finance Committee, the Chairman of the Phoenix Boys Choir Multicultural Council and a member of the Commission on Justice, Peace Social Justice Fund, and a former member of Governor Janet Napolitano and Governor Jan Brewer’s Latino Advisory Committee.  Armando earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California and holds a Master’s Degree in Theology from the University of San Francisco. He also attended Indiana University School of Philanthropy.

  • Veronica De La O

    Development Director

    VeronicaPrior to Veronica coming to UCP she was working at Phoenix Children’s Cancer Center and Blood Disorders as a Clinical Social Worker who worked with children diagnosed with Leukemia.   Veronica also worked at Mercy Care Plan as their Community Relations Manager in the Quality Management Department . Veronica’s unique 9 years of experience in the field of social work and health care, combined with various positions throughout community involvement; such as fundraising and volunteerism, qualified her to work for UCP of Central Arizona as their Development Director.

    This past year, Veronica served as Chair for the UCP Board of Directors and was part of the Board for 3 ½ years, where she brought to the organization resources that were untapped by UCP like assisting with coordinated grant development and with UCP’s largest public fundraising events.

    “I am grateful and honored to be part of the UCP team. I have learned greatly, not only from our Board members and UCP staff, but also from the families that UCP serves.  The children and families that we serve have tremendous strength and courage to “live a life without limits.”  UCP is not only a tool and a great support system for the many families that are served, but is also a second home for parents, where they learn new ways to help improve the lives of their child/young adult so they grow to their fullest abilities”, says Veronica.

    Because of my education and experience as a Clinical Social Worker, it is my responsibility to continue to advocate for UCP’s children and their families by providing leadership through collaborating with other non-profits and the business community; to assist with fundraising; and to provide a future vision to ensure that UCP will continue to expand services in Arizona so all children with disabilities will live a “life without limits.”

    Veronica is married to Mario E. Diaz and she has two young children; Diego and Francesca.  Veronica has a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from the University of Texas at El Paso.  She also attended Arizona State University and received her Master’s in Social Work. Veronica currently volunteers on Tesseract School’s Development Committee.

  • Adrienne Diga

    Director of Human Resources

    Adrienne-Diga“I am very committed to the services provided by UCP of Central Arizona as well as UCP’s Mission to support individuals and families by providing services that promotes  “Life without Limits”. “It has always been important to me to work in industries that directly impact people lives in a positive way and I have dedicated over eleven years in the health care field including bio-medical research, assisted living, nursing facilities and home based care-giving services.”

    “I take great pride in working closely with direct care providers and acknowledging their contributions to the individuals that they assist. Direct Care Workers are invaluable to the consumer and enable them to live full independent lives.”

    Adrienne has fifteen years of Human Resources Management experience and has been certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources by the Society of Human Resources Management since 2005. Her strengths include leadership in cross –functional teams, strategic planning, employee recognition and employee development. She has been described as a caring person who likes to help employees reach their full potential through mentoring and training opportunities.

    Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Adrienne re-located to Phoenix in 2001. She has volunteered for several organizations including being a mentor to foster children, serving as a Girl Scout leader and various events for Make a Wish Foundation and Susan G. Komen for the cure.

  • Valerie Pieraccini

    MS OTR, Director of Therapy & Early Intervention

    Valerie PieracciniValerie Pieraccini MS OTR has practiced as a pediatric occupational therapist for the majority of the 25 years of her career. Since 1994, Valerie has worked almost exclusively with children under the age of 5  at United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona. During her work, Valerie has evaluated the development of sensory processing, hand skills and functional skills of thousands young children and worked with the families to address the needs and strengths of their children.

    Valerie has a Certificate in the Sensory Integration Praxis Test. She also has received  training in Tscharnuter Akademie for Movement Organization (TAMO) and well as Perception Action.  Intermittently, Valerie also performed product reviews for Imaginart International, Inc. and participated in research and product development through grants at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center's Occupational Therapy Department. Valerie is the lead author of Handprints: Home Programs for Hand Skills (Imaginart International, Inc. July 2001), She is also the sole owner of the company, Handprints for which she lectures on developing hand skills in both Canada and the United States and co-owner of a company, Play.Learn.Grow., that provides support to families of young children.

  • Dora Vasquez

    Director of Programs

    Dora Vasquez, has 25 years of experience in government and the non-profit sector with expertise in program development, grant administration, employee relations, state procurement, administrative rule and licensure/accreditation processes. As the Director of Programs for UCP she oversees the day-to-day operations of the Day Treatment and Training for Adults, Day Treatment and Training for Children and Teens, Early Learning Center, Family Support Coordination, Home and Community Based Services, HIPAA Compliance and Training.

    Dora is a former Policy Advisor for Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano where she served as the Director of the Governor Office of Boards and Commissions, overseeing the gubernatorial appointment process for over 300 state boards, commissions and state agencies. She is also the former Director of the Si Se Puede Program in Pinal County, a treatment and diversion program for juveniles on probation which received numerous awards for innovative programming both locally and nationally.

    Dora is active in the community and most recently served as the Chair of the Arizona Historical Advisory Commission and as a member of the Arizona Centennial Commission. She is also the former chair of the Arizona Civil Rights Advisory Board. In 2006 she received the “World of Humanity” Award from the Girl Scouts-Arizona Cactus Pine Council for her work in mentoring youth and in 2009 Central Arizona College presented Dora with an Alumni “Wall of Fame” Achievement Award.

    A native of Arizona, Dora holds a Master of Science in Public Management from the College of Business at Northern Arizona University. and a Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies from Arizona State University. She is the mother of three children and nana to her beloved Vivianna, Matthew, Kaylee, Izabelle, Ella, Adrianna and Anthony.

  • Kathryn Moon

    Early Learning Center Director

    Kathryn-MoonKaty joined the UCP team as the Early Learning Center Director in September of 2014. She comes to UCP with 10 years of experience working in licensed child care centers and 4 years in supervisory and administrative positions.

    Katy graduated from Western Washington University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Education and a major in special education. After graduation, she quickly realized that, although she enjoyed educating elementary age children, her true passion is in early childhood education. She has since dedicated her time to expanding her knowledge of early childhood education as well as training others in the field.

    “It is my pleasure to have the opportunity to join a team that shares a vision of education through inclusion and empowerment. It is my belief that as early childhood educators we set the stage for lifelong learners by providing children with opportunities to experiment, explore, and take risks. Through the focus of social-emotional development, we can foster confidence in children and empower all children to live a “life without limits.””

  • Terry Wideman

    Home and Community Based Services Director

    TerryFor the past 23 years, “I have been blessed to serve adults with disabilities.” Terry started her career in Sierra Vista in a work shop setting with 6 adults recycling paper from Fort Huachuca Army Post. Terry and her husband decided to move to Mesa to raise their two boys near their family.

    As a result she accepted a direct care position working with adults in a Day Treatment Program. Over the years Terry acquired promotions until she accepted the DTA Director position overseeing 128 consumers in five different locations. In 2009 Terry accepted a program manager position at a new DTA program in Scottsdale that offered enhanced activities in a therapeutic environment to develop individual’s skills with the use of innovating technology and adaptive equipment.

    Terry joined the UCP team in October, 2011 to fulfill a life long dream to work with children. “UCP has given me an incredible opportunity to be the Day Treatment and Training for Children and Adults  Director. I am so fortunate I have the best of both worlds. I get to see children developing friendships that last until their adulthood.”

    Terry has extensive knowledge working with the Department of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) and is committed to consumers and their families to provide a quality program in a safe environment while promoting fun. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in psychology and volunteers at Mesa Partnership.





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