Brian N. Burn, Partner, Grayhawk Venture Partners

Chairman APRIL LANE, Board PRESIDENT for SEEDS for Autism

April spent more than twenty years of her career in the insurance industry working for MetLife, Prudential and Travelers.  While at MetLife, she was the National Sales Director responsible for managing a national sales team and developing the marketing, sales and distribution strategy for a product line with a $1 billion annual sales goal.  She was nominated to the Sales Advisory Council, served on the Women in Sales Council and was responsible for starting a chapter of the Professional Woman at MetLife in Phoenix and served as chairperson. 

Prior to MetLife, April was Vice President of Sales for Travelers Life & Annuity.  Previous positions include National Sales Director at Prudential Financial; Vice President of Client Services for Compensation Resource Group; Regional Sales Director and Director of Marketing for Paragon Life Insurance Company.

April currently owns and operates Phoenix Home Rentals, LLC, responsible for property management and oversight of a portfolio of properties.

April currently serves as Board Chair for SEEDS for Autism and serves on the board of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Central Arizona.   She is a sustaining member of the Junior League of Phoenix.  April previously served as Chair of the Tempe YMCA board of directors, board member and Chair of the annual fundraising event for Jobs for Arizona's Graduates (JAG), and volunteered her time as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for abused children, where she worked closely with the Maricopa County Juvenile Court to successfully place foster children into permanent homes.

Ms. Lane taught undergraduate Marketing, International Business, and Management courses at Fontbonne University and Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri.  She has an M.B.A. degree and currently holds a life license and a real estate license.

Howard Nute, President of Underground Safety Equipment

Howard is President of Underground Safety Equipment a regional specialty equipment rental company. Howard has successfully built and sold a number of businesses in the rental sector. He is a long time valley resident and graduate of ASU Business School

In addition to SEEDS for Autism, he is actively involved in a local Boy Scout Troop and Valley Big Brothers and Sisters of Central Arizona. Howard’s passion in life is seeing others succeed when they didn’t think that they could!

Patty McCartney, PhD, CCC-SLP, Owner of Chrysalis Academy

Dr. Patty McCartney, PhD, CCC-SLPDr. Patty McCartney received her doctorate degree from Arizona State University in Speech and Hearing Science and is a practicing speech-language pathologist. Her research interests include alternative and augmentative communication, and social skill development for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). She is co-director of a Chrysalis Academy a private school for individuals with ASD and related disorders.  Dr. McCartney teaches as an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University. Patty has enjoyed working with individuals with disabilities for the past 20 years. She feels strongly about the need for services and opportunities for employment for adults with ASD. As a board member, Patty hopes to use her knowledge and experience in the areas of research, communication development and social skills to provide support for the men and women participating in SEEDs for Autism’s programs.


Ivan Johnson is a fourth generation native of Arizona, holds a Masters of Business Administration and has a Bachelor Degree in Political Science from Arizona State University. He retired from Cox Communications in 2012 after over 32 years. During his tenure with Cox Communications, he served in multiple positions ending his career as Vice President of Public Affairs. Prior to Cox Communications, Johnson worked at the National Cable Television Association as Vice President of Association Affairs; at the Arizona Cable Television Association as Executive Director; and as Administrative Assistant for the Arizona Senate Majority Leader.

He is a former Member of the Leadership Council for the Spirit of Service Scholars at ASU; the Rio Salado Community College President’s Advisory Council; the WP Carey Dean’s Council of 100; Secretary of the Greater Phoenix Economic Development Council; Executive Committee member of the Arizona Town Hall; the Paradise Valley Hospital Community Board; the ASU Alumni Association Board; past Chairman of the Greater Phoenix and Arizona State Chambers of Commerce; past Chairman of Tempe Leadership; past Chairman of Westmarc; past President of the ASU MBA Council; and past President of the Arizona Cable Television Association.


Janet Johnson

Dr. Johnson is a former elementary teacher with a Ph.D. in “Learning and Instructional Technology” from Arizona State University. She held a faculty position at Grand Canyon University and then became the Chair of Education at Rio Salado College for 15 years where she designed and directed the first-of-its- kind online Post Baccalaureate Teacher Preparation Program in the country. The program served students in 36 states and 33 countries outside the U.S. At the time of her retirement the program served over 5,000 students. The program has received several local and national awards. She has served on national/local organizations and task forces including the National Association Community College Teacher Education Programs (NACCTEP), the Governor’s School Readiness Board, and the Governor’s P-20 Great Teachers, Great Leaders Taskforce.

She is retired and currently serving on the Guerrant Foundation Advisory Board which helps women in developing countries start businesses of their own to support their families. She recently went to visit these programs in Bangladesh & Myanmar.

Laura Capello

President and CEO Laura Capello oversees one of the largest Big Brothers Big Sisters organizations in the nation, serving more than 1,500 youth across Maricopa and Gila counties. She provides the organizational leadership to fulfill Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona’s mission of providing Arizona youth facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better.

Prior to BBBSAZ, Laura served as Manager of Community Relations and Special Projects at the ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation. She also worked as a consultant for four years helping several nonprofit and for profit clients with marketing and special events including Mesa Arts Center, the Celebrity Fight Night Foundation, The Arthritis Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Chaparral Suites, Eight, Arizona PBS, and Luke Air Force Base.

Laura believes that giving back is one of the most important things she can do, so she continues to stay active in her community. As a member of Valley Leadership Class XXV, she stays involved with its Leadership Institute and served as class Chair for two years. She currently sits on Dr. Michael Crow’s Community Council and is a member of the Suns Charities 88, a group focused on raising funds and awareness for children’s organizations. She has also served on the boards of several organizations, including Jobs for Arizona Graduates, a nonprofit that runs programs for High School Students to help them stay in school, Beads of Courage, an arts-in-medicine program that helps children facing life-threatening illnesses, and the Tempe YMCA.

She graduated from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and is the mother of three children. In her free time, she loves to participate in endurance sports such as cycling and running and has completed 7 half marathons.

Brent Diggins.png


Partner + Managing Director, Measurement and Analytics

A partner at Allison+Partners, Brent Diggins developed and oversees the agency’s global measurement and analytics capabilities and has helped to develop data and measurement solutions for a wide variety of clients including Amazon, Google, Samsung and Toyota. Brent and his team operate across multiple marketing channels creating measurement programs that are customized to the goals of each campaign and client.

 Outside of work, Brent contributes to many organizations including Proof Analytics and Rutgers University in advisory capacities. Brent was named the 2016 “Corey Award” winner given to the employee who exemplifies Allison+Partners core values.

brian burns.jpg


Past President

Brian N. Burns co-founded Grayhawk Capital in 1999. Mr. Burns has more than 20 years of private equity and venture capital experience. Prior to co-founding Grayhawk Capital, Mr. Burns served as Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer of the investment subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp., a $3 billion NYSE company, from 1998 to 2000.  He has also served as Vice President of two other venture capital firms, SunVen Capital and Anderson & Wells, from 1989 to 1998. Mr. Burns began his career at Arthur Andersen & Co., working there from 1981 to 1989, becoming a Senior Manager in the Audit Division. Mr. Burns has served on the board of 14 privately held companies and is a member of ASU’s W.P. Carey Alumni Board of Directors. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Arizona State University and has been a Certified Public Accountant since 1984. He has been married to Denise for 27 years and they have two sons, Michael and Alex.

Randy Laroche, Arizona State Department of Administration

Board Member

Randy has over 30 years experience in the financial field in both the private and public sectors in a variety of jobs encompassing accounting, budgeting, financial projections, and detailed financial analysis. He is currently employed by the Arizona State Department of Administration, AZ Strategic Enterprise Technology in Finance & Planning. His academic background includes a BS in Urban Studies and Economics and an MSBA with a concentration in Finance and Management. Randy is also currently on the Board of Directors of Life Changers Counseling, a valley counseling consortium that provides personal and family counseling to valley residents. His passion for sailing has taken him on extensive excursions including a 1300 mile race to Puerto Vallarta.