Meet the Real Women of Chandler

Lisa Shore – Educator

Principal, Frye Elementary School, CUSD

An educator since 2000, Shore has always felt led to teach. As a teacher, dean and now, as principal at a Title 1 school in the Chandler Unified School District (CUSD), Shore and her team work tirelessly to meet not only their students’ academic needs but basic needs as well, including clothing, food and furniture.

“I feel it is my role to educate the whole child,” she says. “Many of our students come to us each day worried about their next meal, clean clothes and if they will have a house to go to after school. When basic needs are not met, it makes learning difficult. I love working at our school because I get to be a part of a team that works to make the school day a safe place where students know they are cared for and learning happens.”

Shore has also been involved in the Chandler Chamber Leadership Institute as a part of Class 33, where their project was to remodel the ultrasound room at the Pregnancy Care Center. She has also contributed her time and talents to the community through ICAN, Si Se Puede and Chandler CARE Center.

What initially inspired you to take up your occupation?

I had many influential teachers growing up and always looked up to them. Teaching has been my calling since I was a little girl and there was never a doubt that this would be my path.

How do you balance work, community and a personal life?

It’s not easy and I definitely don’t do it alone. My extremely supportive husband, Mike, and my kids love what I do and we divide and conquer when we can, juggling the kids’ sports, school events and social calendars. My family is blessed with a strong villagesupportive friends, family and neighbors. “Team Shore” volunteers in the community and supports organizations that work to make Chandler a better place for everyone.

—MTE

Karen Gallagher – Veteran

Associate Professor, ASU

Desert Storm and Gulf War Veteran, Paratrooper, Pat Tillman Scholar, Professor, ASU Doctoral Candidate, Mom of three.  And this just begins to describe Karen Gallagher!

Gallagher almost secretly enlisted in the Army in 1988, telling her parents just prior to being sworn in after high school graduation.

“Military service taught me anything is possible. Success is a choice, and the only failure is giving up,” she says. After a decade and a half of war, she earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree while waiting tables and caring for her child with disabilities.

How was she successful? “I didn’t know it wasn’t possible,” she says.

Gallagher is pursuing her Ph.D. in speech and hearing science, focusing on the effects of brain injuries and cognition conditions experienced by military veterans. She finds too many students who fall through the cracks because they have symptoms that aren’t as apparent as those who qualify for intense treatment through the VA.

What is the most rewarding part of what you do?

When I get a response from a veteran who recognizes that there is something different about them and they need help. To be able to offer that help is beyond rewarding.

What is the most challenging or frustrating part of what you are trying to accomplish?

Red-tape and funding!

How do you balance work, community and a personal life?

The needs of a parent don’t wait, so sometimes life prioritizes itself for you. I try to

maintain a good sense of where my needs are, be it professionally or personally, and

never exclude one to the benefit of another.

What advice do you have for those thinking of getting involved in their community or giving back?

Take action! Even in the smallest ways you can, they always make a difference.

What is your favorite quote or saying?

“Somewhere inside, we hear a voice. It leads us in the direction of the person we wish to become. But it is up to us whether or not to follow.” —Pat Tillman

—KK

Tina Balsewicz – First Responder

Police Officer and Member of the Crime Prevention Unit, 
City of Chandler

Tina Balsewicz is an Army veteran who has been a police officer for 18 years, primarily because of an officer in her Pennsylvania hometown who convinced her she could make a difference in ending the cycle of domestic violence that she was witnessing. That was in third grade and her mind was made up.

Through her work as a Chandler police officer and a member of the department’s Crime Prevention Unit, Balsewicz is committed to helping others by making the community as safe as possible—not because she is looking for praise, but because she sees it as the right thing to do.

Whether she is spending time as a board member for the Chandler Cop ‘N Kids literacy program, serving as an Army reservist or fostering a four-legged friend for Desert Labrador Retriever Rescue, Balsewicz truly enjoys making a positive difference and creating smiles.

The list of this officer’s accomplishments, accolades, awards and memberships are too long to mention here, but she promises that she is never bored! Balsewicz remains a strong advocate of the Homeland Security Department’s “If You See Something, Say Something” national campaign, which encourages people to report any suspicious behavior or unusual activity to the proper authorities.

Looking ahead, what would you say is the next step or goal for you?

With the Chandler PD, we have the Guardian Academy, and it is being looked into to put this into an electronic platform so that we can reach and educate more community members. I will also be look into retirement options, which will allow me more time to give back to the community and organizations I believe in.

What is your favorite quote or saying?

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.
—AS

Suzanne Nicholls JOYNER – Public Service

Attorney, Maricopa County Office of the Public Advocate

Suzanne Nicholls Joyner not only loves her job, it is her passion.

“Serving as a defender of parents who have had their children taken away affects more than just the parent and child, it affects the extended family and our community,” she says.

The passion is evident as Nicholls Joyner works hard to be more than an attorney by communicating and helping parents fix their issues so they can be reunited with their children. She is often able to assist parents to understand they have simply made bad choices, and are not bad people.

“Dependency law is a very sensitive area and I often see parents being treated as second-class citizens. Everyone deserves a fair opportunity, regardless of cultural and economic biases,” she says. “Oftentimes, the way the process is handled by the professionals is not only devastating to the parent, but it is horribly and irreparably devastating to their children.”

What is the most rewarding part of what you do?

When you see people start to recognize their own value and importance and make a 180-degree change so they can be reunified with their families.

What is the most challenging or frustrating part of what you are trying to accomplish?

As one of a few leading legal advocates fighting against the current practice of warrantless removals of children from their parents in Arizona, I am honored to be raising awareness of the violation of federal and state constitutional rights and the resulting harm to families, particularly at the higher court levels.

How do you balance work, community and a personal life?

I try to maintain my Christian focus, which gives me balance and a sense of reality.

What advice do you have for those thinking of getting involved in their community or giving back?

Try to identify what you are passionate about and focus on that, even if it is just an hour a month.

—KK

Lissette Lent – Inspiring Moms

Founder, Red Glasses Productions and Author, 
“We’re Not So Different After All”

Lissette Lent is a successful, award-winning realtor but after the birth of her fourth child, Maggie Hope, who was born with Trisomy 8 mosaicism (a rare genetic disorder), Lent felt driven to make a difference for the millions of children and families living with special needs.

In 2015, this mom of four achieved her dream by publishing her first children’s book,  “We’re Not So Different After All”. Through Red Glasses Productions, the company that Lent founded in 2014, she inspires others in her belief that it is the responsibility of parents and community leaders to raise a generation of children who are aware and unafraid of people who look and act differently. Lent visits local elementary schools, conducting school assemblies to read her book and encourage children to act with kindness and compassion.

“It is my passion to be a voice for children, like my daughter, that don’t have a voice. My book gives parents and teachers a tool to start important conversations delivering a message of acceptance and hope,” she says.

She sits on the board of directors of Southwest Human Development (SWHD) and is an ambassador for SWHD and Easter Seal’s “Walk With Me” event. Later this year, she hopes to create the Red Glasses Foundation, a nonprofit organization partnering with schools and hospitals to spread her vision of awareness, acceptance and hope for the special needs community.

How do you balance work, community and a personal life?

Serving together is the best balance. I find that inviting my children to be active in my cause is an invaluable tool and teaching opportunity for everyone. I love seeing them engage. It lights a fire in them and that spark will continue into adulthood.

What advice do you have for those thinking of getting involved in their community or giving back?
Never underestimate the gifts you have to contribute to your community. You are valuable and have the opportunity to help inspire real change.

RedGlasses.org

—AS

Jennifer Krienert – Inspiring Moms

Founder of Rock Your Different

Jennifer Krienert’s son, Rory, was just over a year old when his sister noticed his eyes seemed different.

“Rory has a cross-eyed condition called Strabismus or Squint, causing sensitivity to bright light,” Krienert says.

Instead of making this a negative, Krienert turned it into a positive by creating something fun—a cartoon kid in his image who wears an eye patch. And that is how a little company called Rock Your Different began.

Realizing that other kids will notice the eye patch, she didn’t want him to feel that being different is bad. Printing the cartoon image on hats, Krienert’s family and friends started wearing them around town. What started as a small gesture for Rory turned into a whole company that helps both kids and adults celebrate what makes them unique through their line of T-shirts, tank tops, sweatshirts and hats.

Plans for Rock Your Different are to expand and develop additional designs for causes such as Type 1 diabetes and autism. A portion of all proceeds go to Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

How do you balance work, community and a personal life?

This has always been a bit of a challenge. Rory, now almost 3, is always with me, so I work when he’s napping. When I’m shipping out shirts and hats, he is my helper. My girls are almost 10 and 11 so they are busy and I try to incorporate them into my work as well. I also try to find volunteer opportunities that all three of my children can do with me.

What advice do you have for those thinking of getting involved in their community or giving back?

I would definitely say that nothing is too small. My family just signed up to bake cookies for our troops. It is something that we can do at home on our own time, so it’s a great place to start.

RockYourDifferent.com

—AS

Jennifer Bell – Animal Advocacy

Founding Director and Volunteer of One Dog Arizona

Jennifer Bell started One Dog Arizona, a 501(c)(3) organization, after witnessing first-hand the great need for ethical rescue organizations. Starting as a volunteer and then as a paid fundraiser and event coordinator for a large rescue organization, Bell was led by her calling when the rescue closed. There were so many pups needing safety and care, so she created One Dog Arizona seven years ago.

Whether a dog comes into rescue as the result of a family member’s death or due to the owner not wanting the dog anymore or as a shelter rescue, every pup finds an appropriate and loving home.

“We provide an owner-surrender program in an effort to reduce the number of dogs entering the shelters,” she says.

Through her rescue, Bell always puts each dog’s well being before anything else. The “whole dog” philosophy insures both physical and emotional needs are met. Every rescue dog has their medical needs met, is microchipped, spayed or neutered, and enters behavioral classes as part of their comprehensive adoption package.

Bell feels especially blessed to have a network of volunteers and fosters that help to give each dog a new beginning.

What is the most rewarding part of what you do?

For me, it is taking a once scared and unwanted animal and giving them the love and support they need to go on to live a great life, with a family all their own. I love working with the smart and frustrated dogs that have been previously misunderstood, or even abused.

What advice do you have for those thinking of getting involved in their community or giving back?

Just do it! Don’t wait for the perfect time, day or event. Find something that you are passionate about and find a way to make a difference, no matter how big or small.

OneDogArizona.RescueMe.org

—AS