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University of Phoenix leadership appointed to Arizona Foundation for Women Board of Directors

By Sharla Hooper

Tracy DeSoto will serve on the Board for three years

University of Phoenix is pleased to announce that Tracy DeSoto, director of Student Financial Services, has been appointed to serve on the Board of Directors of Arizona Foundation for Women (AFW).

DeSoto’s appointment term is October 2021 through October 2024. During her tenure, she will be the Program Chair for the SHE Leads!TM Program, a professional development program for AZ women who are seeking to obtain a leadership position, or those who may be in a leadership role with limited access to training. SHE Leads!TM also fundraises as part of the program to grant funds to non-profit organizations across AZ who support women in the areas of safety, health, and economic empowerment. Last year, the program raised $34,000 granted to five local organizations.

DeSoto previously led the University of Phoenix Women Rising employee resource group from 2017 to 2019 and worked with local community organizations to bring in speakers. In this role, she first learned about Arizona Foundation for Women. DeSoto was nominated for the Board position by University of Phoenix colleague Barbara Shifano, senior director of Learning Development, who is serving a current term on the AFW Board, and with whom DeSoto will be co-chairing SHE Leads!TM.

Outside of her role at University of Phoenix, DeSoto runs a small business offering personal improvement seminars and life coaching, an endeavor that she began after overcoming breast cancer in 2014. “SHE in SHE Leads!TM stands for Safety, Health and Economic empowerment, and I have been personally impacted in each of these areas during my lifetime,” shares DeSoto. “I love the program and the work of the Foundation to empower women and mothers who are working to overcome significant challenges.”

The SHE Leads!TM program is a six-month leadership program designed to help participants build the skills necessary for their roles or advancing career, including having a mentor and completing a fundraising component. There are 37 participants and 37 mentors – each participant has their own mentor “champion,” recruited through a separate application process. University of Phoenix is a sponsor of the program.

Arizona Foundation for Women (AFW) is a supporting organization of Arizona Community Foundation focused on  creating a better life for Arizona’s women and children. Their programs include the SHE Counts!® mission to identify unmet needs and develop the initiatives and methods to address them, and the women-focused leadership development program, SHE Leads!™

Learn more about Arizona Foundation for Women at  

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is continually innovating to help working adults enhance their careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning, and Career Services for Life® help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit