Chamber Ambassadors

Chamber Ambassadors 2018-08-01T12:16:15+00:00

Chamber Ambassadors are goodwill representatives!

They strengthen the Chamber’s relationship to its Members, the business community and the community at large. Because all Ambassadors are active Members of the Chamber, they provide an important Member-to-Member link, understanding and responding to Member needs as only another Member can.

Ambassadors encourage Members to become involved and help them to learn more about Chamber programs and initiatives. Ambassadors take new Members under their wing, foster communication between the Chamber staff and Members and generally act as the eyes and ears of the Chamber in the community. Ambassadors also represent the Chamber at networking events, business meetings and other functions.


  • Serve as an accredited representative of the Chamber to strengthen its relationship with its members
  • Communicate the Chamber mission and goals to its members and prospective members
  • Serve as hosts, emcees, greeters at Chamber events/functions (Business Breakfasts, Chamber Mixers, Ribbon Cuttings and Special Events.)
  • Enhance the growth of a lasting and loyal base of members
  • Advocate Chamber recruitment and retention of members
  • Perform the highest level of hospitality for all Chamber events/functions
  • Provide for continuous self-evaluation and renewal of the Ambassadors Committee itself
  • Help to increase attendance at Chamber events
Richard Perraut - Business Optimization Specialist
Richard Perraut - Business Optimization SpecialistAmbassador Committee Chair
I retired from the Air Force after 33 ½ years and as a Major General. I moved to Cave Creek in May 2014. I started my business of Schooley Mitchell of Phoenix, a telecommunications and merchant service consulting firm, in May 2015. Business is GREAT…and I am always looking for more! I am known as “The Robin Hood of Telecom and Merchant Services!”

People and businesses are paying too much for their telephones, internet, data, and credit/debit card services. As Schooley Mitchell, we ensure that our clients do not spend more than they should for these services. Our average savings is 15%-25%! We do it by performing a 1) FREE AUDIT of your current bills and equipment; 2) FREE MARKET SURVEY of available rates including asking your current vendors to reduce their rates to you; and 3) FREE WRITTEN REPORT of your options. Our fee is nothing unless I can save you money and you decide to implement one or all of my recommendations. And, the fee is only a portion of the savings identified!

Paul Cocuzza - The Next Step Foundation
Paul Cocuzza - The Next Step FoundationAmbassador Committee Co-Chair
Paul is a connector, having found success in a number of diverse business development and sales roles over a 36-year career. He has a solid reputation for knowledge and integrity, earning a role as a trusted advisor. Paul is actively involved in volunteering and giving back to the community.
Bob Armstrong - ALEMI Franchise Consulting
Bob Armstrong - ALEMI Franchise ConsultingAmbassador Steering Committee
Originally from Nebraska, Bob, his wife Marla and their two daughters relocated to Arizona in 2002. Bob spent 25 years in the golf course development industry before retiring at the end of 2012 and subsequently starting a franchise consulting business.

Bob enjoys working with others to help them realize their dreams of owning a business. Consequently he is the founder of ALEMI Franchise Consulting (AFC), which is a full-service franchise consulting firm. In addition to new franchise acquisition, AFC also provides assistance related to franchise re-sales and franchising independent business concepts.

Outside of spending time in his business and with family, Bob enjoys community involvement and is a board member and officer of two non-profit organizations. Hobbies include reading history, physical fitness, movies and many spectator sports.

Liz Castaneda -Rebecca Niessink’s Allstate Insurance
Liz Castaneda -Rebecca Niessink’s Allstate InsuranceAmbassador Steering Committee
After spending her childhood between Texas and Arizona, Liz made AZ her permanent home in 1990. Having worked in ranching & farming since childhood, she knows the value of hard work and working together to get a job done.

She developed a passion for real estate investment in early adulthood. This passion led her to a career in real estate and mortgage lending. In 2014, she became licensed in insurance and started her career with Rebecca Niessink’s Allstate agencies located in Cave Creek & Carefree. Rebecca’s offices are known for excellence in customer experience which speaks to Liz’s passion of educating and caring for her clients.

Lena McCoy- The Gold Mine Thrift Shop
Lena McCoy- The Gold Mine Thrift ShopAmbassador
Jen Miles -Tech 4 Life & Simple Email Strategies
Jen Miles -Tech 4 Life & Simple Email Strategies Ambassador Steering Committee
As a resident of Cave Creek, I have been involved with our business community, one way or another, for over 9 years. What I learned was that there was a need for assistance in Social Media and Email Marketing. Learning this led me to start my business – Simple Email Strategies.

I LOVE working with small businesses to successfully grow by using Social Media and Email Marketing. At minimum each business should be on one Social Media platform and send out an email once a month to their contacts. This is where I can help. I can assist as little or as much as needed to help you meet your goals. I want to make Social Media and Email Marketing SIMPLE for small businesses. Keep it SIMPLE… Keep it HONEST… Keep it YOU!

MariaElena Rizzo - Realtor Fulton Rizzo Team HUNT Distinctive Properties ERA
MariaElena Rizzo - Realtor Fulton Rizzo Team HUNT Distinctive Properties ERA Ambassador Steering Committee
Hailing from the Hudson Valley area of upstate New York, MariaElena is married to Mark, and they share four kids between them. The couple currently resides in Carefree. “I love being next to the mountain, next to the natural beauty. This is such a tight-knit, real community. We both have so many personal relationships with fellow business owners in the area. We have such an eclectic group of people who mingle well because we all love it up here,” MariaElena said.
Michael Seaton - Loan Originator-Mutual of Omaha
Michael Seaton - Loan Originator-Mutual of Omaha Ambassador Steering Committee
Michael is a former Army Signal Officer who was born and raised in Phoenix. After six years of travelling the world with the military, Michael settled down in Colorado Springs Colorado, where he got married and started to raise two sons. He owned and operated a successful mortgage brokerage for over 16 years. In 2014 he moved back to the Valley to be closer to family.

With military trained discipline and integrity, as well as over 20 years of mortgage industry experience, Mike helps to educate his clients about the lending process, helping them feel at ease. He is a true partner in the home buying experience.

Terry Finnegan
Terry FinneganLoan Officer - Peoples Mortgage
Terry grew up in the metro New York area and graduated from Columbia University as a Mechanical Engineer. Now, with over 15 years in the lending field, her math and problem solving skills enable her to work with and educate clients in all aspects of the mortgage lending process.

Terry is a proud mom of two grown daughters. Locally, she is active with the Columbia University Alumni group and the Chamber. When time permits, Terry enjoys photography, travelling and playing bridge.

Margie Hans
Margie HansDiscovery Map
Margie joined the Carefree Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce after purchasing a franchise with Discovery Map International in 2015. She moved to our area in 2007 from the Northeast. A nurse by profession, Margie has worked in medical devices for years, a job that has required her to travel all over the country from her home base in Carefree.

Since acquiring the Discovery Map for Carefree, Cave Creek and North Scottsdale, she has enjoyed more community involvement and promoting our patch of paradise as a fun travel destination. Margie loves welcoming new local businesses with her map and then helping them to grow by gaining exposure for them. With her experience in working with others through both the medical profession and her fun detailed maps of the area, Margie brings both knowledge and enthusiasm to the Chamber.

She’s an outgoing gal and her Discovery Map is updated annually, so do say hello at the next Chamber event. Promotion, promotion, promotion counts as much as location, location, location.

Bob Hesselgesser
Bob HesselgesserCity Sun Times
Bob Hesselgesser was born in Montana and raised in Coeur d’Alene Idaho. He spent 3 years in the US Army, stationed in Germany, then attended college back in Montana.

He always worked in a professional career of Sales and Marketing and is currently the sales rep for the City Sun Times. Bob came to Arizona after winning a trip to the Super Bowl through the Colorado lottery! He has lived in Arizona full time since 2000.

He is a member of the Moose, Eagles, American Legion Post and Kiwanis. He is a past president of the Jaycees.

Mitchell Hundman
Mitchell HundmanHundman Wealth Planning
Mitchell recently joined his father at Hundman Wealth Planning, bringing his own experience as both a business owner and as a tech start-up consultant to the firm. His father has been involved in the Wealth Planning industry for over 25+ years. Mitchell founded, and continues to oversee, Hundman Homes. The firm is affiliated with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services and has made over $3 million in sales in just two years.
Using his interest in technology, and his recent degree from Arizona State University, Mitch has also spent time consulting with different local technology start-ups on product development. He served clients in several different areas, including:
Financial services
Manufacturing services
Design services
Internet of Things (IoT)
Cloud infrastructure
Mitchell is passionate about exploring innovative ideas and helping clients reach their full potential. He knows from firsthand experience the different obstacles business owners and investors face in protecting their assets and building their wealth. He is also attuned to the challenges of transferring wealth, assets, and businesses to the next generation.
Debra Jastrow
Debra JastrowTatum Insurance
I have over 10 years’ experience in the insurance industry. I represent more than 40 different carriers and specialize in business and commercial lines but do write my fair share of home and auto policies. I was born and raised in Arizona and graduated from the University of Arizona in 2007. In 2013 I earned my Associate in Insurance Services designation as well. I got married in August 2016 to the most wonderful man I know, even though he likes the Green Bay Packers. I myself am a diehard Bears and Cardinals fan. I enjoy camping, traveling the world, eating new foods and spending time with my family. My goal as your agent is to provide you with what you need and to educate so you can make an informed decision about your policy.

Evelyn Johnson
Evelyn JohnsonCave Creek Museum
Evelyn Johnson is the Executive Director of the Cave Creek Museum.

I have the privilege of being involved in both towns of our wonderful community by preserving the history, culture and legacy of yesterday and today for the future. Come visit the Cave Creek Museum to embrace those remembrances of childhood stories or adventures.

Gina Kulp
Gina KulpRealtor - HomeSmart
Gina Kulp is available to help you every step of the way when it comes to buying or selling your home. She’s a natural problem solver, a good listener, and committed to client satisfaction. Gina possess the passion for the business and is dedicated to meeting your goals.

In addition to her Real Estate training and formal education Gina holds a BS degree in Business. She is also an accomplished professional in the Commercial Insurance and Property Management Industries. Buying and selling a home is a major event and Gina’s unique experience and expertise will help you realize your dream.

Vanessa Kohnen
Vanessa KohnenVitanya Northeast Scottsdale & The Rancho Milagro Foundation
Vanessa Kohnen is the founder and CEO of Rancho Milagro Foundation. She has been mentoring children with her horses, building the trust of a child from within her own healing as a trauma survivor herself. She found the healing touch of animals and from that, she has had a vision to help others flourish, bringing hope and restoration to many. Her compassion to help was also birthed as a Paramedic for the Fire Department for 10 years. As Director of Disaster Relief and Medical Missions for Operation Mobilization, she took medical teams world-wide. This passion developed into the owner and operator of Vitanya Wellness Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. Her heart is to see people find a new way to wellness. By bringing horses and wellness back into the arena of life.
Jennifer McGirr
Jennifer McGirrNational Bank of Arizona
Jennifer McGirr is National Bank of Arizona’s Vice President and Executive Banker for Carefree and North Scottsdale. As a one-time business owner, Jennifer brings a considerable amount of knowledge and dedication to her position. Jennifer uses her extensive background in banking, sales, and community service to cultivate lasting relationships with her clients. This mother of 3 finds the perfect balance of family, community, and work a fun challenge!

Jennifer understands the importance of collaboration and community.

Katie Smetana
Katie SmetanaDesert Foothills Family YMCA
Born and raised in Chicago, as well as a graduate of Arizona State University, Katie Smetana is the Executive Director of the Desert Foothills Family YMCA since 2012. Katie leverages her broad operational and general management expertise, most recently with Starbucks Coffee Company, with her non-profit and multi-generational focus. She brings an exciting energy and an emphasis on the customer experience to our community and believes in relationships and collaboration.
Eric Twohey
Eric TwoheyNorth Valley Magazine
As a proud North Valley resident for over a decade, Eric has served as Marketing Director for North Valley Magazine to establish the publication as part of our community fabric, working closely with local businesses and organizations to achieve their promotional goals. A Board Member for two local organizations and volunteering on an Economic Development Committee, he enjoys life in abundance with his wife Mary Ellen.
Tatum Williams
Tatum WilliamsImages Arizona Magazine - Account Executive
Tatum Williams is Images Arizona magazine’s enthusiastic account executive. Born and raised in Arizona, she escaped Valley heat every summer by working on a ranch in Montana. Tatum graduated from Mountain Ridge High School then attended Northern Arizona University online. While she studied, she worked full time creating and optimizing websites. Tatum loves the many opportunities she now has to meet hard-working, successful business owners, and is honored to be part of the Cave Creek Carefree Chamber of Commerce.
Mick Ennis
Mick EnnisIn Memoriam - 1942-2016
Mick Ennis had a distinguished 20-year career with the New York Fire Department (FDNY) before moving to Arizona in 1997, when he joined the Foothills Sentinel newspaper as associate editor. Mick was no stranger to community involvement. He was a member of Knights of Columbus (52 years), Kiwanis (34 years) and graciously volunteered for the Thunderbird Fine Art and Wine Festival every weekend and attended every Chamber mixer and business breakfast since 1997! Mick was honored by the Chamber in 2011 as Volunteer of Year.

 Ambassadors not shown: Marie Hevner, Mark Warren,  Stephanie Maloney & Shaun Nesbitt