Executive Leadership & Board of Directors

Chief Officers

Beth Moneck – Chief Executive Officer
Beth came to Beads of Courage, Inc. after working nine years as a Certified Child Life Specialist I and II, and Interim Manager of Child Life, Volunteer Services, and Family Resource Center at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Beth served as a Beads of Courage Ambassador for those coping with cardiac conditions for six years. Beth is a Certified Child Life Specialist and holds a master’s degree in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh and is a Certified Infant Massage Instructor. Beth has worked for Beads of Courage since 2015. Beth says the favorite part of her job is supporting our BOC team, collaborative partners, donors, and interdisciplinary staff all over the world to support kids and families coping with serious medical experiences. In her free time, Beth enjoys time with her family and friends, enjoying music, fishing, gardening, and being outdoors.

Jean Gribbon – Chief Mission Officer, President of Center for Arts in Nursing
Jean is a former pediatric oncology nurse and has served the mission of Beads of Courage, Inc. since she founded the non-profit corporation in March of 2005. Jean developed the Beads of Courage Program while working on her dissertation at the University of Arizona College of Nursing. The first Beads of Courage Program was piloted at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in February of 2003. She holds two degrees from the University of Arizona College of Nursing including a Bachelors in the Science of Nursing and a PhD in Nursing. She is passionate about advancing the science of caring for children coping with serious illness through evidence-based interventions. In her spare time, Jean is learning to play the banjo, and enjoys the occasional long bike ride. She lives in Tucson with her three children Luke, Aiden and Brooke Ellen.

Aleida Varela – Chief Finance and Operations Officer
Aleida Varela joined Beads of Courage in 2018. As Chief Finance Officer her responsibilities include financial reporting, stewardship of the organization’s assets, and ownership of cash management. Aleida also serves the role of Chief Operations Officer where she manages and handles the daily business operations of the organization, working closely with leadership to support the day-to-day activity of the organization. Prior to joining Beads of Courage, Aleida’s experience includes 15 years in a Finance role in both the profit and non-profit sector. Aleida received her bachelor’s degree in Accounting in 2003. She is married to her husband David and together they have two children: Julian and Alanni


Deb Gaustad – Secretary
Deb has recently retired from over 35 years in the mortgage industry. Prior services for non-profits include: Rotary Club, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and Women’s Council of Realtors. Deb lives in Lakeside, Arizona with her husband.

Aaron Leal
Aaron Leal works for a major lending company in Tucson, AZ. He lives in Tucson with his wife and three children.

Cindie Luria-Wolfe
I have been a local Real Estate agent for 20 Years. Coming off a 6 year term on the board of Ben’s Bells I am absolutely so excited to be a part of the Beads of Courage Board. My niece Kelsey Luria was a bead recipient. The Queen Bee Bead was created for her.  I have lived in a Tucson for 30 years and I am a graduate of University of Maryland Baltimore County. I have 3 adult married girls that live in Massachusetts, Chicago & Florida. I am the ridiculous proud Grandmother of a baby boy & baby girl.

Matt M. Mars, Ph.D.

Matthew (“Matt”) M. Mars, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Leadership and Innovation in the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He teaches courses on community development, social innovation and entrepreneurship, and program planning and evaluation. His research focuses on how entrepreneurial logics and strategies become embedded in and influence community development initiatives and social movements. In addition to being a widely published interdisciplinary scholar, Matt is currently the Co-Editor of Advances in the Study of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Economic Growth series, Associate Editor of Community Development, and a member of the editorial board of Local Development & Society.

Rebecca Gordon

Becky works for a national home builder as a Land Acquisition Manager. Originally from the U.K., she has lived in Tucson for almost 25 years. Becky has been involved as a supporter of Beads of Courage since 2004 and is honored and excited to be a member of the Board of Directors.