Our Team

The Grant Plant has a team of talented, dedicated professionals who provide a variety of grant writing and development expertise. Read below to learn a fun fact or two about our stellar team, and we can provide resumés on request.

Tara Gohr, President/CEO [x. 700]


Red or Green Chile?
Green (goes for curry too!)

What is one unusual fact about yourself?
I’m superstitious. I was a theatre major in college (stage management). I don’t say the name of The Scottish Play in a theatre, I believe in ghosts and put out ghostlights, hold my breath by a cemetery, I don’t plan anything on Friday the 13th, never walk under ladders, don’t give the flowers before the show, and say break a leg to anyone performing instead of good luck. If I lose an eyelash, I blow it off my fingertip and make a wish, and if I look at the clock at 11:11, I say a prayer. And, I always spell theatre with the snooty RE instead of the ER.



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Erin Hielkema, M.S., Vice President [x. 701]


Red or Green Chile?

What is one item on your bucket list?
I’m planning to see all 50 states with my husband and kids. We have done 19 of them together so far! I absolutely love to plan vacations – all aspects of it, from the destination to the nitty gritty details. Our upcoming plans include seeing the Pacific Northwest and the California Redwoods, Washington DC, and Niagara Falls. And when we drive cross-country to see our family in the Midwest, we take anything but a straight shot so we can see more of the U.S. on our way.


Aly Sanchez, MBA, Director of Organizational Strategy and Learning [x. 702]


Red or Green Chile?
Yes. And smothered, please.

What do you like most about your job?
I love that the learning curve doesn’t flatten out around here. We consistently write for new programs, new clients, and new funders. I remember feeling like my jobs in the nonprofit sector got a bit stale as I continued cranking out proposals for the same agency – but with TGP, things never get stale. I’m a curious person and having new issues, approaches, and needs to learn about sates my thirst for learning.



Cecily Peterson, MBA, Senior Resource Development Officer [X. 707]


Red or Green?
Green! (With the exception of posole which MUST have red)

What is one unusual fact about yourself?
I have always been fascinated with Asia, and studied Mandarin Chinese in undergrad and graduate school. I had the wonderful adventure to study and teach English in Taiwan and Beijing in college, and worked internationally between San Francisco and China for a number of years. Children and a love for the non-profit sector was the impetus for redirecting my energies to local sustainability, but I continue to enjoy looking at issues from both a global and local perspective, and finding opportunities to use my (now very feeble) Mandarin skills whenever possible!

Wendy McCoy, M.S., Resource Development Officer II [x. 703]


Red or Green Chile?
I like green chile most of the time, but red is good every once in a while!

What is one unusual fact about yourself?
In my past life, I worked as an environmental scientist, happily getting my hands dirty with projects that required the use of natural stream restoration techniques, soil mapping, benthic macro invertebrate (bug) identifications, and wetland delineations. On my first week of work, I rescued a dog from an active surface mine site (many homeless dogs wander the mine lands) who is still with me today. My co-workers never let me live that one down, but it caught on and in the end some of them adopted wonderful dogs as well! I learned a new appreciation of life and nature driving that old jeep through miles highly environmentally-impacted lands that still hold a unique beauty, a beauty that just simply cannot be described.


Marie Landau, Resource Development Officer II [x. 710]

Red or Green?
What do you love to do when you aren’t writing an award-winning proposal?
I love to hike around New Mexico, practice yoga, and write poems when the spirit moves me. I am working (slowly!) on a collection of poems and occasionally send my work out for publication, which is fun and exciting despite the rejections!

Deanna Aquiar, Resource Development Officer [x. 711]


Red or Green?
Xmas (both red and green, please)

What do you love to do when you aren’t writing an award-winning proposal?
Outside of work I enjoy SUP (Stand Upright Paddle-boarding) down the Rio Grande and outdoor yoga in unique places (weather permitting). I am a capable swimmer and I love winter sports. These activities typically feed my inner travel bug and inspire me to discover new places.

Tyanne Benallie, Resource Development Officer [X. 704]


Red or Green?

Most definitely, Green!

What is one unusual fact about yourself?

I have visited 32 countries.

Laurel Meister Schmuck, Resource Development Officer [x. 715]


Red or Green?

It depends on the pairing!

What is one unusual fact about yourself?

I am weirdly good at memorizing song lyrics and tongue twisters.

Amorena Almand, Resource Development Associate [X 706]

Red or Green?
Red… unless we’re talking about breakfast burritos!

What do you love to do when you aren’t writing an award-winning proposal?

I love singing, and am involved in a wonderful non-profit women’s chorus called On Q, based here in Albuquerque. I also sing in a separate acapella quartet. I find great fulfillment in collectively working to make beautiful art, and in the camaraderie of these all-female organizations. Music is medicine, and it’s all about that bass!

Paula Azua-Stofleth, Business Manager [x. 705]


Red or Green Chile?

What do you like most about your job?
The wonderful people I work FOR and the wonderful people I work with.

Jo-Ann Padilla, Administrative Assistant [x. 0]


Red or Green?
Mostly Green but sometimes Red – it’s situational.

What do you do when you aren’t working at TGP?
Outside of working at TGP, I enjoy taking in all of the beautiful NM landscapes by hiking the nearby mountains, volcanoes, and strolling along the Bosque. You may also find me attending sporting events or trying out new local restaurants and breweries while spending time with friends and family.