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 Projects [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!

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.

Mary Kate Hildebrandt, Resource Development Officer [x. 712]


Red or Green?
Red (but also green!)

What do you like most about your job?
The opportunity to work alongside intelligent and compassionate people on projects that make a difference. I enjoy the insight it affords into how things work, come together, and how it all relates. I love that I get to piece things together and come up with creative ways of looking at a problem. I like the research side of things, and finally, seeing the impact. I was brought to TGP initially by congruent values and a shared sense of mission, and have developed an admiration for the generosity of skill sets TGP offers.

Marie Landau, Resource Development Officer [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!

Melissa Leonard, M.A., Resource Development Officer (X. 704)


Red or Green? 
Always green.

What is one unusual fact about yourself?
I’ve studied two different dialects of Quechua, an indigenous language spoken primarily in Andean regions of South America. One of these dialects is spoken only in the Callejón de Huaylas, a stretch of about 93 miles situated between the Cordillera Blanca and the Cordillera Negra in the northern Andes of Peru. Although I don’t speak it very well without my notebook at the ready, having spent two months in the region studying a dialect so few people are exposed to was certainly an unusual and rewarding experience.

Wendy McCoy, M.S., Resource Development Officer [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.
Photo Credit: Lisa Michelle Photography


Maren Stockhoff, MBA, Resource Development Officer [x 706]

Red or Green?

Red! Unless we’re talking pizza or my husband’s incredible green chile chicken enchiladas.

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

I really love to cook (and eat!). There’s something so satisfying about how tangible cooking is. I find all the prep work almost meditative. Currently, I’m using all sorts of fun ingredients and tools we brought back from Japan, and trying to recreate a couple of really memorable dishes from our travel.

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.