Tisha R. Tallman
CEO of Primavera Foundation
Tisha R. Tallman comes to the Primavera Foundation with 17 years of executive experience in national, regional and state non-profit organizations, advocating for individuals, families and communities at the intersection of poverty, homelessness and race/ethnicity.
Tallman, an attorney with an MBA, has served as a legal and public policy advocate, and a direct services program manager, litigating in federal and state courts, and testifying and writing on a number of public policy issues throughout the Southeast. She has experience creating programming, installing information systems and performing operations management. As a spokesperson, she has appeared in such media outlets as: BBC Radio; Japanese print media; Mexico City newspapers and radio; MSNBC; CBS Evening News; Fox News; Court TV; NPR; Washington Post; New York Times; and Time magazine.
Tallman has served on a number of boards, commissions, committees and roundtables, including ones made at the request of the Obama White House and former Mexico President Vicente Fox. She has also received a number of awards and recognitions, including: Inspiring Woman Award by the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream; NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award by the Atlanta Falcons; YWCA Woman of Achievement; Regional Advocate of the Year by the U.S. Department of Commerce, MBDA; 100 Most Influential Atlantans by Atlanta Business Chronicle; and Game Changer Award by Spelman College.
Tallman has a B.A in Political Science, B.A. in Journalism & Mass Communication from the University of Iowa; J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law with distinction; MBA from Emory University Goizueta Business School with honors, the Information Systems and Operations Management Award and the Entrepreneur Award; certification in Coding from Georgia Tech University; and certification in Blockchain Technology from Berkeley Law Blockchain Academy.
A native Iowan born to a Mexican-American mother and a Caucasian father, she comes to Tucson via Atlanta, Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. She is a mother and a niece and granddaughter of migrant farmworkers.
Chief Operating Officer
Tamara Prime provides strategic leadership, staff guidance and oversight across many lines of business, including: Emergency Services; Workforce Development; Civil Rights Restoration; Financial Education and Empowerment; Homeownership Promotion; Neighborhood Revitalization; and Community Building and Engagement.
Throughout her 30-year career, Tamara has advocated for community-driven change and social equity, holding roles such as: chief of staff for a local elected official; community affairs administrator for the regional council of government; project manager for a statewide philanthropy organization; and director for nonprofit organizations.
Tamara holds a master’s degree from Prescott College and a bachelor’s from the University of Arizona.
Chief Philanthropy Officer
JoAnn oversees fundraising, major gifts, donor relations, and fundraising special events for the organization.
Originally from the Chicago suburbs, JoAnn relocated to Tucson during her senior year in high school, going on to become a proud Marana Tiger and University of Arizona Wildcat.
JoAnn’s career began in retail customer relations, segued into human resources, and finally philanthropy – each phase with deep roots in developing and maintaining meaningful relationships that positively impact business success.
Chief Property and Asset Management Officer
Brian McGrath, who joined Primavera in 2015 and was promoted to his present role in 2019, oversees long-term planning of Primavera’s assets. This includes general maintenance and capital improvements of our properties and the management of affordable rental housing and real-estate donations. Brian has more than 25 years of experience in management, construction and small business ownership.
He is proud of improving Primavera properties to provide safe, affordable housing and making significant energy-efficiency upgrades.
Chief Human Resources and Communications Officer
Margarita Bauzá oversees human resources, professional development and communications. She joined Primavera in 2022 from the University of Arizona, where she was senior communications director for the Health Sciences.
A former journalist, public relations professional and U.S. Army veteran, Margarita has spent her career making sure diverse voices are heard and stories told. Her career has included work as a journalist in Michigan, including writing for the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press; as an agency Hispanic Communications leader at General Motors; and as a communications leader at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and at Northern Arizona University.
Margarita has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Michigan State University. She also is a graduate of the MSU Army Reserve Officer Training Corps.
Operations and Evaluation Administrator
Kristina Abril’s professional interests lie in fostering effective communication and community engagement through evaluations and surveys. She strives to gather insights that can drive positive change and enhance the overall value of community programs and initiatives.
With a background in healthcare, leadership and visual design, Kristina oversees day-to-day operations of the administrative team, managing tasks such as scheduling, front-end care for callers and visitors, and supporting staff. She is committed to ensuring exceptional service for all Primavera clients and participants.
Outside of work, Kristina has provided voluntary service as a hospice caregiver and emotional support to individuals and families in need.
Director of Workforce Development
Karen Caldwell oversees Primavera Works, a social enterprise that offers workers experiencing homelessness or other barriers an alternative to day labor halls. Primavera Works provides temporary, above-minimum wage employment and permanent job search assistance.
Karen was born and raised in Tucson and graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. She has worked at the Primavera Foundation for more than 25 years.
Director of Facilities Management
Christopher Dussault joined Primavera Foundation in October 2017 as a maintenance technician and a little over a year later was promoted to director of facilities management.
Chris previously worked in transitional housing for homeless veterans. It was here that Chris found his passion for giving back. At Primavera, Chris has realized the deeper impact he can have in the community through his work in affordable housing.
Chris has led multiple property renovations, including projects at the Men’s Shelter and the historic Alamo Apartments. He has also assisted in the logistics and rollout of the new Primavera Resource Center.
Director of Homelessness Intervention and Prevention
Danell Jessup joined Primavera in 2019 as a contract specialist in Rapid Rehousing and was promoted to her current role in January 2023. She oversees Primavera’s drop-in center and its rental and utility assistance programs, in addition to our Rapid Rehousing programs.
She has a bachelor’s degree in Community Advocacy and Social Policy from Arizona State University and spent years in retail management before entering the non-profit field. Eager to be in a role where she can help others, Danell is thankful to be at Primavera where she makes a difference in the community.
Director of the Homeownership Program
Celia Mendivil, with for Primavera Foundation for over 22 years, has served her community by providing a variety of services, including financial capability and homeownership courses, financial coaching and housing counseling.
Currently, Celia oversees programs such as “Her Family,” a financial empowerment class for single mothers and their children; “Mis Abuelitos,” financial success services for grandparents and their grandchildren; and the “Siemer Project,” which provides assistance outside of school to help students succeed.
Celia has a certificate in business and administration from Pima Community College, is a HUD-certified housing counselor, and has completed homeownership and community lending certification through studies with NeighborWorks America.
External Relations Director
Lupita Rodriguez has worked at Primavera Foundation since 2011. She collaborates with agencies, individuals and families that would benefit from Primavera services. Lupita also educates the community through presentations, resource fairs, special events, meetings and partnerships.
Before her current position, Lupita spent 11 years in Primavera’s Home Ownership program, much of that as co-director, and worked in an Eviction Prevention program for two years. She earned HUD certification as a housing counselor in 2020.
Lupita previously worked in mortgage lending for over 25 years. A Tucson native, she loves our diverse community with its culture, barrios (neighborhoods), food and people.
The Primavera Foundation has between 85-90 employees at any given time. Primavera Works, our temporary staffing agency, employs between 100-145 individuals a year.