Circles USA Team

“The leadership and staff have a realistic, valid, and practical view of poverty. For instance, the leadership defines poverty and prosperity as the joint responsibility of societies, institutions and communities, as well as individuals. ”
— Mary Jane Collier, Communications professor at University of New Mexico

Circles USA Leadership Team

Scott Miller, Founder & CEO

Since the late 1970s, Scott has initiated numerous projects in North America to help families and communities more effectively address poverty. He has spent decades developing tools and best practices for helping low income people navigate their way out of poverty for good. Scott is the author of several books about poverty reduction.

Gena Atcher, National Membership Coordinator

Gena began working for Circles USA in 2006. Gena manages general inquiries, materials distribution, contract negotiations, invoicing, and events. Gena can be reached at 888-232-9285 or

Jamie Haft, Deputy Director

Jamie is responsible for expanding operations to achieve Circles USA’s ambitious goals for growth and leading key programmatic areas. Prior to this role, she was the Assistant Director of Imagining America, the national consortium of 100 universities dedicated to advancing social equity in urban and rural communities. With a master’s degree in public relations, she specializes in strategic planning, multimedia storytelling, community organizing, and grant writing.

Kamatara Johnson, Curriculum, Training, and Communications

Kamatara is responsible for supporting Circles USA curriculum and trainings, along with editing and publishing new materials. With a master’s in organizational leadership and 25 years of experience teaching inner-city high school English, Kamatara is ready to support families out of poverty in a new way, through Circles USA.

Courtney Cowan, Information Systems and Design Manager

Courtney manages Circles’ national data system and trains Circles chapters on how to use it. She also serves as a graphic designer for Circles USA and creates websites, logos, brochures, manuals, guides, and reports for its chapters.

Circles USA Advisors

Chris Tinney, Strategic Planner (Las Vegas, NV)

Denise Rhoades, Communications Consultant, Hartsook Companies (Daytona Beach, FL)

Jen Nibley, Director, Arrive Utah (Provo, UT)

Julie Liske, Executive Director, Circles Grand Rapids (Grand Rapids, MI)

Linda Jacobs, Executive Director, Good Samaritan Ministries (Holland, MI)

Lynette Fields, Executive Director, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church (Orlando, FL)

Mark Lautman, Founder, Community Economics Laboratory (Albuquerque, NM)

Sarah Thornburg, Executive Director, Friends In Deed (Ypsilanti, MI)

Tami Trover Crosson, Philanthropist and Education Consultant (Pinedale, WY)

Toni Taylor, Independent Professional Certified Coach (Greenville, SC)

Circles USA Board of Directors

Vince Gonzales, President (IT Director, Perinatal Associates of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM). Vince is Board President for the Rio Grande Center for Spiritual Living. He also leads a Music and Memory program for Alzheimer’s patients and helps Circles USA secure business partnerships and acquire state-of-the-art information and technology platforms.

Joan Kuriansky, Vice President (Former Executive Director, Wider Opportunities for Women, Washington, D.C.). Joan served as Executive Director of the Older Women’s League and on President Bill Clinton’s Advisory Council on Violence Against Women. She currently serves on a number of boards including Real Wealth of Nations, Justice International Connections, and as a fellow for the Income Security Committee of the National Academy of Social Insurance.

Jim Masters, Treasurer/Secretary (President, Center for Community Futures, Berkeley, CA). Jim has worked with over 500 Community Action Agencies and Head Start programs since 1966 and provides strategic planning and administrative oversight.

Jennifer Pelling (Director, Tsuha Foundation ). Jennifer’s experience includes consulting for large corporations, teaching math, and theatrical costume design. She is also an advisor to the John Corcoran Foundation which promotes literacy.

John Wilson (Consultant, Chalk Hill, PA). John served as Executive Director of Community Action Association of Pennsylvania for 37 years and helped launch the first Circles chapter.