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 and communities, as well as individuals. ”
— Mary Jane Collier, professor at the University of New Mexico

Circles USA Leadership Team

Kamatara Johnson, Executive Director

Kamatara is a seasoned CUSA staff leader with an M.A. in organizational leadership and 25 years’ experience in 8-12 education. Kamatara’s mission is to empower individuals and communities to create prosperity and belonging for all. She is also a licensed minister with the Centers for Spiritual Living at the Holmes Institute in Golden, CO. She is based in Albuquerque, NM.

Gena Atcher, National Membership Coordinator

Gena began working for Circles USA in 2006. She manages general inquiries, materials distribution, contract negotiations, invoicing, and events. She can be reached at (505) 225-7991 and

Courtney Cowan, Information Systems and Design Manager

Courtney manages Circles USA’s 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.

Scott Miller, Founder

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.

Circles USA Board of Directors

Joan Kuriansky, Board Chair, and Former Executive Director of Wider Opportunities for Women (Washington, DC)

Jim Masters, Board Treasurer, and President of Center for Community Futures (Berkeley, CA)

Jennifer Pelling, Board Member, and Director of Tsuha Foundation (San Diego, CA)

Christy Vines, Board Member, and President & CEO of Ideos (Westlake Village, CA)

Circles USA Consulting and Training Team

Amy Brooks, Content Writer & Editor (Lexington, KY)

Jeannie Chaffin, Poverty Alleviation Systems Consultant (Washington, DC)

Sarah Critchlow, Executive Director; Mark Lautman, Founder, CE Lab, Economic Development (Albuquerque, NM)

Lynette Fields, Expansion Advisor, Director of Poverty Solutions Group (Orlando, FL)

Adam Hartnett, Southern Regional Coach with Circles Central Florida (Orlando, FL)

Jenny Lipfert, Graphic Designer (Cornish, NH)

Julie Liske, Midwest Regional Coach and National Facilitator (Oxford, MI)

Sherri Nee, Curriculum Development (Portland, OR)

Lise Porter, Mental Health Specialist (Glendale, CA)

Helen Rai, Mid-Atlantic Regional Coach (Richmond, VA)

Chris Tinney, Sales Ambassador (Las Vegas, NV)

Jeff Tuscano, Western Regional Coach (St. George, UT)

John Wilson, Liaison to Community Action Network (Chalk Hill, PA)