Founder and CEO

Stephanie ParkerStephanie A. Parker, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO, The Aurora Foundation of Southern Arizona, Inc

Stephanie A. Parker is Founder and CEO of The Aurora Foundation of Southern Arizona, Inc. She is a psychologist with a career of more than 30 years spanning professions whose primary focus is education and developing the whole person. In 2001 Stephanie established a nonprofit organization for women and girls with disabilities to bring forth their abilities, assets, skills, and knowledge and become active and engaged citizens in our community. For more than a decade she has served as its president and chief executive officer. She is a results-oriented, hands-on leader. She values strategic partnerships and alliances that serve the mission and goals of the foundation as well as the women who participate in its classes and programs.

Stephanie earned a doctorate in Educational Psychology, emphasis in organizational consulting and dynamics and program evaluation, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Master of Arts degrees in clinical psychology and counseling and guidance from Midwestern University and the University of Arizona, respectively.

Prior to founding The Aurora Foundation, Stephanie established a business in organization development and evaluation, ChangeLeaders Consulting & Research Group of Arizona Incorporated. This followed her work as a professor of educational leadership at the University of Arizona and before that at the University of Hartford. Preceding her professorship at the University of Hartford, Stephanie was the Associate Director of the National Research and Development Center for School Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Stephanie practiced as a professional therapist and counselor in institutional, educational, and community mental health settings in Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas, and New York before entering her doctoral program.

Some of Dr. Parker’s accomplishments include:
2012: The Aurora Foundation, Recipient Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona Marmis Humanitarian Award

2004: Delivered paper on leadership and advocacy development for women with disabilities in US-China women leaders exchange program with activities in Shanghai and Beijing

2003: Consultant to Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai and Abu Dhabi campuses, to review and make recommendations regarding the content and design of the institution’s leadership development courses and curriculum for young women and make recommendations for modification for students and training faculty

2002: Aurora awarded $775,000 federal grant that enabled development and implementation of curriculum-based programs for women with disabilities: health, wellness, and fitness; healthy relationships; education and career exploration; social entrepreneurship; leadership and advocacy development; mentoring

2001: Founded The Aurora Foundation to empower women with disabilities, build mutually supportive and inclusive community, and promote and pursue disability justice

2000: Co-developed and published 360-degree leadership assessment instruments and instructional climate assessment instruments with MetriTech, Champaign, Illinois

2000-2008: Established small business ChangeLeaders Inc, consulting in design and execution of program evaluation and organizational development

1992: Received the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Outstanding Dissertation Award in Qualitative Research

1992: Dissertation nominated to the American Educational Research Association Division in Qualitative Research in Consideration for Outstanding Dissertation Award

Stephanie is known for her tenacity and vigorous activism on behalf of and with women with disabilities for full and equitable human, civil, and disability rights; attention to detail and steadfast perseverance, persistence, and patience to achieve objectives that serve the organization and its participants; humor, optimism, and a can-do spirit in the face of many challenges.

Stephanie lives with her awesome partner in Tucson, Arizona. She has two daughters and four grandsons, ranging from 12 months to 6 years old. Stephanie is a wine and movie enthusiast; loves to shop for food and prepare something special with it; and invite friends to join in the fun. She is an enthusiast of wine and movies and presently a fan of authors, Stieg Larsson and Malcolm Gladwell.

You can reach Stephanie via email at  sparker@aurorafoundationaz.org