LEO Leadership

Our Leaders


We are a team of dedicated and experienced professionals with unique perspectives.  We are not only committed to each other’s personal and professional growth, but also to the success of the mission we care so much about and the many people we serve through education, fundraising, and mentoring.

We believe that effective leadership and board governance are paramount in building long-term significance for our investors. The vital aspects of our board governance charter include: helping keep the organization mission-focused, providing oversight and support for the CEO, being community advocates, committee work, financial reporting and support, and ensuring legal and ethical integrity and accountability. Our committee structures include fundraising, marketing, communications, investments, and programs.

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madeline winney

Madeline LoConti Winney
Chief Executive Officer


Madeline has made a career of serving people and igniting powerful, rewarding philanthropy to make Arizona a stronger community for all. With a heart for youth and a vision for building future leaders, she launched LEO Foundation, formerly known as GCU Scholarship Foundation, where she has dedicated nearly 20 years to helping students achieve their educational and career goals through scholarships and leadership opportunities. Madeline also serves as Executive Director of Development for the Arizona Basketball Coaches Association, Inc. raising funds to benefit the annual Section 7 Event and Title 1 and at-risk youth in our community through the Youth Development Academy.

Throughout her accomplishment-driven career in various executive roles, she has cultivated innovative ideas, supported shared vision, and advanced the charitable legacy of others.

Madeline is recognized for her expertise in building partnerships with the private and public sectors and with community and philanthropic leaders. She utilizes the foundation’s voice to uplift student needs and develops impactful strategies to drive greater access and opportunities across the community. LinkedIn


Michele Simphoukham
Chief Financial Officer


Michele Simphoukham proudly serves as the Treasurer for the LEO Foundation. Michele has been in the tax and accounting profession since 1992 and became a CPA in 2000. She currently works as the Nonprofit Tax Manager for a local university.

When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and four young adult children. When not behind a computer crunching numbers, she can be found with her camera capturing beautiful moments.


Cassidy Penney
Chief Marketing and Communications Officer

Cassidy is an experienced marketing and communications professional, with a 22-year career in the corporate world before making the transition to nonprofit work. Previously, she worked at the American Red Cross, rolling up her sleeves and going on numerous deployments across the country as a public affairs officer in response to a variety of disasters, including Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Virgin Islands. Most recently, Cassidy was a vital member of the philanthropy team at UMOM New Day Centers, Arizona’s largest emergency homeless shelter for families, where she spent four years serving as the director of marketing and communications. She led a team that raised awareness and funding to address homelessness in our community through a variety of activities and channels, including direct mail, events, news outlets, social media, donations drives, and volunteerism.

Cassidy has three grown children, two of whom live in Phoenix and one who lives in the Bay Area of California. In her spare time, Cassidy loves to enjoy the great outdoors, hiking and traveling with her husband, Dave. She grows a seasonal garden and enjoys crafting, woodworking, and cooking gourmet meals.


Jeff Lakes

Jeff Lakes
Board Member and Investment Advisor 


Jeff is the CEO of Financial Solutions Group, a nationwide debt management consulting firm he founded over ten years ago. Before FSG, he had over 30 years of industry experience in executive leadership roles with large corporations such as Hershey, Johnson & Johnson, Leiner Health Products, Rexall Sundown, and Kuji Sports North America.

Jeff’s greatest accomplishment is his family. He has been married to Lori for 32 years and has three children who all live in the Phoenix area.

Jeff has been a LEO Foundation board member since 2020.

In addition, he and Lori have served on various non-profit boards, including the Gaitway Foundation of Tucson and the Benton County Sunshine School in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Jeff spends his free time fundraising for LEO Foundation and enjoys church activities, family trips, the great outdoors, and helping other entrepreneurs get their projects off the ground.


Lori Lakes

Lori Lakes
Board Member


Lori Lakes has been married to her best friend, Jeff, for over 30 years. She is the proud mother of three adult children and spends most of her time as a personal assistant to their young adult special needs daughter.

Lori is a former elementary and special needs teacher and home educator. She has served as a Gaitway Conductive Education board member in Tucson, AZ. She has been involved in various ministries in the church and served alongside Jeff on church mission trips to Romania.

She enjoys reading, being outdoors, cooking for others, and considers dark chocolate an important food group.

She is honored to be a part of the Leo Foundation and excited to watch God use the Foundation as a blessing to students.