BOARD OF DIRECTORS
JUDY FLANAGAN PRESIDENT/CHAIR
Judy has practiced immigration law for twenty years as a sole practitioner. She earned an A.B. in English from U.C. Berkeley and graduated from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. After clerking for Chief Justice William A. Holohan of the Arizona Supreme Court, she was a prosecutor for the City of Phoenix, a staff attorney with the Urban Indian Law Office of Community Legal Services in Phoenix, a managing attorney for the Douglas office of Southern Arizona Legal Aid, and a hearing officer with the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections. While at SALA, she lead a drive to establish the first domestic violence shelter in Douglas (housed in a former drug tunnel building). She won a four-year battle to prevent the deportation of four honors high school students (the Wilson 4) who were racially profiled and detained near Niagara Falls in 2002 while they were competing at a school-sponsored solar boat competition. Judy loves to hike, cook, visit art galleries and museums, contradance, attend meetings, and visit her far-flung family.
ERIN SCHARFF VICE CHAIR
Erin is an Associate Professor of Law at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. At ASU, she teaches Federal Income Tax, State and Local Tax, and Torts. She writes about state and local tax law and local government law. Her work has appeared in the Tax Law Review, the Georgetown Law Journal, and the NYU Law Review.
Before law school, Erin worked in Washington, D.C. as an advocate and research analyst on housing, health care, and tax policy. In 2007 and 2008, she traveled the country working for Obama for America. She has been a volunteer income tax assistant tax preparer in both D.C. and San Francisco. Erin grew up in Phoenix. Both of her paternal grandparents came here as refugees, as did her maternal grandfather. She thinks all of her grandparents would be proud of her work with PLAN.
ELISSE LAROUCHE SECRETARY
Elisse Larouche grew up near Berkeley, California and is now an Assistant Federal Public Defender in Phoenix, Arizona. While she never could have guessed she would end up in the desert of Phoenix, she has seen the incredible need for legal services in Arizona. She is proud to work among fierce advocates for justice as a public defender and to be part of PLAN's work to increase access to justice to the immigrant community. She previously served as a law clerk to the Honorable Mary H. Murguia on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and to the Honorable John J. Tuchi in the District of Arizona. Elisse attended the University of California, San Diego for her undergraduate studies and the University of California, Berkeley for law school. She enjoys hiking, baking, and reading fiction by women of color.
SEAN BERENS TREASURER
Sean is an attorney at Fennemore Craig, P.C., where he focuses on commercial real estate transactions and has been active in pro bono immigration matters. Sean grew up in Arizona and is passionate about creating and contributing to a community of lawyers who look out for the rights of all of their neighbors in the Valley. This includes tapping the skills and energy of transactional attorneys who might not yet know how helpful they can be. Sean went to the University of Southern California for undergrad and received his J.D. from Columbia. He is also a Fellow of the Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy.
Sean is (slowly) improving his Spanish and working to cut down on the time he spends hate-reading Twitter.
Rekha is a first generation immigrant who grew up in Mesa, Arizona. She is a proud graduate of ASU and Penn Law. She served as the PLAN Lead Attorney at the Florence Project from 2018-2019, leading our Immigrant Justice Project. She previously worked as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the District of Arizona and at the Florence Project providing legal assistance and representation to detained immigrants. Through PLAN, Rekha hopes to build and participate in a community of attorneys committed to protecting and promoting human rights and greater access to justice for all Valley residents. In addition to her work with PLAN, Rekha also supports Trans Queer Pueblo’s six-month community legal course. Rekha loves speaking in Spanglish, losing herself in a book, and eating chocolate; she abhors most fruit.
Greg came to Phoenix in 2016 to attend law school at ASU. After graduating in May 2019, he will work as a staff attorney for the Florence Project, where he previously served as the Equality Arizona LGBTQ intern in summer 2018. While this is his first board position, he has been employed as the board liaison for the Committee to Protect Journalists in NYC, and worked closely with the board as the Project Manager of the Uyghur Human Rights Project in DC. After college, Greg was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to study the Uyghur language in Central Asia. Greg also speaks Mandarin and Spanish, and enjoys listening to pop music and watching TV dramas to keep up his language skills.
Thomas is the Executive Director for Local First Arizona, the largest coalition of local businesses in North America. He advocates for a strong local business community that contributes to building vibrancy, equity, and prosperity across the state. A proud Arizona native and graduate of Arizona State University, Thomas leads the business coalition of Local First Arizona by advocating for the economic and cultural benefits provided by building strong local economies. Thomas steers the strategic direction of LFA's major programs and initiatives as well as the engagement of over 3000 businesses across Arizona. As Executive Director, Thomas oversees the execution of LFA's communication strategy, major initiatives and key partnerships, as well as the collaboration of over 30 staff implementing work in entrepreneurship programs, small business advocacy, local food initiatives, sustainability, urban development and community building. He frequently speaks to groups locally and nationally, presenting the impact of Local First Arizona and the importance of local economy work in building prosperity. Outside of Local First Arizona, Thomas has participated in volunteering his time to many causes and organizations throughout the Valley including Young Nonprofit Professionals - Phoenix, Equality Arizona, Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, Arizona Commission on the Arts, Heritage Square and Phoenix Legal Action Network. Additionally, Thomas is a 2018 Phoenix Magazine 40 Under 40 honoree, alumni of Arizona Leading for Change, and current participant in Valley Leadership Institute's 40th cohort.
Whitney is an associate attorney at Curiel & Runion LLC, where she focuses on personal injury and wrongful death. She served as the YLD Liaison for the Immigration Law Section Executive Council and is a second term board member for the Arizona chapter of the American Constitution Society, where she helps organize events and panel discussions focused on issues like voting rights, the MeToo movement, private prisons, etc. She earned a BA in English and Women and Gender Studies from ASU, as well as a JD from the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at ASU. Whitney loves animals, especially her dog, Scooter, and enjoys dancing, hiking, and creating new recipes.
LORI DENNEHY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Lori joins PLAN with a background in law, leadership development, social justice activism, and nonprofit management. Born and raised in Arizona, she earned both her BA and JD at ASU, graduating from law school in 2008. Lori became passionate about leadership and social justice by volunteering with Anytown Leadership programs for many years, and carried that experience into her career. After just a few years in the legal profession, she made an early career shift toward philanthropic work, and spent the next decade building, managing, and fundraising for community-serving nonprofit organizations. Having also navigated the immigration system firsthand, Lori is personally invested in advancing justice for immigrants in Arizona. With her combination of experience in each of these areas, Lori's strategic leadership enables PLAN to work toward its mission with a holistic, progressive approach, in collaboration with stakeholders from all angles. She is a nature lover, dog mom of two, long time minimalist, mediocre tennis player, and whole-food-plant-based nutrition enthusiast.