Shari Jones received both a Bachelor of Accountancy and an MBA from New Mexico State University. Shari began her career in the audit practice of the El Paso office of Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. (now KPMG). In September of 1995 she joined Security Capital Group, a real estate holding company. Shari was initially hired to manage external reporting in conjunction with the initial public offering of one of Security Capital’s real estate companies. The IPO was successfully completed in 1997 and, in May 1998, Shari transferred to a related company, Security Capital Industrial Trust, now known as ProLogis.
ProLogis is a global real estate investment trust with almost $35 billion of assets owned, primarily in the industrial sector. Shari served as ProLogis’ Chief Accounting Officer from May 1998 to December 2004. When the company relocated its administrative and financial operations from El Paso to Denver Shari was offered an opportunity to remain with the company as a First Vice President working on special projects. This opportunity allowed her to work from ProLogis’ marketing office in El Paso and continue to live in Las Cruces. In response to organizational changes in the company’s China business unit, Shari was named the Interim Chief Financial Officer of ProLogis China from October 2007 to March 2008, a role that required her to work in the company’s Shanghai office during parts of 2007 and 2008.
In May 2009, Shari became the company’s Global Compliance Officer and, as a member of the Strategic Risk Management group, she now oversees ProLogis’ Corporate Compliance Program for North America, Europe and Asia.
Twenty years after leaving NMSU, Shari reconnected with her alma mater in 2001 when she joined the Executive Council of the NMSU Alumni Association. She served on the Council for four years, including one year as President. She serves on the Alumni Association’s International Board of Directors and is currently a member of the Aggie Athletics Fund Board (since 2004) and the President’s Associates Board (since 2005). Shari received the NMSU Foundation’s Spirit of Service Award in October 2007 in recognition of her role as the co-chair of the Hospitality Committee for the 2007 WAC Basketball Tournament held in Las Cruces, a role she also undertook for the 2008 event. The NMSU Alumni Association will recognize Shari during its 2009 Homecoming activities as the recipient of the 2009 James F. Cole Memorial Award for Service.
Kelly Peña is Vice President, Disney Channels Worldwide Brand Research, Disney ABC Cable Networks Group, part of The Walt Disney Company. She is responsible for strategic, brand and marketing research for the Company’s wholly-owned basic cable networks: Disney Channel, Disney XD, ABC Family and SOAPnet as well as Radio Disney.
Peña leads an international, cross-functional team that translates quantitative and qualitative data into meaningful actionable information required for the development of long-term strategies, growth initiatives and key business decisions. Additionally, she oversees research with portfolio-wide relevance including cross-network custom research, segmentation and brand measurement studies, consumer trends and market intelligence.
Peña and her team work closely with multiple Disney divisions and internal clients, providing information and analyses to advance respective areas of the business. The groups include executive and senior management, ad sales, communications, business development and the brand and marketing groups. She also leads the international research coordination for global initiatives to ensure the efficient exchange of information between the U.S. and Disney Channels around the world.
Peña joined The Walt Disney Company in May 2000 as Director of Research for The Walt Disney Internet Group. She transferred to Disney ABC Cable Networks Group in October 2002 and has been instrumental in evolving the vision and curriculum for the worldwide learning-based brand Playhouse Disney, as well as a shared brand vision for the 27 Disney Channels around the world, and the Company’s newly launched channel, Disney XD.
She was instrumental in the rebrand of Toon Disney to Disney XD, a boy-focused, girl-inclusive channel. Peña and her team conducted extensive research that helped shape the channel and its online components in order to reach the underserved boy demographic.
Previously, she served as Worldwide Research Director for American Express and held research positions at Hilton Hotels Corporation and Applause, Inc.
Peña earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a minor in Mass Media from New Mexico State University and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Louisiana State University. She resides in Los Angeles.
Don and Sarrah Kidd
Don Kidd attended Crowell High School in Crowell, TX, and received his GED in 1960 from Odessa High School in Odessa, TX. Mr. Kidd then went on to attend San Angelo College in San Angelo, TX, and graduated in 1972 from Southwestern Graduate School of Banking, SMU.
Mr. Kidd has been actively involved in promoting education in New Mexico. He currently serves as Chairman and Board Member for New Mexico Appleseed. One of his most recent involvements is with the National Center for Responsible Lending in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Kidd served in the New Mexico State Senate, District 34, from 1992 to 2004 when he retired so he could focus more on banking. In 2006 he received an honorary doctorate degree from New Mexico State University for his service to NMSU as a supporter and former Regent, for his service in the New Mexico Legislature.
Sarrah most enjoys spending time traveling around the world with her three daughters. She is an accomplished pianist and avid reader, and has recently begun learning the art of cross stitching.
Don and Sarrah Kidd have been married for over 50 years. Don and Sarrah have three children, five grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Jayann and David Sepich
Dave and Jayann Sepich were both raised in Carlsbad, NM. They lived on the same street as children and became high school sweethearts. They have been married for 32 years.
On August 31, 2003, Dave and Jayann saw their life shatter when their firstborn, Katie, who was then a graduate student at New Mexico State University, was brutally raped and murdered. In the aftermath of that experience, Dave and Jayann learned more than they ever wanted to know about our criminal justice system, and the laws that affect our lives.
Forensic evidence in Katie’s murder was found underneath her fingernails. DNA was extracted from the skin and blood found there and uploaded to the national forensic DNA database, called CODIS. Jayann and Dave were hopeful because they believed Katie’s attacker could possibly be arrested for another crime and the match would be made. That is when they learned that at that time in almost all states it was illegal for law enforcement to take DNA from arrestees. That this scientific tool was unavailable to law enforcement seemed wrong to the Sepichs.
Dave and Jayann, along with their son AJ and daughter Caraline, have made it their mission to see legislation passed in all 50 states to mandate taking DNA upon felony arrest.
Called “Katie’s Law” it passed in New Mexico in 2006 and was implemented in New Mexico January 1, 2007. New Mexico has had 87 matches so far to criminal cases, including a number of high profile homicides. A total of twenty-one states now have similar legislation.
In December of 2008, Dave and Jayann formed DNA Saves, a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization with the mission of passing DNA arrestee testing legislation in all fifty states.
As a result of Jayann’s work to see arrestee DNA legislation passed, she has been honored by Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico as an Outstanding New Mexico Woman of 2007, and was inducted into the New Mexico Women’s Hall of Fame. She was also honored by Redbook Magazine in October 2008 with their “Strength and Spirit Award”.
Along with his commitment to Katie’s Law, Dave has been active in the community of Carlsbad for many years. He has served as the President of the Carlsbad Kiwanis Club, President of the Riverside Country Club, President of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, as well as President of the Carlsbad Department of Development. He was Chairman of the Carlsbad Citizens for Public Schools, which spearheaded a drive to pass a $20 million bond issue which, as a result, passed after having failed twice before the CCPC was formed. He was recently appointed by Governor Richardson to serve on the New Mexico Workforce Solutions Board.
Dave and Jayann believe that they are ordinary people placed in an extraordinary circumstance. They know that through DNA testing of arrestees, lives will be saved and crimes prevented, and families will be spared the pain of burying a beloved child.
Corporate Traders Award
Jerry With, Mountain States Insurance Group
Mr. With has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Mountain States Insurance Group since 1996. He began his employment with the company in 1970 in the Finance and Accounting Department. A native of Albuquerque, he started his college career at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, TX, but transferred to the University of New Mexico where he earned his bachelors degree in Business Administration.
Jerry serves as Chairman of the New Mexico Property and Casualty Insurance Guarantee Association board, and is also a member of the New Mexico Workers Compensation Assigned Risk Pool Board of Directors, and serves on the board of Special Olympics of New Mexico.
Mr. With has many civic and athletic interests. He is a huge fan and supporter of Special Olympics and is very active in his church, where he serves as a Bible teacher. In his spare time, Jerry enjoys fishing, golfing, hunting, golfing, camping, golfing and GOLFING!!