Meet The Leaders

Phoenix Valdez
Chicktime San Diego Chapter Founder & Leader
Why I serve a leadership role with Chicktime:
When I came across Chicktime  I was in search of purpose and meaning in my life. This is exactly why I chose to start a chapter here in San Diego. Thinking back when I first started this adventure to me Chicktime embodied passion, more so it inspired passion within women and girls to explore themselves to self acceptance through giving and receiving of grace. Here is the letter I wrote to the  Founder of Chicktime, Lori Rhodes,  in hope of becoming a chapter leader to show you my real conviction of why I serve a leadership role with Chicktime:

“My name is Phoenix Valdez. I am a 25 year old, christian valued, soul. I just finished reading your piercing convictions of the meaning of living out your passion and how Chicktime facilitated so many women across the nation to live out their own through selfless giving. I have finally have found my passion; giving grace to others.  The more I find myself in this frame of mind, the more I extend myself to others and the more my world grows larger as the way God intended it to be. To be candid, my intention is to be authentic. Although I fear failure, I want to push the worries into prayer and manifest a magnificent chapter in San Diego. I want to take leadership and really help change a part of the community in San Diego. My reason’s for wanting this is bigger than myself. I think everything happens for a reason and everything is connected to each other. Being the catalyst that helps women to a personal transcendence through supporting teen age girls mend their own pain with love, attention and grace can only bring a beautiful destiny. I know this is my path, I feel it in my heart. My professional aspect is not as developed as it could be, only because I have not been able to do what I love. I think what you said about finding value is a precedent to doing something of value in life is so true. This past year I worked for Pepsi, joined my walk with Jesus, traveled around the world. Through it all I soul searched to find my own worth, and now I am just putting myself out into the world and depending on God’s will to lead out my purpose. I read all what was recommended, and evaluated all the responsibility. It leaves me only more eager to successfully establish this chapter. I plan on using all my resources, energy, and creativity to make this happen.  This particular season in my life is the best time to commit myself to being a leader in the Chicktime’s San Diego Chapter.”

This whole experience has been giving me a chance to learn about myself and grow into the woman I am meant to be. I am so blessed to have this opportunity to love deeper and be truly who I am without apology. Life has never been so vivid and meaningful to me.

My passions and gifts:
Love and Grace are passions that dwell deep inside me. Through traveling, another yet tangible passion of mine, I learned that we are all human and put here to love, accept, and give grace to others. I have lived such a blessed life and had so many wonderful opportunities, it has taken me a while to truly understand these concepts and translate them through my actions. I still fail a lot, but it gives me hope to know that I have another day and try again. Family is another huge passion of mine. It has been a journey in accepting where I come from, but at the ripe age of 25 I have found a lot of peace and appreciation for my origins. The precious moments you get with family and loved ones are easy to take for granted. Every chance I get to spend with them, I savor the moment and live in the present with an open heart, mind and ears. I love you family!

God is definitely a passion and a huge guidance in my life. I do not want to offend others by saying this. As much as I am comfortably convicted in my beliefs I accept everyone for who they are and respect what they believe. I want to convey that my beliefs do not dictate the acceptance of who chooses to be a Chicktime Chick and we are not a Christian organization. I want women who have the desire to be a positive, fun, loving influence in these girls lives in hope to ignite passion, love and acceptance in their own lives. I share this great passion for the purpose of sharing my true self with you. (Not to mention in the Shelter we work with we are not allowed to spiritually lead in any way due the organization being funded by the state.) I just know that for me believing in God has made me into a better, happier, positive person. All who have the intention of making a positive impact is invited to join the San Diego Chapter. Last but not least I am passionate about Chicktime and about it making a transforming impact for everyone involved. I am so excited about this adventure! As for gifts. I am kind of modest, but I definitely have a gift for creativity which is fuel for creating activities for Chicktime and having fun in life!

Hobbies and Interests:
When it comes to outlets, I am drawn to painting, or expressing myself through yoga, or on the soccer field scoring some goals. I also love traveling, as I labeled it as a passion of mine up above. I am pretty much in love with exploring new places, experiencing new cultures, and going outside my comfort zone to learn about humanity , beauty and love through meeting all different types of people and places. I can be a social butterfly, or sometimes I can be in my cocoon in relaxation mode, but connecting with people, hearing their stories and showing them love and grace is what I am all about. As I mentioned before I believe that we are put on this world to love and learn from others. Every chance I get, I take it and hope for a better understanding of myself and to uplift others with my enthusiasm and positivity. Every piece of you is a reflection of someone you know. It is a beautiful soulful process to truly embrace love and spread it.


Joann Van Ort
Chicktime San Diego Co-Leader

Why I serve a leadership role with Chicktime:
I was born and raised in Chicago. My husband and I recently retired and moved to the San Diego area. Even at my age it was very difficult for me to leave my family, friends and career. What would I do with my life? I remember thinking… this is my opportunity to give back. To leap into the lives of others and help them discover that life is a gift that they have been given. CHICKTIME has allowed me to do just that and at the same time meet new people and make new friends. At the age of 26, I was given the amazing opportunity to become the first female and the youngest individual to ever hold the position of Comptroller for the major corporation that I was currently employed with. I remember thinking can I handle a position like this? Will I be a good manager? Do I have the knowledge and experience to be successful? 27 years after taking on this challenge I retired from that company and to this day still feel a great sense of accomplishment. I was able to handle the position, be a good manager, and be more successful than my 26-year-old self ever imagined. I know that none of this would have been possible without the support and confidence of the people that mentored me throughout my career and now I find myself with the same opportunity to encourage and mentor other young women. I want them to think independently, trust their decisions and be proud of their final results.

One of my most memorable moments before retiring involved one young woman that worked for me. She was nominated and won a top annual award: The Star of Excellence. This award was reserved for people who pushed boundaries, were innovative, and went above and beyond. It was one of my proudest moments as a mentor/manager. It was a win for the whole team. I want to bring the young people at Chicktime this same goal for excellence, along with confidence, support, and realization of infinite potential.

My Passions and Gifts:
I feel my greatest gift is kindness, compassion and respect that I have for others. I am passionate about sharing my knowledge and experience with the ladies at Chicktime. With 30+ years of working I believe I have a lot to teach people, especially when it comes to helping them to create opportunities for themselves and rise to any challenge they meet; it’s these challenges that help us to discover who we truly are.

My Hobbies and Interest:
Even though I’m retired I still enjoy taking computer classes to keep my skills sharp and the challenge of learning new ones. I enjoy developing spreadsheets to help me keep organized in my everyday life. I also enjoy creating computer generated photo books and slideshows to recollect special trips and events. I enjoy yoga classes as well as strength training, which keep me mentally in shape as well as physically. I love trying new restaurants and cuisines and cooking new recipes with my husband. I truly enjoy volunteering at the Boys and Girls club helping the young children with homework. I find it very rewarding to assist and encourage them. I look forward to having the opportunity to travel more and engage new experiences I enjoy reading. Particularly stories that depict the trials and tribulations that women have endured throughout history to enable the progress and evolution of the role women play in society as we know it today. As members of Chicktime it is our responsible to empower and embrace the women of the next generation.

Bio Pic - Shirley_2

Shirley Moore
Chicktime San Diego Co-Leader
Why I serve a leadership role with Chicktime:
There are several reasons I serve as a Chicktime leader, some selfish and some altruistic.  Selfishly, I serve because I enjoy working with the other women on the leadership team.  Our different ages, talents, and personalities create a fun working relationship.  In addition to working with this wonderful group of women, I enjoy the flexibility of my responsibilities. Now that I am retired, I love to be the ruler of my personal kingdom. Working as a team allows us to step in and help one another when necessary.   Altruistically, I believe in the goals of Chicktime, and I think we bring quality experiences into the lives of the foster teens at Casa de Amparo.  I volunteer in other capacities at Casa, and recognized early on that Chicktime filled an important niche in the services offered to the residents.  Lastly, keeping Chicktime rolling smoothly takes a lot of work.  In the beginning, two women carried much of the load.   It was time for others to help shoulder some of their responsibilities.  The old adage ‘many hands make light work’ is still true today.

My hobbies & Interests:
My talents and interests evolve as I gain wisdom (a euphemism for aging). However, one constant seems to be my involvement with teen girls.  Somehow, throughout my adult life, I have always had a spare teen in my circle of responsibilities, whether it be as a teacher, a youth leader, or a substitute parent. I also like event planning.  I’m not particularly artsy, but I love creating a theme and coordinating the food, décor and activity around that theme. I swear I should own stock in Pinterest!

My Passions & Gifts:
Being retired, my husband and I are in our traveling years, so I seem to spend a lot of time planning adventures or experiencing adventures.  My family is a priority and I delight in spending time with my daughters, grandchildren, and sisters.  I also stay plugged in at church as my faith gives me the motivation and strength to keep reaching out to others.

Bio Pic - Andrea_2

Maria Andrea Menendez
Chicktime San Diego Co-Leader
(760) 685-0335

Why I serve a leadership role with Chicktime:
Once in a lifetime you come across something that is full of passion, inspiration, hard work and selfless caring for others…it’s called Chicktime! Since I was a little girl I was always very prone to help others. I remember my great great grandma (yes I was lucky to be part of five generations) couldn’t get out of bed before she passed away. I must have been around 6 years old and I would help her do her body exercises, and fed her as best as I could since I was very little. I got older and started ballet classes, and I was invited to be a teacher’s assistant to help the little ones better their techniques. The same thing happened when I started tae kwon do years later. Later in life, I had the opportunity to choose from several options to fulfill my social service hours to graduate high school. I picked going out on a mission somewhere in the outskirts of Mexico and helping those less fortunate because they do not have as much money. My entire life I’ve had a need to help others, which ends up helping me. I grew up in Mexico, in a broken household where I learned to fight, to be jealous, to yell, and put walls up instead of talking things through. As I grew older I decided it was time to help myself be a better me. I started reading self-help books and going to therapy. I have come a long way since then. As I have helped myself I have no doubt I can help others as well! It is well said that everything starts with one self, when we love and respect our own self we can love and respect others as well. 

My hobbies & Interests:
I have many hobbies, including working out, dancing, playing board games, tanning, the beach, the pool, being outdoors, traveling and exploring new places. I am a nerd in disguise and anything that spikes my intellect will captivate me!

My Passions & Gifts:
I used to go to Zumba classes when I was trying to lose weight and get into a healthier life style. This was around a year and a half ago. Our Zumba teacher was invited to teach a class for the girls at Casa de Amparo and invited me to come along. I had wanted to find a volunteering community for a while and I had just not made it happen. So of course I said yes! Ever since then, I have been a part of Chicktime.

I am not going to lie…the first few months I volunteered were hard. I guess I was naively expecting the kids to be more open. As time went by, I realized that we go there to do a major behind the scenes service in the girl’s life, and they do not have to open up. Some of them may be open enough to express their gratefulness and some others may not. But our main goal isn’t to hear them say thank you (although it is really nice and means the world to us) … our main goal is to inspire them and make them see how great they are, that there is hope in the world and that there are still good people out there who do LOVE them.

I am here to selflessly help others, to bring the best out of them, to inspire them and help them see themselves in a greater way with love and compassion. I want to help them understand it is not their fault what happened to them; we just live in a world in much need of love, compassion and self-respect. I am an extremely passionate person who loves to help others, who always seeks improvement, and who is not ok with life’s unfairness. One of the best gifts life could have ever given me is to be self-aware and seek improvement of myself continuously. It is not easy, but it is an everyday challenge that brings much joy.

Chicktime San Diego:
Volunteer Coordinator-Joann
Facebook Manager-Phoenix
Website Monitor-Maria Andrea
Calendar Manager-Phoenix
Rising Managing Leader-Joann