LEARNING TO COLLABORATE: Chamber and PNM graduate new leaders set on making the city better 


On Tuesday, Leadership Albuquerque graduated its 2024 cohort at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. The program is a collaboration of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce and sponsor PNM.


Tom Antram, Leadership ABQ Chair and President and CEO of French Funerals and Cremations, congratulated the group on their 10-month journey in the program.


“The beauty of Leadership Albuquerque is that we’re giving you all perspective,” he said. “It’s an investment in your development as leaders, not only for the companies that sent you here. For you, personally, to take time out every month to be here to do this – you really have to be commended for that commitment to stick with this, it’s hard. It’s hard to take that time to pull a day out every month. We thank you for that.”


Leadership Albuquerque develops knowledgeable and engaged civic leaders.

In its 43rd year, the program prepares professionals at all levels and from a variety of industries to expand their influence in their organizations and in our community.

Throughout the 10-month course, each cohort of approximately 40 students gains a deep understanding of issues that impact the economic growth and quality of life in our city and state. They enjoy interactions with high-level community leaders, government officials, and industry experts and gain insight into the most important challenges we face.

Antram recognized PNM as the title sponsor of Leadership Albuquerque and brought up Becky Teague, vice president of Human Resources for PNM.


Teague talked about the decades-long relationship with the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce and its Leadership Albuquerque program.


“I’m proud of that partnership,” Teague said. “We look forward to the future of New Mexico. That’s what this is all about. For more than 40 years, Leadership Albuquerque has helped elevate our leaders in our community. We’re honored at PNM to have had more graduates than any other company.”


Teague recognized that the program goes beyond professional development.


“There are graduates from business leaders to civic leaders who work together to make lasting solutions in our community,” Teague said. “This year’s graduates, congratulations. And you take the lessons that you’ve learned and the connections that you’ve made, and use them as a catalyst to make a positive impact in New Mexico.”


GACC President and CEO Terri Cole expanded on the journey of Leadership Albuquerque, and she welcomed keynote speaker Bernalillo County Manager Julie Morgas Baca, who has been at the helm of Bernalillo County for nine years and is retiring at the end of June.


Morgas Baca shared how Bernalillo County has led the efforts in behavioral health programs and initiatives through its payroll health tax, and how it collaborated with University of New Mexico Hospital on opening its first crisis triage center.


“When I became county manager, I knew that this is what we needed to do,” she said. “We were looking for a good partner, and what better partner could there be than University of New Mexico Hospital.”


Morgas Baca again stressed the importance of collaboration within the community. She recalled the community wanting the county to build a new office somewhere else within the county. She opted to look for property Downtown, which led to a collaboration with PNM.


“We wanted to revitalize the south side of Central Avenue,” she said. “We wanted the county building to be inviting to the public. When you walk in, you are greeted and pointed in the right direction for your business. We also bought the customer parking lot from PNM.”


Through her 33 years in public service, Morgas Baca gleaned pearls of wisdom she shared with the graduating class on what it’s like to be a leader. She said:


  • Come to work. Be on time, be honest, do the right thing. But give your very, very best.”
  • “Don’t be afraid to ask questions, be professional, be respectful, and be ethical.”
  • “Don’t be too concerned if you don’t get the credit.”
  • “Leadership is selflessness.”
  • “Use your influence as leaders in your organizations to create a strong, healthy and vibrant work environment.”
  • “Be accessible to everyone.”
  • “Always consider giving people second chances. We are humans, we make mistakes.”
  •  “One important lesson I learned was the importance of partnerships and collaboration.”


To end the night, David S. Campbell, Chief Executive Officer of Mesa Del Sol, called graduates to the stage. The 2024 Leadership Albuquerque graduates are:


  • Heather Abeyta, Kirtland Air Force Base
  • Anthony Alexander, Hitachi Global
  • Racheal Angel, Western Sky Community Care
  • Holly Armstrong, Rodey Law Firm
  • Muskaan Behl, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of New Mexico
  • Rebecca Brock, Sandia National Laboratories
  • Kristen Carey, New Mexico Mutual
  • Dominica Chavez, New Mexico Kids CAN
  • Jason Christensen, Wagner Equipment
  • Joyce Copeland, Sandia National Laboratories
  • Brian Cosbey, Bohannan Huston, Inc.
  • Susan De Los Santos, UNM Health Sciences Center
  • Shana Dempsey, BlueHalo
  • Taylor Duffney, Briones Business Law
  • Deena Duran, UNM Health Sciences Center
  • Benton Dwight, SYNCRONYS
  • Alex Elborn, Sutin, Thayer & Browne
  • Josh Glass, French Funerals & Cremations
  • Lisa Goodman, Albertsons/United Supermarkets
  • Khia Griffis, Albuquerque Community Foundation
  • Mercy Herrera, Equip Academy and Excellent Schools New Mexico
  • Michael Hoffman, Lovelace Health System
  • Shannon Jackson, PNM
  • Erin Johnson-Kruft, Central New Mexico Community College
  • Jacqueline Kakos, UNM Health Sciences Center
  • Jessica Lawlis, Dekker/Perich/Sabatini
  •  Denise L’Esperance, Bank of Albuquerque
  • Janet Leung, UNM Hospitals
  • Angela Lopez, Public Charter Schools of New Mexico
  • Anthony Lujan, New Mexico Gas Company
  • Eric Martinez, Accenture
  • Sebastian Martinez, Central New Mexico Community College
  • Kristin McLoughlin, PNM
  • Laurel Meister-Schmuck, The Grant Plant
  • Maggie Merrigan, Hartman + Majewski
  • Heather Mock, Sandia Preparatory School
  • Mary Montano, ABB
  • Jason Okumura, Kirtland Air Force Base
  • Amanda Ortiz, UNM Health Sciences Center
  • Robert Romero, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
  • Eugene Saavedra, Albuquerque Public Schools
  • Andrea Sanchez, PNM
  • Chris Taylor, Chalmers Ford
  • Nathan Varley, Western Sky Community Care

We congratulate all of this year’s Leadership Albuquerque graduates and thank their companies and organizations, and we are already working on the 2024-2025 program year to make it fun and informative for more of our community’s future leaders. For more information, contact Lora Lee Ortiz at [email protected].

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