Board of Directors
Melissa Solyn, President
Bio coming soon!
Vanessa Helms, Past President
Vanessa is the Executive Director of Homicide Survivors, Inc. Prior to this position she worked at the at Pima County Attorney's Office Victim Services where she coordinated a crisis volunteer program, supervised a rural victim services expansion project and was the coordinator of the Victim Assistance Academy and National Academy through the Arizona Coalition of Victim Services (ACVS) and the National Office for Victim Assistance (NOVA).
In 2016, Vanessa was selected as one of Tucson's 40 under 40. Vanessa graduated with her bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona and received a Masters of Counseling from the University of Phoenix. Vanessa is the troop leader for Girl Scout Troop 229, the secretary of her Home Owners Association and performs in the Manhattan Dolls, a trio of women who travel the country and world to sing 30s-60s ear music mainly to veterans and active duty members. Vanessa is a 7th generation Tucsonan, and she has two daughters and a wonderful and supportive husband.
Melissa Tomlinson, Treasurer
Melissa Tomlinson is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM). She has experience in public accounting as an auditor specializing in not-for-profit entities. Currently, she is the Principal of Tomlinson Financial Group (TFG), a full-service CPA firm. In her role at TFG, she serves as the consultant CFO for a variety not-for-profits and closely-held and private companies. Her areas of specialty include financial processes and internal controls review, government grant and contracts compliance, and special taxing districts. Her community involvement includes serving on the board as the Treasurer for the Tucson Girls Chorus, past service as a finance committee member for the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona, as well as past service as the Treasurer of the Board for the International School of Tucson. Melissa lives in Tucson and has an Accounting degree from the University of Arizona (Summa Cum Laude). She likes to spend time with her husband and children and traveling in the US Southwest.
Don Swann, Secretary
Don Swann is the father of TGC alum Inge Pham-Swann, now a student at Macalister College. Originally from Boston, he has lived in Tucson since 1991. Don attended Brown University in Rhode Island and has a MS in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Arizona. Don is a biologist at Saguaro National Park, where he studies saguaros and wildlife and directs a large crew of biological technicians and interns. He serves on the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum Science Advisory Council and the Pima County Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan Science Technical Advisory Team. Don has received the Emily Haury Award for outstanding research from the Western National Parks Association, the James Jarchow Conservation Award from the Tucson Herpetological Society, and the National Park Service Director’s Award for Natural Resource Management. His wife Phi H. Pham is a teacher at Amphi Middle School, and their son Ty attends Catalina Foothills HS. In his spare time Don runs and raises vegetables. Don loves TGC and is excited to be a new board member.
David Pietz is Professor of Chinese History, Director of Global Studies, and the UNESCO Chair in Environmental History at the University of Arizona. He has served on the boards of a variety of educational and non-profit organizations in Tucson and Washington state. His daughter graduated from TGC in 2018, and David is committed to continuing and strengthening TGC's extraordinary contributions to our community.
Stephanie R. Pearmain is a children’s book author and Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of Arizona. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hollins University. She teaches English and Honors courses in Children's and YA Literature and publishing and is the Coordinator of Undergraduate English Internships.
Monica Medlen, '15
Monica Medlen is a 2015 graduate of the TGC. She received her masters degree in Industrial Engineering from Arizona State University and currently works for W.L. Gore & Associates as a data analyst supporting medical device manufacturing. Monica is a new mom of 2 and continues to sing with church and community choirs in her free time. She hopes her daughter will sing with the TGC someday.
My wife and children moved to Tucson in 2007. After completing a radiology fellowship at the University of Arizona, I joined Radiology Ltd in 2008. I am a breast imager and am interested in expanding access to screening mammography, particularly to underserved groups. Both of my daughters are alumni of Tucson Girls Chorus. My wife and I have seen first-hand how transformative TGC is for young women. My daughters became more self-confident, learned and performed beautiful choral repertoire, and made wonderful friendships. It's my pleasure to serve on the TGC board.
I'm so honored to be a part of this important and dynamic organization as both a parent and board member. After 20+ years in education and working with choirs at every level in the USA and abroad, I'd be hard pressed to name another group that is having as profound and meaningful an effect on the community's young people. Outside of TGC, I enjoy family time, cooking and gardening, social justice, travel, singing, languages, and culture. Sing for your life!