Women & Philanthropy leadership
Co-Chair Cindy Watts
A conscientious advocate for ASU and the community
Cindy Watts is a natural seeker of knowledge whose passion for self-discovery has taken her down many paths. Cindy’s experience spans numerous fields — she co-founded Sunstate Equipment with her husband Mike; was assistant director of personnel for a local hospital; co-created and co-owned “Potheads”, a retail shop selling exotic decorative pots and artifacts; worked as an aerobics instructor; is a licensed helicopter pilot; and hosted a radio program at Sun Sounds Radio for the Blind (a KJZZ station).
Deep in her heart Cindy holds a love for Maryvale, the neighborhood where she and Mike grew up and met. The pair is committed to the Maryvale Revitalization Program, helping build a state-of-the-art YMCA that carries their name. Cindy was named Maryvale Woman of the Year in 2007 for her contributions to this project.
With a strong belief in the importance of education, she and Mike fully support ASU and the vision of President Michael Crow through a variety of university programs, including Women & Philanthropy (for which Cindy is a founding member currently serving her fourth year on the Investment Committee), the Center for Violence Prevention & Community Safety, the Del E. Webb School of Construction, the Global Enterprise Network and ASU Athletics.
Love of animals, passion for good health and a keen interest in how the brain works have guided Cindy’s life. She currently sits on the Board of the Arizona Humane Society — acting as the voice of those furry friends who cannot speak for themselves — and recently joined the Women's Board of the Barrow Neurological Foundation, which feeds her curiosity about the brain and what makes us tick.
Cindy and her husband are "almost" natives of Arizona — she has lived here since she was 10. They have been married 44 years with two children, four grandchildren and two wonderful dogs. Their daughter is an ASU alumna and a new member of Women and Philanthropy.
Co-Chair Sybil Francis
Focused on Student Achievement
Sybil Francis, Ph.D., is a founding member and co-chair of Women & Philanthropy. She is a public policy specialist who began her career working in the U.S. House of Representatives. There, she played a key role in shaping U.S. energy, environmental and security policy. Sybil later served in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where she focused on national research policy.
Since moving to Arizona with her husband, Michael Crow, Sybil has focused her energy on forging links between ASU and the community. She is affiliated with the ASU Center for Science Policy and Outcomes. Her scholarly work examines the factors promoting technological innovation in government-sponsored research. Sybil is also executive director of the Center for the Future of Arizona, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping shape and define Arizona’s future through an action-oriented agenda focused on issues and topics critical to the state, with a special focus on education, the economy and the environment.
Sybil serves on a number of boards and commissions, including the Arizona Business and Education Coalition, the Arizona Skills Standards Commission, and The Nature Conservancy Arizona Chapter. She is a member of Expect More Arizona Statewide Advisory Council, the Rodel Charitable Foundation’s All A’s for Arizona, the Academic Program Articulation Steering Committee Consortium for Transfer and Alignment (ACTA), and the National Center on Education and the Economy State Consortium Governing Board. She is also a member of Charter 100, the Arizona Women’s Forum and honorary chair of ASU President’s Community Enrichment Programs.
2009-12 Honorary Chair Jeanne Herberger
40 Years of Community Service
Jeanne Herberger has dedicated more than 40 years to finding solutions for complex local and global challenges. Her primary philanthropic interests include education, community development, the arts and intricate issues involving women and children. Herberger is a founding Women & Philanthropy investor and an ASU alumna, earning her bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in communication at ASU.
Herberger's work in fostering education and employment opportunities for women led her to found Arizona Women's Employment and Education Inc., a nonprofit organization dedication to moving people toward economic selfsufficiency and well-being through the dignity of work. She also founded Valley Leadership and the Arizona Women's Forum, a chapter of the International Women's Forum of which she served as the first president. Herberger and her husband, Gary, are longtime ASU donors with significant investments in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication and the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.