Board Members (click a board member's name to learn more)

Josh Kanter


Josh Kanter is the founder and current Board President of the Alliance for a Better Utah. In addition to his duties at Better Utah, Josh serves as President of Chicago Investments, Inc., Vice-President of Windy City, Inc., Vice President and a Director of the Kanter Family Foundation, President and a Director of Art Enterprises, Ltd, and counsel to the Chicago law firm, Barack, Ferrazzano, Kirschbaum & Nagelberg. He currently serves as a trustee at the Roland Hall St. Mark’s School, and is a member of the Young Benefactors Council at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, the Temple Har Shalom Art Committee, and the University of Chicago Law School Campaign Planning Group. Prior to launching ABU, Josh was a trustee of the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, served on Governor Huntsman’s Utah Methamphetamine Joint Task Force Subcommittee on Public Awareness, and co-chaired the Corroon for Governor Finance Committee. In 2011, Josh received a Heart and Hands Award from the Utah Nonprofits Association, and was named to the Community Foundation of Utah’s E-5-0, an annual selection of 50 “enlightened entrepreneurs.”

Johnathan Ruga

Vice Chair

Jonathan M. Ruga, M.B.A., C.P.A., J.D., is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sentry Financial Corporation. After graduating from the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law, he worked with the law firm of Parr, Brown, Gee & Loveless, where he specialized in the areas of financing and leasing, federal taxation, and real estate and business law.

Jonathan is currently a member of the board of trustees of St. Mark’s Hospital, the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law, the Utah Democratic Lawyers’ Council, and the Utah Clean Air Coalition. Jonathan recently completed a term on the Board of Trustees of High Road for Human Rights, a six year term as a member of the Board of Trustees of Rowland Hall St. Mark’s, a seven year term as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of Greater Salt Lake, and a term on the Board of Trustees of The Road Home.

Sheryl Allen

Board Member

Sheryl Allen is a Republican politician and educator from Bountiful, Utah. She was one of the first women to be elected to serve on the Davis County Board of Education, and served as President of the Board for six years. Sheryl previously worked as the public relations director of the Davis Applied Technology Center, and the foundation director of the Davis School District. She represented the 19th District in the Utah House of Representatives from 1994 to 2011. In May 2010, Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon, the Democratic candidate for Governor of Utah, selected Sheryl as his running mate for the office of Lieutenant Governor, making them the first major bipartisan ticket in Utah state history. She previously served as the co-chair of 100 Women for 100 Years, a board member of the NCSL Economic Development Committee, the Utah Humanities Council, and as the vice-chair of the NCSL Standing Committee. Sheryl currently serves as a board member for the Colorado Plateau Archeological Project, Forum on Democracy and Trade, Hogle Zoo, and KUED.

Shauna Bona

Board Member

Shauna Bona is a founder and copresident of McKinnon-Mulherin Inc., a strategic communication firm that provides writing, editing, and instructional design services to clients both global and local. Her volunteer service includes the Community Writing Center’s Community Advisory Committee, the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Intermountain Area, the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and the Girl Scouts of Utah. She was the 2012–2013 Parry D. Sorensen Distinguished Lecturer in the University of Utah Department of Communication and is a past recipient of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce Pathfinder Awards.

She currently divides her time between writing and consulting, as a senior learning strategist, trainer, and certified funeral celebrant.

Lisa Carricaburu

Board Member

Lisa Carricaburu is a writer, editor, and media and communications manager with decades of experience across industries. In her current position, she manages a team of medical writers and editors who create online diagnostic test selection and interpretation tools for ARUP Laboratories, an academic reference lab and nonprofit enterprise of the University of Utah (U of U) School of Medicine. She previously managed marketing and financial publications for my529, Utah’s 529 college savings program. Lisa also spent more than 25 years as a Utah newspaper reporter and editor, including 18 years at The Salt Lake Tribune, where she most recently was managing editor. She continues to publish regularly as a freelance writer and editor.

In addition to her involvement with Alliance for a Better Utah, Lisa is on the Judge Memorial Catholic High School Advisory Board, is treasurer of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) Rocky Mountain Chapter, and is a member of the AMWA Chapter Advisory Council.

She has a master’s of business administration degree and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the U of U.

Nathan Florence

Board Member

Nathan Florence earned a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, and taught art in Calcutta, India for a charity affiliated with Mother Teresa’s organization before returning to his native Salt Lake City in 2001. In 2010, Nathan helped found the Weilenmann School of Discovery, a K-8 Public Charter School located in Park City that teaches an innovative curriculum and inspires students to change the world. Nathan teaches art at the Weilenmann School in addition to selling his paintings, and is currently in the process of producing the documentary film Reconciliation: Art and Belief. The film is about the intersection of religion, art, and gay rights. He lives in Park City with his wife and two sons.

Laurie Hofmann

Board Treasurer

Laurie Hofmann is a certified Sexual Assault Counselor/Victim Advocate. She is a presenter/educator on Human Trafficking and Sexual Slavery. Laurie has worked in the Nonprofit arena for over 30 years. She has served as an Executive Director, Event Planner, Health Educator, Fundraiser, Board and Volunteer Development officer and Strategic Development strategist for Nonprofit organizations.

Laurie is a board member of Law Related Education (LRE), Alliance for a Better Utah (ABU) and Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah. She is the past President of the Salt Lake Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Past Nonprofit Board involvement includes The Road Home, Planned Parenthood of Utah, The Junior League of Salt Lake City, Utah Issues and advisory boards at Utah Museum of Fine Arts. Laurie is a member of the League of Woman Voters, the Educational Resource Development Council (ERDC) at the University of Utah and the Utah Women’s Forum. She holds a BS from the University of Utah in Health Promotion and Education, an MA from Westminster College, in Community Leadership (MACL) and graduate certification from the University of Utah in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution.

David Irvine

Board Member

David Irvine is a Salt Lake City attorney in private practice. Previously, David served as the Chairman of the Davis County Republican Party and was elected to four terms as to the Utah House of Representatives.  Prior to joining ABU, David served as the co-legal counsel for Utahns for Ethical Government, and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Constitution Project – a Washington, D.C. non-profit committed to bi-partisan solutions to the most challenging constitutional questions.  Irvine has served for six years as a commissioner on the Utah Public Service Commission, and currently serves on the Bountiful City Power Commission. Prior to his career in public service, David was commissioned as an Army Reserve strategic intelligence officer, and retired in 2002 as a brigadier general.

Jonathan Klein

Board Member

Jonathan Klein, a native of New York, currently resides in Park City. A former broadcasting executive, he served Group W Television and CBS for many years, first as President of Group W Television and CBS Joint Venture, and then as President of CBS Television Stations. Since retiring from CBS, Jonathan has been an independent consultant for various companies, including working as Acting Managing Director of Wilma Theater in Philadelphia and the General Manager of KCPW Radio in Park City, Utah. He is currently on the Board of the Clean Air Coalition of Utah, Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy, and the International Board New Israel Fund.

Katie Lieberman

Board Member

Katie is a licensed clinical therapist and mom of three daughters. As a Utah native, Katie knows the social political landscape of our state and firmly believes in the ethical values that make our state the amazing place she chooses to call home. Katie graduated from the University of Colorado in 1999 and received a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Denver in 2002. Katie has received post-graduate training in family therapy and also specializes in treatment for complex trauma. She founded a private psychotherapy practice in Salt Lake City in 2006. Katie serves on the Board of Trustees at Rowland Hall, an independent school in Utah and on the Board of Directors at My House, an addiction recovery home in Salt Lake City. She is also the Chairman of the Board of Action Utah, a nonpartisan community network committed to providing factual information on state and national issues and meaningful calls to action that ordinary people can take to impact them.

Tom Love

Board Member

Tom is the Founding Partner and President of Love Communications, a 45-personfull-service marketing firm based in Salt Lake City.  Founded in 1999, Love has grown to become on of the most respected communications and public relations firms in the Intermountain region, with approximately $52MM in capitalized billings and a client list featuring many of the premier brands in the west.

Love Communications has been honored several times by the business community: The firm was selected as Salt Lake Chamber “Small Business of the Year” in 2003; United Way of Salt Lake “Outstanding Partner for Community Change” in 2006 and as one of Utah Business’ “Best Companies to Work For” four different times, 2006-2010.

Active in the community, Tom currently serves as the University of Utah’s College of Fine Arts liason to President Ruth Watkin’s Imagine New Heights fundraising campaign.  Tom has also served on the United Way Board of Directors for the past 18 years, three of them as Board Chair. Tom currently serves on the Utah Symphony/Utah Opera Board, and is the former President of the Utah Advertising Federation. Tom has also served on the boards of the Pioneer Theater Company, the Alta Club, and the University of Utah College of Fine Arts.

In 2002, the Utah Advertising Federation selected Tom as its Advertising Professional of the Year. In 2011, the United Way of Salt Lake named Tom its Compassionate Leader of the Year. And in 2015, Tom received the American Advertising Federation’s Silver Medal Award – the industry’s highest honor – representing a lifetime of achievement and service to the Utah Advertising industry.

Darlene McDonald

Board Member

Darlene McDonald headshot

Darlene McDonald is a Senior Product Support Engineer at Oracle, author, social activist, and keyboard warrior. She has a B.S degree in Business Information Technology Management from Western Governors University. Darlene also maintains and runs The Black Library, an online repository dedicated to literature written by African American and Black writers. Since 2017, Darlene has served on the American Friends Service Committee Governance Corporation and is also on the Friends Relations Committee. Darlene is the Chair of the Utah Black Roundtable. She currently sits on the Executive Committee for the Utah Democratic Party and is 2nd Vice Chair of the Utah Democratic Black Caucus. She serves as the Outreach Director for the Women’s Democratic Club, 2nd Vice-Chair of the Utah Women of Color Council and serves on the board of the CD4 Coalition. Additionally, Darlene is working with Afro American Genealogical Historical Society for the Utah Memorial in collaboration with The National Memorial for Peace in Montgomery, Alabama to place memorials for the victims lynching in Utah.

John Netto

Board Member

John Netto currently serves as President of Fossil Water. Previously, John co-founded and served as President of Water & Power Technologies, Inc. In his early career, John was employed by Olin Corporation in Idaho and Mount Olympus Waters, Inc. here in Salt Lake City. In 2011, John co-founded K’Nowbe, a company that combines 3D imagery, engineering, and architecture. In 2011, John was appointed to the Utah Pride Center’s Board of Directors and recently completed his term as President of the Board. John’s primary passions include civil rights, poverty, and homelessness.

Marc Rasich

Board Member

Marc Rasich serves as an invaluable legal resource for businesses in a broad variety of industries such as technology, manufacturing, and consumer goods providing practical, actionable guidance to C-suite executives, assessing and mitigating legal risk across a number of areas of law including corporate governance and control, employment, in-bound and outbound contracts and intellectual property among others, and resolving disputes when they arise. His capabilities are built on a foundation of 20+years spent litigating on behalf businesses as both plaintiffs and defendants in trial and appellate courts across the country.

Karen Shepherd

Board Member

Karen Shepherd’s career has been broad and varied. Most recently, she served as a Presidential appointment to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), representing the United States on its Board of Directors in London, England. Karen began her career as a college English teacher in Cairo, Egypt and at BYU, and in 1975, became the first woman to be Director of Salt Lake County Social Services. She continued work at Westminster College as the Director of Continuing Education until 1978 when she became the editor and publisher of Network Magazine, a Utah based magazine for women who work outside the home. Network soon expanded into Webster Publishing, a company which specialized in women’s health publications and originated the original publications of KUED’s Seven and the Salt Lake Visitor’s Guide.

In 1990, Karen was elected to the Utah State Senate where she served two years before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992. Following her time in Congress, Karen was a Fellow at the John F. Kennedy Institute of Politics at Harvard, a Lecturer in the honor’s program at the University of Utah, and a participant in international democracy-building efforts in Slovakia, Israel’s West Bank, Ukraine, and Russia. She currently serves on the Advisory Boards of the David Eccles School of Business and its Community Health Advisory Board, the College of Humanities Partnership Advisory Board, and the Fourth Street Clinic. She is a board member for UBS Bank USA and the O.C. Tanner Company.   She has served on numerous Boards and Commissions, including the National Planned Parenthood Action Fund and PAC.

Diane Stewart

Board Member

Diane Stewart is a fine art collector, patron, and civic activist. She has a degree from Brigham Young University, and in 2014, opened Modern West Fine Art Gallery in Salt Lake City. Diane previously served as Vice-Chair of the Utah Arts Council and is currently a board member of the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera, Silver Screen Commission, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Center for the Arts Advisory Board, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, and Intermountain Healthcare Foundation. In 2010, she served with Josh Kanter as Co-Chair of the Corroon for Governor campaign.

Troy Williams

Board Member

Troy Williams is a graduate of the University of Utah, the Executive Director of Equality Utah, and formerly, a producer, writer and radio host at 90.9 FM KRCL. He was the executive producer and host of RadioActive, and created and produced Now Queer This, which aired on KRCL from 2006-2007. His work has been featured in Salon, The Nation, Interview Magazine, The Gay Times and OUT Magazine. In 2010, the Salt Lake Tribune dubbed him “the gay mayor of Salt Lake City.” Troy has appeared on Anderson Cooper 360, State of the (Re) Union, and the 2012 SHOWTIME special Larry Wilmore’s Race, Religion and Sex. In 2009, he co-wrote the one-woman show, The Passion of Sister Dottie S. Dixon. He won Utah Broadcaster Association awards in both 2013 and 2014. He was the recipient of the 2013 Allies Award from Equality Utah, and was the producer on the TLC original series Breaking the Faith.

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Join us for Better Utah's Moving Forward Virtual Fundraiser!

This year's event will be held virtually and will feature a conversation with Kate Kendell, Co-Interim Legal Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center and the former Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.