Meet the Board/Officers

 

Executive Director/Founder

Rene’ Luedeman is a native of Arizona, born and raised in Phoenix. She received both her Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology and her Master’s in Food Science at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Upon completion of her master’s work, she was employed by the university as a research laboratory manager in the neuroscience field where she spent 18 years studying the nervous systems of insects. Her hobby during this time included baking and cake decorating, and in 2000 she became a Wilton method instructor at her local arts and crafts store. A few years later she accepted an Adjunct Faculty position in the Culinary Department at Pima Community College where she taught both the beginning and advanced cake decorating courses. When her boss at the research lab moved his laboratory to Ireland, Rene’ left the university and agreed to teach additional courses at the community college including Food Sanitation and Safety, and various baking courses including one focused on gluten-free baking. She switched from a lab coat to a chef’s coat!

In 2011 she was diagnosed with a balance disorder, which removed her from the traditional classroom, but she continues to teach an online course in food safety. At this time she also opened her own residential bakery under Arizona’s 2011 Cottage Food Law. She loves baking, especially since it is a science in which one can eat their experiments! Her passion is outreach work and she enjoys every project that Cakes for Causes is involved in. When she’s not baking or working with Cakes for Causes, she is playing with her two rescued Basset Hounds and 4 rescued cats.

Marketing & Communications Director

Sophia Wright

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Fund Development Director

Ruth Estrada bakes and decorates cakes as a hobby. She learned to decorate cakes when she was pregnant with her first child because she wanted to make really fun birthday cakes each year for him. She’s proud to be a member of Cakes for Causes so she can share that joy that a sweet treat can bring with others.

Operations Director

As another one of Tucson’s transplants, Terrill moved here in 1988 to finish up his degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Arizona. The majority of his 24 year career has been in the public sector and he is currently the Information Technology Manager for the Planetary Science Institute, a non-profit research organization. In 2005 he completed his MBA from the University of Phoenix. He has spent the recent years either supporting or starting non-profit organizations such as Cakes for Causes. He brings with him his extensive technology experience as well as general business know-how.

Adviser to the Board

 

Chef Barry Infuso has been involved in many different organizations, and has numerous accreditations that make him a vital part of the Cakes for Causes team:

Past president of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Tucson
Chapter for 5 years and named ACF Chef of the Year by my peers
Past president for 5 years, founding member of Slow Food Tucson
Past member of the American Heart Association (AHA) Board of Directors
Named Volunteer of the Year by the AHA
President of the Board of Southern Arizona Food Traditions, a non-profit organization providing a repository and history of Southern Arizona food traditions
Pascua Yaqui Diabetes Program, culinary consultant providing heart healthy and diabetes friendly cooking classes to Native Americans
Pima College Board of Governor’s Award for Community Service
Canyon Ranch Institute Prevention Pioneer Award

Education & Certification

M.A. Nutrition/Anthropology (2004) – Prescott College, Prescott, AZ.
B.A. Business/Psychology (1997) – UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Ca.
California Culinary Academy (1998) San Francisco, California
Certified Executive Chef and Culinary Educator by American Culinary federation
American Academy of Chefs