Valle del Sol recognizes 4 outstanding Valley women


Valle del Sol's 2013 Mom of the Year Honorees

Milena Astorga

Milena Astorga was born and raised in Mexico City where she studied in the Academy of Ballet and later at the Art Academy of Andres Soler. After graduating from the University of Mexico with a degree in Business Administration, she pursued a career as a professional model and made TV commercials for many companies including, Vanity Fair, Ford Motor Co., Elizabeth King and Pepsi Cola. She later moved to Phoenix to join her parents and sisters to help manage and own a restaurant that was named for several years as one of New Times "Best of Phoenix".

Milena has devoted her time as a community volunteer in organizations that educate and benefit children and as an advocate of the Arts, she spends many hours as a docent for the Phoenix Art Museum who recognized her with the "2011 Exemplary Service Award". She is also very involved with community events and committees where she has previously been involved with the Assistance League, Mexican Cultural Center, Friends of European Art, and more recently co-chaired the 2012 Crozier Gala for the Catholic Community Foundation. She is also the administrator for the Astorga Family Foundation which funds many charitable and non-profit organizations that support the arts, education and human services.

Milena is married to Tony Astorga and has two daughters, Tabatha and Farah. Tabatha is a lawyer who is married to Patrick LaVoie and Farah is in healthcare administration, but her real pride and joy is Tiffany, her 8 year old granddaughter. She enjoys quality time with her family, traveling, swimming, reading and learning about other cultures.

Christa Burkhalter
American Express

As Director of Corporate Affairs & Communications, Christa Burkhalter supports global strategic communications efforts for the World Service business unit at American Express. She also leads teams in Phoenix, Arizona and Salt Lake City, Utah supporting employee communications, media relations and community relations.

Prior to her current position, Christa served as employee communications manager for the American Express Service Center - Phoenix.

Prior to joining American Express, Christa worked at Health Services Advisory Group and America West Airlines (now US Airways). She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ball State University.

Christa serves as a board member for UMOM New Day Centers, on the board of trustees for the Arizona Science Center and as an advisory board member at KAET Channel 8 (Phoenix PBS station). She previously served on the board of directors at Florence Crittenton Services of Arizona.

Christa is a member of the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) and the Pinnacle Peak Elementary PTO.  She, her husband Lance and their daughter Rachel reside in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Florence Eckstein
Publisher Emeritus, Jewish News of Greater Phoenix

Florence (Flo) Eckstein is publisher emeritus of the award-winning weekly community newspaper Jewish News of Greater Phoenix; annual Community Directory; and website She and her husband, Paul, owned the Jewish News for 32 years.

Flo is a lifelong community volunteer, serving currently as vice president of the City of Phoenix's Camp Colley Foundation board. She is a member of the Dean's Leadership Council of the College of Public Programs at Arizona State University and serves on the steering committee of the American Jewish Press Association. She is a former chair of the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board and has served on several city committees, most recently newly elected Mayor Greg Stanton's Transition Committee. She is a former board member of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, Arizona State University Alumni Association, Arizona Town Hall and Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest.

Flo is a member of Charter 100 and of Women at the Top. Flo was born and raised in Phoenix and earned degrees at Phoenix College (Associate of Arts), the University of Arizona (Bachelor of Arts in English) and Arizona State University (Master of Social Work). She has been named to the Phoenix College Alumni Hall of Fame.

Flo and Paul, a lawyer, have two grown sons, Michael and Tim, and two grandchildren. Although, Flo is an extraordinary mom she does not see herself in that way because she feels she has done what any other mom would do.

Pam Giannonatti
Fry's Food Stores              

Pam Giannonatti has been an associate at Fry's Food Stores for more than 30 years. During her tenure with Fry's, she has held several position throughout the company - from bagging customers' groceries, training future leaders to currently building relationships with members in the nonprofit community. She currently holds the title of Community Relations/Consumer Services Manager for Fry's working hand-in-hand with Fry's customers and the community.  

In 2012, Pam received an "Above & Beyond" award from Fry's President Jon Flora. It is one of the highest honors the company bestows.

As an active community leader, Pam has many affiliations with a vast variety of organizations including: member of the Susan G. Komen Board of directors for more than 5 yrs. and for the past two years has been the Promise Committee chair. She is also a Valley Leadership Alumni and is currently Vice Chair for the 64th Annual Man & Women of the Year luncheon.

Through her leadership position at Fry's, she continuously builds relationships and works hand-in-hand with many nonprofit organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics, St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, March of Dimes, Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the state, United Food Bank, American Red Cross, and Valle del Sol just to name a few. She also is an avid volunteer leading many Fry's volunteer efforts from feeding the homeless at St. Vincent de Paul's Unger Dining room, to reading to children at Title I schools, to leading more than 500 Fry's volunteers at the Phoenix Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

While this is all very important to Pam, her true pride and joy and most important role in life is caring and being with her family. Being married to her husband Mark for 30 years and being blessed with four beautiful and bright children, two boys and two girls, from ages of 19 to 27 years old, has fulfilled Pam's life. Day in and day out Pam's heart is always where it needs to be, with her husband and children.

To learn more about Valle del Sol or to purchase tickets to the 2013 Mom of the Year breakfast click here.

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