Board of Directors

Lee Topps - Chairman

Lee ToppsLee recently retired after a 42 year career in the insurance industry.  He served as Executive Vice President, Director of Insurance Operations, for Federated Insurance Company at the time of his retirement.  During his career he served in every operational area of the insurance business including underwriting, marketing, claims, risk management and human resources.  He also served on the board of directors of Great Northern Insurance Company. 

Lee holds an undergraduate degree from San Francisco State University and completed the University of Michigan, Executive Program.   Lee served honorably in the United States Marine Corp and is an honorably discharged veteran. 

Lee has served on numerous civic, advisory and not-for-profit boards including National Urban League, INROADS of Minnesota, Business Advisory Board for Florida A&M University (FAMU) and Business Advisory Board for University of Arizona Finance Department.  He has been recognized as a founder of the National Insurance Industry Association and served as that organizations chairman from 1983 to 1986.

Since retirement he has embarked on a new business venture and joined the board of Gamma Mu Educational Service, Inc. and advisory board for Omega Youth Leadership Academy.  In addition to his work and community involvement activities, he enjoys running, golf and time with family.  


Darren Wethers - Vice Chair

Darren Wethers

Darren E. Wethers MD, FACP is the chief medical officer of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Advantage health plan.  In that role, Dr. Wethers is responsible for the following departments at the plan: quality, pharmacy and utilization management. The health plan has approximately 56,000 members here in Arizona.

Prior to coming to Arizona in 2015, Dr. Wethers practiced internal medicine for 20 years in the St. Louis, Missouri metropolitan area, followed by 4 years as a medical director for Coventry Health Care and Aetna, Inc.

He is a graduate of Morehouse College and Northwestern University Medical School, and completed his residency in internal medicine at Emory University.  Dr. Wethers is board certified in internal medicine.  He is married to Cheryl R. Wethers, and is the father of two grown children, Lauren and Harrison.  


James Lipscomb - Secretary

James LipscombArchon James L. Lipscomb is a former Executive Vice President and General Counsel of MetLife, Inc., a Fortune 50 company. Lipscomb served in various capacities at MetLife including as Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Conning Corporation, Senior Vice President in charge of Corporate Planning and Srategy and as a Senior Vice President in the Real Estate Investments department. His civic affiliations include serving as Chairman of the Citizens Budget Commission of New York, Chairman of the Citizens Housing & Planning Council of New York, director of the Life Insurance Council of New York, director of the MetLife Foundation, trustee of the Practising Law Institute, director of Graffiti Community Ministries, Inc., chairman of the Center of Hope (Haiti), Inc.  Advisory Board and a member of the Economic Club of New York. Lipscomb received a B.A. from Howard University, a J.D. from Columbia University Law School and a L.L.M. (Corporations) from New York University School of Law.  He is a member of the state bar in New York and California and the federal bar in the Northern District of California, the Southern District of New York, the Second Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court. Throughout his career, Lipscomb has been a member of and held leadership positions in various local, state and national legal organizations, including the American Bar Association, the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, the State Bar of California and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, where he served as Treasurer, chairman of the Investment Committee and a member of the Executive Committee.  Lipscomb was named to Inside Counsel Magazine’s 2006 list of the top 50 most influential in-house counsel in North America and was recognized especially for diversity initiatives. In 2009, he received the National Bar Association’s Heman Marion Sweatt Award for outstanding achievement.

Tyrone Benson - Treasurer

Tyrone BensonOver the past 18 years, I have helped Intel Corporation maintain a competitive advantage.
- Sr. Reliability Engineer for IP being integrated into products on our most advanced silicon technologies.
- Engineering Manager for a small team of quality and reliability engineers delivering media processors for consumer electronics devices.
- Product Reliability Engineer for our first IA System on Chip for Consumer Electronics.
- Analog and Digital Designer of low power circuits for our first cell phone microprocessor chip.
- Integration Engineer on a record-breaking team that developed C4 (flip chip) packaging technology.
- Vice President (2 terms) of the Arizona Chapter of the Network of Intel African Americans (NIA) with a focus on career development.
- Volunteered with Intel Foundation to solicit, review, and grant awards totaling $200,000 to three university organizations focused on improving retention of underrepresented minorities and / or women in Engineering and Computer Science.

Over the past few years, I have introduced thousands of students at several local high schools and community colleges to the many STEM career options, sharing with them how STEM careers can help them change the world!

I believe STEM provides students with a solid foundation from which to build careers. Before Intel, I fell in love with pre-college and undergraduate STEM education. Throughout my career, I participated in successful programs ranging from undergraduate learning centers at Georgia Tech & the University of Michigan to multi-session workshops for the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) & Michigan’s Minority Introduction to Technology and Engineering.

After joining Intel, I added to my experience in this area by designing and instructing science and technology workshops for K-8 students at a charter school for kids from dysfunctional homes. In the past couple of years, I have worked with Valley Teen Leadership and students from the Center for Research in Engineering, Science, and Technology (a STEM high school sharing a campus with Paradise Valley High School). I have facilitated site visits where the students meet Intel engineers and tour labs to understand what we do. I also work with the CREST Advisory Council to offer my experience in areas related to curriculum, recruitment, and retention.

Roderick L. Wilson

Roderick L. WilsonRoderick L. Wilson is a proven leader in Business Transformation, Lean, Process Improvement and Design. He has a passion for identifying the obstacles that prevent organizations from meeting their goals and developing solutions that drive quantifiable results. Rod has over 20 years of business experience in the manufacturing, service and financial industries. He is also a certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt.

Rod is currently the Consulting Services Director at NTT Data Services leading consulting services activity for a Top 4 U.S. Bank focused on developing optimized future state processes and building value added business solutions that drive tangible business benefit. He earned his BS in Industrial Engineering from NC A&T State University and resides in the Phoenix area with his wife, Dr. Stacia Kyle Wilson.

Since moving to the Phoenix area in 2001, Rod has been very active in the community and lent his support to many organizations. He is currently on the board of directors for the Aggie Gentz Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to provide tuition and financial support to current students at North Carolina A&T State University. Rod has also served on the board of directors for the Goodwill of Central Arizona. He provides philanthropic support to United Way, Black Family Child Services and Tempe Union High School District.

Donald 'Tony' Franklin II

TDonald 'Tony' Franklinony is a General is a General Manager at the Intel Corporation within the Internet of Things Group.  He is responsible for the profitability and growth of the Embedded Segments group that spans multiple vertical technology markets.  He has more than 20 years of corporate entrepreneurial, business development and product management experience.  He earned his B.S. in Electrical Engineering and MBA from the University of South Carolina.  Tony and his wife Florence have one son, Donald III.

Ronald K. Thompson

Ronald ThompsonRon is a practicing Dentist and owner of East Valley Dental Care.  In addition to his professional career, he also serves as coordinator of the GMES partner program, African American Men of Arizona State University (AAMASU) and is active in several dental organizations.  A veteran of the US Army, Ron resides in the Phoenix area with his wife Dr. Antoinette Farmer-Thompson.  

Don T. Godbold

Don GodboldI have been a Board Certified Emergency Medicine physician for the past 30 years. I have practiced clinical Emergency Medicine in a variety of settings during this time period, including academic and community hospitals, urban and rural settings. I also have held various healthcare administrative leadership positions over the past 15 years.