2015 Flinn-Brown Fellows named by Arizona Center for Civic Leadership

August 27, 2015

By Matt Ellsworth

AzCCL large logoThe Arizona Center for Civic Leadership has selected 33 Arizonans with significant leadership accomplishment and potential for the 2015 cohort of the Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy.

The newest Flinn-Brown Fellows come from urban centers and rural communities throughout the state and represent many leadership and professional experiences. They share a commitment to pursuing public service as state-level elected officials, state agency and public-policy organization executives, policy advisors, or members of state boards.

Fewer than five years after opening, the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership and its flagship program, the Flinn-Brown Academy, have become known throughout the state for developing Arizonans from all walks of life and perspectives for state-level public service. There are now 224 Flinn-Brown Fellows.

Among the newly selected Fellows are a volunteer at the Soldier-Centered Clinic at Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista; the 2012 Apache County Teacher of the Year; the founder of a Chandler semiconductor firm; and the director of Hispanic outreach for U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake.

“We look forward to welcoming the 2015 Fellows and introducing them into the dynamic Flinn-Brown network of leaders working throughout the state,” said Nancy Welch, who directs the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership as a vice president of the Flinn Foundation. “Flinn-Brown is an exciting opportunity for leaders across Arizona to increase their knowledge, skills, and networks for state-level public service.”

The Arizona Center for Civic Leadership, administered by the Foundation, was launched in 2010 to strengthen civic leadership throughout Arizona. The Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy is sponsored in partnership with the Tucson-based Thomas R. Brown Foundations.

The Flinn Foundation, a Phoenix-based private, nonprofit, grantmaking organization, in 2015 is celebrating 50 years since its founding. Dr. Robert S. Flinn and his wife Irene P. Flinn created the privately endowed organization in 1965 with a mission, “To improve the quality of life in Arizona.” Along with the Arizona for Civic Leadership, the Foundation supports the advancement of Arizona’s bioscience sector, arts and culture in Arizona, and the Flinn Scholars Program. The Thomas R. Brown Foundations supports solutions to community and state issues through strategic grants and educational programs.

2015 Flinn-Brown Fellows

(Listing includes name, position and city of residence)

Sarah Benatar: Treasurer, Coconino County, Flagstaff

Ande Burke: Marketing Director, Mountain Heart Health Services, Flagstaff

Stuart Noggle: Instructional Coach, Sanders Unified School District, Sanders

Marie Peoples: Chief Health Officer, Coconino County Public Health Services District, Flagstaff


Cynthia Aragon: Constituent Outreach Director and Policy Advisor, Arizona House of Representatives, Phoenix

Auggie Bartning: Director of Educational Programs, Quincea Social Enterprise Initiative, Phoenix

Kathryn Blades: Assistant Attorney General, Arizona Attorney General’s Office, Phoenix

Steve Elliott: Editor in Chief, Embryo Project Encyclopedia, Arizona State University, Phoenix

Angelica Garcia: Legislative Principal Managing Analyst, Arizona Department of Economic Security, Phoenix

Jonathan Gelbart: Director of Charter School Development, BASIS.ed, Tempe

Ryan Gregg: President, Gregg Global Group, Scottsdale

Matt Gress: Senior Fiscal Analyst, Joint Legislative Budget Committee, Phoenix

Kim Hartmann: CEO, KCH Solutions LLC, Phoenix

Barb Lang: Behavioral Health Administrator, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, Phoenix

Mattie Lord: Chief Program Officer, UMOM New Day Centers, Phoenix

Michael Meaney: Project Manager, Arizona State University, Phoenix

Sarah Michelsen: Executive Director, Arizona Wins, Phoenix

Celeste Plumlee: Vice Chair, Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, Phoenix

Nate Rhoton: Officer and Director of Operations, SKY Construction & Engineering, Inc., Phoenix

Daniel Ruiz II: Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Maricopa County Recorder’s Office and Elections Department, Goodyear

Nandini Srinivasan: COO, Cactus Semiconductor, Inc., Chandler

Denise Taylor-Sands: Tribal Health Care Administrator, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, Phoenix


Alesia Ash: Council Member, City of Sierra Vista, Sierra Vista

Kara Egbert: Council Member, Town of Sahuarita, Sahuarita

Kristel Ann Foster: Governing Board Member, Tucson Unified School District, Tucson

Peter Huisking: American Red Cross Volunteer, Soldier Centered Clinic, R.W. Bliss Army Health Center, Fort Huachuca, Sierra Vista

Amanda Lomayesva: General Counsel, Casino Del Sol Resort, Tucson

Jeff Ratje: Associate Dean and Treasurer, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson

Lisa Reed: Special Assistant, Director of Strategic Partnerships, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Joint Task Force West, Arizona, Tucson

Chris Stoller Michelena: Director of Hispanic Outreach, U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, Tucson

Amanda Stone: Director, Southern Regional Office, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, Sahuarita

Mary Venezia: Assistant Director, Enrollment Initiatives & Special Events, University of Arizona, Tucson

Jennifer Wong: Chief of Staff, Pima County Board of Supervisors, District 4, Tucson