Thoughts from Dawn Wallace
In a recent staff meeting, my coworkers and I were challenged to share our favorite sports hero. While I live with two sports fanatics—one I married, the other I birthed—I don’t know many current players in professional sports. Of course, I know the big names like Jordan, Ali, Billie Jean King—but only from the documentaries and Hollywood biopics.
Desperate for a name to contribute to the conversation, I remembered that several years ago, my former boss gifted me a book by Coach John Wooden, A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court. As head coach of the UCLA Bruins, Coach Wooden won 10 NCAA national championships and is undeniably one of the most successful college basketball coaches, beloved by his players and well-known for his motivational sermons built on his own grounded philosophy of life.
The book is not actually for basketball enthusiasts—in fact, there are only a few behind-the-scenes stories of Wooden’s coaching days. Instead, the book is filled with inspirational quotes around success, character, and leadership. One quote has stuck with me: “Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.” This is good advice not only for a leader of an organization, but in life, with friends, partners, and coworkers.
Coaches are many things to players—they teach, inspire and lead. The ones whose names carry throughout history are those like Coach Wooden for whom the sport is the conduit to personal and professional growth. He prided himself as much on building character as he did skill and strategy. I likened this analogy to Flinn-Brown Fellows, as many of you started as “players,” but are now “coaches” in your own right. I’m proud that the values of our network are akin to Coach Wooden’s philosophies of teamwork, success in effort, work ethic and servant leadership.
One last note about sports: I’m a sucker for an underdog team. My favorite part of March Madness is filling out the first-round bracket and choosing my double-digit ranked team that will upset a top seed. This year, I picked Loyola-Chicago and it was just great fun watching them advance to the Sweet 16.
But in the midst of men’s tournament, we realized that the true underdogs of the NCAA tournament were the women’s basketball teams. Provided sub-par practice facilities and equipment, the female players used social media to highlight these inequities and eventually received the support they deserved. As a mother of a young girl who loves sports, it has become a struggle to constantly explain why in the 21st century, female athletes continue to be perennial underdogs challenged by unfair practices in pay and access. I can attest that 12-year-old girls do not comprehend the arguments around profit margins and television rights, nor should they, at the expense of fair and equal treatment—not when it’s the World Cup or a NCAA tournament. I applaud all women—past, present, and future—who continue to use their voices to argue for equity in all things, whether it be in the workplace or in the sports they love to play.
Past and Upcoming CivEx Webinars
Thank you to 2020 Fellow Reyna Montoya, who moderated a panel of experts from government, business, philanthropy, and higher education on the future of Dreamers in Arizona. Our gratitude to Mayor John Giles, Todd Sanders, Elisa de la Vara, Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick, and most importantly Daniela Chavira, our Dreamer, who so eloquently articulated the important contributions that Dreamers have made and continue to make in Arizona.
Also, we are appreciative to Flinn-Brown Fellows Elyse Guidas (2019), Naketa Ross (2019) and Nora Hannah (2011) for their participation in our CivEx: The State of Arizona Nonprofits. This CivEx attracted many first-time attendees, particularly from the nonprofit sector.
Check out the exciting lineup of CivEx webinars scheduled for the spring here.
2021 Annual Convention
We are excited to share that we are in the planning stages of the Flinn-Brown Annual Convention for November 2021! In the next few months, Fellows Council members and convention co-chairs, Jaclyn Boyes (2019) and Julie Katsel (2014), will be reaching out to some of you to assist on the planning committee. In the meantime, we would love your help identifying a venue for the event! Please send me your ideas for an all-day venue centrally located in Phoenix.
Finally, we are always more than happy to help promote your work through social media, so please reach out to me if you would like us to publicly recognize a professional accomplishment, event, or program with which you are involved.
1. What suggestions would you have for Fellows interested in running for office?
Get out and be part of your community! Lend a helping hand, go to council and school-board meetings. Listen to what people are concerned about and never believe that you do not have the talent, education, or means to not make a difference—you certainly can. It also would help to take a class on giving speeches and speaking with the public.
2. Tell us about the bills you are sponsoring this year and how it impacts your constituents?
I hope this is the year that a bill I have carried for the third time finally will be funded—the Heritage Fund! The bill would provide $10 million for our parks, trails, and historic places. I also have been successful with my military, spouses, veterans Occupational License Fee Waiver, a broadband bill for $100 million, a few health-related bills and, hopefully, I will see my marijuana bill get across the finish line. I am disappointed that my vape bill stalled in the Senate and another year goes by that we do not regulate vape and keep it away from our youth.
3. How has the Fellows Network been useful to you?
When I was part of the third cohort, I was on the Goodyear City Council. The statewide information, topics, and government was so wonderful to hear and learn about. Plus, listening to different perspectives was interesting and helpful as I engage as a leader and look for those common ground items. The Network of Fellows has opened up a world of engaged, intelligent, and diverse peoples. When I made the choice to run for the Legislature, it was our Network that helped me open the doors to Yuma. I did not really know anyone there, but had met one of our Fellows a few times and felt comfortable to reach out to him. I spent a day with all the people he had set up appointments for me to meet!
If you missed a Fellows’ Spotlight, you can view them on the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership website now.
Fellows In The News
Trevor Abarzua (Phoenix, 2020) and Kristina Gomez (Phoenix, 2012) were finalists for Arizona redistricting panel’s executive-director position.
Mayor Mila Besich (Superior, 2019) was quoted in an AZ Big Media article about the recent delay in the Resolution Cooper mining project in Superior.
Quintin Boyce (Chandler, 2020) was quoted in a FOX10 news story on re-opening in-person learning in Arizona schools.
Tony Cani (Phoenix, 2014) was a guest on an episode of the KTAR News Think Tank Podcast.
Jaime Dempsey (Phoenix, 2013) accepted a new position as senior vice president of philanthropic initiatives at the Arizona Community Foundation.
Coral Evans (Flagstaff, 2013) was a keynote speaker at the National Association of Women Business Owners Phoenix Women with Vision conference.
Erin Hart (Phoenix, 2013) was interviewed by KJZZ about the recently updated data in Arizona’s Education Progress Meter.
Dana Kennedy (Phoenix, 2016) was quoted in a KJZZ article on the vaccination progress that’s been made in Arizona’s long-term care facilities.
Nikki Lee (Tucson, 2018) was quoted in an ABC15 news story about Tuscon’s passing of the Crown Act, which bans race-based hair discrimination in the workplace. She was also a councilmember who initially introduced the Crown Act in Tuscon.
Rep. Aaron Lieberman (Paradise Valley, 2017) was mentioned in NHO News and Arizona Capitol Times about HB2638, which would provide scholarships to Arizonan high-school students going to community colleges.
Reyna Montoya (Phoenix, 2020) was featured in the Intermountain immigration summit and the New Democrat Coalition Task Force press conference.
Alberto Olivas (Phoenix, 2011) was featured in an ASU News article regarding the increased voter engagement among ASU students in 2020.
Marie Peoples (Webster Groves, Missouri, 2015) was featured in a Webster-Kirkwood Times article about how she’s acclimating to her new job as Webster Grove’s City Manager.
Commissioner Lea Márquez Peterson (Tucson, 2011) was featured in a Cronkite News article on Latina representation in politics and highlighted in the Arizona Technology Industry Impact Report as a leader in Arizona technology.
Rep. Raquel Terán (Phoenix, 2018) was interviewed by uPolitics about how to combat voter suppression bills and was featured in the Tucson Women of the Pandemic series which honored the civic leadership of women during the pandemic.
Career and Professional Opportunities
A Stepping Stone Foundation is looking for an assistant director.
Friends of Public Radio Arizona is looking for new board members. If you are interested, please send your resume to Alec Thomson.
The Entrepreneur Funders Network is hiring a new executive director with remote-work flexibility.
The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust is recruiting candidates for the Piper Fellows program, which offers social-profit leaders in Maricopa County the opportunity to design professional development sabbaticals that support growth and renewal.
Events & Conferences
The University of Arizona College of Science is hosting a lecture series on water every Thursday in April at 6 p.m.
The Greater Phoenix Chamber is set to launch its Diversity & Inclusion program on April 13 and will be sharing how businesses can implement their own Diversity & Inclusion programs. Learn more.
The Arizona Indian Festival 2021 will begin on April 17.
The Center for the Future of Arizona will release the latest data and key findings from their decennial Gallup Arizona 2020 Survey on April 21. Register here.
The Arizona Center for Civic Leadership and the Center for the Future of Arizona are co-leading a session on civic participation at the Arizona Department of Education’s 8th Annual Civic Learning Conference on April 24. You don’t have to be an educator to attend! Register here.
Greater Phoenix Economic Council will host a Regional Report on Balancing Arizona’s Water Supply and Demand on April 27.
Did you miss a previous CivEx? Now you can find webinar recordings on our website. View past events.
Did you miss a previous CivEx? You can find webinar recordings on our website. View past events.