Arizona Week visits the AzCCL: “The Next Generation of Arizona Leaders”

June 6, 2011

By The Arizona Center for Civic Leadership

Lisa Urias and Paul Brierley discuss participating in the inaugural Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy. (Photo courtesy Arizona Public Media)

Arizona Week, the public-affairs television program of Arizona Public Media at the University of Arizona, devoted its May 20 broadcast to a profile of the Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy and discussion of the importance of strong civic leadership.

In his introduction, Arizona Week host Michael Chihak described the Academy as “one audacious idea to improve life for all Arizonans by making the state’s leadership better.” He then interviewed Jack Jewett, president of the Flinn Foundation, and Nancy Welch, director of the Center, as well as two participants in the first class of the Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy: Lisa Urias, president of Urias Communications, and Paul Brierley, director of organization for the Arizona Farm Bureau Federation.

“What we are seeing already,” Jewett told Chihak, “is that the deeper understanding of the complex problems facing the state, an appreciation for that level of complexity, along with applying their own critical thinking skills […] really equip these individuals with a unity of purpose that will help them be effective at the statewide level.”

Brierley affirmed the depth of study in which the Flinn-Brown Academy immersed the Fellows and noted the diversity of perspectives that the Fellows brought to the Academy, as well as the diversity of perspectives among presenters in Academy sessions.

“We learned the history of how things got the way they are; we also see all sides of the issues. And we have a lot of respect for each other,” Brierley said.

Welch explained that the Fellows selected for the Academy were already strong leaders in their own communities.

“The people who come to us in the Academy are people who have had quite a lot of leadership experience,” she said. “They are ready to move on to the state level, ready to do more than they have in the past.”

“The thing I really loved about this class,” Urias said, “was the ability to take off our political jerseys and find a way to focus on the issues confronting us.”

To watch Chihak’s conversations with Jewett and Welch and the Flinn-Brown Fellows, as well as a followup panel discussion with three Arizona journalists, visit the Arizona Public Media website.