August 2022 Network News

August 31, 2022

By Jessica Vaile

Thoughts from Dawn Wallace

About three weeks ago, the Wallace teenager officially became a high-school student. Excitement preceded the first day, with both she and I daydreaming of newfound independence. That illusion did not last long, and I was entirely unprepared for the daily debrief of all her grievances and drama, usually concentrated in the noon hour when our precious is let out of phone prison, or as I enter the house in an Usain Bolt-like sprint for that first glass of rosé. 

Lest you judge me harshly, I have listened actively and enthusiastically, and only occasionally have I drifted to my happy place to escape the deluge of anguish inherent in the 14-year-old day-in-the-life. I do empathize, for high-school angst is perennial in its awkwardness, and the demand we put on our developing adolescents for emotional regulation is often beyond the pale. And I am not sure when we decided that high school should be the equivalent of the 12 trials of Hercules. 

Being a teenager today is more difficult than it ever has been. Our kids were born into the most highly technologized period of human history, showered by the gifts of those discoveries yet encumbered by the enormity of the burdens of existing in a free and open society. Choices are higher stakes, and mistakes more costly. In the 1980s, we drew from the characters in John Hughes’ movies to express our pain. Today, I watch Euphoria and weep for the children who struggle through their grief.

Like many of you, I am walking through this journey without a user manual. General societal expectations have admittedly driven me to snowplow my way through, creating opportunities so that my child may have the life I wish I had. There has been a precision to my parenting style, with a laser focus on ensuring she has chances to succeed. I am unapologetic about that—it is a mother’s love after all—but as we enter this next phase in her life, I am cognizant that I can no longer fight her battles like the Mightiest Avenger. 

I have sought the opinion of more experienced parents and am reconciled that while my heroic interventions will save me heartbreak of watching my child fail, it will not serve her well. So, wish me luck Fellows, as I enter the next phase of my parenting journey, where I turn in my helicopter and snowplow, and instead sit in the front seat of the car and watch through the rear-view window. 

2022 Flinn-Brown Academy

In the past, we have welcomed existing Flinn-Brown Fellows to Academy to either “make-up” days that they missed, or just to listen in to the incredible insights of our presenters, speakers, and keynotes. You can find the general schedule here, but if you are interested in a particular policy day, please contact me for specifics. 


CivEx Webinar

Arizona’s Defense Ecosystem

CivEx Panel

On Wednesday, August 31, Flinn-Brown Fellows Drew Trojanowski (Phoenix, 2013), Matthew Walsh, (Sierra Vista, 2013), Travis Schulte (Phoenix, 2017) and Alanna Riggs (Sierra Vista, 2020) discussed Arizona’s defense economy, the nearly $60 billion economic impact on the state, and opportunities for the future.

If you are interested in seeing any past sessions, please check out our CivEx page.

Fellows Book Recommendations

Each month, we feature suggestions from Fellows to create a virtual Network library of books about public-policy issues, the practice of leadership, professional development, or other areas that would be a worthy share. This month, our book recommendations come from JP Martin (Tucson, 2017) and Lisa Schnebly Heidinger (Phoenix, 2012). 

JP Martin (Tucson, 2017)
La Calle
by Lydia Otero

For our Fellows, particularly in southern Arizona, I humbly recommend “La Calle” by Lydia Otero. This book discusses an urban-renewal project in 1966 near downtown Tucson that erased a densely populated barrio. It examines the relationship between competing historical narratives and socioeconomic dominance that led to the destruction of homes for Mexican-American families. It shows how unintended consequences and cultural assumptions in urban planning and tourism can displace and silence the communities we want to highlight. These lessons are especially valuable as we identify a need to build affordable housing, transit-oriented development, and community partnerships.

Lisa Schnebly Heidinger (Phoenix, 2012)
The National Road
by Tom Zoellner

Arizona author Tom Zoellner weaves an extraordinary series of travel pieces together into an offbeat and compelling collection of some of our nation’s greatest—and most obscure—places to visit. With a self-professed love of visiting Mormon sites in the middle of the night, and a reverence for what has been the best of us as our nation grew up, Zoellner wryly and eloquently describes places he has been drawn to, and what he thinks once he gets there. This is only the second book I’ve ever read from which I saved certain lines, simply because I didn’t ever want to be without them.

Flinn-Brown Convention

We are excited to share that the annual Flinn-Brown Convention will be held this year at the Dorrance Center at the Desert Botanical Garden on Friday, Nov. 4. An invitation will be arriving in the mail soon.

Nominate a Fellow for a Flinn-Brown Award

Five awards honoring high-impact leaders are granted each year at the Convention: Jack Jewett Award, Network Builder Award, and three Arizona Champion (Northern, Central and Southern Arizona) awards.

The individual winners of the Flinn-Brown Awards have made significant contributions to Arizona as state-government advisers, elected officials, agency executives, and policy experts and have played important roles in strengthening their communities and the Flinn-Brown Network.

Nominations are due Sept. 15. See past award recipients on our website

Convention Planning Committee

Thank you to our Fellows who have joined the Convention planning committee, including  Paul Perrault (Phoenix, 2016) and Josue Macias (Phoenix, 2019) who are serving as co-chairs. Also serving on the committee are Patrick Tighe (Phoenix, 2019), Candace Park(Gilbert, 2018), Kate Ali’varius (Phoenix, 2012), Pearlette Ramos (Avondale, 2018), Pele Peacock Fischer (Phoenix, 2013), Paul Brierley (Yuma, 2011), Nicole Barraza (Tucson, 2020), and Derrik Rochwalik (Phoenix, 2018).

We invite sponsorship opportunities to help provide a high-quality, professional learning experience for our Fellows at the Convention. Sponsors may showcase their support through presenting, reception, and breakout sponsorships, including prominent logo display, brand recognition through social media, and recognition on the event website and program. To find out more about sponsorships, see the brochure.

We also invite you to promote your organization at the Convention through free promotional and marketing items. This is an excellent way to market organizations represented by the Network, and we are happy to collect and distribute to event participants.

Please contact Dawn or Jennifer to donate items.

Fellows Spotlight

JP Martin
(Tucson, 2017)

Director of Small Business and Community Engagement, City of Tucson

LinkedIn | Twitter

1. Can you please describe your work and how public policy impacts how you manage your organization?

My practice is informed by a three-dimensional approach known as, “contra, sin, y desde el estado,” or “against, without, and from the state.” This framework provides historically marginalized folks with an opportunity to dismantle systems of oppression within the realm of public policy for equity-centered outcomes. Minority ethnic and cultural groups might not be able to find the words to describe what was lost without representation, but hold an understanding between themselves, the land, and living things that the paradox of government work may have left them and their ancestors unprotected through its slow-moving systems of laws and legitimacy.

I believe we can use the power granted by the state to organize leadership and change policies that build a consensus of diverse and popular voices. The city of Tucson recognizes neighborhood associations as the most basic unit of our government. We work with these community groups to leverage investment mechanisms against traditional disbursement methods. This differentiates from typical public-sector investments, where community validation is traditionally inconsistent or undervalued. We must intentionally build co-governance models through reliable outreach, shared political agenda-setting, and an accompanying formal infrastructure to connect our ward with accessible city services.

2. Do you have a favorite quote that is meaningful to you?

“I am still learning–how to take joy in all the people I am, how to use all my selves in the service of what I believe, how to accept when I fail and rejoice when I succeed.” —Audre Lorde

3. How has the Fellows Network been useful to you?

The Flinn-Brown Fellows Network allows me to interface with thought leaders in a political home away from home. It challenges us to see the biggest picture, one that includes those more vulnerable than us and those who hold vast amounts of power. This network provides a platform for us to exchange values as effective and ethical public stewards who carry out critical governance decisions. Finally, I trust this network to help us deepen, normalize, and scale solutions to ideate and create a future we can believe in. It is a place to find alignment and accountability.

4. What do you see as potential opportunities strengthening civic health in Arizona?

Participatory budgeting empowers people to decide together how to spend public money. This year, my office will create and support the first municipal participatory-budgeting processes in Arizona. It is my hope that this shifts the democratic process beyond elections, builds stronger communities, and makes public budgets more accessible and effective. Our annual investments of $600,000 will help our neighborhood associations and community groups #BuildOurBarrios through a voting process that is informed by the ideas of Ward 1 residents themselves.

If you missed a Fellows Spotlight, you can view them on the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership website now.

Fellows Running for Office

We are excited to share that we have many Flinn-Brown Fellows who have advanced to the 2022 general election.


Juan Ciscomani (Tucson, 2011)


Matt Gress (Phoenix, 2015)
Senator Raquel Terán (Phoenix, 2018)
Representative Jennifer Pawlik (Chandler, 2018)
Representative Chris Mathis (Tucson, 2011)


Vice Mayor Becky Daggett (Flagstaff, 2014)
Mayor Kevin Hartke (Chandler, 2014)
Mayor Kell Palguta (Prescott Valley, 2019)
Mayor Mila Besich (Superior, 2019)
Mayor Cecilia McCollough (Wellton, 2018)

City Council

Councilman Fernando Shipley (Globe, 2011)
Councilman Matthew Herman (Casa Grande, 2019)

Community College Governing Board

Fernando Shipley (Globe, 2011)
Demion Clinco (Tucson, 2013)

School District Governing Board

Stephanie Parra (Phoenix, 2020)
Christine Thompson (Phoenix, 2017)
Ruth Ellen Elinski (Cottonwood, 2014)

Justice of the Peace

Kristel Ann Foster (Tucson, 2015)

Special Districts

Ben Graff (Phoenix, 2011)
Alexandra Arboleda (Phoenix, 2018)

Fellows In The News

We are always more than happy to help promote your work through social media, so please reach out to us if you would like us to officially recognize a professional accomplishment, event, or program with which you are involved.

Sophie Allen-Etchart (Phoenix, 2022) was interviewed for a 12News Arizona Midday segment about how her organization Read Better Be Better helps Arizona students improve their literacy skills.

Jeremy Babendure’s (Chandler, 2012) organization, SciTech Institute, recently received an Avnet grant to build Free Little STEM Libraries in rural communities.

Nicole Barraza (Tucson, 2020) was appointed to the Pima County Commission on Trial Court Appointments.

Quintin Boyce (Chandler, 2020) was quoted in an AXIOS Phoenix article about a decrease in student proficiency in math and English caused by the pandemic.

Amanda Burke (Phoenix, 2022) was quoted in a Tucson Weekly article regarding a recent Education Forward Arizona (EFA) survey which found that Arizona voters prioritize education reform over politics.

Toni Cani (Phoenix, 2014) was recently featured in a Politics Unplugged recap on Arizona’s Family. He was also a guest on KJZZ’s Friday NewsCap podcast about the results of the primary election.

Juan Ciscomani (Tucson, 2011) was featured in a New York Times article about how political candidates are employing the promise of “the American dream” in their campaigns.

Carlos De La Torre (Tucson, 2013) was quoted in a article about a project started by the office of Councilman Steve Kozachik to collect unrecyclable plastic products in Tucson and turn them into construction blocks for local projects.

Vice Mayor Laura Dorrell (Clifton, 2017) was quoted in a Gila Herald article about the impact of Home Rule on the town of Clifton.

Ruth Ellen Elinski (Cottonwood, 2014) was interviewed by Prescott eNews about grant funding the Regional Economic Development Center at Yavapai College received from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expand the college’s Small Business Development Center’s team and services.

Julie Katsel (Tucson, 2014) was interviewed for a KGUN9 news storyregarding a 24/7 hotline that is available to residents living near the University of Arizona to call and report university issues.

Dana Kennedy (Phoenix, 2016) was interviewed for a 12News storyabout a bill that would cap insulin costs for Medicare recipients and allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices.

Gail Knight (Phoenix, 2016) was quoted in a  KTAR article about the celebration of the newly named Pat Tillman Middle School.

Yvette-Marie Margaillan (Tucson, 2020) was interviewed by Tucson Foodie about her business Tucson Tea Co.

Lea Márquez Peterson (Tucson, 2011) was recently appointed Co-Vice Chair of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Committee on Water.

Mayor Kell Palguta (Prescott Valley, 2019) announced the opening of Antelope Splash Pad in Prescott Valley.

Sam Richard (Phoenix, 2017) was named CEO of OnPoint Laboratories.

Adelaida Severson (Gilbert, 2020) was recognized as a 2022 Entrepreneur of the Year winner for the Pacific Southwest region.

Christina Spicer (Phoenix, 2013) is now the co-CEO of Girl Scouts Arizona Cactus-Pine Council.

Updates are gathered from conversations, press releases, articles, social media, tipsters, and confessions. Have news to share? Send it to Danielle Underwood.

Board and Commission Openings

Serving on a board or commission is a great way to influence public policy on issues where you have expertise or a passion to serve.

The Phoenix Conservatory of Music is recruiting a volunteer with skills in marketing, promotions, and strategy to serve on their board and marketing committee.

The Arizona Commission on Judicial Performance Review is recruiting two public members to serve on the commission. Interested applicants must be residents of Maricopa or Coconino counties and cannot be a judge or an attorney. Interested applicants may download an application and submit it via email to

The recently established Water Infrastructure Finance Authority Board is now seeking applications.

The Governor’s Office is seeking applicants to fill vacancies on the following boards and commissions: 

You can apply for these positions at the Governor’s Office of Boards and Commissions here.

City and county governments frequently have vacancies as well.

County Board and Commission offices:

City Board and Commission offices (check your city’s website for local information):

Career and Professional Opportunities

Arizona Forward is accepting nominations for its Emerging Sustainability Leaders Class of 2023. Applications and additional information is available here.

Applications for Leadership West Class 29 are now open. Leadership West is the only program that offers a behind-the-scenes look into issues in the West Valley. The 150-hour Flagship Program is designed to transform already exceptional individuals into 4th Quadrant Leaders who generously utilize their knowledge, collaboration, and skills to make life better for everyone in their organization, community, and region. Apply here.

The Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits is now accepting speaker applications for their virtual IDEA conference on Oct. 19.

SciTech Institute is hiring for STEM Ecosystem Hub Coordinators in various regions.

We Care Tucson is seeking an Executive Director to provide strategic, entrepreneurial leadership.

The Arizona House of Representatives is currently hiring for two positions: Legislative Research Analyst  and Assistant Legislative Research Analyst.

The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) is seeking a Regional Homelessness Program Manager.

Northern Arizona Healthcare has an opening for a Director/Senior Major Gifts Officer, responsible for building relationships and raising funds from current and prospective donors by encouraging their interests and passions for improved health outcomes in Northern Arizona.

The University of Arizona is seeking an Associate Director, Programs, Family and Consumer Health Sciences to guide statewide programming.

Helios Education Foundation (Helios) seeks a Senior Vice President for Communications (SVP) to join the foundation’s senior leadership team and spearhead Helios’s enterprise-wide communications strategy and execution.

Desert Botanical Garden is hiring a Director of Development, Individual & Planned Giving to manage all activities supporting Sonoran Circle enrollment.

The Amphitheater Public Schools Foundation is seeking an Executive Director.

Phoenix Children’s Hospital has an opening for a Director of Donor Relations.

The Institute for Mental Health Research is searching for an Executive Director to lead the organization. 

The Arizona Commerce Authority is seeking a Senior Vice President of Innovation to provide leadership in Arizona’s innovation ecosystem and represent ACA as an instrumental partner in signature events and initiatives.

The Arizona Council of Human Service Providers is hiring a Director of Community Collaboration.

The Arizona Board of Regents is seeking an Executive Director for the Phoenix Bioscience Core.

Events & Conferences

Stanford Social innovation Review and Nonprofit Management Institute are holding a hybrid event Sept.13-15 focused on encouraging greater cooperation and collaboration in what can feel like an increasingly divisive world. Event details and registration available here.

The Arizona Grantmakers Forum Public Policy Committee and the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits Policy Council is hosting a virtual Legislative Candidate Education Roundtable Sept. 22 from 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Registration and details are available here.

The 2022 Ignite520 Young Professional Leadership Conference will be held Sept. 24 at the University of Arizona. Event details and registration can be found here.

The 2022 STEM & Innovation Summit is scheduled for Sept. 27 with both online and in-person participation opportunities. Event details and registration are available here

All Voting Is Local is hosting a webinar with Maricopa County Elections Department officials Sept. 12 at 4:00 p.m. as part of their Keep Trusting the Process campaign. Event information and registration available here.

The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will host its annual 2022 National Conference in Phoenix Oct. 2-4. Registration will open soon. Event details can be found here.

The 11th First Place Global Leadership Institute Symposium will be held in person Oct. 19-21 in Phoenix and via webinar. Registration and event details are available here.

Did you miss a previous CivEx? Now you can find webinar recordings on our website. View past events.

Did you miss a previous CivEx? Now you can find webinar recordings on our website. View past events.

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