August 2023 Network News

September 7, 2023

By Jessica Vaile

Thoughts from Dawn Wallace

Flinn Foundation Vice President, Civic Leadership, Dawn Wallace.

Our newsletter is a little later than usual so that we can detail our adventures from the League of Cities and Towns Conference! For us, it is always exciting to see a Flinn-Brown Fellow, but it is rare to see so many Flinn-Brown Fellows in the wild at one time.

It certainly makes numbers sense that we would see so many Fellows at the conference. More than 30% of the Flinn-Brown Network represent federal, state, and local government, of which the largest bloc is over 80 Fellows in local government. While the historical roots of Flinn-Brown lie in the pursuit of state level office and service, we know that for many, civic leadership starts on Main Street.

Those that follow Arizona politics recognize the love-hate relationship between cities, towns, counties and state government, and the constant push and pull over local control. For many years, much of the strain over state-local relations centered on revenues shared between state and local governments and could be described as mild skirmishes. Today, these natural tensions have escalated to that of a battleground – where ironically, the largest fights are not necessarily partisan, but most certainly ideological. In recent years, we have seen preemption fights over guns, elections, minimum wage, transportation, zoning, and in 2016, the state legislature passed a law that mandates a legal intervention if a local ordinance is deemed in violation of state law. This is all to say that our changing political climate has given local leaders, elected and otherwise, a front-row seat in state-level policy conversations.

As we continue to build the Network, our recruitment of local government and community leaders into Flinn-Brown is vital to building the influence and impact of the Fellows Network, but also the geographic and skills connections that can lead to long-term solutions to the challenges impacting the entirety of our state. 

There were more than 50 Fellows at last week’s conference, with over half serving as moderators and panelists at different sessions. We’ve determined that an event that draws so many Fellows can be an excellent networking event outside of the Convention. Over the next year, we will be thinking of a more structured way to bring Fellows together and would welcome any ideas each of you may have to build more intentionality into recruitment at the annual League conference.

Thank you to Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke, who made the Flinn-Brown Fellows famous! At the conclusion of his lunch keynote, he made a public announcement that resulted in half of the Fellows in attendance at the conference coming together for this photo.

Also, much appreciation to mayors Tim Elinski (Cottonwood, 2013), Becky Daggett (Flagstaff, 2014), Kevin Hartke (Chandler, 2014), Kell Palguta (Prescott Valley, 2019), and councilmembers Sheri Lauritano (Goodyear, 2012), Michelle Hess (Buckeye, 2013), Brannon Hampton (Goodyear, 2022), April Hepperle (Prescott Valley, 2023) and Kara Egbert (Sahuarita, 2015) for letting us put our signs and swag on their showcase table. And a special shoutout to Councilwoman Lauritano for her impressive recruitment skills!

Constitution Week

September 17 – 23, 2023 is Constitution Week in Arizona. Our partners, the Arizona Civic Coalition and the Arizona Bar Foundation, are looking for volunteers who would be willing to visit K-12 schools or community organizations to read books to students or share your expertise and civic leadership experience. Please let me know if you have an interest and I’ll connect you and send you to the classroom with some swag.

Fellows Meet Fellows

The Arizona Center for Civic Leadership at the Flinn Foundation was proud to be a sponsor of the 2023 Rural Policy Forum in Globe.

It was fantastic to see so many Fellows at the Rural Policy Forum and to take this picture on the steps of Bullion Plaza Cultural Center and Museum.

Fellows in Attendance: David Martinez III (Phoenix, 2011), Adam Lopez Falk (Phoenix, 2022), Jaime Dempsey (Phoenix, 2013), Gabriel Jaramillo (Phoenix, 2022), Sherri Jones (San Tan Valley, 2022), Mayor Tim Elinski (Cottonwood, 2013), Nancy Steele (Cottonwood, 2019), Coral Evans (Flagstaff, 2011), Thea Wilshire (Globe, 2011), Patrick McWhorter (Cave Creek, 2011), Mayor Mila Besich (Superior, 2019), Russ Yelton (Phoenix, 2012), and Amanda Burke (Phoenix, 2022). Not featured: Fernando Shipley (Globe, 2011).

Attention Southern Arizona Fellows

Julie Katsel (Tucson, 2014) has organized quarterly Flinn-Brown Fellow happy hours for 2023 with the next one scheduled for September 11 at Reforma in Tucson.

Mark your calendars now! And watch your email for an invitation from Julie with additional details.

If you’d like to organize happy hours for Fellows in your region, please let Dawn know. She will be happy to help connect you!

Upcoming CivEx

City of Flagstaff Proposition 480

Please join us for our next CivEx on Wednesday, September 27 at 2:00 p.m. to learn about the city of Flagstaff’s Proposition 480, which is on the 2023 general election ballot.

Additional details and registration coming soon.

If you have an idea for a CivEx you would like to host or a topic you would like to learn more about, contact Dawn or Jennifer.

Flinn-Brown Convention

Save the Date

We are excited to share that the 2023 Flinn-Brown Convention will be held on Friday, November 3 at the Helios Education Campus. Below are some details from the Convention Planning Committee:

  • Thursday, November 2: Evening reception, beginning with 2023 cohort, followed by an all-Fellows reception.
  • Friday, November 3Sarah Rose Webber (Tempe, 2017) has agreed to organize a morning hike for Fellows.
  • Due to high demand, we are inquiring about securing a block of rooms for a negotiated rate at the Fairfield Inn, close to the Flinn Foundation, for Fellows to reserve.

Annette Zinky (Phoenix, 2013) and Sarah Douthit (Flagstaff, 2013) have agreed to co-host a reunion of the two cohorts of 2013 Flinn-Brown Fellows. If you are interested in participating in the organizing committee, please let them know.

We also invite sponsorship opportunities to help provide a high-quality, professional learning experience for Fellows at the Convention. Sponsors may showcase their support through presentation, 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, contact Dawn or Jennifer .

Five awards are granted to Flinn-Brown Fellows at convention each year: Jack Jewett Award, Arizona Champion (Northern, Central and Southern Arizona) and Network Builder.

Nominations for the Flinn-Brown Awards are due September 14. To officially nominate a Fellow, submit the name of the nominee and a short description of about 50-100 words describing why the nominee should receive the award. All nominations with be shared with the Fellows Council for final selection. Please note: Fellows Council members are not eligible to win the award while they are serving on the Council. Fellows who have previously received an award are also not eligible. Please see previous winners here.

Fellows Lists

Each month we will feature a Fellows list for a specific employment sector, public policy area, or affinity group. 

While we try very hard to keep up to date on Fellows’ activities, we recognize that we may have missed someone. Please let Dawn or Jennifer know and we will happily update the list.

Fellows Book Recommendations

Each month, we feature suggestions from Fellows to create a virtual Network library about public-policy issues, the practice of leadership, professional development, and other areas worth sharing. This month’s recommendation comes from Dr. Thea Wilshire (Globe, 2011) and Adriana Garcia Maximiliano (Phoenix, 2019).

Thea Wilshire, Ph.D.
(Globe, 2011)
Welcome to Nugget
Nugget Goes to the Dogs

by Thea Wilshire, Ph.D.

Dr. Thea Wilshire (Globe, 2011), just published the second of her Nugget book series, Nugget Goes to the Dogs: Tails of Crime. Her Nugget novels are based on a small mining town patterned after Globe. Like the book’s protagonist, Wilshire was recruited from Southern California to be a child psychologist in Eastern Arizona. The first few chapters of Welcome to Nugget: Mining the Possibilities parallel her journey.

“However, the similarities stop there, despite what my neighbors and friends believe after reading the story,” Wilshire assured with a laugh. “I love Globe and had a blast creating quirky characters and experiences inspired by my transplant from urban to rural living. People from small towns should be able to relate well!”

Adriana Garcia Maximiliano
(Phoenix, 2019)
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
byShoshana Zuboff

Adriana Garcia Maximiliano (Phoenix, 2019) recommends The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff.

“A great read for anyone who finds themselves spending too much time on social media or who’s exploring how AI will reshape our lives. This book is an important critique of the power of big tech.”

Fellows Spotlight

On Aug. 17, Gov. Katie Hobbs announced the board of directors of the Arizona-Mexico Commission (AMC). The AMC was formed with the goal to support international relationships and foster partnerships between Arizona and Mexico. The AMC is a cross-border, nonprofit organization with the goal of building a comprehensive community of professionals representing many industries. The AMC serves in an advocacy role working with policymakers on both sides of the border; supports trade, tourism and special projects; fosters relationships and networking; and partners with subject matter experts to collect data and conduct research to develop policy and programs.

Two Flinn-Brown Fellows were among the 26 individuals appointed to the Arizona-Mexico Commission.

Buna George (Yuma, 2023)

“The appointment to the board is an absolute honor. My hope is to build relationships with industry and port users in the Sonora region that would in turn establish a higher throughput of goods through the San Luis commercial port of entry. The commercial port is underutilized and with tools such as overweight permits issued by ADOT and ease of accessibility to Interstate 8 from the port via SR195, I hope to see more users look to San Luis as a part of their international trade route.“

Mignonne Hollis (Hereford, 2013)

“I hope to leverage my current relationships with our southern neighbors for lasting beneficial economic development.”

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

Fellows In The News

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

Trevor Abarzua (Hawaii, 2020) was highlighted in a Midweek Kauai article about Chamber of Commerce Hawai‘i’s Young Professionals Program.

Treasurer Sarah Benatar (Flagstaff, 2015) was elected as Treasurer of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Board, a nonpartisan organization that supports the more than 7,000 elected and appointed Latino officials from across the country.

Teniqua Broughton (Phoenix, 2013) was highlighted as a Trendsetter to Know in Arizona Foothills Magazine.

Tony Cani (Phoenix, 2014) was featured on a recent episode of the Politics Unplugged podcast. 

Elizabeth Carpio (Phoenix, 2013) is now Staff Vice President, Provider Transformation, Chief Solutions and Experience Officer, Prosano Health Solutions, Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Congressman Juan Ciscomani (Tucson, 2011) was interviewed by Roll Call Magazine about his journey from working as an intern on Capitol Hill to serving as a member of Congress.

Mayor Becky Daggett (Flagstaff, 2014) wrote a column in Flagstaff Business News about Flagstaff’s strategy to protect the city from wildfires and other inclement weather.

Dave Engelthaler, Ph.D. (Flagstaff, 2022) wrote an op-ed in the Arizona Daily Sun highlighting the value of engaging in civil discourse with those that are ideological opposites.

Buna George (San Luis, 2023) and Mignonne Hollis (Hereford, 2013) were appointed to the Arizona-Mexico Commission Board of Directors by Gov. Katie Hobbs.

Katelyn Harris Lange (Phoenix, 2020) appeared on Arizona Horizon to discuss Black Philanthropy Month and the 10th anniversary of the African-American Women’s Giving & Empowerment Circle.

Erin Hart (Phoenix, 2013) was quoted in an Arizona Republic articleabout the state funding that was recently allocated to help cover dual enrollment costs for students.

Mignonne Hollis (Hereford, 2013) wrote an op-ed in Arizona Daily Star about investing in Arizona’s aerospace and defense industry to attract young talent and increase workforce development.

Jenny Holsman Tetreault (Phoenix, 2011) is the new vice chair of United Way Worldwide’s Women United Global Leadership Council.

Julie Katsel (Tucson, 2014) was interviewed for a KGUN9 news storyabout University of Arizona’s Campus Community Relations Committee which helps students and neighbors coexist. Julie was also named the inaugural fellow for the Jim Kolbe Free Enterprise Fellowship from the Common Sense Institute. 

Dana Kennedy (Phoenix, 2016) was quoted in an Axios Phoenix article about the impact rising home prices and inflation have on individuals retiring in Phoenix.

Adam Leckie, Ed.D. (Queen Creek, 2023) was featured in a Casa Grande Dispatch article about the $1.5 million grant Casa Grande Elementary School District will receive from the Arizona Department of Education to boost student achievement in math and English language arts. He was also interviewed for an ABC15 news story about the district’s experience transitioning to a four-day school week.

JP Martin (Tucson, 2017) wrote an article in Prescott eNews about the Arizona Corporation Commission Corporations’ Division partnership with the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to digitize over 4 million of Arizona’s microfiche images from 1912-1980 to preserve them in perpetuity.

Paul Perrault, Ph.D. (Phoenix, 2016) was interviewed for an AZ Family news story about the increased rates of chronic absenteeism since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paula Randolph (Scottsdale, 2012) was interviewed for a KJZZ podcast about Arizona’s pause on issuing certificates of assured water supply that rely solely on groundwater and the impact on housing development.

Nate Rhoton (Phoenix, 2015) was quoted in a Post Millennial articleabout the Queer Blended Learning Center opening at one-n-ten.

Chris Richardson (Scottsdale, 2022) is now the IT Delivery Leader: Enterprise Application Digital Transformation at onsemi.

Aaron Rottenstein (Tucson, 2018) has been named to the Forbes Best-In-State Wealth Advisors list for 2023.

Mel Sanderson (Phoenix, 2020) was interviewed by InvestorIntel about a potentially rich deposit of magnetic materials neodymium (Nd) and praseodymium (Pr) that was discovered in Wyoming.

Jay Schlum (Fountain Hills, 2011) was named to the National Small Business Association (NSBA) Leadership Council.

Councilwoman Julie Spilsbury (Mesa, 2023) was interviewed for a Mesa Tribune article about how she overcame her reluctancy to enter public service and her experience as a city councilmember.

Lisa Urias (Phoenix, 2011) was interviewed for a Daily Independent article regarding Arizona’s 2022 tourism numbers and how the Arizona Office of Tourism plans to boost tourism past pre-pandemic levels.

Risha VanderWey, Ed.D. (Mayer, 2018) is now the superintendent of Mayer Unified School District.

Janelle Wood (Phoenix, 2013) was interviewed for an ABC15 news story about the micro schools Black Mothers Forum has launched since 2021 and how the schools have impacted students and families.

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 Governor’s Office has over 200 boards and commissions. To apply for any vacancy through the Governor’s Office, complete the application on the website. For a list of vacancies, please see here.

The Governor’s Office is seeking applications for the following commissions:

  • Coconino Judicial Nominating Commission;
  • Pima Judicial Nominating Commission;
  • Pinal Judicial Nominating Commission.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. Non-attorney applicants may apply using the main application and must be residents of the county of the Trial Court Appointments Commission to which they are applying, residents of Arizona for at least five years, and cannot hold elected or appointed office for profit. Interested attorneys must apply through the State Bar’s website.

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office has openings on the Arizona Civil Rights Advisory Board. Applications can be submitted through the online application form.

Several school district governing boards in Maricopa County have vacancies they are seeking to fill. To learn more about the appointment process and the districts, please visit the County Superintendent’s website

Most Arizona counties and cities have boards and commissions with frequent vacancies. Check local websites for more opportunities. To share specific opportunities, contact Jennifer Papworth.

Career and Professional Opportunities

The Lubetzky Family Foundation is seeking a Program Manager, Futures for the Free World to further refine and expand the foundation’s pilot Global Democracy Ambassador Scholarship program.

The Center for Arizona Policy is seeking a Vice President of Policy to drive the development and execution of the organization’s public policy strategy.

Greater Phoenix Leadership (GPL) is seeking a Social Impact and Racial Equity Advancement Project Director.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum is hiring an Executive Director.

Central Arizona Project is seeking a Stakeholder Outreach Coordinator to schedule, prepare for and execute frequent meetings with representatives from Arizona tribes and other community organizations.

Hispanic Leadership Institute is currently accepting applications for their upcoming West Valley and Pinal County cohorts.

Arizona Foundation for Women’ (AFW) is accepting applications for its 2024 SHE Leads!™  program.

Events & Conferences

Venture Café Phoenix connects creators, entrepreneurs, investors, coworkers, students, and visionaries at that flagship program, the Thursday Gathering, to build a strong, inclusive and equitable innovation ecosystem. Check out the schedule of gatherings for September 2023.

Registration is open for the 2023 AICCAZ Fall Symposium, hosted by the American Indian Chamber of Commerce, on Sept. 28 at Wild Horse Pass. 

Arizona Department of Health is hosting the Tribal Opioid & Substance Use Conference on Nov. 15-16 at the Great Wolf Lodge in Scottsdale. 

Registration is now open for the Mpact: Transit, Mobility, and Community Conference, on Nov. 5-8 in Phoenix.