Past CivEx Sessions

Arizona Civic Exchange—CivEx—helps Arizonans deepen their commitment to public service, grapple with complex problems, and explore different viewpoints.

All CivEx sessions are built to emphasize discussion with presenters and among participants. The program is open to the public on a registration basis.

Past Sessions


Missing Too Much School—Chronic Absenteeism and the Pandemic

March 8, 2023

Flinn-Brown Fellows Paul Perrault (Phoenix, 2016) and Lenay Dunn (Phoenix, 2017) and Dr. Betsy Hargrove, Superintendent, Avondale Elementary School District, discussed the 2022 report from Helios Education Foundation and WestEd on the impact of chronic absenteeism on student achievement and the increase of absenteeism in Arizona schools since the pandemic.

Arizona Youth Survey and Fentanyl Awareness

January 25, 2023

Flinn-Brown Fellow Molly Edwards (Phoenix, 2011), public information officer/legislative liaison for the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission (ACJC); Andy LeFevre, executive director for ACJC; Shelly Mowreydemand reduction coordinator for Arizona High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas; and Congressman David Schweikert discussed the results of the Arizona Youth Survey, the dangers of fentanyl, and policy considerations around education and prevention during the Jan. 25 CivEx webinar.


Meet the Candidates: Central Arizona Water Conservation District Board of Directors 

October 13, 2022

In partnership with the Arizona Clean Elections Commission, the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership hosted a webinar for Arizonans to hear from Central Arizona Water Conservation District Board (CAWCD) candidates in the 2022 general election.

Lisa Atkins, immediate past president of CAWCD board, presented an overview of CAP and the roles of responsibilities of the CAWCD Board, and Gary Grado, managing editor, Arizona Capitol Times, introduced candidates.

Northern Arizona 2022 Legislative Candidate Forum

October 5, 2022

A public forum with northern Arizona legislative candidates in the 2022 general election, presented in partnership with the Greater Arizona Mayor’s Association.

The forum was hosted by GAMA chair, Flinn-Brown Fellow, and Cottonwood Mayor Tim Elinski, Flinn-Brown Fellow Mayor Kell Palguta of Prescott Valley, Mayor Roberta “Birdie” Cano of Winslow, Mayor Cal Sheehy of Lake Havasu City, and Mayor Robyn Prud’homme-Bauer of Clarkdale.

Boots on the Ground – Exploring Arizona’s Defense Economy

August 31, 2022

Four Flinn-Brown Fellows discussed Arizona’s defense ecosystem, its nearly $60 billion economic impact on the state, and opportunities for the future.

The discussion featured Drew Trojanowski (Phoenix, 2013), Assistant Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Arizona State University Knowledge Enterprise; Matthew Walsh, (Sierra Vista, 2013), Intergovernmental and Legislative Liaison, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, Ft. Huachuca; Alanna Riggs (Saint David, 2022), Executive Liaison, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, Ft. Huachuca; and Travis Schulte (Phoenix, 2017), Chief Legislative & Tribal Liaison, Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs (DEMA), Arizona National Guard.

Lighting Up the Future—Digital Equity Ecosystems

June 22, 2022

Flinn-Brown Fellow Erin Carr-Jordan (Chandler, 2013) hosted a deep dive into how the state is addressing its focused approach to achieving digital equity, including leveraging technology to connect the under and unconnected and improve process efficiencies.

She was joined by a panel representing state and national organizations engaged in strategic initiatives to expand access, value, and participation through increased connectivity, including Flinn-Brown Fellow Mignonne Hollis (Sierra Vista, 2013), executive director, Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation; Derek Masseth, executive director, Sun Corridor Network; Rufus Glasper, Ph.D., president & CEO, League for Innovation in Community Colleges; Angela Siefer, executive director, National Digital Inclusion Alliance; and Jeff Sobotka, vice president & state broadband director, Arizona Commerce Authority.

The Road to Proposition 400 Extension

May 25, 2022

This CivEx conversation hosted by Cheryl Lombard, Valley Partnership President and CEO, focused on recent bipartisan efforts to extend Proposition 400, the regional tax for transportation that is set to expire in 2025.

The webinar featured Flinn-Brown Fellows Audra Koester Thomas (Fountain Hills, 2011) and Mayor Kevin Hartke (Chandler, 2014), who provided insight into the new transportation investment plan approved by Maricopa Association of Governments in 2021. Tim Bourcet from Greater Phoenix Economic Council offered information on how this regional tax can impact economic development in the region.

Reimagining Child Care in Arizona

March 30, 2022

This CivEx conversation focused on how Arizona is reimagining strategies to improve access to and affordability of child care—all through the lens of quality early-education programming.

Hosted by Flinn-Brown Fellows Stacy Reinstein and Lela Wendell with opening remarks by Michael Wisehart, director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security, and featuring community partners Monica Brinkerhoff of United Way of Tucson & Southern Arizona and Karla Houghtalin of Southwest Human Development.

The New State Budget

January 26, 2022

The CivEx webinar focused on the new state budget, featuring Flinn-Brown Fellows Fletcher Montzingo, director of fiscal policy, Arizona State Senate, and Matt Gress, budget director, Office of Gov. Doug Ducey.

The Fellows provided an informative briefing about how the state budget works and what we can expect during the upcoming legislative budget process.


Addressing Housing Affordability and Homelessness

November 17, 2021

A CivEx conversation about affordable housing and homelessness. This webinar explores Arizona’s affordable housing crisis in both urban and rural communities and how service organizations from across the state are addressing dramatically increasing cases of homelessness.

Flinn-Brown Fellow Terry Benelli (2011), executive director, LISC-Phoenix moderated a panel of experts including invited guest panelists: Tom Simplot, director, Arizona Department of Housing; Liz Morales, director, city of Tucson Housing and Community Development; Diana Yazzie Devine, MBA, president & CEO, Native American Connections; and Hon. Shana Ellis, executive director, Action Nexus, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, Arizona State University.

Rural Economic Development Part II

September 29, 2021

A continuation of our CivEx series on rural Arizona economic development, which is often challenged by demographics, access to capital, health care, and a skilled workforce.

Flinn-Brown Fellows Mignonne Hollis, executive director, Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation and Russ Yelton, president, Yelton & Associates, discuss Arizona’s rural economic development during the pandemic including several special announcements on new projects.

The videos that Russ Yelton shared during his presentation can be viewed at the links below:  

Luck of the Draw: Major Expansion of Gaming in Arizona

August 25, 2021

A CivEx conversation on recent state actions to expand gaming in Arizona. This webinar highlights key components of the amended state gaming compact and associated law changes enacted by the Legislature earlier this year.

Kirk Adams, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, hosted the conversation with panelists:

  • Anni Foster, general counsel, Office of the Arizona Governor;
  • Governor Stephen Lewis, Gila River Indian Community;
  • State Representative Jeff Weninger;
  • State Senator Rebecca Rios and;
  • Amilyn Pierce, vice president of government affairs, Arizona Diamondbacks.

Presentation Slide Deck

The Impact of Tax Policy on Arizona Businesses

May 26, 2021

A CivEx conversation on Arizona’s tax structure and its impact of state and local economic development, co-sponsored by the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

Kristen Stephenson, senior vice president, research & analytics at GPEC provided a technical explanation on Arizona’s tax system, including income, sales, and property taxation. Following this presentation, Cameron Robb, vice president of business development at GPEC, hosted a discussion on how tax policy impacts state and local economies and job-market and business-market development with panelists:

  • 2012 Flinn-Brown Fellow Christian Price, mayor, city of Maricopa 2017
  • Flinn-Brown Fellow Fletcher Montzingo, director of fiscal policy, Arizona State Senate
  • 2020 Flinn-Brown Fellow Trevor Abarzua, vice president of business attraction, Arizona Commerce Authority

Presentation Slide Deck

The Future of Election Reform in Arizona

April 28, 2021

A CivEx conversation co-sponsored by the Southern Arizona Leadership Council on the future of election reform in Arizona, such as ranked-choice voting and open primaries. This webinar highlights Arizona voter demographics and past reform measures before diving into a panel discussion on the future of Arizona’s election reform. 2017 Flinn-Brown Fellow Blake Sacha, Leader, Voter Choice Arizona, hosted the conversation with panelists:

  • Ted Maxwell, president & CEO, Southern Arizona Leadership Council;
  • 2019 Flinn-Brown Fellow Gina Roberts, voter education director, Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission;
  • 2011 Flinn-Brown Fellow Patrick McWhortor, president, Lead for Change;
  • Luis Acosta-Herrera, executive director, Unite Arizona; and
  • Charley Olena, regional director, Secure Democracy

Presentation Slide Deck: General Election

The State of Arizona Nonprofits

March 31, 2021

A conversation on the state of Arizona nonprofits one year after the start of COVID-19 pandemic.

Kristen Merrifield, CEO, Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, facilitated the session and was joined by nonprofit leaders including:

  • Robert Ashcraft, Ph.D., executive director, Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation at Arizona State University;
  • Nora Hannah, director, Arizona Together for Impact Fund, 2011 Flinn-Brown Fellow;
  • Naketa Ross, executive director, ResilientMe Inc., 2019 Flinn-Brown Fellow; and
  • Elyse Guidas, executive director, Activate Food Arizona, 2019 Flinn-Brown Fellow.

Learn about the pandemic’s impact on nonprofit organizations, the current challenges they face to fulfill their missions, and a macro-level outlook for the future of the sector.

Presentation Slide Deck: The State of Nonprofits

From Dreaming to Doing: Shaping Arizona’s Future

March 17, 2021

A panel discussion on the future for Arizona’s Dreamers, hosted by 2020 Flinn-Brown Fellow and Aliento Founder and CEO Reyna Montoya. Joining her were a cross-section of Arizona’s business, political, education, and philanthropic community leaders including: Mayor John Giles, city of Mesa; Todd Sanders, president and CEO, Greater Phoenix Chamber; Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick, former chancellor, Maricopa Community Colleges; Elisa de la Vara, chief community officer, Arizona Community Foundation; and Daniela Chavira, Dreamer.

Public polls indicate that a strong majority of Americans, regardless of their party affiliation, support Dreamers and recognize them as fellow Americans. Despite bipartisan support in Washington and in our state over the last two decades, there has not been significant momentum to remedy Dreamers’ uncertainty. Until now.

This webinar spotlighted how Arizona Dreamers are vital for the state’s economic prosperity and educational achievement goals while offering societal contributions to our state and nation. The panel reflects the importance of cross-sector collaboration between the business community, philanthropy, and higher education as we find a path to prosperity for 2,000 Arizona high-school graduates who are in limbo.

Advancing Educational Equity Series: Social Indicators Impacting Academic Success

February 24, 2021

A discussion hosted by 2013 Flinn-Brown Fellow Teniqua Broughton, founding executive director, State of Black Arizona. This webinar is the second in a series of CivEx sessions led by Ms. Broughton on educational equity in Arizona public schools. Joining her were Dr. Heather Carter, executive vice president, Greater Phoenix Leadership, and 2020 Flinn-Brown Fellow Dr. Quintin Boyce, superintendent, Roosevelt Elementary School District.

This series highlights efforts of educational organizations tackling systemic challenges for Arizona students of color through the lens of our state’s Education Progress Meters. In these seminars, Ms. Broughton broadens the conversation to include social conditions that impact educational attainment.

This webinar spotlighted the ongoing collaboration between Greater Phoenix Leadership and the Roosevelt Elementary School District to address social determinants of educational equity.

Understanding the 2022 state budget proposal

January 27, 2021

2015 Flinn-Brown Fellow Matt Gress, who serves as budget director for Gov. Doug Ducey, provided a briefing on the state budget process, and specifically, the economic forecast, revenue projections, and planned statewide investments reflected in Gov. Ducey’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget proposal.

We encourage you to visit the Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting website to review the budget proposal and associated briefing documents. You can also review agency budget requests for Fiscal Year 2022 for additional detail.

Presentation Slide Deck: Understanding the 2022 state budget proposal


Arizona State University’s Luminosity Lab

December 9, 2020

A CivEx discussion with researchers from Arizona State University’s Luminosity Lab—including several Flinn Scholars. Learn how the team, including some students who are just college freshmen and sophomores, are pursuing novel solutions to some of Arizona’s greatest challenges.

The Luminosity Lab at Arizona State University is a student-driven research & development lab that leverages the network and partnerships of the nation’s largest public university, expertise from academic and industry professionals, and the energy and creativity of its student members, to solve pressing and complex societal problems.

Presentation Slide Deck: Arizona State University’s Luminosity Lab
Read More: Flinn Scholars pursue global solutions at ASU’s Luminosity Lab

Arizona’s COVID-19 Ongoing Response and Recovery—On the Front Lines with Flinn-Brown Fellows in State Government

December 2, 2020

A panel of Flinn-Brown Fellows on the front lines of state government’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic discuss their involvement in responding to the pandemic—their challenges, experiences, and outlook for future response and recovery plans.

Hosted by 2015 Flinn-Brown Fellow Daniel Ruiz, Chief Operating Officer for the state of Arizona, with a panel discussion that featured 2018 Flinn-Brown Fellow Ben Blink, Policy Advisor for Transportation and Technology Innovation, Arizona Governor’s Office; 2017 Flinn-Brown Fellow Sarah Pirzada, Deputy Chief of Operations, Arizona Governor’s Office; 2019 Flinn-Brown Fellow Jessica Rigler, Assistant Director, Arizona Department of Health Services; 2020 Flinn-Brown Fellow Richie Taylor, Communications Director, Arizona Department of Education; and 2019 Flinn-Brown Fellow Alec Thomson, Director of Strategic Initiatives & Campaigns, Arizona Governor’s Office.

Young Talent Progress Meter: The Voice of Young Arizonans

October 29, 2020

The Center for the Future of Arizona led a CivEx discussion with rising leaders about the important role young Arizonans have in creating a successful future for our state.

Attendees learned about The Arizona We Want, a shared vision of success around what matters most to Arizonans, and had a first look at the Center for the Future of Arizona’s new Young Talent Progress Meter.

Hosted by Sybil Francis, Ph.D., president and CEO, Center for the Future of Arizona, with a panel discussion that featured Kristi Tate, director, Civic Health Initiatives, Center for the Future of Arizona; Reetika Dhawan, associate vice president for workforce development career & technical education, Arizona Western College; Khara House, director of community engagement, Bella Investment Group; 2011 Flinn-Brown Fellow David Martinez III, director of capacity building and community engagement, Vitalyst Health Foundation; and 2020 Flinn-Brown Fellow Zach Yentzer, executive director, Tucson Young Professionals.

Presentation Slide Deck: Young Talent Progress Meter: The Voice of Young Arizonans

Morning Scoop: Proposition 207

October 15, 2020

Proposition 207 would permit the recreational use of marijuana by adults in Arizona. What are the arguments for and against the proposition? The Arizona Center for Civic Leadership sponsored the “Morning Scoop: Proposition 207” with the Arizona Capitol Times

The four-person panel featured Kirk Adams, former Speaker, House of Representatives, and former Chief of Staff, Governor’s Office; Chad Campbell, former Minority Leader, House of Representatives, and Yes on Prop. 207; Dale Guthrie, M.D., physician, Gilbert Pediatrics; and Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, No on Prop. 207.

Morning Scoop: Proposition 208

October 8, 2020

What are the strongest arguments from the yes and no campaigns on Proposition 208, which would impose a 3.5% income tax surcharge on taxable individual incomes over $250,000 for single filers and over $500,000 for joint filers? The Arizona Center for Civic Leadership sponsored the “Morning Scoop: Proposition 208” with the Arizona Capitol Times

The four-person panel featured Flinn-Brown Fellows Rep. Joanne Osborne, member, Arizona House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee; and Dr. Risha VanderWey, superintendent, Tuba City Unified School District. David Lujan represented the Yes on Prop. 208 campaign and Jaime Molera the No on Prop. 208 campaign.

A Tale of Two Towns: Rural Economic Revitalization

September 30, 2020

People who work in rural economic development believe their communities can be creative, thriving entrepreneurial centers. Flinn-Brown Fellows Mignonne Hollis and Russ Yelton share a passion for rural Arizona and will discuss how their work has connected with rural communities.

Hosted by Flinn-Brown Fellow Mignonne Hollis, executive director, Arizona Regional Economic Development Forum, and Flinn-Brown Fellow Russ Yelton, president of Yelton and Associates.

Presentation Slide Deck: A Tale of Two Towns: Rural Economic Revitalization

Backgrounder: Rural Arizona Map

Advancing Educational Equity Series: Engaging a Conversation for Post-Secondary Attainment in the Black/African American Community

August 26, 2020

Hosted by Flinn-Brown Fellow Teniqua Broughton, Executive Director, State of Black Arizona
In partnership with Expect More Arizona and Achieve60AZ

Presentation Slide Deck: Engaging a Conversation for Post-Secondary Attainment in the Black/African American Community

Backgrounder: Expect More Arizona » Arizona Education Progress Meter

Call to Action: How Our Communities and Leaders Can Drive Change

Black Philanthropy Initiative – Health Care and Education

July 29, 2020

A webinar to learn about and discuss: the history of the Black Philanthropy Initiative (a permanent endowment of the Arizona Community Foundation); inequities in health around COVID-19; and the state of Blacks in education in Arizona.

Presentation slide deck: Addressing Inequities in the Black Community

Greater Arizona’s People and Places

February 13, 2020

Over 351,000 people, including tribal communities, call 13 counties
outside of Pima and Maricopa home. Dive into what’s happening now in Greater Arizona and how urban and rural fit together.

What We Know and How We Learn: Arizona’s P-20 Education Systems

February 6, 2020

Learn more about achieving Arizona’s education goals.

$1.1 Billion and Counting: Exploration of Criminal Justice Systems

January 30, 2020

The Arizona criminal justice system is complex. Learn more about who’s who in the system and explore successful solutions and interventions for critical issues.

Fascinating AZ: Our State’s People and Public Dollars

January 23, 2020

Learn the basics about Arizona public revenues and expenditures,
population demographics, and what it all means for 2020.

See Upcoming Sessions