The Arizona Center for Civic Leadership at the Flinn Foundation selected 31 civic leaders from around the state for its 2020 Flinn-Brown Fellowship. The cohort’s Flinn-Brown Academy was held in fall 2021.
Meet the 2020 Flinn-Brown Fellows, learn about their professional backgrounds, and connect with them on social media.
Vice President of Business Attraction
Arizona Commerce Authority
Born and raised in a small town in Connecticut, Trevor Abarzua moved to Arizona at 18 years old to attend Arizona State University. Trevor’s start to his career was with Senator John McCain’s 2016 re-election campaign as a statewide field representative. After the successful campaign win, Trevor joined Gov. Doug Ducey’s team as a policy assistant, and was then promoted to director of operations and logistics for the governor.
Trevor’s current role is Vice President of Business Attraction for the Arizona Commerce Authority where he spends most his time recruiting companies from Southern California.
Service Design Lead
Christian Baca is a service design lead for Maricopa County. In her role with the county’s Innovation Studio, she leads cross-departmental projects to evaluate and redesign public-facing county services. Her work focuses on solving complex problems with human-centered research and design. So far, Christian has employed her unique skill set to address issues of health care and criminal justice.
Christian received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of New Mexico and continued her studies to receive a Master of Integrated Innovation for Products and Services from Carnegie Mellon University. She is passionate about using research-based innovation to address the social issues facing society today.
Assistant City Attorney III
City of Phoenix Public Defender’s Office
Alex Benezra has been an Arizona resident since 1986. An Arizona State University and American University Washington College of Law graduate, he has represented clients charged with criminal violations since 2010 and presently works at the city of Phoenix Public Defender’s Office. He served on the Arizona Supreme Court Post Conviction Actions Task Force and currently serves on the State Bar of Arizona Criminal Justice Section executive board, the Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice board of governors, and the Anti-Defamation League of Arizona regional board.
Alex is a past president of the Arizona State University Alumni Association Young Alumni Chapter and the Arizona Thurgood Marshall Inn of Court.
Chief Strategy Officer
Arizona Department of Health Services
A native Arizonan, Carla Berg has worked at the Arizona Department of Health Services since 2008. In her current role as Chief Strategy Officer, she carries out agency wide strategic planning, quality improvement initiatives, accreditation efforts, and special projects. In this work, Carla coordinates the Arizona Health Improvement Plan (AzHIP Healthy People, Healthy Communities), a multi-sector partnership focused on priorities to improve the health of Arizonans.
She began her public health work at ADHS as an epidemiologist within the Tuberculosis Control Program. Since then, she has held roles as Bureau Chief for the licensing of health professionals and facilities as well as Office Chief for infectious disease programs including tuberculosis and STD elimination and HIV care and services.
Carla holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Health Sciences from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Roosevelt School District
Quintin Boyce was born and raised in Chicago and has been an educator since 2002. In 2005, he began working in the Phoenix Union High School District as a teacher at South Mountain and Bioscience high schools where he taught biology, chemistry, and forensics.
After earning his doctorate from Arizona State University in 2012, he moved into school level administration as the principal of Bioscience High School and later Camelback High School. Prior to joining the Roosevelt School District as the superintendent, he was the executive director of teaching and learning at Phoenix Union.
Dr. Boyce is married and has two daughters and a son. He enjoys remaining active in his community and engaging in recreational sports.
Deputy Chief of Emergency Medical Services
Mesa Fire and Medical Department
Brent Burgett currently serves as the deputy chief of emergency services for the Mesa Fire and Medical Department. He started his fire service career in 2001.
He currently serves as an active board member for the Mesa Association of Hispanic Citizens and also serves on state and local advisory boards across the public health and emergency response space.
Brent graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Masters of Administration in 2013 and completed the Certified Public Manager Program at Arizona State University. Brent is married to his wife, Dawn, of 12 years. They have two children, Gabriel (10) and Audrey (8).
Interim Vice President
Office of Government and Community Engagement
Arizona State University
Adam Deguire serves as Interim Vice President of Government and Community Engagement. In this role, Deguire
oversees all relations and interactions with elected officials and policymakers at the federal, state, municipal and tribal
levels. Deguire also manages the execution of the university’s public policy agenda.
Prior to joining ASU, Deguire was a partner at a Phoenix-based government affairs firm where he ran the firm’s political and advocacy operations and also assisted multiple corporate clients with their legislative strategy and government relations needs. Deguire’s professional experience includes serving four years as U.S. Representative Matt Salmon’s Chief of Staff as well as a senior political aide and advisor for numerous federal, state and local candidates and campaigns.
A native Arizonan and proud Eagle Scout, Deguire graduated from Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix and the University of Arizona.
Associate General Counsel
Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System
Nicole Fries, a lifelong Phoenician, graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in public policy, and a Juris Doctor from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.
Following a legal fellowship with the U.S. House of Representatives’ Education & Labor Committee, Nicole brought her passion for policy back to Arizona in 2017 when she became associate general counsel at Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System.
Beyond her experience in health care and tribal law, Nicole is a member of the Junior League of Phoenix and chair of the American Association of Health and Human Services Attorneys.
Katelyn Harris Lange
Katelyn Harris Lange is a community connector and active writer with a passion for economic justice. As a Sourcer for Robinhood, she’s scaling Tempe’s customer experience (CX) team. She’s Vice President Emeritus for the Greater Phoenix Urban League Young Professionals and an active philanthropist with the African-American Women’s Giving and Empowerment Circle (AAWGEC) through the Arizona Community Foundation. As Advocacy Committee Co-chair for AAWGEC, Katelyn’s annual contribution supported over $30,000 in grantmaking to Arizona nonprofits led by black women since 2017.
Katelyn earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and her Master of Public Administration from the University of North Dakota. She also completed a one-year Frédéric Bastiat Fellowship with the Mercatus Center. Her early experience working on the frontlines of healthcare on an inpatient mental health and addiction unit sparked a strong desire to spur systems change at the local level.
CEO and Founder
A DACAmented entrepreneur, educator and dancer, Reyna Montoya is the founder and CEO of Aliento, a nonprofit leadership organization that transforms trauma into hope and action with dreamers and mixed status families impacted by the harms of lacking an immigration status.
She is an alumna of Arizona State University, Grand Canyon University, and Harvard University’s Kennedy School. Reyna was born in Tijuana, Mexico, migrating to Arizona fleeing violence.
Reyna’s contributions towards the well-being of undocumented and mixed-status families earned her recognition by Forbes 30 Under 30, 2019 Phoenix Chamber ATHENA Awards, and the Muhammad Ali Center as the 2018 Humanitarian Recipient for Spirituality, among others.
Vice President for Enterprise Planning
Arizona State University
Christian Osmeña is vice president, enterprise planning, at Arizona State University, where he provides leadership on long-range strategic financial planning.
Previously, Osmeña served in California’s state government. Most recently, he was vice chancellor for the California Community Colleges. He also worked at the California Department of Finance, where he concluded his service as principal program budget analyst, and the Governor’s Office, with roles as deputy cabinet secretary and assistant to the chief of staff.
Osmeña earned an education doctorate from the University of California, Davis; a master’s degree from the University of Southern California; and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
ALL in Education
Stephanie Parra is the Executive Director of ALL In Education, which aims to ensure that the communities most impacted by education inequities are the ones making decisions for all students. Established to close the gap and achieve better representation on the state’s education policy-making bodies, ALL In Education aims to increase the number of Latino members on education boards that directly impact policy.
Stephanie is a first-generation American originally from Yuma. As one of the first in her family to attend college, Parra saw first-hand the importance of education and the wonders it can do to develop a child’s life and future.
Parra currently serves as the governing board president of the Phoenix Union High School District, representing Ward 3.
Senior Manager of Operations
Arizona Department of Administration
Jill Pernice is currently the Deputy Assistant Director of Operations with the State Procurement Office, a division of
the Arizona Department of Administration. She started her career in State service in 2011 as a Budget Analyst at the
Governor’s Office, where she specialized in Natural Resource and Public Safety agencies.
Jill later moved on to serve in several leadership roles at the Arizona State Land Department (including the Director of Operations and Director of Administration). During her State service, Jill has played a critical role in both implementing and leading improvement projects utilizing the State’s lean-management system. She was also recently appointed to the State Liquor Board by Governor Ducey.
Jill received her Bachelor of Arts in Music Business and Master of Business Administration at New Mexico State University.
Principal Fiscal Analyst
Joint Legislative Budget Committee
Rebecca Perrera considers herself a native Arizonan. While born in Phoenix, she grew up in Georgia and graduated from University of Georgia before relocating to Arizona to be closer to family and to pursue a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Arizona.
Rebecca has cultivated an interest in the connection between bureaucratic public administration and the implementation of successful public policy. She currently serves as a Principal Fiscal Analyst at the Joint Legislative Budget Committee for the Arizona Legislature. Prior to her role at the JLBC, she worked as a performance auditor for the Arizona Auditor General.
Rebecca lives in Laveen with her husband (Nick) and two young children (Caroline and Zachary). When not crunching numbers, she enjoys trips to the zoo, Children’s Museum, and library with her family.
Mel Sanderson Consulting
Melissa (Mel) Sanderson was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, when the city was still segregated, to first-generation immigrant parents. Her entry class at Xavier University was only the second to include women at the formerly all-male institution, and she was one of only seven girls. She joined the Foreign Service to represent America abroad and, following a 20-year career, returned to the private sector to join Phelps Dodge mining company in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. That decision ultimately led her to Arizona, her home for the last decade, where she intends to remain.
Manager of Donor Engagement
Jack Schwimmer is currently the manager of donor engagement at the Heard Museum. He has served since 2016 on the city of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture Commission, including one year as chair of the Grants Committee. Prior to joining the Heard, he worked at Interlochen Center for the Arts, where he helped lead new efforts to engage alumni and families around the world.
A graduate of Arizona State University in music performance and Southern Methodist University in business and arts management, Jack is passionate about building vibrant communities through the intersection of arts, culture, and public policy.
Adelaida V. Severson, Ph.D., is president and CEO of Bushtex, Inc. She founded Bushtex, Inc. with her husband, Barry, in 1994, as a satellite communications firm specializing in remote broadcast transmissions worldwide.
Born and raised in Hawaii, Dr. Severson has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and international relations from the University of Southern California. She received a Master of Mass Communication and a doctorate in public administration from Arizona State University. Her community involvement includes serving as an Arizona State University trustee; former Gilbert Public Schools governing board member; Gilbert Chamber of Commerce board member; National Cronkite Advisory Board; and Diocese of Phoenix Bishop’s Stewardship Advisory Council member.
Director of Strategy and Growth
Vista College Preparatory
Sam Shapiro is the director of strategy and growth for Vista College Prep, a high-performing network of public charter schools founded with the firm belief that demographics do not determine destiny. In his position, Sam oversees the planning and development of new school sites and ensures systems successfully scale to support growth.
As a Teach for America Corps Member, Sam was a founding teacher at Vista College Prep. Sam has extensive experience working in politics including digital organizing for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. Sam earned a Master of Education from Arizona State University and a Bachelor of Arts from Washington University in St. Louis.
Arizona Department of Education
Richie Taylor is a native of Safford, a proud graduate of our public schools, and a former board member of Equality Arizona.
He started his career working in television advertising sales in Phoenix and later worked for the Maricopa County Human Services Department, leading communications and strategic planning work. Following his time working for Maricopa County, Richie worked as a communications manager for the New York City Mayor’s office before returning to his home state to serve as communications director for the Arizona Department of Education under the leadership of Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman.
Deputy Director of Communications
Arizona State Senate
Dajana Zlaticanin is the deputy director of communications for the Arizona Senate Republican Caucus. She immigrated to the United States in 2009 and has called Arizona home for almost 10 years.
Dajana is passionate about politics and has been actively engaged in positive social change in the political realm. Before working for the Senate, she worked for the Arizona State Treasurer’s Office, Arizona State University, Arizona Republican Party, and various campaigns.
Dajana holds a bachelor and master’s degree from Arizona State University and is looking forward to learning and inevitably growing furthermore during the Flinn-Brown Fellowship.
Director of Financial Aid
Mohave Community College
Attracted to helping students complete their education, Heather began working in financial aid as a student employee. She has worked at The George Washington University, Boston College, Simmons University, and most recently at Mohave Community College in Kingman.
A first-generation college student herself, Heather knows firsthand the transformative nature of a college education for both students and communities.
Heather holds an MBA in non-profit management from Simmons University and a bachelor’s degree in art history from The George Washington University. In her free time, Heather enjoys painting, cross-stitching, camping, and hiking.
Vail Academy and High School
Dennis Barger is a career public school educator who has been an administrator for the past 19 years in the Vail School District. He currently serves as the secondary division president of Arizona School Administrators and has been recognized for his leadership skills by multiple organizations, including being named Arizona’s 2016 High School Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
Dennis is passionate about public education and its role within our state. The desire to get involved prompted him to run for the state legislature and be a voice for public education at the state level.
Director of Governance and Outreach
Southern Arizona Leadership Council
Nicole P. Barraza is from Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. She received her Bachelor of Arts in political science from Wellesley College, and her master’s degree and doctorate from Stanford University in sociolinguistics and peninsular literature.
After living in different geographic regions in both the United States and Mexico, Nicole moved to Tucson and taught at Pima Community College.
She is currently the director of governance and outreach at the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, a public policy organization that works to improve the economic climate and quality of life in Tucson and the state of Arizona. Nicole is passionate about civic engagement and wants to serve where she can have the most impact.
Regional Manager of Immigration Services
Chicanos Por La Causa
Sean Goslar is the Regional Manager of Immigration Services for Chicanos Por La Causa (CPLC), overseeing offices in Tucson and Somerton. Prior to his role at CPLC, Sean worked as a congressional caseworker for Congressman Raul Grijalva in 2010, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in 2011, and Congressman Ron Barber from 2012-2014. Sean is a member of the Tucson Metro Chamber’s Emerging Leaders Council, and the Southern Arizona Leadership Council (SALC). He is also in the 2021 cohort of Greater Tucson Leadership’s Civic and Political Leadership Academy in partnership with the Rothschild Fund for Civic Innovation, and the Lead of the Nonprofit and Public Sector Team for Tucson Young Professionals.
Sean was born in Tucson, where he lived until age 9. Sean then moved with his family to Guadalajara, Mexico before returning to the United States to finish high school. Sean holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a minor in Government and Public Service, and a Master of Public Administration both from the University of Arizona.
University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center
Ashley Hullinger is the program director for the Water RAPIDS (Water Research and Planning Innovations for Dryland
Systems) Program at the University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center. Ashley is dedicated to creating
pathways for Arizona stakeholders to develop sustainable water management strategies, especially in rural
She works directly with communities to evaluate issues that span beyond physical water resources, considering the people and history that make local water challenges and solutions unique. Her work has been based primarily in Graham, Greenlee, Gila, and Pinal counties, with goals to fortify rural water management strategies and policy options throughout the state.
Director of Business Development and Community Relations
As a former first-responder and community leader, Brendan has a unique passion to serve the healthcare needs of our frontline public safety community; where he currently serves as the Director of Business Development and Community Relations at 10-4 Medical. He brings dynamic experience to his role from the region’s public safety, nonprofit and government communities and has served Southern Arizona as a firefighter, responding to local emergencies and natural disasters including Hurricane(s) Katrina and Rita. He is the founder of Arizona’s LOOK! Save a Life and championed for Arizona’s Hands-Free Distracted-Driving Law.
A Tucson native, Brendan received a Bachelor’s in Public Administration from Northern Arizona University, and holds a Master’s in Public Administration and Graduate Certificate in Collaborative Governance from the University of Arizona. Mr. Lyons serves on the Board of Directors for Greater Tucson Leadership, and is an active member of both Tucson Young Professionals and Tucson Metro Chamber’s Emerging Leaders Council.
CEO and Clinical Director
ABA Consulting Group-Autism Pediatrics
Yvette-Marie Margaillan, LBA, BCBA, is the CEO and Clinical Director of Autism Pediatrics and the Academy for Autism, an international private medical practice and educational consulting firm serving families across the US. She recently co-founded Tucson Tea Company, focused on promoting health and wellness and supporting local philanthropic causes. A board member of El Rio Health Center and Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, she was recently elected President of Global Shapers Tucson, an initiative of the World Economic Forum.
A first-generation American, Yvette-Marie is an advocate of STEM and financial literacy. She received her Master of Science in MIS from the University of Arizona and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University, both in 2015.
ATF Compliance Advisor
Raytheon Missiles and Defense
Stefanie Murphy is an ATF Compliance Advisor at Raytheon Missiles and Defense in Tucson.
Stefanie Murphy is an ATF Compliance Advisor at Raytheon Missiles & Defense in Tucson. Stefanie joined Raytheon in May 2018 in Global Trade and supports the application of U.S. Government export/import and firearm/explosives regulations. Prior to joining Raytheon, Stefanie worked for Maricopa County Supervisor Denny Barney as the Deputy Administrator for District 1. She also held positions at the State of Arizona, including Director of Constituent Services in the Governor’s Office and Board Administrator to the State Liquor Board.
Stefanie studied business administration and received a bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University and an MBA from Western International University.
Associate Vice Provost for Global Affairs
University of Arizona
Daniel Palm is the associate vice provost for global affairs at University of Arizona. He formerly served as the associate vice president for international affairs and senior advisor for regional initiatives at Northern Arizona University. In February 2019, Daniel was appointed by Gov. Doug Ducey to the board of directors of the Arizona-Mexico Commission, a cross-border organization that focuses on improving the economic prosperity and quality of life for all Arizonans through strong, public-private collaborations.
Daniel earned a Master of Arts in Leading Innovation and Change from York St. John University, York, England, and a Bachelor of Arts in history from Northern Arizona University. He is proficient speaker of Mandarin Chinese and lived in Beijing, China, for nearly five years, two of which he engaged in research and study at Beijing International Studies University.
Tucson Young Professionals
Zach Yentzer’s been intentional to work at the intersection of neighborhood and housing policy, and workforce and economic development to shape an inclusive, innovative future for Tucson.
He’s the executive director of Tucson Young Professionals and serves on the Tucson Metro Chamber’s Talent Taskforce. Zach’s the president of the Menlo Park Neighborhood Association, a member of the Barrio Neighborhood Coalition, and serves on the Downtown Neighborhoods and Residents Council and the Downtown Tucson Partnership (DTP) board.
Zach hosts the daily talk show “Tipping Point” on AM 1030 The Voice, and was named Tucson’s 2019 40 Under 40 Man of the Year.
Robyn Stallworth Pouquette
Yuma County Recorder
Robyn Stallworth Pouquette is currently serving her fourth term as Yuma County Recorder. Born and raised in Yuma, Robyn attended Yuma High School and Arizona Western College. Robyn has worked in county government for 25 years, serving in communications with the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office before transferring to the Superior Court Clerk’s Office.
In 2008, Robyn ran for Yuma County Recorder and started her first term on January 1, 2009. Robyn served as Arizona Recorder’s Association secretary/treasurer, vice president, and president from 2012 through 2015. Robyn previously served as the president of the Arizona Association of Counties and is currently serving as past president for AACO. She is also a graduate of the County Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C., and serves on the National Association of Counties Membership Committee.
Robyn is married to Clay Pouquette, an investigator with Arizona Public Service, and has five children and two grandchildren.