Fellow Profiles

Lisa Urias

2011 Fellow | Managing Partner, CoNecs North America | Maricopa

Lisa Urias launched Urias Communications in 2006 to provide strategic advertising, public-relations, and creative services to various Fortune 1000 clients, large nonprofit organizations, and government agencies throughout the U.S. and in Mexico.

A member of the first Flinn-Brown cohort, Urias (2011) also serves as a board member of Greater Phoenix Leadership, Arizona Community Foundation, and the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. [Read More]

Kevin Bonine

2014 Fellow | Director of Education and Outreach, University of Arizona | Pima

Flinn-Brown Fellow Kevin Bonine  is director of education at Biosphere 2 and a science-faculty member in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona. 

Bonine (2014) writes about how he serves southern Arizona nonprofits, the K-12 education system, and UArizona, the impact of COVID-19 on Biosphere 2 and Tucson, the value of the Flinn-Brown Network, and how his work advances the biosciences, research, and a culture of innovation and creative excellence. [Read More]

Sarah Douthit

2013 Fellow | Chief Probation Officer, Coconino County Adult Probation | Coconino

Flinn-Brown Fellow Sarah Douthit, the chief probation officer for the Coconino County Adult Probation Department in Flagstaff, answers questions about her profession, public policy, the Flinn-Brown Network, the benefits of art, and the impact of COVID-19.

Douthit (2013) has held a variety of positions in the criminal justice system in Arizona and is an active member of the American Probation and Parole Association. She is dedicated to servant leadership in Arizona to promote successful outcomes and healthy communities. [Read More]

Jessica Rigler

2019 Fellow | Assistant Director, Arizona Department of Health Services | Maricopa

Jessica Rigler (2019), who has worked for the Arizona Department of Health Services since 2008 and in her current role as an assistant director since 2018, is responsible for leading the state’s preparedness for an infectious disease outbreak and sharing critical information with the public. 

She has previously led public health responses and public messaging pertaining to the Zika virus, opioid prevention, the 2014 Ebola outbreak, vaccines, the West Nile virus, and the recent Hepatitis A outbreak in Arizona. [Read More]

Sarah Coles

2017 Fellow | Family Physician; Assistant Professor, Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix | Maricopa

Dr. Sarah Coles is caring for the residents of Arizona in countless ways. Coles (2017), a Flinn-Brown Fellow, is a physician, educator, curriculum developer, policy expert, a member of state and national boards, and overall advocate for patient health.

Coles splits time between seeing her own patients as a family-medicine primary-care provider and running the primary-care programs as a faculty member for the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix on the campus of Banner University Medical Center-Phoenix. [Read More]

Diana Gomez

2016 Fellow | Director of Public Health, Yuma County | Yuma

Diana Gomez has spent a lifetime living in—and a career serving—Yuma County.

Gomez (2016) has worked for the county’s public health district for 22 years, including the last seven as chief health officer. The Flinn-Brown Fellow oversees efforts to prevent the spread of communicable diseases, advocate health policies, enforce public health law, and protect against environmental hazards. [Read More]

Chad Marchand

2011 Fellow | Vice President, National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development | Pima

Chad Marchand (2011) is a businessman and economic developer, a broker and networker, a community and civic leader, and a multi-degreed student with a zeal for spreading educational opportunities for Native Americans.

The Flinn-Brown Fellow is director of business development and the Community Development Financial Institution Program for the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development at its national headquarters in Mesa. His dedication to Native Americans and indigenous people has led him to pursue jobs working alongside entrepreneurs and businesspeople and assisting tribes impacted by climate change. [Read More]

Marie Raymond

2017 Fellow | Human Services Manager, City of Tempe | Maricopa

The success of young children has been a passion for Marie Raymond through a career that has taken her from the Rhode Island Philharmonic to the cities of Scottsdale, Mesa, and Tempe.

Raymond (2017), a Flinn-Brown Fellow, oversees education and senior services for the city of Tempe as human services manager and is active on the national, state, regional, and local levels promoting early childhood education. [Read More]

Matt Walsh

2013 Fellow | Intergovernmental and Legislative Liaison, U.S Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, Ft. Huachuca | Cochise

Matt Walsh (2013) describes Fort Huachuca, where he serves as the executive liaison assistant to the installation Commanding General on federal and state-level public-policy issues, as “not on the beaten path to anywhere.”

The Flinn-Brown Fellow, a civilian employee for the past 25 years at Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista in southeastern Arizona, has spent the past 15 years in a role that elevates awareness and provides education about the United States Army installation and its assets to Arizona’s policymakers from the Governor’s Office to the Arizona Legislature to the U.S. Congress. [Read More]

Joe Hughes

2014 Fellow | IManaging Director, Global Government Affairs, American Airlines | Maricopa

Since being elected as a Safford city councilman at a young age, Joe Hughes has been immersed in the inner workings of all levels of government.

Hughes (2014) has spent most of his career working in government relations representing transportation and construction interests, currently working for American Airlines, and is a fixture in the state’s leading business and policy organizations. [Read More]

Candida Hunter

2017 Fellow | Senior Director of Tribal Affairs, First Things First | Maricopa

Candida Hunter remembers, when she was a young mother, meeting a First Things First representative during a visit to the Hualapai community in northwestern Arizona. The staffer’s personal interest, so genuine that she asked to take a photograph of Hunter’s 2-year-old daughter, caught Hunter’s attention.

The positive experience remained with Hunter (2017), who went on to serve on a First Things First Hualapai Tribe Regional Partnership Council and in 2014 was named the senior director of tribal affairs for the statewide system. She works out of her Kingman and Phoenix offices. [Read More]

Drew John

2014 Fellow | Graham

Arizona Rep. Drew John (2014) talks about his constituents as the coaches, family, and friends he grew up with.

The fourth-generation Arizonan and Flinn-Brown Fellow, who is serving his first term in the Arizona House of Representatives and planning a run for the state Senate this fall, sees his role as one of protecting the interests of Arizona’s rural counties. [Read More]

Jaime Dempsey

2013 Fellow | Executive Director, Arizona Commission on the Arts | Maricopa

From the time she was very little, Jaime Dempsey (2013) knew she was an artist. She trained as an actor and in vocal music and graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in theatre. But while in college, a nonprofit leadership class and the pursuit of a social anthropology minor changed her direction.

Dempsey, a Flinn-Brown Fellow, is the executive director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, leading the state agency that provides grants to arts organizations, artists and community groups, promotes public access to the arts, and leads statewide initiatives. [Read More]

Coral Evans

2011 Fellow | Mayor, City of Flagstaff | Coconino

Coral Evans (2011) to this day describes herself as a community organizer, someone who likes advocating for neighborhoods that she says are being overlooked, impacted negatively by policy decisions, or in need of services.

The Flagstaff native, whose family first arrived in northern Arizona nearly a century ago, was elected to the Flagstaff City Council in 2008 and again in 2012. In 2016, she ran for and was elected mayor of Flagstaff. [Read More]

Joanne Keene

2016 Fellow | Deputy County Manager, Coconino County | Coconino

Joanne Keene learned early on, as a legislative intern in the governor’s office and broadcast journalism student, that she was drawn to public policy and its importance and impact on the state.

In the two decades since graduating from Northern Arizona University, Keene (2016) has worked for Coconino County, NAU, the Arizona Governor’s Office, U.S. congressmen, the Arizona Department of Water Resources, and in the private sector. Keene has also been appointed to state boards and commissions and serves on the boards of statewide and regional organizations. [Read More]

Cynthia Aragon

2015 Fellow | Chief of Staff, Arizona House of Representatives | Maricopa

By 2014, Cynthia Aragon had worked alongside lawmakers at the Arizona Legislature for several years—but had never actually voted for any of them.

But that year, she became a United States citizen and exercised her right to vote for the first time. Aragon (2015) is the chief of staff for the House Democratic Caucus and a one-time community organizer who has worked on many high-profile issues in Arizona. [Read More]

Sharon Carpenter

2016 Fellow | Policy Advisor for Natural Resources, Arizona House of Representatives | Maricopa

While a student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, majoring in aviation environmental science, Sharon Carpenter (2016) never envisioned working at the Arizona Legislature.

But she needed to have an internship to graduate, and received an email advertising an internship program with the Arizona Legislature. She applied and was accepted, and today plays a key role by providing sophisticated research and analysis to the legislators as an Arizona House of Representatives legislative research analyst. [Read More]

Juan Ciscomani

2016 Fellow | Senior Advisor for Regional and International Affairs, Arizona Governor’s Office | Pima

Juan Ciscomani (2011) started his day with a breakfast event in Tucson, met with agricultural leaders in Yuma for lunch, and attended a program in Phoenix that evening with the Mexican ambassador before driving back to his Tucson home.

Welcome to the life of the senior advisor for regional and international affairs for Gov. Doug Ducey. Ciscomani, a Flinn-Brown Fellow, has served on Ducey’s senior staff since being named director of the Southern Arizona Office in March 2015. [Read More]

Cheyenne Walsh

2013 Fellow | Founder, Cheyenne Walsh PLC | Maricopa

Cheyenne Walsh (2013) knows that in the public’s mind, lobbyists are not very well thought of.

But she doesn’t view the role in a negative way, and not just because it’s a career she loves, representing clients at the state capitol, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small independent businesses to trade and professional associations. [Read More]

Teniqua Broughton

2013 Fellow | Executive Director, The State of Black Arizona | Maricopa

For Teniqua Broughton, a leader in the Valley’s arts and African-American communities, her true passion is exposing others to the programs.

Broughton (2013) is the founder and CEO of VerveSimone Consulting, serves as director of The State of Black Arizona, is a longtime Desert Botanical Garden board member, creator of its Monarch Society and Council for young and mid-career professionals, and a former manager at Arizona State University Gammage. [Read More]

Diana Rhoades

2013 Fellow | Public Policy & Community Engagement Strategist | Out-of-State

Diana Rhoades (2013) has long been an advocate on behalf of parks and wildlands—whether it’s a large national forest or a small neighborhood park—through a career spent crafting public policy and strategic messaging.

As a National Park Service Urban Fellow for Tucson and Saguaro National Park, Rhoades’ mission during her two-year term is to introduce people who may have never visited a national park to new outdoor experiences, promote a national park’s health benefits to city dwellers, and reach out specifically to Latino and other minority communities. [Read More]

Gilberto ‘Gil’ Villegas

2014 Fellow | Chief Financial Officer/ Director, Yuma County | Yuma

For most of his life, Gilberto “Gil” Villegas rarely had politics on his mind.

The Yuma County deputy chief financial officer, who runs the operations of the county finance department, says after participating in Flinn-Brown he emerged as a political devotee. Villegas (2014) also serves as treasurer of a Yuma nonprofit organization that provides educational and literacy services to those aged 16 and older. [Read More]

Kim Hartmann

2015 Fellow | Chief Executive Officer, KCH Solutions, LLC | Maricopa

Over a cup of coffee, an associate told Kim Hartmann (2015) that she had heard being on the Scottsdale Unified School District governing board was the most thankless job in the world. Hartmann responded: “Absolutely, you are right, but it’s also the best job I have ever had.”

Her first time running for office earned her a seat on the five-person SUSD governing board that oversees 30 elementary, middle, and high schools, and more than 24,000 students. [Read More]

Stuart Noggle

2015 Fellow | Chief Technology Officer, Woz ED | Pinal

Stuart Noggle, who is from a rural northeastern Arizona town bordering the Navajo Nation, has been a multifaceted leader in his community.

Noggle (2015) has worked to inspire students and teachers at the Sanders Unified School District and was named the 2012 Apache County Teacher of the Year for his efforts. Noggle runs an organization to benefit local youth, serves as an information-technology consultant, and has promoted positive developments in and around Sanders. [Read More]

Amanda Stone

2015 Fellow | Intergovernmental Affairs Director, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality | Pima

As a college student, Amanda Stone (2015) went door-to-door in polluted neighborhoods, providing information and guidance to families affected by contamination.

She was then a community-outreach intern with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. Today, more than two decades later, Stone is the chief policy and legislative affairs officer for the state agency, working with the governor’s office, legislators, and stakeholders on specific bills and the agency’s budget. [Read More]

Brett Rustand

2011 Fellow | Vice President, Crest Insurance Group | Pima

After nearly a decade of service in the U.S. Army, Brett Rustand returned to Tucson in 2008 ready to move on to the next phase of his life.

But as time went by, the retired Army captain began to see military veterans who were struggling, and he felt a need to help those suffering from mental-health and physical challenges. Rustand (2011), an insurance executive, has served on the Veterans Advisory Commission of the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services and is active in nonprofits assisting veterans. [Read More]

Lea Márquez Peterson

2011 Fellow | Arizona Corporation Commissioner, Arizona Corporation Commission | Pima

Lea Márquez Peterson likes owning and running her own business. And she enjoys promoting businesses both big and small, helping them expand their workforce and market.

Márquez Peterson (2011), president and CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce since 2009, is an influential Arizona business leader who was a close advisor to Doug Ducey’s gubernatorial campaign, and later appointed by the governor as co-chair of the Arizona Zanjeros business-ambassador organization. [Read More]

Mignonne Hollis

2013 Fellow | Executive Director, Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation | Cochise

From the time Mignonne Hollis was a senior at Tombstone High School—graduating-class size: 28—she believed the key to her success was to make connections outside of Cochise County. She would attend events in Tucson and Phoenix to seek out scholarships and other opportunities.

Today, her mindset is much the same, as Hollis (2013) spends her time promoting the economic-development interests of the rural southern Arizona county she still proudly calls home as executive director of the Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation (AREDF). [Read More]

Kevin Hartke

2014 Fellow | Mayor, City of Chandler | Maricopa

You can call Kevin Hartke pastor, director, or vice mayor, since his days include at once ministry, municipal policymaking, and leading a social-service initiative, among many other roles.

Helping people is the simple motivation for his multi-faceted career. Hartke (2014) began his ministry at the Trinity Christian Fellowship in Chandler in 1985 and has been the senior pastor since 1992. His service there is magnified by directing For Our City Chandler, a faith initiative bringing faith communities, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and governments together to solve community issues and improve quality of life. [Read More]