December 2021 Network News

December 20, 2021

By Matt Ellsworth

Network News

Thoughts from Dawn Wallace

Dawn Wallace

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all 

– Emily Dickinson

Recently, a colleague suggested I watch an Apple TV+ television series very loosely based on the life of Emily Dickinson. While I grasp the show’s idiosyncratic charm—and hipster appeal—I’m afraid I may not be the show’s most logical target audience. Don’t let me lead you astray—it’s cinematically beautiful, edgy and has lovely infusion of modern-day music and adult themes played strikingly in contrast to the puritanical and political backdrop of 19th century life in the U.S. Sadly, I’m not sure I’ve got it in me to binge-watch three seasons, but the experience did lead me down the Google rabbit hole to learn more about her life and art.

An eccentric soul, Dickinson’s talent revealed itself only after her death. She lived in isolation, interacting with the world through letters. And for the 1800’s she was an extraordinary woman—highly educated for her time, feisty, but tragically also melancholy and fascinated with death. Spoiler Alert: Best part of the show is rapper Wiz Khalifa as Death who randomly shows up in horse-drawn carriage looking a little like Lestat from Interview with a Vampire.

Little known fact about me is I’m a sucker for characters—unique, interesting people who walk their own paths, unabashedly unapologetic for loving what they love, and reveling in how enigmatic they truly are. I admire those who are courageous enough to show their authentic selves, and there is no greater human appeal to me than someone who expresses themselves honestly and consistently to the world. Little did I know that like her spirit, her poetry would sing to me as well.

While perusing the bookshelves for holiday gifts for the family, I came across a pocket edition of Dickinson’s poems. I’ll confess, I’m not a copious reader of poetry, but people who know me know I love a good metaphor. As I read “Hope” is the thing with feathers, I felt a quiet warmth surround me—a serenity that seemingly etched itself a little in my soul. In this short poem, hope is analogous to a strong-willed bird that even in the face of a cold, dark storm will never stop singing. The poem exalts the power of hope—and that for as little as hope asks of us—it gives so much in return.

As we embark on this holiday season and we look forward to a new year of rebirth, I hope that your homes are bursting with joy, your hearts are full of love and laughter, and that you hear the melodies of the things with feathers throughout your lives each day.

Three Extraordinary Women

Speaking of extraordinary women, I want to give a shoutout to 2018 Flinn-Brown Fellow Dr. Pearlette Ramos. Recently, I learned that in addition to a career dedicated to public service, she has embarked on a passion project, a documentary called Three Extraordinary Women. I was incredibly moved by her story and her vision of what she hopes to accomplish with this documentary. You can find a “sizzle” of her documentary on her website. BE WARNED—you will need a tissue or two.

I know she would love to hear from Fellows, so feel free to drop her a line!

Fellows Council

As we close in on year end, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank the members of the Fellows Council for their incredible support in 2021. We are so grateful for their engagement in our quarterly meetings, willingness to provide great counsel and perspective, planning Convention, and providing their on-screen talent for our 10th anniversary video!

I’d like to especially thank our 2021 chair, Jaclyn Boyes (Phoenix, 2019) for spearheading the group and serving as co-chair of the annual Convention. We were hoping for another year, however she and Fellow Benjamin Taylor (Phoenix, 2019) are welcoming a new addition to their family (and the second ever Fellows’ baby) and are going to be super busy! I cannot thank her enough and we wish the Taylor family the very best as they enter this new chapter of their lives! And my sincere gratitude to Brian Garcia (Phoenix, 2018) for all of his encouragement and words of wisdom.

For 2022, we are honored to add two new members to the Fellows Council: Josue Macias (Phoenix, 2019) and Nicole Barraza (Tucson, 2020). They will be wonderful additions to our Council, especially as we ramp up recruitment of new Fellows into the Network in Maricopa and Pima counties. I’m also very pleased to share that Daniel Ruiz II (Phoenix, 2015) will serve as chair and Christine Thompson (Phoenix, 2017) as incoming chair.

Fellows Council

David Martinez III (2011), Representative Joanne Osborne (2012), Julie Katsel (2014), Tamara Prime (2014), Daniel Ruiz II (2015), Paul Perrault (2016), Christine Thompson (2017), Josue Macias (Phoenix, 2019) and Nicole Barraza (Tucson, 2020).

Fellows Survey

We want to hear from you! Please take five minutes to respond to this 12-question survey. In 2022, we plan to update the annual printed Flinn-Brown Fellows directory in June and at the same time refine and add new fields to our online public directory. We need your help to ensure we have your information up-to-date. Your thoughts on a few other topics related to the Flinn-Brown Network and the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership are the final component of the survey and will help us develop future programming. Please submit your response by January 31.

Past and Upcoming CivEx Webinars

Thank you to our superstar group of lobbyists, featuring lobbyists Meghaen Dell’Artino of Public Policy Partners, Geoff Esposito of Creosote Partners, Lourdes Pena of Triadvocates, and Jay Kaprosy of Veridus for an exciting 2022 Legislative Preview. With more than $2.4 billion in ongoing and one-time surplus monies, they universally agreed that it would not be a short session. And they predicted that education, water policy, affordable housing and election legislation would dominate the debate and discussion at the State Capitol. We will have them back (hopefully, before July 2022) to recap the session and discover if their predictions were correct.

SAVE THE DATE: Please join us on Wednesday, January 26 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. for a presentation by Flinn-Brown Fellows Fletcher Montzingo (Phoenix, 2017), senior fiscal policy advisor, Arizona State Senate, and Matt Gress (Phoenix, 2015), budget director, Office of Gov. Doug Ducey. This webinar will provide a briefing on the economic forecast, revenue projections, and planned statewide investments as well as what we can expect for the 2022 legislative budget process.

We will continue producing monthly CixEx webinars in 2022 on the last Wednesday of each month at 2 p.m., featuring Flinn-Brown Fellows and other presenters who are nonprofit executives, government-agency heads, academic researchers, and private-sector innovators. They bring wide-ranging experience and political perspectives. Check out our website to learn more about upcoming webinars!

If you are interested in seeing any past CivEx sessions from 2021, please check out our CivEx page.

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


Fellows Council 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 Pele Peacock Fischer (Phoenix, 2013) and Jonathan Gelbart (Tempe, 2015).

Pele Peacock Untamed

Pele Peacock Fischer (2013)


Jonathon Gelbart


Jonathan Gelbart (2015)

Amusing Ourselves to Death


Fellows Spotlight

Quintin Boyce

Quintin Boyce (Phoenix, 2019) Superintendent, Roosevelt School District

LinkedIn | Twitter

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

I have the privilege of being the proud Superintendent of the Roosevelt School District. We have 20 learning communities, over 1,000 employees, and serve roughly 7,500 beautiful young people in South Phoenix. Public education is the proverbial example of the intersection of public policy and practice. Whether funding, facilities, or performance metrics, public policy continues to be a vehicle and driver of our educational system. Being active, involved, and civically engaged is paramount for educational leaders to prevent policy from happening “to us” and instead, working “for us” in an effort to realize the mission and vision of our community and provide high quality experiences for our students and staff.

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

As a Fellow, I’ve been fortunate to connect with a phenomenal group of individuals from varying industries, perspectives, and political affiliations. The one thing that is a commonality amongst the group is the desire and relentless pursuit of improving our state of Arizona.  As a recent graduate of the Flinn-Brown Fellowship, I’ve leaned on the relationships that have been curated to seek expert advice, make professional connections, and provide additional resources and support for the students and families that I serve in Roosevelt. This all happened as a result of my cohort experience. Knowing that there is access to a vast network of several hundred Fellows is an invaluable resource that can’t be quantified.

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

It is never too early to learn about civic engagement. Whether intentionally developing opportunities for young people to be engaged with efforts such as school level participatory budgeting or creating democratic systems in our schools, the future of our state’s civic health starts with young people. Additionally, it is never too late to have your voice be heard. This can be accomplished by voting, running for elected office, or raising awareness around an area of passion.  We ALL have the power to influence change, no matter what history tells us.

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

Fellows In The News

Morgan Abraham (Tucson, 2014) and Christopher Mathis (Tucson, 2011) were appointed to the Arizona House of Representatives to fill vacant LD9 and LD10 seats.

Steven Acevedo (Tucson, 2011) Sean Goslar (Tucson, 2020) and Nikki Lee (Tucson, 2018) were recognized as 2021 40 Under 40 winners by Snell & Wilmer, the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Arizona Daily Star.

Quintin Boyce (Phoenix, 2020) was quoted in a My Radio Place article about the districts partnering with Arizona Teacher Residency for the 2022-2023 school year.

Juan Ciscomani (Tucson, 2011) was a featured speaker at the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas (FPAA) 52nd Nogales Produce Convention and Golf Tournament.

Alexis Danneman (Phoenix, 2016) was quoted in an Arizona Capitol Times article about the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that Arizona voters are not legally permitted to fix their unsigned early ballots.

Julie Erfle (Phoenix, 2013) wrote an op-ed in AZMIRROR on the state of political leadership in Arizona.

Coral Evans (Flagstaff, 2011) was quoted in an Arizona Daily Sun article about the 10th annual Sunnyside Stone Soup Community Dinner.

Eric Figueroa (Washington D.C., 2014) was interviewed for a Denver7 news story on the socioeconomic impact of grocery sales tax.

Mignonne Hollis (Sierra Vista, 2013) was quoted in an AZPM article about federal Infrastructure Act funds that will be used to expand broadband across Arizona.

David Longoria (Phoenix, 2012) is now the program officer for LISC Phoenix.

Lea Márquez Peterson (Tucson, 2011) was mentioned in an AZCentral opinion article about recent bipartisan policies that have been implemented in Arizona.

Patrick McWhortor (Cave Creek, 2011) was named the new CEO for Arizona Citizens for the Arts.

John Molina (Apache Junction, 2012) recently became an Indigenous health ambassador for ASU’s College of Health Solutions.

Reyna Montoya (Phoenix, 2020) was featured in an article in The Guardian which highlighted her organization, Aliento, and how she’s transformed personal trauma into activism.

Debbie Nez-Manuel (Scottsdale, 2017) was quoted in a Patch article regarding the removal of derogatory language from federal lands.

Daniel Palm (Tucson, 2020) was mentioned in an Eminetra article regarding the recent increase in University of Arizona’s international student enrollment.

Stephanie Parra (Phoenix, 2020) was featured on the cover of Education Week and interviewed for an article about the importance of Latino representation on school boards nationwide.

Jennifer Pawlik (Chandler, 2018) was quoted in an AZEDNEWS article regarding Arizona Department of Education’s partnership with the PAXIS Institute to provide behavioral health training and strategies for teachers to use in the classroom.

Jessica Rigler (Chandler, 2019) was quoted in an azfamily article about monoclonal antibody therapy which is used to treat COVID-19 patients.

Gina Roberts (Phoenix, 2019) was a panelist on the 2022 Midterms Elections Morning Scoop with Arizona Capitol Times.

Cynthia Seelhammer (Queen Creek, 2016) is heading a search committee to recruit a visiting urban management professional to speak with students in the ASU School of Public Affairs. 

Ryan Smith (Mesa, 2013) was quoted in a KTAR News article about record breaking numbers for passengers traveling through the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway airport.

Tonya Watson (Flagstaff, 2011) was featured in an Arizona Daily Sun article about the Flagstaff Rotary Club’s centennial.

Career and Professional Opportunities

Foundation for Senior Living (FSL) seeks a President & Chief Executive Officer to fulfill the mission to provide home and community-based services and develop energy efficient, affordable housing to promote health, independence, and dignity for all.

The ASU Foundation, one of five nonprofit entities that make up ASU Enterprise Partners, is seeking a Director, Moonshot Accelerator to build and operate a Moonshot Accelerator dedicated to preparing leaders of university initiatives to compete for and secure significant philanthropic investments. 

Central Arts Alliance is seeking a Chief Executive Officer to manage the daily operations of the organization, as well as the organization’s branches including Phoenix Center for the Arts, Thunderbird Arts Center, and the Arizona Art Mobile.

Women’s Foundation for the State of Arizona is hiring for several positions. Learn more here.

More employment opportunities in the public sector can be found at

Events & Conferences

The 2022 Arizona Chamber Legislative Forecast Luncheon will be held on January 7, 2022 at Chase Field featuring business leaders, members of the Arizona congressional delegation, state legislators, mayors, council members, county supervisors, and government affairs representatives.  

PHX Startup Week 2022 is seeking qualified participants willing to make an impact in their community by sharing their experience and knowledge during PHX Startup Week—April 25-29. Virtual and in-person presenters are needed. You can submit your interest here.

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