February 2021 Network News

February 17, 2021

By Matt Ellsworth

Thoughts from Dawn Wallace

Dawn Wallace

While most of 2020 was epic in its challenges, the holiday season glimmered to me like an elixir for the darkness of our collective mood. The simplicity felt restorative in a year filled with chaos. For me and mine, the beauty of the moment and the promise of a new day felt like a soft light at the end of a long, gloomy tunnel. I had great expectations as we approached the new year.

Then six days into the new year, an unimaginable tragedy emerged filling us with renewed fear and despair. Before our eyes, the sanctuary of our democracy was violently breached by insurrectionists birthed out of the gutter of demagoguery. The world watched as we struggled with our own fragility and the overwhelming sense that something so precious as the American experiment could be slipping way and lost forever. I was equally heartsick, afraid, and powerless—something I’ve not felt since I lost my 5-year-old in a large crowd. But I don’t believe that these moments define us—certainly, not when we have messengers of hope who compel us to rise above the somber ashes of disillusionment and uncertainty and to resurrect ourselves.

My messengers of hope are typically leaders of faith and conviction. Perfect in their imperfection, their words push me beyond what is easy to do and instead, lead me to do what is right. In the last month, I’ve found myself getting my inspiration of possibility from the passionate voices of a younger generation. One a poet—who wisely reminded me that “while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.” I was dared to believe this truth and to be courageous enough to see it and live it. Another a survivor I met interviewing Flinn Scholarship semifinalists who—despite a difficult and unimaginable childhood—still believes that seeing goodness in people should be her guiding star.

In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl reminds us, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” The young people who blessed my life this past month have chosen their own way. And because of them, I choose to hope.

Fellows Council

Fellows Council

This year, the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership celebrates its 10-year anniversary. As we look forward to the work we will undertake in the next decade, we know that we cannot do it alone. To that end, we have reinstituted a Fellows Council that will assist us in the recruitment, selection and programming of new Fellows cohorts, but also serve in an advisory role to the Center, including expansion of our CivEx series and new Civic Health Progress Meters partnership with the Center for the Future of Arizona (see below).

We thank the following Fellows for their willingness to support us over the next two years: David Martinez (2011), Representative Joanne Osborne (2012), Julie Katsel (2014), Tamara Prime (2014), Daniel Ruiz II (2015), Paul Perrault (2016), Christine Thompson (2017), Brian Garcia (2018) and Jaclyn Boyes (2019).

Civic Health Progress Meters Partnership

Last week, we announced a partnership with the Center for the Future of Arizona to activate the Civic Health Progress Meters. The Civic Health Progress Meters define, track, and measure Arizona’s progress on civic participation and connected communities, and offer the opportunity to frame conversations and prompt action by individuals and organizations throughout our state. Key to this work will be data-driven dialogue about civic life today in Arizona, public discussion about the critical importance of civic health to effective civic leadership, and opportunities for action that will ensure more Arizonans are engaged in creating solutions.

Over the next month, we will convene community leaders as part of the Civic Health Steering Committee to introduce the Progress Meters and identify opportunities for wider engagement. If you are interested in participating, please let us know.

Past and Upcoming CivEx Webinars

Thank you to 2015 Flinn-Brown Fellow Matt Gress, budget director for Gov. Doug Ducey, for providing a briefing on the economic forecast, revenue projections, and planned statewide investments reflected in Gov. Ducey’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget proposal. If you are interested, you can view a recording of the webinar or access the slides from the presentation on our website.

Check out the exciting lineup of CivEx webinars scheduled for the spring here.


The pandemic did not slow us down. In fact, the Center was busier than ever. From the new 2020 class of Flinn-Brown Fellows to the rebranding of the Center, we took advantage of the “new normal” to reimagine our work and broaden our reach into the communities in which we live and work. To learn more, visit our 2020 Annual Report webpage.

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 publicly recognize a professional accomplishment, event, or program with which you are involved.

Fellows Spotlight

Dawn Wallace

Alberto Olivas
Executive Director
Congressman Ed Pastor Center for Politics & Public Service
Arizona State University Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions
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1. Can you please describe your work and how public policy impacts how you manage your organization?

Thanks to a gift from retired Congressman Ed Pastor, in late 2015 ASU established the Pastor Center for Politics and Public Service. The Congressman’s vision was for a Center that would help students learn the practical skills for effective political engagement and civic participation. I was hired to get the new Center off the ground, working with faculty, student leaders, and public policy professionals to find ways to fulfill the Congressman’s dream through presenting timely public policy seminars and events, training students in advocacy, citizen lobbying and voter outreach strategies, and finding other ways to help students gain valuable policy acumen and advocacy skills.

We offer scholarship programs and other financial resources to support students who want to apply their studies in ways that have real world impact on voter turnout and timely political issues. We also offer opportunities for students to shadow legislators and be matched with mentors in public service careers of interest to them.

2. How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your work or community?

Social distancing restrictions due to COVID-19 have eliminated nearly all in-person events and gatherings for all of ASU, including the Center. The most unfortunate result of that is having to put some of our signature programs on hiatus, specifically, those involving high school students. Normally, we offer a summer public service leadership academy for rising high school seniors, and during the school year we have our Spirit of Service scholars mentor high school juniors at our partner schools. But as schools and families struggled to make a sudden transition to distance learning, we felt the timing was not right to try to promote online versions of these programs.

We were, however, able to secure grant funding to launch some visionary youth voter outreach programs. We hired youth outreach workers to be trained by us and work with us to create their own online outreach strategies to engage other youth in discussion about election and voting issues, and to get them registered and prepared as first-time voters.

3. How has the Flinn-Brown Network been useful to you?

I have frankly under-utilized the potential of the Flinn-Brown Network, something I hope to rectify this year! The Fellows Network can be of immense benefit to the Center and our students by tapping the expertise and connections of the Fellows as speakers, presenters, and mentors for our students who are hungry to learn directly from professionals working on a wide range of social and public policy issues.

4. Tell us how the legacy of Rep. Pastor has continued in the work of the Ed Pastor Center for Politics and Public Service?

A high priority for the Center is to engage students from across the ideological spectrum and from all disciplines to engage each other effectively, and learn how to work through differences to achieve common ground objectives. If we can do that, we really are keeping the Congressman’s legacy alive. As a Congressman he rose to prominence as a leader who was trusted and respected by members from both sides of the aisle. His honesty, integrity, and focus on building multi-partisan coalitions made him a highly effective leader in Congress, and someone that everyone wanted to have on their side.

That model of inclusive, bridge-building leadership is one that we know is inspiring to students, and one that is needed now more than ever.

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

Fellows In The News

Arlene Alen (Port Townsend, 2011) was quoted in a Port Townsend Leader article regarding tourism and the visitor center.

Cynthia Aragon (Phoenix, 2015) is now the White House liaison at the Department of Commerce.

Clare Aslan (Flagstaff, 2017) received a grant from Electric Power Research Institute to research pollinator habitats in the Coconino, Apache-Sitgreaves and Tonto National Forests in the ponderosa pine, pinyon/juniper and Sonoran Desert.

Karen Francis Begay (Tucson, 2013) took part in a UArizona alumni article to honor Alice Paul, the first Tohono O’odham member to earn a University of Arizona doctoral degree. In a recent Arizona Public Media article, she also discussed the Advancing Postsecondary Attainment and Research in STEAM for Tribal Students project, which assists Diné College students with transferring to the university.

Elvy Barton (Chandler, 2013) was quoted in an East Valley Tribune article regarding SRP’s forest management program.

Mila Besich (Superior, 2019) has been appointed to the National League of Cities 2021 Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Federal Advocacy Committee.

Paul Brierley (Yuma, 2011) was quoted in a KOLD News 13 article regarding UArizona’s study of wastewater epidemiology. 

Teniqua Broughton (Phoenix, 2013) received the 2021 Servant-Leadership Award from the ASU MLK Jr. Committee at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Jan. 21.

Jennifer Carusetta (Phoenix, 2012) is now the vice president of public affairs & advocacy at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Becky Daggett (Flagstaff, 2014) was sworn in as vice mayor of the City of Flagstaff.

Elyse Guidas (Phoenix, 2019) was quoted in an ABC News article regarding fresh food initiatives in Arizona.

Ben Henderson (Denver, 2014) was mentioned in a Denver Business Journal article regarding facilities reduction in Colorado state government.

Luis Heredia (Phoenix, 2013) was highlighted in an AZ Family article regarding Arizona’s presidential electors. 

Nikki Lee (Tucson, 2018) has been appointed to vice chair of the National League of Cities 2021 Military Communities Council.

Shane Leonard (Coolidge, 2019), along with most of the members of Arizona’s Drought Contingency Stakeholders’ group, were recommissioned as members of the Arizona Reconsultation Committee (ARC) to set the stage for how Arizona will interact with the other Colorado River basin states regarding the operation and shortage sharing of the river beyond 2026. Shane was also recently interviewed and featured in the Irrigation Leader magazine regarding efficiency modelling and implementation in urbanizing water districts.

Brendan Lyons’s (Tucson, 2020) work on distracted-driving legislation was highlighted in an ABC15 article and an AZ Central article.

Debbie Nez Manuel (Scottsdale, 2017) and her husband, Royce Manuel, were featured in an AZ Central article on Native American art and climate change.

Yvette Marie Margaillan (Tucson, 2020) was a winner of Arizona Daily Star’s 40 Under 40 for 2020. Her tea company, Tucson Tea Company, was also recently featured in a Tucson Foodie article for sending care packages to frontline workers.

Ryan Smith (Gilbert, 2013) was quoted in an Arizona Republic article regarding COVID-19 testing at Mesa Gateway Airport.

Reyna Montoya (Phoenix, 2020) was recently mentioned in an Arizona Mirror article regarding the future of DACA. 

Stephanie Parra (Phoenix, 2020) participated in ABC15’s Town Hall on education in Arizona. She was also quoted in a recent AZ Mirror article regarding proposed legislation to repeal Arizona’s English-only requirement in education.

Lea Marquez Peterson (Tucson, 2011) is now chair of the Arizona Corporation Commission. 

Mark Schofield (Herriman, Utah, 2013) has attained a Master of Science in Leadership (MSL) from Grand Canyon University.

Jami Snyder (Phoenix, 2013) was the keynote speaker at the 2020 Arizona Health Policy Conference last December. 

Amanda Stone (Tucson, 2015) was quoted in a Chamber Business News article regarding environmental policy and water legislation.

Raquel Teran (Phoenix, 2018) was elected chair of the Arizona Democratic Party.

Christine Thompson (Phoenix, 2017) was quoted in a KTAR news article about the results of Expect More Arizona’s annual survey. Christine recently transitioned from her role as president & CEO of Expect More Arizona.

Alec Thomson (Phoenix, 2019) is now the director of diversity & public-service marketing with LAVIDGE marketing agency.

Careers & Professional Opportunities

UMOM is seeking a chief program officer. Job Profile

Javelina is looking for two interns. Intern Application

Instituto is hiring an executive director.  Application Information

Find other jobs in the public sector with Government Jobs and azstatejobs.

Events & Conferences

Arizona Community Foundation will host an Economic Update and Impact of COVID-19 webinar on Feb. 18.

The U.S. Census Bureau will host a webinar on the U.S. Census Bureau’s COVID-19 and Community Resilience Estimates: Demographic and Economic Resources for Decision Making on Feb. 24 with Bureau economists Dr. Bethany DeSalvo and Andrew Hait.

The Center for the Future of Arizona will release its latest data and key findings from the decennial Gallup Arizona 2020 Survey on April 21.

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