February 2023 Network News

February 28, 2023

By Jessica Vaile

Thoughts from Dawn Wallace

Flinn-Brown Fellows group photo with Dawn Wallace

Since late January, our team has been on the road recruiting for our newest cohort of Fellows. We began in Tucson with an info session hosted by Ted Maxwell and Nicole Barraza (Tucson, 2020) at Southern Arizona Leadership Council, followed by Yuma, where we were hosted by Arizona Western College President Daniel Corr and the Honorable Reetika Dhawan (Yuma, 2022). Next, we traveled to the beautiful city of Cottonwood, hosted by Mayor Tim Elinski (Cottonwood, 2013), his wife, Ruth Ellen Elinski (Cottonwood, 2014), Bill Regner (Clarkdale, 2018), and the Honorable Janet Regner (Clarkdale, 2017). We concluded our info sessions in a very chilly Flagstaff, hosted by Mayor Becky Daggett (Flagstaff, 2014) at Moonshot at NACET.

Thank you to all the Fellows who joined us at our out-of-town events and our in-person info sessions in Phoenix: Charlinda Haudley (Tucson, 2022), Sean Goslar (Tucson, 2020), Brendan Lyons (Tucson, 2020), Paul Brierley (Yuma, 2011), Gil Villegas (Yuma, 2014), Mayor Pro Tem Cecilia McCollough (Wellton, 2018), Russ McCloud (Yuma, 2018), Diana Gomez (Yuma, 2016), Robyn Stallworth Pouquette (Yuma, 2020), Aaron Lieberman (Phoenix, 2017), Nancy Steele (Cottonwood, 2019), Joanne Keene (Flagstaff, 2016), Coral Evans (Flagstaff, 2011), Dave Engelthaler(Flagstaff, 2022), Kate Morley (Flagstaff, 2018), Christine Thompson(Phoenix, 2017), Alex Ong (Phoenix, 2016), Trista Guzman Glover (Mesa, 2019), Reyna Montoya (Phoenix, 2020), and Rebecca Perrera (Phoenix, 2020).

Additionally, we are so appreciative of all the Fellows who produced a video for us to share on social media.

More than 75% of our applicants are referred to the program by existing Flinn-Brown Fellows. We value your involvement through our recruitment efforts and this year, you all truly showed up to help us get the word out. Thank you!

Fellows in Local Government

Last month, we published a list of Fellows in state government positions. We received positive feedback from Fellows who asked us to continue to produce these “mapping lists” as a useful tool for utilizing the Network assets. We will continue to feature Fellows in a specific employment sector, public policy area, or affinity group. Please check in with me if you have a specific request.

As I mentioned last month, the goal of Flinn-Brown was to drive leaders into state-level service, for the purpose of guiding the development of meaningful and effective public policy. What we have discovered along the way is that local government input on state-level policy is immeasurably important and required to ensure that the unique circumstances and needs of every region of the state is considered.

The Network has robust local government representation, with over 60 Fellows, who keep the machinery of local government on track. Our impressive cadre includes mayors and councilmembers, school board members, elected members of special districts, a judge and a justice of the peace, and an exceptional group of municipal and county administrators.

See this complete list of Fellows in local government. While we try very hard to keep up to date on Fellows’ activities, we recognize that we may have missed someone. Please let us know and we will happily update the list.

Attention Southern Arizona Fellows

Julie Katsel (Tucson, 2014) has organized quarterly Flinn-Brown Fellow happy hours for 2023.  Watch your email for an invitation from Julie with further details, but mark your calendars now!

If you’d like to organize happy hours for Fellows in your region, please let me know. I’m happy to help connect you!


Upcoming CivEx

Slide photo: Missing too much school—Trendss in K-8 chronic absenteeism in Arizona during the Pandemic

Join us for our next CivEx on Wednesday, March 8 at 2:00 p.m. as Flinn-Brown Fellows Paul Perrault (Phoenix, 2016) and Lenay Dunn (Phoenix, 2017) discuss the trends in chronic absenteeism in elementary schools.

Fellows 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, and other areas worth sharing. This month, recommendations come from Benjamin Taylor (Phoenix, 2019) and Sarah Rose Webber (Tempe, 2017).

Benjamin Taylor
(Phoenix, 2019)
Invisible Man
by Ralph Ellison

Benjamin Taylor: Fellows probably read the book in high school or college, but it is worth a reread if you have forgotten. A lot of the same issues that the author Ralph Ellison wrote about in 1952 are still happening today to African Americans. The book makes people take a step back and realize what life is like to step in another person’s shoes that has a different skin color as you.

Sarah Rose Webber
(Tempe, 2017)
The Nature Fix
by Florence Williams

Sarah Rose Webber: While most of us have experienced the inspiring, uplifting, and calming impacts of time spent in nature—whether walking around a local park, hiking the Grand Canyon, or camping under the stars—”The Nature Fix” by Florence Williams dives into the scientific inquiry of why and how being in nature is good for us. The book includes discussions with scientists across the world who are trying to understand the relationship between experiencing nature and better health.

”We don’t experience natural environments enough to realize how restored they can make us feel, nor are we aware that studies also show they make us healthier, more creative, more empathetic and more apt to engage with the world and with each other. Nature, it turns out, is good for civilization.”

Ultimately, this book makes the case for why we should spend time outside, beyond pure recreational pleasure.

Fellows Spotlight

Benjamin Taylor
(Phoenix, 2019)

Attorney, Partner
Taylor & Gomez Law, LLP

LinkedIn | Twitter

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

I work as a personal injury, civil rights, and criminal defense attorney. I am currently the president-elect of the Arizona State Bar Board of Governors. One of the committees I am on selects people who interview potential Superior and Appellate Court judges. Making sure that our legal system gives everyone an equal opportunity is my passion.

2. Do you have a favorite quote that is meaningful to you?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” This quote reminds me that as an attorney, you have to stand up for what is right all the time.

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

I have met a lot of new friends that have helped me further my career and personal life. The network is very powerful, and it is always nice to have business and friendships with people in the Fellows Network.

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

People need to be able to look past differences and focus on what makes us similar. We all want good health care, a safe place to live, and to be financially stable. People may be from a different political party, but we need to respect everyone’s opinion and figure out a way to work together so that we all succeed.

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

Fellows In The News

We are happy to promote your work through social media, so reach out if you would like us to recognize a professional accomplishment, event, or program with which you are involved.

Mayor Mila Besich (Superior, 2019) was quoted in an article in The Center Square about HB 2067 which would ban taxes on residential rent payments.

Zachary Brooks (Green Valley, 2017) wrote an op-ed in the Phoenix Business Journal about making Arizona a hub for biotech startups.  

Jennifer Carusetta (Phoenix, 2012) was quoted in an article about the potential impact of HB 2646 which would require the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) to redetermine the eligibility of all Arizonans receiving Medicaid coverage by the end of 2023.

Congressman Juan Ciscomani (Tucson, 2011) delivered the Republican Spanish response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address.

Joseph Citelli (Phoenix, 2019) is now General Counsel for the Arizona Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA).

Reetika Dhawan (Yuma, 2022) will be co-leading a project, which recently received a grant from the Flinn Foundation, that will enhance research at the Yuma Regional Medical Center and develop a pathway for Arizona Western College students into the healthcare industry. 

Laura Dorrell (Clifton, 2017) is now Mayor for the town of Clifton.

Coral Evans (Flagstaff, 2011) shared her experience being a Black woman in Arizona politics on an episode of Arizona PBS’s new digital series “Black in Arizona.”

Eric Fitzter (Surprise, 2013) is now the Director of Transportation for the city of Surprise.

Rep. Matt Gress (Phoenix, 2015) was interviewed for an ABC15 news story about HB 2417, which would allow pregnant women to drive in the HOV lane. He was also interviewed for an article in The Center Square about a bill that would ban TikTok from Arizona government devices.

Trista Guzman Glover (Mesa, 2019) is now a PHX East Valley Partnership board member.

Daniel Hernandez Jr. (Tucson, 2011) was interviewed for an Arizona’s Family news story about finding a long-term solution to Arizona’s education spending cap.

Michelle Hess (Buckeye, 2013) is now the Vice Mayor for the city of Buckeye.

Mignonne Hollis (Hereford, 2013) was recently elected to serve on the National Small Business Association (NSBA) Board of Trustees.

Brad Kendrex (Queen Creek, 2018) was interviewed for a KJZZ news story about the new multi-year structure the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) has adopted for setting tuition at Arizona’s public universities.  

Dana Kennedy (Phoenix, 2016) recently presented on “Aging in Place Along the Alzheimer’s Spectrum” at the Alzheimer & Caregiving Educational Conference in Ahwatukee.

Aaron Lieberman (Paradise Valley, 2017) was featured on an episode of KJZZ’s Friday NewsCap podcast about the U.S. Senate race in Arizona.

Reyna Montoya (Gilbert, 2020) accepted the UnidosUS Capital Award for Public Service on behalf of her organization, Aliento, for its work toward passing Prop. 308.

Joanne Osborne (Goodyear, 2012) was appointed to the Board of Directors for the Independent Jewelers Organization (IJO).

Rep. Jennifer Pawlik (Chandler, 2018) was quoted in a Cronkite News article about the Arizona Legislature’s vote to override the aggregate expenditure limit.

Paul Perrault (Phoenix, 2016) was quoted in an AZ Big Media article regarding new data showing outcomes for Arizona students who participate in dual enrollment programs.

Mel Sanderson (Phoenix, 2020) is now the President for North America at American Rare Earths Ltd.

Sue Sisley (Scottsdale, 2011) was appointed to the Natural Medicine Advisory Board to serve as a representative of mycology and natural medicine cultivation.

Benjamin Taylor (Phoenix, 2019) will become the State Bar of Arizona’s first Black president of the Board of Governors this June. He and Janelle Wood (Phoenix, 2013) were also interviewed for a 12News roundtable discussion on the death of Tyre Nichols and policing in America.

Sen. Raquel Terán (Phoenix, 2018) was quoted in an AZ Mirror article regarding funding for the I-10 widening project between Chandler and Casa Grande.

Updates are gathered from conversations, press releases, articles, social media, tipsters, and confessions. Have news to share? Send it to Danielle Underwood.

Board and Commission Openings

Serving on a board or commission is a great way to influence public policy on issues where you have expertise or a passion to serve.

Fellows interested in building skills as a board member may want to contact Board Developer for additional information or to learn more about private and nonprofit board service opportunities.

The Commission on Judicial Performance Review currently has two public member vacancies and is accepting volunteer applications. Interested applicants must be residents of Maricopa or Pima counties and cannot be a judge or an attorney.  If you are interested in volunteering to be a part of this commission, please complete the volunteer application by March 1.

Maricopa County has vacancies on the Travel Reduction Program Regional Task Force in Districts 2, 3, 4, and 5. You can apply for these positions through the Clerk of the Board.

The city of Tucson has vacancies in Ward 4 on the following committees, boards, and commissions:

Interested parties should email their resume, contact info, and letter of interest to ward4@tucsonaz.gov.

Most Arizona counties and cities have boards and commissions with frequent vacancies. Check local websites for more opportunities. To share specific opportunities, contact Jennifer Papworth.

Career and Professional Opportunities

The Center for the Future of Arizona is launching a Workforce Leadership Academy for Southern Arizona in partnership with Pima Community College and the Aspen Institute. Applications are open now through Feb. 24, 2023.

The Arizona Board of Regents is hiring a Director of Community Engagement.

The Thunderbird School of Management seeks an Executive Director of Engagement.

Health First Foundation Northern Arizona seeks a Senior Philanthropy Officer.

Arizona Sustainability Alliance is hiring a Grants and Fundraising Coordinator to directly support the funding of Arizona Sustainability Alliance through grants and fundraising.  

First Things First is seeking a Senior Director of Marketing to lead content development and strategic marketing efforts.  

Enterprise Technology at ASU is seeking an Executive Director, Creative and Communications to take a diverse slate of organizational activities and services and develop a unified enterprise message.

The Center for the Rights of Abused Children is searching for a Constitutional Attorney and a Staff Attorney to join their team. 

The BIO5 Institute at UofA is seeking an experienced Director, Communications and Marketing to join their team.

Contexture is looking to fill the role of Vice President, Enterprise Marketing to oversee development and execution of comprehensive communication, education and marketing plans and strategies.

Events & Conferences

Venture Café Phoenix connects creators, entrepreneurs, investors, coworkers, students, and visionaries at that flagship program, the Thursday Gathering, to build a strong, inclusive and equitable innovation ecosystem. Check out the schedule of gatherings for March 2023.

Arizona Gives is open for nonprofit registrations through Feb. 28.

March 6-10 is Civic Learning Week and offers a variety of civic oriented virtual events throughout the week presented by partners across the country. 

The Bill of Rights Institute is bringing two professional development seminars for educators to Arizona in April: Plainest Demands of Justice: Dialogues on the African American Experience on April 1 in Phoenix and Being an American: Exploring the Ideals that Unite Us on April 15 in Tucson. The institute will offer 6 PD credits for these events. 

Nominate a deserving woman today for the 2023 Women’s Foundation for the State of Arizona’s Annual Luncheon, to be held May 4 at the Tucson Convention Center.