Flinn-Brown Fellow Benah Parker helping leaders move the needle

December 19, 2023

By Jessica Vaile

Fellows Spotlight

Benah Parker

(Gilbert, 2011)

Executive Coach and Author
Level 42 Consulting

Email | LinkedIn | YouTube

As a social psychologist and executive coach, Benah Parker is well known for helping her clients move the needle on desired outcomes. Whether the goal is organizational transformation, professional growth, or personal development, Benah integrates applied psychology to help leaders live a life that is aligned with their dreams.

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

I am a social psychologist and executive coach who helps high-performing leaders identify their blind spots and uncover what’s missing so they can create a life that is aligned with their dreams. 

Public policy impacts me as a resident of Arizona, but also because our elected officials and policy makers showcase such a wide range of leadership skills with so much potential to impact our daily lives and the greater good. As someone who spends my professional life working to help leaders become better, more impactful, and more authentic, I value our civic leaders who are continuously working to develop their leadership capacity.

While policy makers work to effect meaningful change for our communities, the structures in which they work are often designed to maintain the status quo. Navigating these realties and complexities requires leaders who are effective and influential communicators, who engage meaningfully with stakeholders, and who work tirelessly for an outcome that may be years away and result in very little public acknowledgement for the individual champions. This is not an intuitive skill set for everyone. 

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

“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” — Aldous Huxley

It is so easy to get overwhelmed when we want to fix the issues we see in our communities. We want to have an impact and make the world better, safer, more accepting, more abundant – but there’s so little we actually control. This quote has always spoken to me because if we focus on becoming our best selves – the best leaders, community members, family members, engaged citizens, consumers, whatever – we can be, the positive ripple effects are limitless.

3. Is there a book you would recommend to the Fellows?

For fun reading, I would suggest anything by Laurie Notaro. She’s an AZ native writer (though she now lives in the Pacific NW) and her essays have had me laughing so much on airplanes that people were worried about me. Her latest collection, which I will be reading soon, is Excuse Me While I Disappear: Tales of Midlife Mayhem, though any of her humor books will provide a welcome reprieve!

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

As a member of the inaugural class in 2011, I have been less engaged with the Network in recent years than I might have liked. However, watching the Fellows Network grow over the years has been both inspiring and comforting. While the political divide has grown even wider and more contentious, it is reassuring to witness the thoughtful, intentional leaders from all along the political spectrum joining this network with the shared goals of understanding complex issues and finding reasonable solutions for our state.  

When I have had the luck to cross paths with more recent Fellows or to re-engage with my own cohort, I am humbled and honored to be associated with leaders of this caliber and character. I am looking forward to connecting more meaningfully in the coming year!

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

I’ve long believed one of our biggest opportunities for strengthening civic health is to help more people see the impact that a few people can have. When individuals realize how much weight their voice can actually carry, beyond simply shouting sound bites or repeating social media-driven talking points, the new engagement contributes to the diversity of thought and the strength of solutions considered. We are all just humans, and as we focus more on what we have in common rather than what might divide us, creating lasting change for the greater good becomes more realistic and attainable.

View all Flinn-Brown Fellow profiles here.