January 2023 Network News

January 31, 2023

By Jessica Vaile

Thoughts from Dawn Wallace

Welcome to 2023, Fellows! In the words of the great American philospher Oprah Winfrey, “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right!”

I’ve got a lot to share about the Fellowship this month, so I’ve decided to forgo my normal musings.

All I’ll say is, Go Chiefs!

2023 Flinn-Brown Application Cycle

This spring, about 25 new community leaders will emerge as the next cohort of Flinn-Brown Fellows and join you as members of the Flinn-Brown Network. The application will open tomorrow, Feb. 1, with Feb. 28 the deadline to apply. For more information, including application requirements and process, dates/times for our info sessions, and other relevant information about the Fellowship, please refer potential applicants to our website.

More than 75% of our applicants are referred to the program by existing Flinn-Brown Fellows. We value your involvement in our recruitment efforts, and we especially depend on you to help spread the word through your social and professional networks. Flinn-Brown Fellows are our best advocates!

We will continue our virtual information sessions through February as well as hosting in-person sessions across the state. We have already held sessions in Tucson and Yuma, and will be traveling to Cottonwood and Flagstaff on Feb. 10. For Maricopa County Fellows, we are offering our second in-person session on Feb. 14 at the Flinn Foundation. Please come by and meet some of the prospective Fellows, or better yet, please bring individuals with you who might be interested.

If you are interested in reviewing applications for our Round 1 selection, please let me know. You will be paired with another Fellow and assigned the same set of applications (typically 10-15). Each of you will independently review each application (online) and collectively decide on three applicants to advance and two alternates. Typically, this has taken Fellows 5-10 hours over a two-week period (March 6-20). We ask you to attend a virtual info session for reviewers on March 3, or we can provide an instructional video if you cannot make the info session. We will be providing a modest honorarium for your efforts.

We appreciate your help in recruiting and selecting the next group of Flinn-Brown Fellows.

Transitions in State Government Leadership

Since the inception of the Flinn-Brown Fellowship, the goal has been to support leaders’ entry into state-level service. At the onset of our program Fellows were particularly encouraged to seek state elected office. While we have and continue to have great leaders in the Arizona Legislature, we have not hit critical mass. Certainly, what we have seen is a powerful cadre of Fellows in key roles in state government administration. Since 2011, Fellows have been instrumental in guiding the executive branch, not only through agency operations, but direct policy roles advising the governor.

This month, the Hobbs administration selected several Fellows to lead on the 8th/9th floor, including Ben Henderson (Phoenix, 2014), Sean Berens (Phoenix, 2016), Billy Kovacs (Scottsdale, 2016) and Erin Hart (Phoenix, 2013). Additionally, Elizabeth Alvarado-Thorson (Phoenix, 2017) was selected as director of the Arizona Department of Administration and Lisa Urias (Phoenix, 2011) as director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. Additionally, Amy Love (Phoenix, 2019) and Richie Taylor (Phoenix, 2020) are in new leadership roles serving Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes (who is also a Flinn Scholar). And JP Martin (Phoenix, 2017) is now serving as legislative liasion/public information officer for the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Congratulations to these Fellows and a sincere thank you to the other 26 Fellows who are tirelessly serving in leadership positions in state government. For a complete list, see hereWhile 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.

CivEx and Fellows

In addition to hosting the Flinn-Brown Fellowship, the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership is engaged in citizen education and partnerships with community organizations to advance and promote civic engagement. Since 2020, the monthly CivEx webinars have served as a free educational resource for the public, but also a medium in which Fellows can share their work or engage in public discussions about policy issues that impact them professionally and personally.

If you have an idea for a CivEx and would like to partner with us in developing content and programming, please contact me or Jennifer. We are always looking for great topics and enjoy working with Fellows to showcase your impact, which is an important endeavor in strengthening the Network for all Fellows.

Slack for Fellows

Beginning with the 2020 Flinn-Brown cohort and most recently, the 2022 cohort, Fellows have been able to communicate directly with each other through an app called Slack. Many of you may be familiar with this tool, a messaging app (phone, computer, or any device) primarily used for business where participants can communicate altogether as a group (or cohort) or individually through direct messages. You can share files, documents, links, graphics, and more. For groups, there are channels so that a message can be delivered to everyone at once. The Fellows currently on Slack have remarked how easy it is to share information and stay connected.

Beginning in February and each month after, we will invite cohorts to join Slack by year, beginning with 2019 Fellows. We encourage you to find ways to collaborate or catch up with Fellows from across the state.


Upcoming CivEx

Molly Edwards headshot

Thank you to Molly Edwards (Phoenix, 2011) for leading a compelling discussion on the results of the Arizona Youth Survey, the dangers of fentanyl use, and policy considerations around education and prevention during our January CivEx webinar. Due to the overwhelming interest of this topic, we will offer a ”Part 2” in the coming months to include discussion on how community organizations are responding through recovery and rehabilitation strategies for individuals suffering from the addiction of this deadly drug.

If you missed the January CivEx, please watch it here.

We hope you’ll join us for our next CivEx on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 2:00 p.m. Keep an eye out for details and an invitation in the coming weeks.

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 Ryan Gregg (Scottsdale, 2015) and Randi Dorman (Tucson, 2014)

Ryan Gregg
(Scottsdale, 2015)
Cybersecurity: Public Sector Threats and Responses
by Kim J Andreasson

Ryan Gregg: This book is a good reference for guidance regarding cybersecurity and public policy. It’s an easy primer on how globalization, connectivity, and the migration of public sector functions online have led to challenges you need to be aware of as a leader of an organization.

Randi Dorman
(Tucson, 2014)
Sign Here
by Claudia Lux

Randi Dorman: The book is written by the daughter of a friend of my mother. It takes making a deal with the devil to a whole new level. The characters are interesting and surprising, and they make the reader evaluate our own decisions. On a side note, the author’s mother is Jean Kilbourne, who is one of the most renowned authors and speakers on the effect of the media on girls and women. As a young girl in Germany, my mother met her, and they eventually became pen pals.

Fellows Spotlight

Flinn-Brown Fellow Ryan Gregg

Ryan Gregg
(Scottsdale, 2015)

Gregg Global Group

LinkedIn | Twitter | Email

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

Gregg Global Group is a global advisory company that serves both the public and private sector. We integrate the most effective and efficient combination of people, process and technology to mitigate risk in conducting business domestically and abroad. Our areas of expertise include proactive and incident related cybersecurity services, regulatory compliance, and a comprehensive suite of solutions surrounding litigation and regulatory investigation related discovery and data analytics. Our client approach is proactive because the best option is always to avoid an adverse event. However, in the case of such an event we are adept at minimizing the diverse types of damage related to such an event and soundly guide our clients through that process. 

There are many challenges that we are facing in the world, our country, state, and communities today. One of those is the vulnerabilities that come with such advances in technology and the exploitation by mal actors, organized crime, terrorist organizations and state actors. The consequences of a breach are expensive and can result in devastating and even catastrophic damage on multiple fronts. Based on exposure and experience in the context of my work, I know it is of the utmost importance that we continue to work together to shape and form public policy that promotes innovation and creates regulations with standards and controls to address the myriad of critical vulnerabilities relative to each sector and industry while holding mal actors of all types accountable. I am committed to that endeavor and honored to be a Fellow among such a talented and diverse group that share the value of working together to serve the public.

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

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves” by Lao Tzu. Benjamin Franklin shared many of the same views regarding leadership and influence.

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

Attending the Academy as part of the eighth cohort of Fellows, the additional learning events I have attended, and the network of Fellows has been quite an asset to me in my professional growth. This honor has provided a deep understanding of our state’s history and challenges along with access to a network of esteemed leaders, with deep knowledge in their areas of expertise, as resources to keep me on top of current challenges we face as a state. I continue to be amazed by the talent, depth of knowledge and quality of each Fellow I meet. There are so many opportunities to get involved and I look forward to doing and giving more.

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.

Elizabeth Alvarado-Thorson (Phoenix, 2017) is now Director of the Arizona Department of Administration (ADOA).

Treasurer Sarah Benatar (Flagstaff, 2015) is now serving as the President of the Board of Directors for the Arizona Association of Counties (AACo). She is the youngest county representative to serve as Board President and the first woman from Coconino County.

Paul Brierley (Yuma, 2011) was interviewed for a KYMA news story about soaring egg prices. He was also interviewed for an Axios podcast about the recent increase in vegetable prices.

Sean Berens (Phoenix, 2016) is now Deputy General Counsel, Office of the Arizona Governor.

Erin Carr-Jordan (Chandler, 2013) was quoted in an ASU News article about the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and key findings to improve the application process.

Carlos De La Torre (Tucson, 2013) was quoted in a NewsBreak article about supply chain issues slowing Tucson’s Electric Vehicle replacement program.

Dave Engelthaler (Flagstaff, 2022) was interviewed for a Fronteras news story about the COVID-19 Omicron sub-variant XBB.1.5.

Rep. Matt Gress (Phoenix, 2015) was interviewed for an article about HCR 2004, which would lower the minimum age to serve as a legislator to 18.

Erin Hart (Phoenix, 2013) is now Policy Advisor, Higher Education, Office of the Arizona Governor.

Ben Henderson (Phoenix, 2014) is now Director of Operations, Office of the Arizona Governor.

Charlinda Haudley (Tucson, 2022) was promoted to Deputy Scheduling Director for Senator Mark Kelly.

Mignonne Hollis (Hereford, 2013) was appointed to the National Small Business Association board.

Sherri Jones (San Tan Valley, 2022) wrote an op-ed in the Hechinger Report about prioritizing public school issues that parents want to focus on, not politicians.

Andy Kvesic (Scottsdale, 2018) was appointed as a member of the Arizona Committee on Alternative Business Structures (ABS).

Billy Kovacs (Scottsdale, 2016) now oversees Federal Affairs for the Office of the Arizona Governor.

Amy Love (Phoenix, 2019) is now Chief of Staff, Office of the Arizona Attorney General.

JP Martin (Phoenix, 2017) is now serving as legislative liasion/public information officer for the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Debbie Nez-Manuel (Scottsdale, 2017) and Alfred Urbina (Tucson, 2013) were interviewed for an AZ Mirror article about a list of recommendations that have been developed to address the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous peoples in Arizona. They were also interviewed for an article about how Arizona’s Tribes were highlighted during Gov. Hobbs’s inauguration ceremony.

Paul Perrault (Phoenix, 2016) was quoted in a KTAR News article regarding a recent report by the Helios Education Foundation on chronic absenteeism. The report mentioned in the article was co-authored by Lenay Dunn (Phoenix, 2017).

Richie Taylor (Phoenix, 2020) is now Communications Director in the Office of the Arizona Attorney General.

Lisa Urias (Phoenix, 2011) is now the Director of the Arizona Office of Tourism.

Janelle Wood (Phoenix, 2013) and her organization, Black Mothers Forum, were mentioned in a White Mountain Independent op-ed in support of parents having more control over their children’s education.

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 Phoenix has vacancies on the following boards and commissions:

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 Obama Foundation Leaders USA is accepting applications for their 2023 Leaders USA cohort through Feb. 3. 

Applications are open for the spring 2023 cohort of the Better Arguments Ambassador ProgramThis fellowship-style, action-oriented experience equips each participant to put Better Arguments into practice in their community. The application window is open now through Sunday, Feb. 5.

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.

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.

Vitalyst Health Foundation is hiring a program manager, grants & partnerships.

Chandler-Gilbert Community Colleges in the Maricopa Community Colleges System is seeking a vice president for administrative services.

Main Street America is searching for a chief executive officer to continue the organization’s goal of advancing prosperity, creating resilient economies, and improving quality of life through place-based economic development and community preservation.

Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement [PACE] is expanding their team with positions open for Managing Director of Funder Engagement  and Communications Support Lead.

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

The Center for the Future of Arizona has an open position for Director, Fiscal Business Operations

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

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 February.

The Critical Path Institute will hold a virtual roundtable discussing the Critical Path to Women Leading in Science on the morning of Feb. 6.

Valley Bar is hosting a conversation about voting with Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer and Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes on Feb. 8.

The Arizona Capitol Times is hosting the first in-person Morning Scoop since the pandemic. People Over Parties will be presented on Feb. 8 both in-person and via livestream.

Leadership West Alumni Association will have its annual West-X Leadership Summit on Feb. 16.

Abraham Lincoln & Frederick Douglass, A Walk to Respect will be presented in the Terrace Theater at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Feb. 22. Tickets are free thanks to the generosity of The Patterson Foundation, but must be reserved in advance through the Kennedy Center’s Box Office.

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 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.