May 2023 Network News

May 26, 2023

By Jessica Vaile

Thoughts from Dawn Wallace

On Monday, we announced our new cohort of Flinn-Brown Fellows! 28 leaders from across the state were selected as the 15th cohort of Flinn-Brown Fellows. Each new Fellow brings varied career and political experiences, policy interests, and perspectives to the Flinn-Brown Network—collectively, this cohort represents our eight Arizona counties, with half of the Fellows from beyond Maricopa County. We look forward to getting to know them better during Academy! 

In January and February, our team traveled to Cottonwood, Flagstaff, Tucson, and Yuma for in-person recruitment fairs, and also hosted two in-person meetings in Phoenix. Including the virtual info sessions, we talked with almost 150 people, many of whom applied with the program. Thank you to all the Fellows who attended and/or sponsored our recruitment sessions! 

We received 89 applications and with the help of 22 current Flinn-Brown Fellows, 41 Fellows were interviewed by our Selection Committee. This year, our Selection Committee consisted of Lisa Atkins, former Arizona State Land Commissioner; Luis Heredia, state director, Office of Senator Mark Kelly and a Flinn-Brown Fellow; Karrin Taylor Robson, J.D., founder & president, Arizona Strategies; Stephen Richer, J.D., county recorder, Maricopa County; Bobbie Schorr, grants director, Thomas R. Brown Foundations Board of Directors; Ginger Sykes Torres, state executive director, USDA Farm Service Agency; and Steven M. Wheeler, J.D., board of directors member, Flinn Foundation.  

The Selection Committee carefully curates each class to ensure that the cohort is representative of our state’s varied communities, as well as expertise in wide-ranging public policy issues, employment sectors, and political perspectives. Inherent in these decisions is the candidate’s clear vision of their future civic leadership goals and interest. 

On a final note, it is important to share how Fellows currently in the Network are integral in the recruitment and selection of new Fellows.

  • 73 of the 89 (82%) applicants reported that they were referred to the program by a Fellow, 
  • 67 of the 89 (75%) applicants had at least one endorsement letter from a Flinn-Brown Fellow, 
  • 27 of the 41 (66%) of the interviewees had at least one endorsement letter from a Fellow, and
  • 22 of the 28 (78%) Fellows selected had at least one endorsement letter by a Flinn-Brown Fellow.

I encourage you to reach out to the 2023 Fellows via their LinkedIn profile, or if you would like their contact information, please let me know. We will be including them in our annual directory published in November.

2013 Flinn-Brown Fellows Reunion

Annette Zinky (Phoenix, 2013) and Sarah Douthit (Flagstaff, 2013) have agreed to co-host a reunion of the two cohorts of 2013 Flinn-Brown Fellows. If you are interested in participating in the organizing committee, please let them know.

The event is slated for Thursday, Nov. 2, the evening prior to the 2023 Flinn-Brown Convention. While it is themed for a 2013 cohort reunion, all Flinn-Brown Fellows are invited to attend for a night of reconnecting and reliving your Flinn-Brown experiences from your cohorts or in the years between.

The venue is still under consideration, but we do anticipate a location that would be proximate to a hotel where we can secure a block of rooms for out-of-county Fellows interested in the reunion event as well as Convention activities.

Request a Flinn-Brown Directory 

Each year at Convention, we provide a printed Network Directory that includes information beyond what can be found in our online directory.  If you would like a printed copy, please let Dawn or Jennifer know and we will mail you one on request.


Upcoming CivEx

The Cost of Accessible Healthcare: Funding Graduate Medical Education

Please join the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership and Maricopa County Medical Society for a CivEx on Wednesday, May 31 at 2:00 p.m. to hear from a panel of experts about the current state of graduate medical education in Arizona and what needs to be done at the state and federal level to help alleviate our physician shortage.

Following a welcome from John McElligott, executive director of Maricopa County Medical Society, Flinn Foundation’s Brian Powell, author of “GME Formulas and Funding Continue to Hold Arizona Back”—which appears in the latest issue of the medical society’s Arizona Physician magazine—will moderate a panel of experts including former State Senator Heather Carter, Ed.D., executive vice president, Greater Phoenix Leadership; Dan Derksen, M.D., director, Arizona Center for Rural Health; and Jason Bezozo, vice president, government relations, Banner Health.

Teen Mental Health

On Thursday, June 29 at 2:00 p.m., 2012 Flinn-Brown Fellow and former Representative Joanne Osborne will lead a CivEx panel discussion with five members of the Arizona Ad Hoc Committee on Teen Mental Health, where they will share their recommendations from that committee. Panelists include Gina Godbehere, CEO Speak Up, Save a LIfe; Shelley Mellon, Yuma Union High School District governing board member and Education Forward Arizona board bember; Pastor Ryan NunezDr. Gary Kirkilas, pediatrician, Arizona Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics; and Sgt. Sean Tyler, Community Services and a former School Resource Officer.


Join us Wednesday, July 12 for a Fellows-only virtual event moderated by 2020 Flinn-Brown Fellow Zach Yentzer, featuring lobbyists Meghaen Dell’ Artino of Public Policy Partners, Gaelle Esposito of Creosote Partners, Jay Kaprosy of Veridus, and Lourdes Pena of Triadvocates. These capitol insiders will provide a wrap-up of the 2023 Legislative Session, including legislation, budget, and a final tally of record-session vetoes.

If you have an idea for a CivEx you would like to host or a topic you would like to learn more about, contact Dawn.


Save the Date

We are excited to share that the 2023 Flinn-Brown Convention will be held on Friday, November 3 at the Helios Education Campus and Fellows planning has already started. Thank you to Daniel Ruiz II(Phoenix, 2015) and Nicole Barraza (Tucson, 2020) for serving as co-chairs and the entire Fellows Council for their help in planning the Convention this year.

We also invite sponsorship opportunities to help provide a high-quality, professional learning experience for Fellows at the Convention. Sponsors may showcase their support through presentation, reception, and breakout sponsorships, including prominent logo display, brand recognition through social media, and recognition on the event website and program. To find out more about sponsorships, contact Dawn or Jennifer.

Fellows Lists

Each month we will feature a Fellows list for a specific employment sector, public policy area, or affinity group. 

While we try very hard to keep up to date on Fellows’ activities, we recognize that we may have missed someone. Please let Dawn or Jennifer know and we will happily update the list.

Fellows Book Recommendations

Each month, we feature suggestions from Fellows to create a virtual Network library about public-policy issues, the practice of leadership, professional development, and other areas worth sharing. This month’s recommendation comes from Brittney Kaufmann (Phoenix, 2013) and Derrik Rochwalik (Phoenix, 2018).

Brittney Kaufmann 
(Phoenix, 2013)
Role Reversal: How to Take Care of Yourself and Your Aging Parents
byIris Waichler, MSW, LCSW

Brittney Kaufmann: Role Reversal: How to Take Care of Yourself and Your Aging Parents by Iris Waichler

“Eight years ago, when pregnant with my first child, my father-in-law became blind. We had to move him from the East Coast out to Arizona and serve as his primary caregivers. The unexpected shift of caring for a parent was difficult—particularly as we started our own small family.  This book was helpful in overcoming how overwhelming the challenge of caring for a parent is. Particularly when that parent is struggling with their change in health and circumstance. I recommend this book to anyone who is currently or expect to help care for an aging parent.”

Derrik Rochwalik
(Phoenix, 2018)
Things that Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics
by Charles Krauthammer

Derrik Rochwalik: Things that Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics by Charles Krauthammer

“What I love about this book is the evolution of the perspective from a prolific writer whose writings over his lifetime shifted with his changing political views on topics. I related to this as often my own views on topics change as I learn new information or hear from perspectives I may not have initially taken into account. I’m always curious as to why people believe what they believe—how were their perspectives molded by their experiences? Things That Matter is an easy read made up of a collection of Charles’s various columns and writings that give an open door into his mind and how he came to shape his beliefs, and how he used his writings to shape so many others.”

Fellows Spotlight

Brittney Kaufmann 

(Phoenix, 2013)
Chief Executive Officer
Health System Alliance of Arizona

Twitter | LinkedIn

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

I serve as CEO of the Health System Alliance of Arizona. The Health System Alliance of Arizona represents the largest health systems and employers across Arizona, including Abrazo Health, Banner Health, Carondelet Health, Dignity Health, HonorHealth, and Northern Arizona Healthcare. Collectively, we represent approximately 80% of hospital-related care in the state in over 40 cities/towns, with nearly 600 facilities and over 80,000 employees statewide. We serve over 60% of the state’s Medicaid population.

The Health System Alliance of Arizona is an advocacy organization that represents large, integrated hospital and health systems across Arizona in working to advance sound public policies to expand access to quality healthcare in Arizona. Public policy, including regulatory policies, directly impacts the patients our hospital health systems serve, Arizona’s health and wellbeing, as well as our business operations.

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

“Life gives you plenty of time to do whatever you want to do if you stay in the present moment.” — Deepak Chopra

I struggle with staying present—and keeping my mind from wandering about thinking about all the things I have on my plate and feeling like there is never enough time in the day. Over the last several years, I have tried to find ways to slow down, stay present, and appreciate the moment. I feel it has helped me tremendously in relieving stress and appreciating the small things in life, but it does not come easily to me.

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

The Fellows Network is extremely valuable as there are true leaders in various fields located throughout the state. Numerous times I’ve reached out through the network to ask for help/resources or make mutually beneficial connections. A lot of Flinn-Brown folks also run for office and that has been helpful in forming relationships—particularly at the legislature.

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.

Trevor Abarzua (Hawaii, 2020) is now the President & Executive Director of the Waikiki Business Improvement District Association.

Sophie Allen-Etchart (Phoenix, 2022) and her team at Read Better Be Better won the $100,000 New Arizona Prize: Common Good Challenge.

Jeremy Babendure (Chandler, 2012) was quoted in an article about how the Arizona SciTech Festival has boosted statewide interest in STEM and impacted the STEM workforce.

Paul Brierley (Yuma, 2011) was appointed by Gov. Katie Hobbs as the director of the Department of Agriculture.

Erin Carr-Jordan (Chandler, 2013) keynoted the She Matters Equity Forum alongside Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego.

Congressman Juan Ciscomani (Tucson, 2011) co-wrote an op-ed in the Arizona Republic about how the Biden administration is handling the end of Title 42.

Reetika Dhawan (Yuma, 2022) is now the Chief Executive Officer of Entrepreneurial College and Vice President of Workforce at Arizona Western College. She was also quoted in a Yuma Daily News article about the Arizona QUEST initiative and how Arizona Western College is providing resources and support for dislocated workers.

Dave Engelthaler, Ph.D. (Flagstaff, 2022) was interviewed for a 12News story about Valley Fever and its spread to other states.

Adam Goodman (Paradise Valley, 2023) was elected as Chair of the Phoenix Symphony Board of Directors.

Councilman Brannon Hampton (Goodyear, 2022) wrote an op-ed in the Daily Independent about the cons of a potential federal asset tax.

Jenny Holsman Tetreault (Phoenix, 2011) was elected to the Phoenix Symphony Board of Directors.

Dana Kennedy (Phoenix, 2016) was quoted in a Fronteras news story regarding resident-on-resident abuse in senior living facilities.

Councilwoman Nikki Lee (Tucson, 2018) wrote an op-ed in the Arizona Daily Star in support of Proposition 412, which would extend Tucson’s partnership with Tucson Electric Power (TEP).

Commissioner Lea Márquez Peterson (Tucson, 2011) recently chaired a statewide Summer Preparedness and Energy Reliability Summit.

Patrick McWhorter (Cave Creek, 2011) co-wrote an op-ed in Phoenix Business Journal about investing in arts to maximize Arizona’s economic growth.

Daniel Palm (Tucson, 2020) was quoted in an India Education Diary article about a series of orientation receptions that were hosted in India for newly admitted students to the University of Arizona.

Stephanie Parra (Phoenix, 2020) was quoted in an ABC 15 news story about operating dual language programs in Arizona schools.

Rep. Jennifer Pawlik (Chandler, 2018) was interviewed for a KJZZ podcast about her decision not to run for reelection in 2024 and her experience serving in the Arizona Legislature.

Paul Perrault (Phoenix, 2016) was quoted in a KTAR News article about a recent Helios Education Report which shows that Arizona could gain billions in revenue from increasing postsecondary education enrollment.

Kathryn Ptak (Phoenix, 2015) was interviewed for a Violation podcast episode about Jacob Wideman’s parole revocation.

Bill Regner (Clarkdale, 2018) helped to secure $6.3 million in the state budget for the Town of Clarkdale to construct a bridge into the Bitter Creek Industrial Area.

Naketa Ross (Phoenix, 2019) was quoted in a article about the new Phoenix Union High School District interim superintendent.

Prescott Smith (Scottsdale, 2017) and his organization Technical Solutions were named on the Sun Devil 100 Class of 2023.

Sue Sisley, M.D. (Scottsdale, 2011) and her organization Scottsdale Research Institute secured $5 million in the state budget for research into the effects of psilocybin on PTSD.

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 Governor’s Office is seeking applications for the following boards and commissions:

  • Coconino Judicial Nominating Commission
  • Pima Judicial Nominating Commission
  • Pinal Judicial Nominating Commission

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. Non-attorney applicants may apply using the main application and must be residents of the county of the Trial Court Appointments Commission to which they are applying, residents of Arizona for at least 5 years, and cannot hold elected or appointed office for profit. Interested attorneys must apply through the State Bar’s website.

The Governor’s Office has over 200 boards and commissions. You can see a full list of current vacancies here. To apply for any vacancy through the Governor’s Office, complete the application on the website.

Yuma County has 23 boards and commissions. In order to be considered for a board or commission, an application must be picked up and then mailed to the Yuma County Administrator Office, 198 S. Main Street, Yuma AZ. You can also request an application by phone (928-373-1010) or email. When an opening occurs due to resignation or term expiration, the county appoints an individual from the list of applications on file in the County Administration Office. The individual is selected based on education, work experience and civic involvement as listed on the application.

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

Health First Foundation Northern Arizona seeks a senior philanthropy officer.

Contexture is looking to fill the role of vice president of enterprise marketing to oversee development and execution of comprehensive communication, education and marketing plans and strategies.

Valley of the Sun United Way is looking for a Chief Community Development and Engagement Officer to lead the implementation of its MC2026 5-year strategic plan and impact agenda. 

KORE Power is seeking a Manager of State and Local Affairs to lead its state, local, and community activities in Buckeye.

Casa Grande Elementary School District has a position open for Director of Community Relations.  

The Arizona Commerce Authority is hiring a Tribal Liaison to serve as the primary contact for tribal leadership. 

The Lubetzky Family Foundation is seeking a Program Manager, Futures for the Free World to further refine and expand the foundation’s pilot Global Democracy Ambassador Scholarship program.

Over Zero is looking for a State Director to build Arizona-specific program strategies that further their mission to prevent identity-based violence.

Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation is hiring a District Director-Mesa Public Schools to lead district-level strategies and initiatives for ElevateEdAZ and represent the program throughout the community. 

Local First Arizona has a position open for a Rural Program Manager – Workforce Development.

Mi Familia Vota has an opening for a Civic Engagement Manger to be the Arizona lead strategist in creating a year-round multi-faceted voter engagement strategy.

The City of Phoenix seeks a Community and Economic Development Program Manager.

Flinn-Brown Fellow Chris Stoller Michelena (Tucson, 2015) is expanding his Arizona team for the Public Affairs/Public Relations firm LS2group. Details can be found on LinkedIn.  

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 June 2023.

The Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits + Arizona Grantmakers Forum Small & Family Foundations and Health & Human Services affinity groups will tour the Valleywise Comprehensive Health Center to explore the pediatric wing and new building on Thursday, June 29.  To RSVP, email Lilly Gonzalez at by Monday, June 19. 

Local First is hosting the annual Rural Policy Forum in Globe-Miami Aug. 2-4 to hear strategies from national experts as well as learn about success stories from around Arizona that give our rural leaders the tools, resources, and relationships they need to face current challenges.   

Registration is open for the Arizona Manufacturers Council’s Summer Policy Institute, relating specifically to environmental policy and sustainability best practices. Speakers and attendees include manufacturers, business leaders and government officials. The 2023 event will take place in Prescott on Aug. 24-25.

The 2023 League of Arizona Cities and Towns Conference will be Aug. 29- Sept. 1 at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort. Registration will open in late May.