November 2021 Network News

November 29, 2021

By Matt Ellsworth

Network News

Thoughts from Dawn Wallace

Dawn Wallace

Thank you to all the Fellows who joined us at the Heard Museum for the 2021 Flinn-Brown Convention! It was a real pleasure to meet you all—some of you whom I’ve gotten to know through phone conversations, Zoom meetings, or your pictures in a directory. I truly appreciate that you all contributed by being engaged—asking the difficult questions and bringing your insightful (and sometimes provocative) observations to the conversation.

2021 Flinn-Brown Convention

Most of the Convention speakers and presenters were unfamiliar with the Flinn-Brown Fellowship when we invited them to participate. Since then, I’ve received numerous notes and comments about the hidden jewel that is Flinn-Brown, built on so many of the values that we are all striving for these days—thoughtful, meaningful, and respectful discussions made stronger by divergent opinions and ideologies.

While I enjoyed watching your faces as the program commenced, my favorite part of the whole day was observing you reconnect—whether it was with members of your cohort who you haven’t seen in a while or people who you work with regularly but have not seen in-person due to the pandemic. I’m pleased that so many of you took time out of your busy schedules to attend the Convention and support the Flinn-Brown community and the Network.

For those who could not attend this year, please let me know if you would like a hard copy of the Fellows Directory. It is a wonderful resource for connecting to Fellows in your community, particularly if there are opportunities for collaboration.

Many thanks to our sponsors, Elaine Kessler Photography and the Helios Education Foundation, but also to our promotional sponsors—all organizations affiliated with Fellows. Your support enabled us to raise the bar on program content that we intend to carry into future Network activities.

Finally, my gratitude to the five Fellows who guided us through the planning of this amazing day—Jaclyn Boyes (Phoenix, 2019), Julie Katsel (Tucson, 2014), Alec Thomson (Phoenix, 2019), Michelle Kauk (Phoenix, 2019) and Paul Brierley (Yuma, 2011). We could not have done this without you!

10th Anniversary Video

One of the highlights of Convention was the unveiling of the 10th Anniversary video. I want to send a special shoutout to Michelle Kauk (Phoenix, 2019), who provided the creative vision, along with the team at Fervor Creative, who went above and beyond over a two-week period to produce such an amazing memorialization of 10 years of the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership and the Flinn-Brown Network.

You can watch it here.

2021 Flinn-Brown Winners

Five awards honoring high-impact leaders were granted this year at the 2021 Flinn-Brown Convention: Jack Jewett Award, Network Builder Award, and the three Arizona Champions (Northern, Central and Southern Arizona). Flinn-Brown Fellows were asked to nominate individuals within the Network that have made significant contributions to Arizona and played important roles in strengthening their communities and the Flinn-Brown Network.

Congratulations to Commissioner Lea Márquez Peterson (Tucson, 2011), Paul Brierley (Yuma, 2011), Joanne Keene (Flagstaff, 2016), Mayor Mila Besich (Superior, 2019) and Mignonne Hollis (Sierra Vista, 2013).

2021 Flinn-Brown Convention Winners

This is the fourth cohort of Flinn-Brown Award recipients, which were first honored in 2017. To find out more about our amazing winners, please read about them individually here.

The Latest CivEx Webinar

Thank you to Terry Benelli (Phoenix, 2011) for moderating our November CivEx event, “Addressing housing affordability and homelessness,” with an incredible panel of experts including Tom Simplot, director, Arizona Department of Housing; Liz Morales, director, city of Tucson Housing and Community Development; Diana Yazzie Devine, MBA, president & CEO, Native American Connections; and Hon. Shana Ellis, executive director, Action Nexus, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, Arizona State University. This was our highest attended CivEx ever and we are so grateful to Terry and all of the panelists for giving us their time and expertise to discuss this important topic.

You can see the recording of the event here.

SAVE THE DATE: Please join us for our annual tradition—the Legislative Preview on Wednesday, December 15, from 2:00-3:00 p.m. We anticipate that this event will be hybrid format, with limited in-person capacity as well as live streaming to individuals who wish to view this event virtually.

We will continue producing monthly CixEx webinars in 2022 on the last Wednesday of each month at 2 p.m., featuring Flinn-Brown Fellows and other presenters who are nonprofit executives, government-agency heads, academic researchers, and private-sector innovators. They bring wide-ranging experience and political perspectives. Mark your calendars!

If you are interested in seeing any past CivEx sessions from 2021, please check out our CivEx page

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


Fellows Council 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, or other areas that would be a worthy share. This month, our book recommendations come from Stacy Reinstein (Phoenix, 2012) and Frances Sjoberg (Phoenix, 2012)

Stacy Reinstein Somebody’s Daughter

Stacy Reinstein (2012)

Somebody’s Daughter: A Memoir

Jeffrey Ratje


Frances Sjoberg (2012)

Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most


Fellows Spotlight

Elyse Guidas

Elyse Guidas (Phoenix, 2019)

Executive Director, Activate Food Arizona
LinkedIn | Twitter

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

Activate Food Arizona connects food to people. In both urban and rural communities throughout Arizona, we create innovative solutions to food system challenges and help communities develop food systems that work for them. Our flagship program is Farm Express, a mini fleet of mobile produce markets that provide affordable food options in neighborhoods with limited access to healthy food.

For nearly two years, we’ve been navigating our way through the many public policy changes (and crises) brought on by COVID-19. I think the pandemic has brought to light something many in the public health/food system sectors have known for a while: the food system is HIGHLY dependent on in-person, face-to-face interactions. While many emergency food systems, like food banks and food pantries, saw an influx of funding and support, smaller nonprofits and community food organizations were cut off from their communities. We struggled in the early days of the pandemic to shift our work to a model that maintains healthy food access for all while ensuring our staff and community members stay safe, but I’m incredibly proud of the ways we’ve come together to make sure the people who needed it most were connected to food resources in their area.

Our work is heavily impacted by public policy from all levels of government, from special use permits for our mobile markets on the municipal level all the way up to how SNAP benefits are distributed at the federal level. I think one of the things that’s helped us over the years is our ability to navigate these complex systems in order to stay relevant to the communities we serve. We can’t expect to maintain “business as usual” if the communities we serve have ever-changing needs, so it’s served us well to be flexible and expand our programs alongside the people who rely on them.

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

I’ve leaned on my friends on the Fellows Network more times than I can count. Every single sector has undergone significant changes in recent years, and it’s been empowering and comforting to be able to learn and grow from each other. Also, it’s given me an excuse to not only visit other parts of Arizona, but to really get to know the people and businesses that contribute to the vibrancy of our state. It feels like having an insider’s perspective on all things Arizona, which is a privilege I don’t take for granted.

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

I’m fortunate (and biased) in that food offers a unique opportunity for Arizonans to come together over a myriad of social and political issues. The need for a healthy, affordable, and thriving food system is universal, and I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t believe everyone should have access to the foods they need for themselves and their families. More than that, working in food access work has allowed me to build strong relationships in diverse communities across the state, which has undoubtedly deepened my love for this place and all its inhabitants. Food brings people together in ways almost nothing else does, whether it’s sharing a meal with a neighbor or hosting a dinner at a community organizing event or connecting growers and farmers directly to public policy work. Our civic health greatly depends on our ability to sustain local, thriving food systems in big and small communities throughout Arizona.

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

Fellows In The News

The Arizona Capitol Times is honoring “Breakouts–Capitol Under 40,” individuals under 40 that take on the most challenging issues and have established their credentials through hard work, persistence and an independent spirit that animates the American Southwest. Congratulations to Adriana Garcia Maximiliano (Phoenix, 2019) and Blaise Caudill (Phoenix, 2014).

Mayor Mila Besich (Superior, 2019) was quoted in an Arizona Silver Belt article regarding the Forest & Wildfire Management Ad Hoc Committee meeting in Globe.

Quintin Boyce (Phoenix, 2020) and Stephanie Parra (Phoenix, 2020) were quoted in an Arizona Republic article regarding student learning loss during the pandemic.

Teniqua Broughton’s (Phoenix, 2013) latest report, “Driving Local Investment in Black Arizonans,” was featured in an article on the State of Reform and Her organization, the State of Black Arizona, was featured in a State Press article.

Tony Cani (Phoenix, 2014) was a part of the panel on KTAR’s The Think Tank, discussing President Biden’s first year in office.

Julie Erfle (Phoenix, 2013) interviewed Ken Clark (Phoenix, 2013) in his role as advisory member for Voter Choice Arizona, for an article on election reforms.

Karen Francis-Begay (Tucson, 2013) was interviewed for a KGUN 9 story about the University of Arizona being the top school in the country for doctorate degrees awarded to Native Americans.

Mignonne Hollis (Sierra Vista, 2013) was quoted in an article on the U.S. Forest Service approval of Pinto Valley Mine about the benefits to the supply chain and fueling the green economy.

Nikki Lee (Tucson, 2018) was featured in an Arizona Public Media story regarding the city of Tucson partnering with the Department of Defense to transition service members out of the military and into jobs with the city.

Brendan Lyons (Phoenix, 2020) provided insight on the positive impacts related to the implementation of Arizona’s distracted driving law.

Yvette-Marie Margaillan (Tucson, 2020) was recognized as 2020 Emerging Leader in Dallas as a young woman entrepreneur representing the state of Arizona.

Adriana Garcia Maximiliano (Phoenix, 2019) received the 2021 Manuel Ortega Young Leader Award at Valle del Sol’s Profiles of Success ceremony.

Reyna Montoya (Gilbert, 2020) is featured in an op-ed co-authored by Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and Mesa Mayor John Giles.

Alberto Olivas (Phoenix, 2011) shared his insight in an ASU News article on the important work of student volunteers and their ability to increase voter participation of ASU students by 17% between 2016 and 2020.

Mayor Kell Paguta (Prescott Valley, 2019) provides a weekly update on his city’s activities called “Mondays with the Mayor.”

Mayor Christian Price (Maricopa, 2012) delivered his 2021 State of the City address. To watch, please see here.

Sam Richard (Phoenix, 2017) provides financial data on revenues collected as a result of the state’s legalization of marijuana in an AZ Big Media article.

Jessica Rigler (Chandler, 2019) was quoted in an Arizona Republic article on the availability of the pediatric vaccine for COVID-19.

Blake Sacha (Gilbert, 2017) was featured in an article for his work on implementing ranked choice voting statewide.

Melissa Sanderson (Phoenix, 2020) was appointed to the board of directors of American Rare Earths.

Ryan Smith (Mesa, 2013) provided perspective in a article on the newest airline offering non-stop services from Canada into Phoenix-Gateway Airport in Mesa and how the new infrastructure bill will improve efficiency at the airport.

Benjamin Taylor (Phoenix, 2019) provided legal analysis as part of a Channel 3/5 article on increasing cases of road rage.

Drew Trojanowski (Phoenix, 2013) moderated the 2021 American Legion Department of Arizona Breakfast hosted by the Herozona Foundation, focused on understanding mental health, the withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan, and other important issues Arizona’s veteran community is facing. 

Brad Williams (Irvine, 2019) assisted Terran Orbital in preparing to go public via a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC). 

Career and Professional Opportunities

Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) is seeking a Director, Communications to lead GPEC’s internal and external communications strategy—encompassing a variety of functions such as thought leadership, public relations, social media, blogs and internal communications. See here for more details.

Junior Achievement of Arizona is hiring for an innovative self-starting leader who isn’t afraid of the unknown for a new position to become the new Inspire Director. Learn more here.

Maricopa County is seeking a homelessness program manager. Learn more here.

NeighborWorks American is seeking applicants for director, Native American Partnerships (either based in Washington D.C. or remote) to lead corporate-wide planning and implementation of new investments in Native communities. For more information, please refer to the job posting.

one•n•ten is hiring for our Youth Center, POND housing & workforce program, & Satellite Coordinator positions around the state. Check out the openings here.

WestEd is hiring for several open positions from research associates to contracts and grants manager. View the opportunities here.

Western Resource Advocates is hiring an Arizona government affairs manager to legislative, regulatory, and administrative advocacy. For more details, please see the job description.

More employment opportunities in the public sector can be found at

Events & Conferences

For our Fellows who are Sun Devils and Wildcats: Don’t miss the Territorial Cup on November 27, with the game set for a 2 p.m. kickoff.

Take a historic tour of the Orpheum Theatre! Guided tours of the theatre include all public and many non-public areas and offer visitors a glimpse behind the scenes of a movie palace. All regular tours last approximately 60 minutes. Free tickets are available here.

The 2022 Arizona Chamber Legislative Forecast Luncheon will be held on January 7, 2022 at Chase Field featuring business leaders,  members of the Arizona congressional delegation, state legislators, mayors, council members, county supervisors, and government affairs representatives. More information is available here.

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