October 2022 Network News

October 31, 2022

By Jessica Vaile

Thoughts from Dawn Wallace

I typically use this real estate to wax poetic about life and leadership, but my thoughts this month have been dominated by the upcoming election. In many ways, the last two years have felt like one of the most important cycles we will collectively experience as Arizonans. The culmination of this period of history will not only decide the course of policy and politics in this state for the foreseeable future, but will also either affirm or further fracture the bedrock of our democracy.

I’ll leave the commentary here and focus on what is important right now.Tuesday, November 8 is election day. Please do not forget to return your mail in ballot or visit a polling place to vote in person. You can find information for all 15 county election offices here, for hours, locations, drop off boxes, and publicity pamphlets.

Important Note from 2012 Fellow Frances Sjoberg:

The Navajo Department of Justice is assisting the state and counties to achieve party parity at federal/state polling places on the Navajo Nation. At this point, more Republican poll workers in Coconino County, and maybe Apache County as well, ARE NEEDED. It is not necessary for a poll worker to be registered in the same county as the polling location, as long as they are registered in this state. Funds may be available to help with travel costs. Interested individuals must be:

  1. Registered voters in Arizona
  2. Willing to travel to a polling location on the Navajo Nation
  3. Able to serve from 5:30 a.m. until 8 or 9:00 p.m. on Nov. 8 (Election Day!)

If you or someone you know is interested, the state has provided this form, or you can connect with the counties directly:

Coconino County

Apache County

Email the address below to state your interest in working this upcoming election. Please provide your name, address, phone number, and party registration.

Non-Partisan Poll Observers

The Carter Center is looking for observers who might be willing to observe the meetings where county boards of supervisors canvass election results in each county. These canvass meetings can occur any time between November 14 and 28 and will likely be scheduled on short notice.

Volunteers interested in in-person observation activities can contact Arizona@cartercenter.org with their name, zip code, county of resident, availability between November 14-28, and willingness to drive to a different county to observe.

Congratulations to 2022 Flinn-Brown Fellows

Fellows at Academy

On October 14, we closed the 2022 Academy with an interactive day at the State Capitol. In addition to a great tour of the House floor by our own 2011 Fellow, Representative Chris Mathis, the 2022 Fellows were joined by “sharks” 2012 Fellow, Representative Joanne Osborne, 2018 Fellow Senator Raquel Teran, and Senator J.D. Mesnard, who provided valuable feedback on the Fellows’ projects.




Join us for an annual tradition exclusively for the Fellows Network: our Legislative Preview on Wednesday, Dec. 14, from 2:00-3:15 p.m. We anticipate that this event will be presented in a hybrid format, with in-person capacity as well as livestreaming for individuals who want to participate virtually.

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

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, or other areas that would be a worthy share. This month, our book recommendations come from Reyna Montoya (Gilbert, 2020) and Deanna Villanueva-Saucedo (Mesa, 2014).

Reyna Montoya
(Gilbert, 2020)
The Devil’s Highway
by Luis Alberto Urrea

Deanna Villanueva-Saucedo
(Mesa, 2014)
7 Rules of Power
by Jeffrey Pfeffer

2022 Flinn-Brown Annual Convention

The annual Flinn-Brown Convention will be held Friday, Nov. 4 at the Dorrance Center at Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.

The Convention’s theme is “The State of Our Democracy.” The event will feature segments related to our democratic processes and institutions, including data-driven discussions on what Arizonans want from policymakers and how the language we use can impact our messaging around civic engagement, and speakers and panelists addressing Arizona’s elections process and opportunities for reform.

Additionally, Fellows will have opportunity to enjoy several art exhibits in the Ottosen Gallery adjacent to Dorrance; the Garden will feature nature prints from local Arizona artists; our friend Ann Morton will display sample textile squares from her Violet Protest series; and our own Fellow Elaine Kessler will offer an interactive pop-up exhibitfeaturing themes related to democracy and civic leadership.

A Fellows reception in the Boppart Courtyard will immediately follow the Convention program.

Tickets are $30. Financial assistance is available. (This event is for Flinn-Brown Fellows only.)

Fellows Josue Macias (Phoenix, 2019) and Paul Perrault (Phoenix, 2016) are Convention Co-Chairs, joined on the Convention Committee by Fellows Kate Ali’varius (Phoenix, 2012), Nicole Barraza (Tucson, 2020), Paul Brierley (Yuma, 2011), Candace Park (Gilbert, 2018), Pele Peacock Fischer (Phoenix, 2013), Pearlette Ramos(Avondale, 2018), Derrik Rochwalik (Phoenix, 2018), and Patrick Tighe (Phoenix, 2019).

Special thanks to our Convention Sponsors Helios Education Foundation, First Things First, and Elaine Kessler Photography, and thank you to everyone who donated promotional and marketing items. These contributions help make our event extra special and memorable!

Fellows Spotlight

Reyna Montoya
(Gilbert, 2020)

CEO and Founder

LinkedIn | Twitter

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

Public policy impacts real human beings. As the founder and CEO of Aliento, a nonprofit that envisions a world where we nurture human potential regardless of immigration status, every decision that is made around public policy impacts youth and immigrant families. At Aliento, we transform trauma into hope and action with Dreamers and mixed-status families because we believe in their potential. We work in the intersection of education, mental health, and the arts. We invest in the leadership of those most impacted through a truth-and-reconciliation lens that is rooted in systems change, equity, and humanity. 

In 2018, we launched Arizona’s Future Fellowship. We select high-school and college students to participate in a 10-month fellowship where they build community and learn about policies that impact them. We are in our fifth cohort of Fellows building community within their schools and creating awareness of the systemic barriers Dreamers face when wanting to pursue a higher education.

For years, our students educated the members of the legislature, which led to a bipartisan legislative referral to the 2022 general-election ballot, where now Arizona voters have a historic opportunity to increase educational attainment for all Arizona high-school graduates. This November, Arizona voters will have an opportunity to vote on Prop. 308 because the students we work with daily had the courage to engage in public policy and build bridges instead of adding to the anger of our current  political environment. This is one of many examples on how our youth are not only our future but our present. I am a firm believer that to have a civically engaged population, we must educate our youth about the process and plant seeds of hope in moments of despair. I hope this November our youth can count on you to learn more about Prop. 308. 

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

“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together” —Desmond Tutu. I truly believe it in my bones that regardless of the different walks of life we take or different perspectives we hold, we are all human. In life, I try my best to be grounded in the reality that every person is a human being and I must respect their dignity as we are interconnected individuals.

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

The Fellows Network has been super useful. I have had the opportunity to connect with people within my cohort and other cohorts. Through the network I have had the opportunity to grab a cup of coffee and share about policy interests, to make connections with students I work with to meet a fellow fellow as they serve in the legislature, to being able to pick up the phone and strategize on current projects that I am working with. I also have done my best to reciprocate the generosity to my fellow fellows 🙂  

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

There are a lot of opportunities to strengthen civic health in Arizona. There is a great opportunity to invest in the civic education and participation of Arizonans beyond elections. A lot of our public is very misinformed on how we enact laws in our state and what elected officials or government agencies are in charge of specific items that impact their daily lives. From how schools get funded, to our water policies that impact the way we plan for the future, to the significant ramifications for our collective future if we do not address the chronic mental-health crisis that our youth face, where Arizona’s second leading cause of death is suicide among our youth.

Knowing this information can be a little daunting, yet it can also provide a great sense of empowerment as we can build bridges to ensure Arizonans feel able to participate in their communities. Until we start doing a better job of bringing people together, we will continue to suffer from the lack of empathy and care we often witness in the political process. I also think we can start from the places where we already see overwhelming support from the public. Movements like Proposition 308 give me hope, illustrating that smart and thoughtful policy has a chance.

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

Fellows Running for Office

We are excited to share that we have many Flinn-Brown Fellows who have advanced to the 2022 general election.


Juan Ciscomani (Tucson, 2011)


Matt Gress (Phoenix, 2015)
Senator Raquel Terán (Phoenix, 2018)
Representative Jennifer Pawlik (Chandler, 2018)
Representative Chris Mathis (Tucson, 2011)


Vice Mayor Becky Daggett (Flagstaff, 2014)

City Council

Councilman Fernando Shipley (Globe, 2011)
Councilman Matthew Herman (Casa Grande, 2019)

Community College Governing Board

Fernando Shipley (Globe, 2011)
Demion Clinco (Tucson, 2013)

School District Governing Board

Stephanie Parra (Phoenix, 2020)
Christine Thompson (Phoenix, 2017)
Ruth Ellen Elinski (Cottonwood, 2014)

Justice of the Peace

Kristel Ann Foster (Tucson, 2015)

Special Districts

Ben Graff (Phoenix, 2011)
Alexandra Arboleda (Phoenix, 2018)

Fellows In The News

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

Veekas Ashoka (New York, 2012) is now a software engineer 3 at Arcadia.

Elvy Barton (Chandler, 2013) was quoted in a Daily Independent article about SRP’s recent contract extension to continue purchasing renewable energy from the Novo BioPower plant in Snowflake.

Treasurer Sarah Benatar (Flagstaff, 2015) was interviewed for a KTAR.com news story about Prop 130, which would allow property-tax exemptions for disabled veterans.

Alex Benezra (Phoenix, 2020) is now a Phoenix Municipal Court judge.

Carla Berg (Tempe, 2020) is now chief of staff, healthcare quality assurance at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.

Stacey Button (Missouri, 2011) was quoted in a Columbia Missourian article regarding the opening of Columbia Regional Airport’s new terminal.

Councilwoman Tammy Caputi (Scottsdale, 2019) wrote an op-ed in the Daily Independent in support of district overrides for Scottsdale schools. She was also interviewed for a 12 News story about Scottsdale’s plan for population growth.

Erin-Carr Jordan (Chandler, 2013) was quoted in an Arizona Daily Sun article about a listening session that Tynkertopia hosted on funding to expand internet access in Northern Arizona.   

Paul Corens (Phoenix, 2012) is now senior project manager, Facilities Mangement for Maricopa County.

Michael Deiana Jr. (Athem, 2022) was promoted to regional education director, rehabilitation and reentry at the Arizona Department of Corrections.

Kim Demarchi (Phoenix, 2011) is now the vice president for legal affairs and deputy general counsel at Arizona State University.

Antonia Franco (California, 2013) is now the chief operating officer at Digital NEST.

Erin Hart (Phoenix, 2013) was quoted in an article in the Daily Wildcat about Prop 308, which would allow DACA students to receive in-state tuition at Arizona’s three public universities and community colleges.

Benjamin Henderson (Phoenix, 2014) is now the chief operating officer at the Arizona Department of Education.

Brittney Kaufmann (Phoenix, 2014) was quoted in a Chamber Business News article about how employers can promote a healthy workforce during flu season.

Michelle Kauk (Gilbert, 2019) is now economic development advocacy manager at Meta.

Chairwoman Lea Márquez Peterson (Tucson, 2011) wrote an opinion piece in Arizona Daily Star in support of increasing domestic energy production.

Reyna Montoya (Gilbert, 2020) was quoted in a KTAR.com news story about Prop 308.

Christopher Nagata (Michigan, 2012) is now the division administrator, Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine.

Rebecca Perrera (Laveen, 2020) was featured in a photo story on AZCentral.com about improvements that need to be made to the Laveen Area Conveyance Channel.

William Ring (Flagstaff, 2011) was quoted in an AZ Big Media articleabout confusion over Arizona’s conflicting abortion laws.

Kathryn Scheckel (New York, 2014) is now head of the Hines Global Venture Studio (GVS).

Christina Spicer’s (Phoenix, 2013) organization, Girl Scouts Arizona Cactus-Pine Council, recently received a $2.8 million donation from MacKenzie Scott to support expansion of programming across central and northern Arizona, including the Navajo nation.

Pamela Sutherland (Washington, DC, 2013) is now an attorney at Enterprise Community Investment, Inc.

Benjamin Taylor (Phoenix, 2019) was quoted in a FOX 10 Phoenix article regarding Arizona’s abortion laws.

Richie Taylor (Phoenix, 2020) wrote an article in AZEDNEWS about the Arizona Department of Education’s partnership with DonorsChoose to pledge $1 million in support of Arizona PreK-12 public school educators and students.

Avery Xola (Queen Creek, 2022) wrote an op-ed in the Daily Independent encouraging new Arizona college students to register to vote and participate in local elections.

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 their skills as a board member may want to contact Board Development Phoenix for information or to learn more about private and nonprofit board service opportunities.

The Governor’s Office seeks applicants for vacancies on the following boards and commissions: 

Apply for these positions through the Governor’s Office of Boards and Commissions.

Maricopa County has vacancies on the following boards and commissions:

Apply for these positions through the Clerk of the Board.

The City of Phoenix has vacancies on the following boards and commissions:

Most counties and cities in Arizona have boards and commissions with frequent vacancies. Check local websites for more opportunities. 

Career and Professional Opportunities

Arizona Forward is accepting nominations for their Emerging Sustainability Leaders Class of 2023. Learn more and apply.

Applications for Leadership West Class 29 are now open. Leadership West offers a behind-the-scenes look into issues in the West Valley, through the 150-hour Flagship Program designed to transform already exceptional individuals into 4th Quadrant Leaders who generously utilize their knowledge, collaboration, and skills to make life better for everyone in their organization, community, and region.

SciTech Institute is hiring for STEM Ecosystem Hub Coordinators in various regions.

The Arizona House of Representatives is currently hiring for two positions: Legislative Research Analyst and Assistant Legislative Research Analyst.

The Arizona State Senate has several open positions: Senate Democratic Caucus General Counsel and Policy Advisor, Senate Democratic Caucus Chief of Staff, Senate Democratic Caucus Policy Advisor, and Legislative Research Assistant Analyst.

Northern Arizona Healthcare seeks a Director/Senior Major Gifts Officer, responsible for building relationships and raising funds from current and prospective donors by encouraging their interests and passions for improved health outcomes in Northern Arizona.

Helios Education Foundation seeks a Senior Vice President for Communications to join the Foundation’s senior leadership team and spearhead Helios’s enterprise-wide communications strategy and execution.

Phoenix Children’s Hospital seeks a Director of Donor Relations.

Creative Flagstaff seeks a dynamic, entrepreneurial, and strategic leader to serve as the inaugural Director of the ARTx: Arizona’s Art & Ideas Experience festival

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

Arizona Department of Health Services seeks a Program Manager to lead an epidemiology program unit within the Bureau of Assessment and Evaluation.

The Carter Center has opportunities for limited nonpartisan election observers in Arizona.

Health First Foundation Northern Arizona seeks a Senior Philanthropy Officer.

The Arizona State Board of Education seeks an Executive Director.  

Maggie’s Place seeks a Vice President of Programs.

Sonoran Prevention Works seeks an Operations Manager to ensure the execution of the organization’s mission, vision, and values in all aspects of operations.

Events & Conferences

The Greater Phoenix Chamber’s AZ in Focus topic is Pathways to an Out-Of-This-World Economy, scheduled for November 10. Learn more and register.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is hosting the 31st Annual Heritage Award on November 16. Learn more.

Leadership West Alumni Association will have its annual West-X Leadership Summit on February 16, 2023. Learn more and register.

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

Tags: , ,