September 2021 Network News

September 24, 2021

By Matt Ellsworth

Network News

Thoughts from Dawn Wallace

Dawn Wallace

If we make it clear that feelings are mentionable and manageable, we will have done a great service for mental health – Mr. Fred Rogers (Senate Testimony on PBS Funding, May 1969)

Recently, during a Flinn Foundation team building exercise, our facilitator challenged us to note a single point of certainty… and uncertainty in our lives. My brutally cathartic response – “I’m certain all 13-year-old girls are a*&h*%$s, and I’m uncertain how long I could hybrid work at home with my husband before I lose my mind.” Got a few laughs, a few nods of agreement—and a few concerned looks that conveyed “Are you alright?”

The truth is, I do not really think all 13-year-old girls are—well, a better word is difficult—and it really has not been all that bad working at home with the husband. But it had been a tough day (and year-and-a-half) on both fronts, and I was feeling the weight of it all. We all have moments where we say things we do not mean, act in a manner that is not our typical way, and let our feelings and emotions get the best of us. I am comforted by the fact that the great American philosopher, Mister Fred Rogers coined the word “mentionable” for these feelings and emotions. However, for some, what is not as easy to discern is how mentionable feelings can be “manageable.”

Like many of you, I’ve fallen in love with Ted Lasso and his merry band of misfits at the AFC Richmond football club. I do Believe—and I try to be a Goldfish—and I love Roy Kent! Despite its irreverent takes on U.K. fans and corny jokes, its most impactful moments are when each character’s darkest, human emotions are normalized and explained, or managed as Mr. Rogers alluded to—not through judgment but through empathy and understanding. The humor does not trivialize the thematic attention to the importance of mental health; instead it contextualizes the differences in how we all cope (or can cope) with the ordinary (and sometimes extraordinary) demands of life.

#SpoilerAlert – Season 1

My absolute favorite scene occurs when Ted agrees to a dart game to settle a bet that would free Rebecca from co-ownership entanglements with her unfaithful ex-husband. Although Ted appears outmatched from the onset, he wagers against his own self-interest. The scene unfolds with a story in which Ted quotes Walt Whitman—“Be curious, not judgmental.” He registers this point to underscore how addicted society is to pre-conceived notions of judgment—critical assessments based on superficial impressions and interactions. And that if, instead, we were curious—open-minded and receptive to the ways you can learn something—we could see the better in others and revel in what might be shared values and experiences. Or in the case of Ted, curiosity might reveal a surprising level of proficiency with darts that dates to childhood. I will not spoil the ending for you, but believe me, it is a poignant moment that cannot help but be universally relatable—the desire to be utterly understood for who we really are.

Oh, I should warn you; the show is fairly free in its use of salty language—which makes me enjoy it more!

One last note about mental illness and the tragic consequences that can occur if left unattended and untreated. September is Suicide Prevention Month. Over 1,400 people die by suicide each year in Arizona. Many are children and adolescents—who struggle with mental-health issues, usually depression. The signs are not always as easy to spot with our youngest, often misdiagnosed as pubescent or clouded by substance abuse or anger. Our friends (and Flinn-Brown Fellows) at AHCCCS have a directory of crisis services for anyone—young or old, and regardless of health-insurance coverage—who is experiencing a behavioral health crisis and needs help. Please share if you can.

Arizona Capitol Times 2021 Leaders of the Year

We have 3 tickets available to the Arizona Capitol Times virtual event – Tuesday, September 28 at 6 p.m.  

Our President & CEO Tammy McLeod is being honored for her work in arts and culture. Additionally, 2012 Fellow Frances Sjoberg and 2019 Fellow Councilman Matt Herman are being recognized for their work in law and economy, respectively! Please let me know if you are interested in attending.

Upcoming Events and Webinars

Please join us on Wednesday, September 29 for a CivEx on exciting work in rural economic development featuring 2013 Fellow Mignonne Hollis and 2012 Fellow Russ Yelton.

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.


Save the Date: 2021 Annual Flinn-Brown Convention

Flinn-Brown Convention

Join us on Nov. 12 at the Heard Museum for the annual Flinn-Brown Convention. We will feature keynote speakers and breakout sessions during the day, a lunch program celebrating our 10th anniversary and annual Fellows awards, and an early-evening networking reception in the beautiful Piper Courtyard.

This year, our theme is “Media and the Message,” and we will focus our sessions on the role of the media in communicating and influencing public policy, showcasing the inter-relationship between the media, the public and policymakers, understanding diverse media platforms, and identifying opportunities to expand information access. With your help, we hope to make this an event to remember!


The Flinn-Brown Awards nominations are now open. To officially nominate a Fellow, Fellows must submit the name of the nominee and a short description of about 50-100 words describing why the nominee should receive the award. All nominations with be shared with the Fellows Council. Please note: Fellows Council members are not eligible to win the award while they are serving on the Council. Nominations must be submitted by Friday, October 15 at 5 p.m.

Five awards are granted each year—Jack Jewett Award, Network Builder Award, and three Arizona Champion (Northern, Central and Southern Arizona) awards.

Please see previous winners here.

Corporate Sponsorships

To maximize participation in this special Convention and to provide a quality professional learning opportunity to Fellows, we are pursuing sponsorship opportunities to fund national speakers, breakout session participants and a small portion of our Network reception. Sponsors may showcase their support through presenting, reception, and breakout sponsorships, which includes prominent logo display, brand recognition through social media and recognition on the event website and program. To find out more about sponsorships, please see the brochure.

Promotional Materials/Swag

If you would like to promote your organization through free promotional items, please let us now. It is an excellent way to market organizations represented by the Network and we are happy to collect and distribute to event participants. Please contact Dawn or Sara if you would like to donate.

Update Directory

As part of the Convention, we will be updating the Fellows directory. Please email Danielle with any updates you would like to include. This would be a wonderful opportunity to submit a new headshot. 

Please refer to the online directory to verify your current information.

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 2017 Fellow Janet Regner and 2018 Fellow Ricky Hernandez.

Lea Marquez Peterson The Energy Switch

Janet Regner (2017)

Perostroika in Paris

Ricky Hernandez

Team of Rivals

Ricky Hernandez (2018)

White Guys on Campus: Racism, White Immunity, and the Myth of “Post-Racial” Higher Education”


Fellows Spotlight

Kathryn Leonard

Robert Navarro (Chandler, 2017) 
Deputy Director of Operations for Support Services, Arizona Department of Child Safety 

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

Currently, I serve as Deputy Director of Operations for Support Services for the Arizona Department of Child Safety. My current role includes oversight of the department’s budget, business operations, comprehensive health plan and information technology for the department. I look at my daily work as doing my part to ensure our front-line staff and vendors have the tools needed to serve Arizona families effectively and efficiently in an extremely complicated system. Public policy plays a significant role in our daily operations; this can range from working with stakeholders or community advocates to working with both state and federal policy makers to ensure compliance and execution of the policies that lawmakers have set forth. 

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

The Fellows Network has been most useful in helping me to network with other Fellows within state government as well as with those Fellows that have been elected to office. Having this network creates a common connection that allows me to reach out to address and collaborate on issues that impact our daily work in the department. The Fellows Network has also been beneficial to me in helping me explore and learn about other policy areas that are impacting the state at all levels of government.

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

The various levels of government, and how they operate independently and together, are inherently complex and often lead people to become frustrated and disenfranchised with the process. When people stop and take time to learn about the programs and services that are being offered, they often discover that their concerns are being addressed in the community in a variety of diverse ways. Opportunities for the public to engage in learning about programs and services and government itself will help drive a more constructive conversation regarding civics in Arizona.



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



Fellows In The News

Mila Besich (Superior, 2019) was quoted in a Reuters article regarding a recent U.S. House of Representatives committee vote to block the building of the Resolution copper mine.

Becky Daggett (Flagstaff, 2014) is running for mayor of Flagstaff.

Ruth Ellen Elinski (Cottonwood, 2014) was recently named program director for the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Yavapai College.

Ben Graff (Phoenix, 2011) was listed as a Best Lawyer in America for Land Use and Zoning Law.

Erin Hart (Phoenix, 2013) was quoted in an AZ Central article about the decline in standardized test scores due to COVID-19.

Daniel Hernandez (Tucson, 2011) was named the Outstanding Technology Representative of the Year by the Arizona Technology Council and Arizona Commerce Authority.

Brittney Kaufmann (Phoenix, 2014) is the new CEO of the Health System Alliance of Arizona (HSAA).

Sheri Lauritano (Goodyear, 2012) was quoted in a Fronteras article regarding water management plans Goodyear has adopted to sustain population growth.

Aaron Lieberman (Paradise Valley, 2017) was recognized as a Tech 10 Legislator by the Arizona Technology Council and Arizona Commerce Authority

Yvette-Marie Margaillan (Tucson, 2020) was quoted in a KGUN9 article about how Tucson’s open-air markets have helped her Tucson Tea business grow.

David Martinez (Phoenix, 2011) is now the director of community engagement for Vitalyst Health Foundation.

Kell Palguta (Prescott Valley, 2019) was quoted in an ABC15 news story regarding an online petition to allow street racers to use the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office facilities.

Jill Pernice (Phoenix, 2020) is now the deputy assistant director of operations for the state procurement office at Arizona Department of Administration.

Sam Richard (Phoenix, 2017) was quoted on FOX10 about the economic impact of marijuana sales in Arizona.

Jessica Rigler (Chandler, 2019) was quoted in a Cronkite News article regarding Embry Health’s plans to address the recent increase in COVID-19 testing numbers at their various testing sites.

Raquel Terán (Phoenix, 2018) was quoted in a KJZZ article regarding a push for immigration reform in the budget reconciliation bill.

Christine Thompson (Phoenix, 2017) was interviewed for a KJZZ podcast about the impact of the pandemic on in-person learning.

Janelle Wood (Phoenix, 2013) was quoted in an azfamily article about micro-schools her organization, The Black Mothers Forum, has started throughout the Valley.

Career and Professional Opportunities

Arizona Food Bank Network is hiring for a vice president of finance and human resources to oversee financial management and perform human resource functions.

Arizona Grantmakers Forum is seeking an operations manager to manage daily administrative and logistical tasks.

The Center for the Future of Arizona is looking for a director of strategic marketing and communications to oversee strategic digital, print, and broadcast communications.

Great Hearts Academies is seeking an academy financial analyst III to oversee the financial analysis team and provide financial guidance.

Local First Arizona is hiring for a small business resource manager to provide support and technical assistance to Arizona small businesses.

Vitalyst Health Foundation is looking for a director of strategic communications to develop communications and messaging.

Events & Conferences

The Civic Education and Community Engagement (CE2) program is hosting Civics Celebration Week 2021 September 17-24.

Arizona Town Hall is hosting a virtual session, Cross-Border Connecting: “Consuls of Mexico in Arizona,” on September 23.

The 2021 Arizona Humanities Virtual Hands-On Humanities Awards ceremony will be livestreamed on September 25.

The 2021 National Forum on Criminal Justice will be held virtually on Thursdays in October.

The town of Superior’s State of the Town Address will be held October 7 at Besich Park.

The 2021 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation Awards (GCOI) will be held on October 13 at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Registration is now open for the Women Leading Government 2021 Conference. The conference will be held October 28-29 at the Phoenix Convention Center.

The Arizona Housing Coalition is hosting its annual conference, The Power of We, on April 12-13, 2022, at the Mesa Convention Center.

The Live Well Arizona Incubator is accepting applications from teams interested in collaboration to address health and well-being in their community.

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