By Brian Powell
Teniqua Broughton loves the arts, whether it’s going to see musical theatre, visiting a new installation at the Desert Botanical Garden or watching any style of dance.
Yet for Broughton, a leader in the Valley’s arts and African-American communities, her true passion is exposing others to the programs.
“This is where my heart is, working for the community, providing access for children and others to the arts who would not otherwise have the opportunity,” she says.
Broughton is the founder and CEO of VerveSimone Consulting, serves as director of The State of Black Arizona, is a longtime Desert Botanical Garden board member, creator of its Monarch Society and Council for young and mid-career professionals, and a former manager at Arizona State University Gammage.
She also became a Flinn-Brown Fellow in 2013. The Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy was launched by the Flinn Foundation in 2010 to help develop state-level civic leaders.
The Flinn-Brown experience has helped in her work, including with The State of Black Arizona. The nonprofit organization collects data about issues pertaining to African-Americans across the state on issues of economic development, justice, health, education, and civic engagement, and leads programs such as a STEM initiative to encourage more African-American students to enter those fields.
“What I like about Flinn-Brown is I received a high-level view and understanding of the issues that relate to the state as a whole,” Broughton says. “Listening to the professionals actually doing the work day-to-day allows you to make your own assessment.”
The 8-year-old State of Black Arizona has historically focused on education, and most recently produced a report about the arts and art education, but is branching into other areas with a plan of affecting policy-makers. Broughton, drawing on her Flinn-Brown knowledge and experience, is currently working on a new report about civic participation that is expected to be released next year.
“These reports become a way to galvanize people to act on something they did not know about,” Broughton says. “We are looking to drive the concept of ‘knowledge creates action.’”
Broughton, who serves on the organization’s board and as director through a contract with her consulting firm, has also helped developed a STEM Initiative, or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, where African-American professionals in these fields visit schools to provide an understanding of their work to the students.
Another aspect of Broughton’s work is to create more opportunities for mid-career professionals to join boards of nonprofit organizations. Since being appointed a Desert Botanical Garden trustee in 2007, she developed the Monarch Society, which is geared toward offering a significant experience for professionals ages 21 to 39. From that group came the smaller Monarch Council, a board-appointed committee which Broughton describes as a transformational experience for mid-career professionals who as potential board candidates offer a succession pipeline for board service.
“I have a passion for being able to identify talent and making sure emerging and mid-career professionals are at the table,” Broughton says.
Broughton previously served as executive director of Act One Foundation, which funded educational arts field trips for Arizona’s underserved schools. For five years, she was the director of programs for Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona, which provides youth development and therapeutic and creative-arts programs to abused, homeless, and at-risk children in Maricopa County. As cultural participation manager at ASU Gammage, Broughton oversaw the department’s administrative and operational management.
She sits on the Western States Arts Federation’s Board of Trustees and Multicultural Advisory Committee, is a member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women of Phoenix Metro Chapter, and is chair-elect of Phoenix’s Arts and Culture Commission. Broughton was named the 2013 Arizona Community Foundation’s Black Philanthropy Initiative Arts Education Leader.
Broughton graduated from ASU with a degree in interdisciplinary studies in educational psychology with an emphasis in theatre for youth. She also ran track and field, specializing in the 400 meters. She later earned a Master of Education from ASU in educational administration and leadership.
—By Brian Powell, Flinn Foundation