Arizona Center for Civic Leadership announces its 2024 Flinn-Brown Fellows

May 15, 2024

By brianpowell

The Arizona Center for Civic Leadership at the Flinn Foundation’s leadership program—dedicated to state-level policy and politics and forging professional connections—has selected 28 Arizonans as 2024 Flinn-Brown Fellows.

The 16th cohort of the nonpartisan Flinn-Brown Fellowship includes leaders from the private and public sector, elected officials, founders of nonprofit organizations and companies, physicians, lawyers, educators and more.

“We are delighted to introduce a new group of Arizona civic leaders of many political perspectives, life experiences, and career paths to the Flinn-Brown experience,” said Dawn Wallace, Flinn Foundation vice president, civic leadership. “As part of the Fellowship, these leaders develop the connections necessary to make an even greater impact in their communities, while joining a powerful network determined to work together to address statewide public policy issues.”  

The 2024 Fellows will participate in the fall Flinn-Brown Academy, an intensive public policy institute, which begins with the Aug. 16 Flinn-Brown Convention. All 465 Flinn-Brown Fellows are invited to “Collaboration: A Network That Invokes Change,” a full-day professional-development and networking opportunity in downtown Phoenix.

The first of 12 Flinn-Brown Academy sessions will begin the following week. The topics range from public finance and infrastructure to criminal justice and human services. The focus of the interactive all-day sessions is on policy, politics, and the sharing of key perspectives on solutions to Arizona’s pressing challenges from top elected and appointed officials and subject-matter experts.

In addition to policy facilitators for each Academy day, Stan Barnes of Copper State Consulting Group and South Mountain Justice of the Peace Rebecca Rios, both respected former legislators, will provide different political perspectives for discussion. Elected and appointed officials, executives, judges, scholars, and additional experts are called upon as well.

The Fellows, who are selected through a competitive process, represent nine of Arizona’s counties: Cochise, Coconino, Graham, Maricopa, Mohave, Pima, Pinal, Yavapai, and Yuma. The 2024 class is evenly divided between Maricopa County and cities and towns outside the Phoenix metro area, including Benson, Camp Verde, Flagstaff, Florence, Lake Havasu City, Safford, Tucson, and Yuma.

The 2024 Flinn-Brown Fellows, including positions, cities, and counties of residence, are:

  • Carlos Alfaro: Southwest Director, Alder, Scottsdale, Maricopa County
  • The Honorable Austin Aslan: Vice Mayor, City of Flagstaff, Flagstaff, Coconino County
  • Michelle Beaver: Founder and Director, PEN Arizona, Phoenix, Maricopa County
  • The Honorable Deborah Ann Begay, J.D.: Justice of the Peace, Maricopa County Justice Courts, Phoenix, Maricopa County
  • Vance Bryce: Executive Director, Graham County Chamber of Commerce, Safford, Graham County
  • Tina Dorsey: Vice President, Commercial Banking, First Citizens Bank, Tucson, Pima County
  • Manuel Felix: Founder & CEO, AZ Cyber Initiative, Tucson, Pima County
  • Bridget Fitzgibbons, N.M.D.: Physician, Private Practice, Mesa, Maricopa County
  • Lloyd Hopkins II: Founder and Executive Director, Million Dollar Teacher Project, Phoenix, Maricopa County
  • Steve King: Retired Superintendent, Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District, Camp Verde, Yavapai County
  • The Honorable Alexa Lucchese: Government Affairs Manager, Cox Communications, Tucson, Pima County
  • The Honorable Lori Matthews: Councilmember, City of Flagstaff, Flagstaff, Coconino County
  • Rebecca McKay: Data Science Specialist Principal, ASU Helios Decision Center, Phoenix, Maricopa County
  • T.J. Mitchell, J.D.: Chief of Staff, Supervisor Bill Gates, Maricopa County, Phoenix, Maricopa County
  • The Honorable Cameron Moses: Vice Mayor, Lake Havasu City; Owner/General Manager, Cha-Bones Steakhouse; Lake Havasu City, Mohave County
  • Allison Otu: Executive Director, Marketing and Communications, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, Phoenix, Maricopa County
  • Jennifer Richards, Ph.D.: Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins University, Center for Indigenous Health, Flagstaff, Coconino County
  • Vanessa Ruiz: Deputy Vice President, Educational Outreach and Student Services, Arizona State University, Phoenix, Maricopa County
  • Rodney Short, J.D.: Deputy City Attorney, City of Yuma, Yuma, Yuma County
  • Stephanie Soto: Director of Operations, Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Phoenix, Maricopa County
  • Robert “Nick” Staab, M.D.: Assistant Medical Director, Maricopa County Department of Public Health, Phoenix, Maricopa County
  • Emily Steiner, J.D.: Deputy General Counsel, Arizona Department of Child Safety, Phoenix, Maricopa County
  • Lorraine Stofft: Vice President for Advancement and Executive Director of the AWC Foundation, Arizona Western College, Yuma, Yuma County
  • Javier Torres, J.D.: Assistant United States Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, United States Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, Phoenix, Maricopa County
  • The Honorable Tara Walter: Mayor, Town of Florence; Assistant Principal, Florence Unified School District; Florence, Pinal County
  • Judah Waxelbaum: Chief Legislative Liaison, Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona, Scottsdale, Maricopa County
  • Erica Yngve: President/Owner Sonoran Stitch Factory; President/Owner, Postcraft Products, Tucson, Pima County
  • Jason Zibart: Community Connected Health Manager, Benson Hospital, Benson, Cochise County

The Fellows selected for the program were interviewed at the Flinn Foundation by a selection committee of Arizona leaders that included:

  • Paul Brierley: CEO & EDD, Arizona Department of Agriculture, 2011 Flinn-Brown Fellow;
  • Richard Caselli, M.D.: Member, Flinn Foundation Board of Directors;
  • Bobbie Schorr: Grants Director, Thomas R. Brown Family Private Foundation;
  • Clint Bolick: Justice, Arizona Supreme Court;
  • Vada Manager: CEO & President, Manager Global Holdings LLC;
  • Dede Yazzie Devine: former CEO, Native American Connections; and
  • Christy Burton: Co-founder and Chair, Burton Family Foundation

The Flinn Foundation launched the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership in 2011 to develop a statewide network of civic leaders seeking solutions to Arizona’s long-term issues. The Flinn-Brown Network now includes 465 Fellows from rural, urban, and tribal communities.

“The leaders we have selected for Flinn-Brown this year are playing important roles in areas that must be successful and collaborative for the future health and prosperity of Arizona—health care, entrepreneurship, public health, K-12 education, business, nonprofits, our universities and government, to name a few,” said Tammy McLeod, Ph.D., Flinn Foundation president and CEO. “We believe these 28 Arizonans will emerge from the Flinn-Brown Fellowship even more knowledgeable about the inner workings of Arizona and with the skills and dedication needed to advance our state.”

Meet the 2024 Flinn-Brown Fellows

About the Flinn Foundation
The Flinn Foundation is a Phoenix-based private, nonprofit, grantmaking organization, founded by Dr. Robert S. Flinn and Irene P. Flinn in 1965 with a mission to improve the quality of life in Arizona to benefit future generations. In addition to the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership, the foundation supports the advancement of Arizona’s bioscience ecosystem, the Flinn Scholars Program, and Arizona’s arts and culture sector.

About the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership   
The nonpartisan Arizona Center for Civic Leadership at the Flinn Foundation enhances civic life in Arizona through civic education, engagement, and leadership-development programs. In addition to the Flinn-Brown Fellowship, Flinn Young Leaders emphasizes civic learning and skill-building and helps teens imagine paths to making a difference. CivEx delivers educational programming for the public to become better-informed on Arizona policy and political topics. The Civic Leadership Collaborative and the Arizona Civic Life Partnership convene organizations that strengthen civic participation and connected communities to effective civic leadership—and our broader prosperity and quality of life. 

About the Thomas R. Brown Family Private Foundation
The Thomas R. Brown Family Private Foundation of Tucson is a partner in the Flinn-Brown program. It supports solutions to community and state issues through grants and educational programs in the areas of research and education, workforce development, civic leadership, and economics education.