2021 Flinn-Brown Convention

The annual Flinn-Brown Convention was held Nov. 12 at the Heard Museum in Phoenix featuring a moderated panel, breakout sessions, skills workshop, the Flinn-Brown Awards, and a reception.

With a theme of “Media and the Message,” the all-day event focused 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.

Kris Van Cleave
Kris Van Cleave
Congressional Correspondent
CBS News
Stephanie Sy
Stephanie Sy
Anchor, PBS NewsHour West;
PBS NewsHour Correspondent

CBS News congressional correspondent Kris Van Cleave was the morning keynote speaker. PBS NewsHour West anchor and PBS NewsHour correspondent Stephanie Sy presented the afternoon keynote.

Mi-Ai Parrish
Mi-Ai Parrish
President and CEO
MAP Strategies Group

Moderating the morning panel about diverse media was Mi-Ai Parrish, president and CEO of MAP Strategies Group; managing director of media enterprise and Sue Clark-Johnson professor for media innovation and leadership at Arizona State University; and former Arizona Republic president and publisher. Panelists included Adrienne Fairwell, general manager of Arizona PBS; Dianna Náñez, executive editor of Arizona Luminaria; Fernanda Santos, contributing columnist, Washington Post, and professor of practice at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU; and Patty Talahongva, executive producer, Indian Country Today.

Carey Peña
Carey Peña
Founder & CEO
Inspired Media 360

Leading an afternoon breakout media-training skills workshop was Carey Peña, Emmy Award-winning journalist and founder & CEO of Inspired Media 360. This workshop assisted Fellows in understanding how to interact with the media, including pitching stories, establishing on-camera confidence, and making professional connections to ensure that their ideas are messaged and accurately delivered.

Headshot photo of Daniel Scarpinato, Partner, Ascent Media
Daniel Scarpinato
Ascent Media

Daniel Scarpinato, partner at Ascent Media and former chief of staff for Gov. Doug Ducey, moderated an afternoon breakout panel on digital media, highlighting lessons from the constant news cycle and discussion of how digital media is changing journalism and how news is consumed. Panelists included Garrett Archer, data analyst for ABC15; Rachel Leingang, journalist at the Arizona Agenda; Barrett Marson, founder & president of Marson Media; and Jim Small, editor of the Arizona Mirror.

Headshot photo of Maria Polletta, investigative reporter, Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting
Maria Polletta
Investigative Reporter
Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting

Maria Polletta, an investigative reporter focusing on inequities in education for the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting, moderated an afternoon breakout panel on traditional media and politics, with a focus on the coverage of major news events and groundbreaking moments. Panelists included Dennis Welch, political reporter for Arizona’s Family (3TV/CBS5), Jen Fifield, Maricopa County reporter for the Arizona Republic, and Ben Giles, senior field correspondent at KJZZ.

The Convention also included a lunch program celebrating the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership’s 10th anniversary, presentation of the annual Flinn-Brown Awards, and an early-evening networking reception in the beautiful Piper Courtyard at the Heard Museum. A new Flinn-Brown directory was also distributed to the Fellows in attendance.

Flinn-Brown Awards

Five awards honoring high-impact leaders are granted each year at the Convention: Jack Jewett Award, Network Builder Award, and three Arizona Champion (Northern, Central and Southern Arizona) awards. Learn more about the 2021 award recipients.

Sponsorships and Swag























Helios Education Foundation logo
Elaine Kessler Photography logo



Thank you to event sponsors Helios Education Foundation and Elaine Kessler Photography for helping to make the 2021 Convention possible.

Thank you to the organizations that donated swag:

Meet the Planning Committee

Thank you to the five members of the 2021 Flinn-Brown Convention planning committee, including our co-chairs Jaclyn Boyes (2019) and Julie Katsel (2014)