Flinn-Brown Fellow Kimulet Winzer impacting public policy in health care, early childhood education

January 24, 2022

By brianpowell


Kimulet Winzer  (Phoenix, 2011), Director, SunHawk Consulting, LLC

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

My work is to advise, direct and counsel as well as to educate, train and strategize. My profession for the last 20 years has been as a healthcare compliance professional. For nearly 10 years (June 2022), I have been a member of one of the First Things First regional councils. Health care in Arizona continues to evolve, as does early childhood education. Both provide direct services to Arizonans—some who are our most vulnerable—and both workstreams consume a percentage of the state’s finances. I’m fortunate to be able to provide impact through work in both of these areas by facilitating conversations at all levels and providing information, resources, tools and connections within both of these public-policy workstreams to help move forward faster, and to include people who would not ordinarily know they can or when to provide input when the opportunity presents itself. As part of the conversations in these areas, I provide my thought leadership and influence to supply a diverse perspective. I look for opportunities as a result of the Flinn-Brown Academy to intentionally impact public policy in these two areas when I see the opportunity to do so.

Like many nationally and in Arizona, I was laid off in February 2020. At that time, I didn’t have the COVID-19 vocabulary and didn’t understand the impact the pandemic would ultimately have beyond the health crisis we’ve all experienced. My intentions were to give of my time and expertise during the interim time off to organizations that could use my skills to advance their causes. As I reached out at the beginning of the pandemic, individuals were experiencing the typical flight, fight, fear or freeze behaviors and soon could do nothing more than deal with the daily updates of what to do during the pandemic. Doors would be closed and organizations would begin to work remotely, some for the first time. My organization became my consulting—sharing information about telemedicine just as federal provisions were being made to remove barriers to immediately increase utilization of telemedicine to provide greater access to healthcare; helping to facilitate conversation within the state about systemic racism; and working to help establish a nonprofit that will work with young children to build social, emotional (SEL) strength along with a beginning understanding of science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) through gardening.

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

“Be strong and courageous.”

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

The Flinn-Brown Network has been useful to me, as it allows the voices of diverse people with diverse beliefs to be heard in a safe and respectful environment. The very nature of the Network is to put people together with diverse opinions and learn to work together for the benefit of a larger community. While that may not be the case 100% of the time, the majority of the Network embraces this and reaches out to learn or take the time to actively listen to understand. I listen and watch the Network more intently because I expect its members to be knowledgeable and to be working toward a greater good. In a world, country, and state that is seriously divided, it’s not going to just be party politics that we’ll have to lean on each other to understand, it is and will be so much more, and it is wonderful to continue to meet people, listen, and learn from them.

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

Potential opportunities to strengthen civic health in Arizona are to expand conversations about civic health in more meaningful ways while partnering with other organizations (Arizona Town Hall, Soroptimist, YMCA, Salvation Army) who are working to get their particular message out. For example, what is clear in Arizona is that more and more “young” people 18 and older are having to learn how to be an adult “on the job” so to speak. They reach the age of majority and they are off. In some instances they have had the luxury of knowing a bit of how civic engagement works but most often not in a way that is meaningful and practical. Offering material and conversations that help them understand why being engaged is important and how to engage using simple tools and social media could go a long way to strengthening civic health as these individuals continue to mature and become more and more active in Arizona communities.

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