January 2024 Network News

February 5, 2024

By Jessica Vaile

Thoughts from Dawn Wallace

Over the last three weeks, our team at the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership traveled 1,100 miles across the state to promote the 2024 Flinn-Brown application cycle. They were extremely long and exhausting days and I am so proud of our exceptional tour managers, Jennifer, Danielle, and Anna (our amazing spring intern) for pulling together the logistics for our five-city road show. After spending over 15 hours in a car together, I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that these ladies are three of the best traveling companions I have ever had.

I also want to extend our deepest gratitude to the Flinn-Brown Fellows who hosted us, came out to support us, and gave their testimonials. I endeavor to always make a great pitch, but I truly believe that the firsthand experience expressed by Flinn-Brown Fellows is what ultimately sells the program, particularly to interested folks who are not quite sure they have the time and energy for our intensive Academy. This year, I was particularly pleased that so many Flinn-Brown Fellows brought along their own recruits to the in-person info sessions.

When I started this position in 2020, we were deep into the application cycle and, oh yeah, amid a worldwide pandemic, and traveling to recruit just was not in the cards. In 2022, we went to Yuma, Clarkdale, and Tucson, and in 2023, we branched out to Cottonwood and Flagstaff. This year, we added Sierra Vista, and (drumroll please), next year, we will add Prescott and Show Low. It’s not the Eras Tour, but I think we put on a good show and the merch is free!

Our cycle is divided into four phases: recruitment, application, review, and selection. While all parts of this process appear linear and co-equally important, I contend that recruitment is our most important function.Yes, the careful curation of Fellows that occurs during the selection phase is integral to the success of a cohort and the Network as a whole, but in order for that process to work with fidelity, we must ensure our candidate pool is rich with different perspectives and expertise, born from lived experiences from all of our state’s distinct communities whose economy, education, culture, and language stand uniquely amongst the rest of the state.

Beyond these in-person meetings, we are experimenting this year with targeted advertisements, beefing up our digital footprint through the CivEx programs, the podcast, and leveraging our relationships with partner organizations to promote the program to their members and constituencies. We meet quarterly with other leadership programs through the Leadership Collaborative to learn best practices and establish pipeline pathways from their programs to ours.

The 2024 Flinn-Brown application will open Thursday morning, February 1. The deadline to apply is February 29. Please share this registration link with Arizonans you know would make great Flinn-Brown Fellows.

Save the Date (for Convention)

As has been the tradition since 2017, Flinn-Brown Fellows select the annual convention theme and build the day-long programming and networking opportunities. This year’s Flinn-Brown Convention will be held on Friday, August 16.

We have typically held the Convention in November; however, we received feedback from Fellows that November can be challenging for a host of issues, including elections, holidays, and for us, the demand on hospitality during a high tourist season. By moving the Convention to August, we can address these issues and more formally induct our new 2024 Fellows into the Network right before they begin Academy. Please know that we have also worked this date around primary elections, and other conferences that have high participation from Fellows including the Rural Policy Forum and the League of Cities and Towns conference, to maximize attendance.

If you are interested in participating as part of the planning committee, please let me know.

Baby Fever

December was a big month for Flinn-Brown babies! Congratulations to Fellows Sara Bertram (Phoenix, 2016), Michael Deiana Jr. (Phoenix, 2022), and Jerry McPherson (Phoenix, 2022) and their respective partners on the birth of their beautiful newborns! Welcome Lil Fellows–Hazel, Levi, and Eviana!

X Does Not Mark the Spot

We are excited to share that the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership now has its own LinkedIn Page. We appreciate that so many of you have followed us and helped promote our Flinn-Brown content.

Just a reminder to follow us on all our social media channels:

And, Go Chiefs!


Fellows Spotlight

Dave Engelthaler, Ph.D.

(Flagstaff, 2022)
Director, Professor
TGen North


“What Flinn-Brown does is bring the tools and knowledge to give people a better perspective of this state, the municipalities and how it all works, so that they can really go forth and make a difference. It’s not good enough to just have the willingness to do something. You also have to have that knowledge base on how and where you can step in and make a difference.” — Dave Engelthaler, Ph.D.

Dave Engelthaler, Ph.D. is a professor and director of TGen North, home of TGen’s Pathogen & Microbiome Division, and was recently named the 2023 Flagstaff Citizen of the Year.

The 2022 Flinn-Brown Fellow previously served as the Arizona State Epidemiologist and the Arizona Biodefense Coordinator and has used his vast knowledge in microbial genomics to research diseases such as COVID-19, tuberculosis, MRSA, and valley fever.

After securing a job in the 1980s with the Forest Service, Engelthaler was “having a ball” chasing elk and eagles when he came to the realization that he wanted to have a bigger impact. In 1993, an opportunity to do just that came forward. There was a Hantavirus outbreak and young Navajo people were dying. The virus was new to the Western Hemisphere and all that was known was that it was highly infectious and being spread by field mice.

The State Health Department needed field biologists to head into the field and trap and test the mice. He took the job and began conducting habitat assessments trying to find out where this virus was and who was at risk.

After that, he was hooked. “I realized you could really use science to make a difference in people’s lives. And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.”

After being intertwined with government entities for so long, Engelthaler understood that the Flinn-Brown Fellowship turns out “better and more informed politicians” while simultaneously providing enrichment for citizens through leadership development.

Genuine human interaction is a crucial part of entities working together—nonprofit organizations and government groups alike. While some may call programs created to help with these human connections “professional development,” Engelthaler found much more through the Flinn-Brown Fellowship.

“It’s really expanded out to people who are seen as statewide or community leaders and helped them develop a better understanding of the world around them,” Engelthaler said. “And then individual parts of the program can step in and help those people potentially make a bigger impact.”

When asked about his favorite memory from his time with Flinn-Brown, Engelthaler didn’t want to choose just one. Debates with people you don’t fully agree with may be uncomfortable, but more than that, they’re valuable, he said.

“I still cherish those discussions. It made us closer as individuals, to be able to respect other people even when they’re coming from, or maybe especially when they’re coming from, completely different perspectives,” Engelthaler said.

One of Engelthaler’s biggest points of professional pride is the way TGen was able to react to COVID-19 before it was considered a pandemic by launching a statewide testing network.

“It was really motivating and gratifying for everybody at TGen and TGen North to be part of the response, to be able to do something,” he said. “We worked all over the state and focused on rural communities, tribal communities and bringing this capability and technology to places that wouldn’t normally have access to it.”

Dozens of professional accomplishments aside, Engelthaler says his biggest pride is his three children who he couldn’t be prouder of “for learning their way in this world.”

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

Leadership Forward – A Better Arizona

Paul Perrault and Janice Palmer: Episode 4

Paul Perrault, Ph.D, (Phoenix, 2016) and Janice Palmer of Helios Education Foundationtalk Arizona education in the fourth episode of Leadership Forward for a Better Arizona.
The duo share eye-opening data, discuss the economic benefits of postsecondary education for both the student and state of Arizona, and examine how supporting dual enrollment classes can lead to more Arizona students pursuing college degrees. 

You can listen on Apple Podcast here or any of the platforms below.

Next month, we will hear from Fellows Erin Carr-Jordan (Chandler, 2013) and Mignonne Hollis (Hereford, 2013) as they discuss the current state of Arizona’s broadband infrastructure, the state’s plan for an infusion of over $1 billion, and strategies used by communities and local organizations to actively engage in bridging the digital divide and advocating for better broadband access.

Fellows Meet Fellows

Souther AZ Fellows

Tucson Fellows Jose Arias (2023), Juan Francisco Padres (2016), Nicole Barraza (2020), Morgan Abraham (2014), Julie Euber (2023), Julie Katsel (2014), Christopher Stoller Michelena (2015), Doug Hockstad (2022), Brendan Lyons (2020), Kevin Volk (2022) and Heath Vescovi-Chiordi (2023) host regular Fellows social hours.

Spring 2011 Fellows dine together

The cohort that learns together stays together!  Members of the inaugural Spring 2011 cohort Paul Brierley (Phoenix, 2011), Councilman Fernando Shipley (Globe, 2011), David Martinez III (Phoenix, 2011), Alberto Olivas (Phoenix, 2011), Alisa Lyons (Scottsdale, 2011), and David Garcia (Phoenix, 2011) keep in touch.

Tim Gomez and Julie Spilsbury

Tim Gomez (Tempe, 2023) and Councilwoman Julie Spilsbury (Mesa, 2023) ran into one another at the East Valley Chambers of Commerce Alliances Governor’s Breakfast.

Carr-Jordan Dhawan Blink

Erin Carr-Jordan (Chandler, 2013), Reetika Dhawan (Yuma, 2022), and Ben Blink (Phoenix, 2018) connected at the Internet for All Summit.

Fellows in the wild

Hang around a coffee shop long enough and you will see a Fellows sighting or three. Amy Love (Phoenix, 2019), Tomás Robles Jr. (Phoenix, 2019) and Sean Berens (Phoenix, 2016) at Mis Raices Café in Phoenix.

Fellows in the wild

It’s all business in state government! Paul Brierley (Phoenix, 2011) and Billy Kovacs (Scottsdale, 2016) join their boss, Governor Hobbs, on a visit to Nogales to visit Arizona’s agricultural sector.

Fellows in the wild

Flinn-Brown sighting at the CAG, Sun Corridor MPO / NACOG 28th Annual Legislative Day. Mayor Mila Besich (Superior, 2019), Bill Regner (Clarkdale, 2018), Councilwoman April Hepperle (Prescott Valley, 2023), and Councilman Fernando Shipley (Globe, 2011) connect to talk about local government issues.

Fellows in the wild

Debbie Nez Manuel (Scottsdale, 2017) caught up with her fellow cohort member Aaron Lieberman (Paradise Valley, 2017) at The Peoples State of the Navajo Nation in Window Rock.


Save the date! Our next CivEx will be Wednesday, February 28 at 2:00 p.m. More information to come soon!

If you have an idea for a CivEx webinar that you would like to host or a topic you would like to learn more about, contact Dawn.

Fellows Field Trips

During the Convention, it was suggested that field trips organized by Fellows for Fellows might be a great way to network and learn more about the innovative work that is happening in Fellows’ organizations.

Fellows are encouraged to suggest or offer opportunities for Fellows to visit and learn more about what is happening in Greater Arizona. Please let Dawn know if you are interested in providing a field trip opportunity.

Fellows Lists

Each month we will feature a Fellows list for a specific employment sector, public policy area, affinity group, or region. This month we focus on Fellows in Northern Arizona.  

While we try very hard to keep up to date on Fellows’ activities, we recognize that we may have missed someone. Please let Dawn know and we will happily update the list.

Fellows Directory Updates

Help us keep our Fellows Directory accurate and updated!  We update our online directory quarterly and print hard copies twice a year in May and October. Please take a moment to complete this survey with your current information. You can also upload a new headshot to this Google Drive folder.

Please contact Jennifer if you have problems accessing the survey or uploading a photo.

Fellows Book Recommendations

Each month, we feature suggestions from Fellows to create a virtual Network library about public-policy issues, the practice of leadership, professional development, and other areas worth sharing. This month’s recommendations come from Dave Engelthaler, Ph.D.  (Flagstaff, 2022) and Noah Mundt (Gilbert, 2023).

David Engelthaler
(Flagstaff, 2023)
The Rational Optimist
by Matt Ridley

This book was hugely transformational to me. I love Ridley’s other works, as he is a great science and economics communicator, but this one brought together so many concepts into one cohesive and rational explanation for the success of the human species. In this book he captures the evolution of economies over the 200,000-year history of humans, especially from the perspective of how trade has shaped human thinking and success. When we trade (ie, engage in commerce) we not only have a fair exchange of goods and services, we also exchange ideas and culture, which has allowed for unplanned and unparalleled innovation, leading to continual ever-inclusive prosperity. While many are feeling pessimistic about the current state of the world, it’s hard to look at the facts and not be rationally optimistic.

Noah Mundt
(Gilbert, 2023)
The Book of Laugher and Forgetting
by Milan Kundera

The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera, while not directly about American politics, offers relevant themes such as the power of memory and forgetting in shaping political narratives, and the tension between authoritarianism and individual freedoms. Its exploration of the role of humor and irony in resisting oppressive systems parallels the use of political satire in America. Additionally, the book’s insights into the fragmentation of truth and narrative resonate in today’s highly polarized and media-saturated American political environment.

Fellows In The News

We are happy to promote your work through social media, so reach out if you would like us to recognize a professional accomplishment, event, or program with which you are involved.

Amy Love (Phoenix, 2019) is now Project Manager at the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office.

Sara Bertram (Phoenix, 2016) and her husband welcomed their baby girl, Hazel Rose Bertram, to their family in December.  

Teniqua Broughton (Phoenix, 2013) and Shamia Lodge (Surprise, 2023) presented at the ImpactAZ Class of 2023 graduation.

Mayor Becky Daggett (Flagstaff, 2014) and Kate Morley (Flagstaff, 2018) were quoted in an Arizona Daily Sun article about a $9.6 million grant the city of Flagstaff received from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the Butler Avenue Complete Streets Conversion.

Michael Deiana Jr. (Anthem, 2022) and his wife welcomed their baby boy, Levi Crue Deiana, to their family in December.  

Reetika Dhawan (Yuma, 2022) was interviewed for an AZ Family news story regarding $2 million the Department of Energy recently awarded Arizona Western College to invest in clean energy job training in Yuma.

Sarah Douthit (Flagstaff, 2013) was interviewed for an Arizona Daily Sun article about Coconino County’s pretrial services.

Joel Edman (Tempe, 2016) is now the Democracy Director for the Indian Legal Clinic’s Arizona Native Vote Election Protection Project.

Mayor Tim Elinski (Cottonwood, 2013) and Ruth Ellen Elinski (Cottonwood, 2014) were featured in a Flagstaff Business News article about their business, PinDrop Travel Trailers.

Dave Engelthaler, Ph.D. (Flagstaff, 2022) was named the 2023 Flagstaff Citizen of the Year. He also wrote an op-ed in the Arizona Daily Sun promoting compromise and community civility.

Coral Evans, Ph.D. (Flagstaff, 2011) and Councilmember Fernando Shipley (Globe, 2011) had a conversation about statesmanship, civility, civic responsibility, and participation.

Greg Esser, J.D. (Phoenix, 2016) was quoted in an Arizona Foothills Magazine article regarding the changes that have occurred in the Roosevelt Street, South Scottsdale, and Arcadia communities over time.

Diana Gomez (Yuma, 2016) was quoted in an Arizona Republic article about Naloxone being distributed to Arizona’s counties to treat opioid overdose.

Tim Gomez (Phoenix, 2023) is now Senior Director, Government & Community Engagement at ASU.

Rep. Matt Gress (Phoenix, 2015) was quoted in an AZ Family article about HB2305 which would provide sex trafficking prevention training for parents.

Trista Guzman Glover (Mesa, 2019) is now Board President for Voices for CASA Children.

Katelyn Harris Lange (Phoenix, 2020) is now a member of the Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED). She also served as a grant reviewer for the first round of ADHS Justice Reinvestment Grants and was appointed to the Community Mental Health Wellness, Public Health & Safety Task Force for the city of Phoenix.

Councilmember April Hepperle (Prescott Valley, 2023) received the 2023 Heroes Among Us First Responder Spouse award.

Mignonne Hollis (Hereford, 2013) was interviewed for a Herald Review article about her continued work on the National Small Business Association board of trustees.

Brittney Kaufmann (Phoenix, 2014) was quoted in a Chamber Business News article regarding a recent report that shows the importance of natural gas to the U.S. healthcare industry.

Councilmember Sheri Lauritano (Goodyear, 2012) was elected to serve as President, Board of Directors for the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association (AMWUA).

Sarah León (Phoenix, 2022) wrote an op-ed in the Arizona Republic about calling for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

Tomás León (Phoenix, 2022) was quoted in an Arizona Digital Free Press article about a collaboration between Equality Health Foundation and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to host a Spanish community forum to raise awareness about the fentanyl crisis in south Phoenix.

Shane Leonard (Washington, 2019) is now district manager at the Kennewick Irrigation District in Kennewick, Washington.

Commissioner Lea Márquez Peterson (Tucson, 2011) was quoted in a TusconSentinel.com article about the growing number of Latino voters in Arizona.

JP Martin (Phoenix, 2017) is now the Deputy Communications Director for the Office of the Arizona Secretary of State.

Jerry McPherson (Tempe, 2022) and his wife welcomed their baby girl, Eviana Juliet McPherson, in December and was appointed to the Commission of African American Affairs by Gov. Katie Hobbs.

Reyna Montoya (Gilbert, 2020) wrote an op-ed in Arizona Capitol Times about maintaining education equity momentum in 2024.

Paul Perrault, Ph.D. (Phoenix, 2016) was interviewed for a FOX10 news story regarding a report that shows the positive impact investing in HBCUs has on Black students’ success.

April Rhodes (Prescott, 2022) was quoted in a Yahoo Finance articleabout Spectrum Healthcare’s decision to partner with NextGen Healthcare to bring whole-person care to Arizona communities.

Naketa Ross (Phoenix, 2019) was highlighted in an ASU News articleabout addressing Arizona’s homeless crisis.

Travis Schulte (Gilbert, 2017) is now the Military, Foreign Relations, and Veteran Affairs Policy Advisor for the Office of U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema.

Cynthia Seelhammer (Queen Creek, 2016) was honored with a Lifetime Membership to the Arizona City/County Management Association.

Lisa Urias (Phoenix, 2011) was interviewed for an AZ Family news story about final preparations for the 2024 NCAA Men’s Final Four in Glendale.

Thea Wilshire (Globe, 2011) was interviewed for an Arizona Highways article about Stairizona, an urban hiking trail in Globe featuring 62 public artworks.

Russ Yelton (Phoenix, 2012) nonprofit White Mountain Economic Development was awarded a grant by the Department of Energy to create a plan to recruit clean energy companies to rural Northern Arizona.

Zach Yentzer (Tucson, 2020) was interviewed for a KGUN9 news story about the work Tucson Metro Chamber’s Coalition Against Retail Theft is doing to address theft and vandalism against Tucson businesses.

Board and Commission Openings

Serving on a board or commission is a great way to influence public policy on issues where you have expertise or a passion to serve. Arizona Together for Impact helps connect their nonprofit clients with potential board members, and hosts training and information sessions.

Planned Parenthood of Arizona is seeking board members for both their 501c3 and 501c4 boards. Applications are due March 1. 

The Governor’s Office is seeking applications for the Citizens Clean Elections Commission. Applications are accepted through the standard application.

The Governor’s Office has over 200 boards and commissions. To apply for any vacancy, complete the application on the website. For a list of vacancies, please see here.

Maricopa County Travel Reduction Program Regional Task Forcehas vacancies in Districts 2, 3, 4, and 5. To apply complete the application for service. 

Most Arizona counties and cities have boards and commissions with frequent vacancies. Check local websites for more opportunities. To share specific opportunities, contact Jennifer Papworth.

Career & Professional Opportunities

The Arizona Supreme Court is seeking a Programs Specialist III for the Certification & Licensing department. 

The Arizona Center for Economic Progress is looking for a strategic and visionary leader to serve as its next Executive Director.

The Nature Conservancy has positions open across Arizona, including Forest Program Project ManagerHealthy Cities Program Director, and Stewardship Program Manager.

Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) is hiring a Government Relations Project Manager to lead local, state, and federal intergovernmental relations efforts with MAG member agencies.

Greater Phoenix Leadership (GPL) is seeking a Social Impact and Racial Equity Advancement Project Director.

One Arizona is seeking an Executive Director to lead their coalition of non-partisan, nonprofits focused on civic engagement.

The Central Arizona Project has six (6) internships available for students. The internship positions are full-time May 20-August 1. Candidates must apply through CAP’s website by February 5.

The Center for the Future of Arizona is hiring a Program Coordinator Sr., Civic Health to help expand the School Participatory Budget initiative. 

The Obama Foundation Leaders Program is hosting a virtual information session February 6 for interested applicants to learn more about the program and application process. 

The 2024-25 Civic Science Fellows applications are opening for the cohort that begins in the spring of 2024.

Events & Conferences

Equity Health Foundation is holding a Community Fentanyl Forum  (in Spanish) at the Salvation Army Kroc Center on February 6.

Central Arizona Project is hosting CAP University: Deeper Dive on Water Quality on February 21.

The 29th Annual Arizona Housing Conference: Bring It Home will be held February 27 and 28 at the Mesa Convention Center.

Equity Health, in partnership with Healthy Moms, Strong Babies and March of Dimes, is holding a Healthy Mama Festival  on March 9 at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Gymnasium. 

The Taliesin Business and Policy Forum is hosting a series of conversations on global topics with local implications that began in November with “No Magic Bullet: Understanding and Addressing the Housing Crisis.” There are three sessions in the spring of 2024. See the brochure here.

City of Tempe and Arizona Heritage Center will host the 2024 Arizona Good Business Summit on April 16.