Arizona Association for Economic Development’s Mentorship Pilot Program Launches

Arizona Association for Economic Development

The Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED) has recently launched the organization’s first mentorship program. The year-long program, aimed at supporting early-career economic development professionals, has paired five young professionals with five experienced Economic Development practitioners from around the state.

The mentorship pilot program is the first program to come out of AAED’s Young Professionals Affinity Group, which was formed in 2020 with the goal of creating more programming to support the organization’s early career members. The Young Professionals Affinity Group is chaired by Heath Vescovi-Chiordi, Assistant to the Town Manager at the Town of Marana and outgoing AAED Board Member. Vescovi-Chiordi has been a member of AAED since 2016 and has been a persistent advocate for more programs for students and early career professionals.

“Opportunities for young professionals and early career professionals in Economic Development are few and far between, and we’re seeking to change that. This mentorship, with AAED’s support, will allow for additional professional and personal development for both of those professional groups, to help train and cultivate the next generation of Economic Development leaders in Arizona,” said Vescovi-Chiordi.

In addition to mentorship from experienced Economic Development professionals, AAED members who participate as mentees will also get to take advantage of complimentary professional development courses from AAED’s Academy of Arizona, a certificate program that leads to the Arizona Economic Development Professional certification (AZED Pro).

2021-2022 mentors include:

  • Suzie Boyles, AZED Pro, Economic Development Manager at the City of Buckeye
  • Victor Gonzalez, CEcD, Economic Development Director at the Town of Sahuarita
  • Kevin Gullette, CEcD, Vice President of Business Development at the Arizona Commerce Authority
  • Karla Moran, AZED Pro, Senior Project Manager at SRP
  • Nicole Snyder, AZED Pro, Healthcare Business Development and Marketing Leader at orcutt|winslow

Mentees include:

  • Melissa Steele, Economic Development Specialist at the City of Globe
  • Jessica Bryson, Economic Development Specialist at the Town of Camp Verde
  • Damian Dorame, Assistant to the City Manager at the City of Douglas
  • Jorge Hernandez, Economic Development Specialist at the City of Scottsdale
  • Andrea Caicedo, Management Assistant at the Town of Sahuarita

The group met for a program orientation on July 12th, 2021, and officially kicked the program off that same day.

AAED, founded in 1974, has a mission to serve as Arizona’s unified voice for responsible economic development through professional education, public policy, and collaboration.

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