Valley Leadership Selects 15 for Inaugural Explore Program

Valley Leadership has selected 16 Arizonans to be part of the inaugural class of its new Explore program. The program takes participants out of their home communities to get to know the great diversity of Arizona and how our most pressing issues show up in rural, urban, suburban, border and Native communities. The all-alumni cohort represents a diverse cross-section of industries, political affiliations, generations and experiences.

“We’re very excited about this new program and our first cohort of Explore leaders,” said VL Board President and current Catalyze program participant Paul Komadina. “With Arizona continuing to attract people from across the country, a program like this is invaluable to helping leaders gain a whole perspective of our state and work together to solve our most pressing issues.”

Participants will visit five different communities in Arizona that represent the broad diversity of our state.  The destinations will include Navajo Nation, Nogales, Yuma, Mesa and Buckeye.  Travel will range from single to multi-day trips. Each visit will focus on learning about the community’s assets, opportunities and challenges, with participants gaining a better understanding and perspective of how the experiences in our state vary based on different communities.

“The exciting thing about a program like this is that it can truly create a more connected Arizona,” Jen Gastelum, the Explore program manager shared. “Participants will connect with one another and learn about the incredible work being done throughout our state, connecting with the people in the places that we visit and ultimately contributing to the development of a network of community leaders sharing resources and supporting the work that makes our great state run.”

Meet the Class:

  • Leslie Barakat Senior Medical Director and Market Medical Executive Cigna Heathcare
  • Salvador Bretts Managing Director, Business Development BrightFi
  • Michael Chang Project & Business Integration Manager SUMMi7
  • Mark Dickerson Attorney, Legal Counsel Schmitt Schneck Even & Williams, P.C.
  • Laura Etter Deputy Director Sun Corridor Network
  • Mary Foote Director Partnership for Economic Innovation
  • Meaghan Kramer Managing Attorney, Healthcare Arizona Center for Disability Law
  • Beth Maloney Arts Education Director Act One
  • Michael Mazzocco Owner & CEO Michael Mazzocco Events
  • Jessica Mitchell Dean, School of Naturopathic Medicine Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine
  • Antonio Newman Chauffeur Self Employed
  • Michelle Osife Philanthropy Manager Cancer Support Community Arizona
  • Dani Portillo Executive Director Roosevelt School District
  • Jen Scrivner COO Goodmans Interior Structures
  • Janel White-Taylor Clinical Associate Professor Arizona State University

Valley Leadership gives Arizonans the tools to solve challenges together. We do that by empowering Arizonans to lead through our learning opportunities and mobilizing them to make a difference on our state’s most pressing issues through our Impact Maker. With a track record of over 40 years of strengthening Arizona leaders, we are working to provide more opportunities than ever before to engage and empower Arizonans to lead. The Impact Maker gives us a unique opportunity to partner with the community on our greatest challenges and find solutions together.

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