On Nov. 30, Valley Leadership’s award reception “Man and Woman of the Year” took place at the Paradise Valley Country Club.
Reyna Montoya, Aliento’s CEO and founder, was officially awarded as the Valley Leadership’s 73rd “Woman of the Year,” and Chad Geston, superintendent of the Phoenix Union High School District, was selected as the “Man of Year.”
Montoya was selected because of her fierce commitment to addressing Arizona’s most urgent issues, track record of community engagement and alignment with Valley Leadership’s Principles of Doing.
“Man and Woman of the Year are about highlighting leaders in our community who have gone above and beyond to have a significant impact in Arizona. Reyna and Chad have both shown through their years of commitment what it takes to address our state’s most pressing issues and to do so with a decision-making philosophy built on principles. We’re honored to be able to celebrate these two incredible, doing-based leaders,” Valley Leadership CEO Dave Brown said in a press release.
In 2016, Montoya founded Aliento, a youth-led organization that serves undocumented, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and mixed-immigration-status families to transform trauma into hope and action. Aliento organized a nonpartisan coalition to empower the Arizona State Legislature for Proposition 308 to be on this year’s ballot, enabling non-citizen students to receive financial aid and in-state tuition at public colleges and universities if they graduated and attended school in Arizona for at least two years. It is thanks to the work of Aliento and over 65,000 Arizona voters that Prop. 308 was approved by Arizona voters in November.
“I am deeply humbled for receiving this award along with Chad Gestson by the Valley Leadership,” Montoya said in the release. “No one accomplishes anything alone; I am a deep believer that it takes a village for us to make an impact in our communities. This recognition is not only mine but is an award to all our children and youth. I dedicate this award to my parents, who despite so much trauma were able to raise my siblings and me with love and always reminded us that our dreams could be delayed but never forgotten. Your dreams are mine and my accomplishments are yours. Thank you to everyone who has believed in our mission of transforming trauma into hope and action.”
Aliento stated it’s proud of Montoya as she is an inspiration to the staff, partners, allies and community it serves.