Valley Leaderships selects 15 Arizonans for inaugural explore program

Posted 1/28/22

Valley Leadership has selected 16 Arizonans to be part of the inaugural class of its new Explore program.

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Valley Leaderships selects 15 Arizonans 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 diversity of Arizona and its pressing issues in rural, urban, suburban, border and Native communities. The all-alumni cohort represents a diverse cross-section of industries, political affiliations, generations and experiences, according to a press release.

“We’re very excited about this new program and our first cohort of Explore leaders,” said VL Board President/current Catalyze program participant Paul Komadina in a release.

“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 communities in Arizona that represent diversity in the state. Destinations will include Navajo Nation, Nogales, Yuma, Mesa and Buckeye.

Travel will range from single to multi-day trips focusing on learning about the community’s assets, opportunities and challenges, with participants gaining better understanding and perspective of how experiences in the state vary based on different communities, the release said.

“The exciting thing about a program like this is that it can truly create a more connected Arizona,” Jen Gastelum, the Explore program manager said in the release.

“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 by empowering Arizonans to lead through learning opportunities and mobilizing to make a difference on the state’s most pressing issues through the Impact Maker.

With over 40 years of strengthening Arizona leaders, the organization provides opportunities to engage and empower Arizonans to lead. The Impact Maker offers an opportunity to partner with the community to address challenges and find solutions together, noted the release.

Learn more at

Valley Leadership,


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