Leaders selected for business, economic partnership


A local Phoenix organization announced the names of various new team members Monday who will work together to solve common problems that arise in government and business settings.

The organization, Center for the Future of Arizona, announced the group will be made up of people such as Steven Zylstra, president and chief executive officer of the Arizona Technology Council and Nathan Smith, chief program officer at Phoenix Rescue Mission.

The 24-member group is part of a partnership with the Greater Phoenix Workforce Leadership Academy, a 10-month fellowship designed to strengthen the local network of nonprofit, government, academic, and business leaders through a series of retreats and workshops that enable collaboration on solutions to common challenges.

“CFA is pleased to partner with the Aspen Institute to bring this significant program to the Greater Phoenix area because a competitive workforce is key for Arizona to thrive in the 21st century,” said Sybil Francis, president and CEO of CFA.

“Sustainable economies rely on the creation and retention of jobs filled by a vibrant and robust talent pool,” she said. “With COVID-19 impacting our state’s workforce systems, there’s never been a better time to strengthen the leadership pipeline, deepen collaborative relationships locally, and invest in developing professionals who lead our workforce organizations.”

The fellows in the inaugural class include: Audrey Bell-Jenkins, Katie Belous, Colleen Bivona, Miguel Fernandez, Eileana Gudiño, Allie Halbert, Kimberly Hanes, Jerry McPherson, Jennifer McChristian, James Montoya, Steve Navis, Christine Niven, Leah Palmer, Jose Patino, Terence ‘Dee’ Pinkston, Alison J. Rapping, Nathan Smith, Mariana Torres, Cathy Turley, Terell Welch, Andre Whittington, Ashley Wilhelm, Richard Wilkie and Steven Zylstra.

The 24 Fellows selected for the Greater Phoenix Workforce Leadership Academy Class of 2021-22 represent a range of nonprofit organizations, business associations, institutes of higher education, training organizations, and public agencies. The program launches May 11-13 and will culminate with a collaborative capstone project presentation in February 2022.