Valley Leadership is growing its team so it can grow its impact. Since December, Bailey Reynolds has been an integral role in supporting our Impact Maker Teams and their work to tackle the most pressing issues facing Arizona as an AmeriCorps Public Ally. She officially joins the Valley Leadership team as our program manager of strategic impact, where she’ll continue her work with our Impact Maker – and the people and organizations who power the actions to create immediate and long-term change in the community. Get to know Bailey and join us in welcoming her to the Valley Leadership team.
Tell the Valley Leadership community a little about yourself:
Although I’m not technically a native, Arizona has always been home. I grew up and currently reside in Glendale, Arizona. It’s where my family lives, where my best friends live and it’s my favorite place to come home to after being literally anywhere else — and I’ve been to some pretty cool places!
When it was finally time to leave home for college, I didn’t go far. I attended Arizona State University where I earned my bachelor’s in conservation biology and studied sustainability and business. While in school, I focused heavily on holistic solutions to complex problems and worked on interdisciplinary projects. I liaised with grant experts as a sustainability intern for the State of Arizona, measured socio-cultural perceptions of water as an intern with Arizona Humanities and worked with students and teachers from science, technology, business and arts backgrounds as a helium extraction and acoustic ecology researcher. Collectively, my experiences at ASU confirmed that no one person or species, social issue or positive step forward is more important than the other: equitable systems occur when we remove barriers and acknowledge the interconnectedness of the economy, society, environment — everything.
That revelation led me to Public Allies and Valley Leadership upon graduating. Public Allies is an AmeriCorps program and national movement committed to advancing social justice and equity by engaging and activating the leadership capacities of young people.
Looking back on your time as a Public Ally, what’s something you learned that you’ll carry forward in your role?
At the core of Public Allies, there are values and leadership actions that I’ve internalized and will carry with me. Two leadership actions that I learned are especially important to me. The first is committing to be a lifelong, continuous learner by developing the skills and expertise necessary to accomplish personal and professional goals. The second is cultivating and preserving the times and spaces necessary to play, rest, rejuvenate and heal. When practiced, both actions ensure that difficult work gets done, and the people leading the work can adapt, grow and sustain positive change.
What’s the Principle of Doing you most identify with?
When I was first asked this question at the beginning of my service term as a Public Ally, I was all about Driven to Do. Like many young people right out of college, I wanted to get things done, not realizing that good things, especially change, take time — and other people. That’s why I currently most identify with Building Trust.
VL alumna and Child Well-Being Impact Team Chair Jeanine Bashir often says, it’s important to do things with the community, not to the community. Before doing anything, it’s so important to build relationships and foster a culture founded on mutual respect, understanding and lived experience.
What do you like most about working at Valley Leadership?
I like working with so many people who are passionate about creating immediate and systemic change in our state. It’s easy to give in to negativity or accept the ways that things are because that’s the way they’ve always been. However, the volunteer VL alumni I get to work with constantly disrupt the status quo, stand up in the face of injustice and consider innovative solutions to the issues that matter most to them.
What do you love most about living, working and playing in Arizona?
I mean, to start, Stevie Nicks lives here — so that’s cool. On a more serious note and as someone who likes to explore, I love Arizona’s diverse landscape. I take solace in knowing that we have some of the best restaurants and coffee shops in downtown Phoenix and Tempe, scenic views in Sedona, mountains to climb up north and down south, swimming pools in backyards, lakes in every direction and an ocean nearby. I also love the promise of Sun Devil football at the start of each season, and the short-lived Diamondbacks and Cardinals winning streaks each year — save for maybe this year. I love the last few weeks of February and the first two weeks of March when the sun is out, and I still can walk barefoot to my mailbox. I love the perpetual absence of humidity. Sometimes, it’s the little things that make this place so great.