Celebrating Black Leaders in Arizona

February 01, 2021 |

Today marks the start of Black History Month, a time to celebrate the achievements and impact of African Americans. As we celebrate, we want to highlight leaders in our community.

Jeanine Bashir, Koran Hardimon, Sherry McFadden and Chief Jeri Williams have gone above and beyond in their service to Valley Leadership and our Impact Maker – working hard to help more Arizonans lead and thrive.

Get to know these leaders, and be sure to follow us on social media, where we’ll be sharing more alumni highlights each week.

Jeanine Bashir (Institute Class 35) has led the Impact Maker Child Well-Being Team since its launch in 2019. A longtime community advocate, Jeanine often says it is important to do “with community, not to community.” It is with that charge and an incredible knowledge of the child welfare system that she is helming a team that is doing thoughtful work that will create long-term, systemic change. That has meant recruiting more people to become or to champion CASAs (court appointed special advocates) who advocate for children in the child welfare system. The team is also advocating to remove the requirement of a polygraph for CASAs – something only required in Arizona and that we view as a deterrent to volunteering.

Koran Hardimon (Institute Class 37) has shaped diversity, equity and inclusion at some of Arizona’s largest companies, including Intel and Republic Services – where he has created that role and is further embedding that practice into their company culture. As if that wasn’t enough to keep him busy, in addition to his service on the VL board, he has been working diligently with stakeholders to build and launch our Impact Maker Racial Justice Team, which he will chair.

Sherry McFadden also serves on the VL board and its executive committee, and in her day job leads Customer Care Center team at State Farm at their main campus in Tempe. A stalwart proponent of the community, she also serves as vice chair for the Greater Phoenix Urban League and sits on the Children’s Action Alliance board of directors. Her experience in tackling community-based issues has been invaluable to VL’s “pivot to impact,” which continues to evolve and grow.

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams (Institute Class 24) oversees the largest police department in the state. In this challenging year, the department’s crime lab has stepped up to support Covid-19 test samples – the only crime lab to do so in the nation – and just last week, she was named to the Peace Officer Standards and Training Board, a regulatory panel that hears police misconduct cases and decides who can serve as officers in the state. Chief Williams also leads on our Impact Council, which provides strategic advice and direction to our Impact Maker and its teams.

These are just a few of our alumni who are out every day doing good in the community. Join me in thanking them for their work now and going forward to strengthen Arizona.