Valley Leadership recently welcomed for John Meza, the inspector general for the Arizona Department of Economic Security, to join its Board of Directors. Get to know the former Mesa Police chief and find out who inspires him, what he’s reading and what he’s looking forward to most this year.
VL: How did you first learn about VL, and what are you most looking forward to being part of the board?
John Meza: I first learned about VL through my colleague Nancy Baldwin who is a current board member. I was greatly impressed by the VL’s Principles of Doing and I really look forward to getting involved and bringing my experience in public service to the board.
VL: What’s Principle of Doing has most resonated with you most in the last year?
JM: The principle that resonated with me the most is building trust. We have seen an erosion of trust throughout our communities and society over the past few years. It is paramount that our leaders work on building trust and relationships, and I believe VL core principles support this in the best way.
VL: Who is a leader that inspires you?
JM: I have always admired President Abraham Lincoln throughout my life and especially through my career in public safety. He was a leader who faced extraordinary challenges and adversity but possessed incredible personal traits such as empathy, humility and courage. I have always carried around a small book entitled “Abraham Lincoln: His Essential Wisdom” with me, and it has proved to be wisdom that holds true in the challenges our society faces today.
VL: How long have you called Arizona home?
JM: I am an Arizona native and have lived in our great state all my life. In fact, I am a fifth generation Arizonian!
VL: What’s your favorite thing about the community?
JM: My favorite thing about our community is we have so many individuals who have a commitment to serve others. From our first responders, local and state government employees and all the dedicated nonprofits and volunteers, we really have an incredible community that cares!
VL: What was the last great thing you read?
JM: I am currently reading “The Greatest Generation” by Tom Brokaw. It is an amazing book about the generation who suffered the hardships of the Great Depression and suffered and triumphed during World War II. I admire the courage and sacrifice that this generation endured, and they have so much to teach us all today.
VL: You’re getting introduced on stage – what’s your walk-up song?
JM: “Ridin’ The Storm Out” by REO Speedwagon.
VL: What advice do you have for someone who is looking to get engaged in the community, or deepen that engagement?
JM: My advice is to find your passion and feed your soul. There are so many important causes in our community, and we all have many that inspire us to serve. Find those causes that motivate and energize you and seek out those organizations, giving your time and resources to make a difference.
VL: What’s the first thing you’re looking forward to doing post-pandemic?
JM: My wife and I are big sports fans and really miss the excitement of attending these events. I look forward to attending a D-Backs, Suns and Cardinals game and cheering them to victory!