Valley Leadership Selects 13 Arizonans For Explore Class 3

January 30, 2024
Alumni Stories and UpdatesNews and Announcements

Explore participants will travel over 1,700 miles together to visit and learn about six cities across Arizona.

Valley Leadership has selected 13 Arizonans to be part of the third class of its Explore program. The program takes participants out of their home communities to get to know the great diversity of Arizona and how our most pressing issues show up in rural, urban, suburban, border and Native communities. The cohort, made up of Valley Leadership alumni, represents a diverse cross-section of industries, generations and experiences.

“Being physically present in these places, hearing from the locals, and seeing these cities while learning about them with my own eyes made such an impact that I wish every person in the state could have a similar opportunity” – Explore Class 2 Alumni

Participants will visit six different communities in Arizona and hear from over 90  partners that represent the broad diversity of our state. The destinations will include Navajo Nation, Nogales, Yuma, Mesa, South Phoenix, and Buckeye. 

“We are excited for the third Explore program to launch this March. We know from the first two classes that the participants will not only deepen their understanding of the diversity of experiences throughout Arizona, but will also forge lifelong connections with one another, forever impacting how they show up as leaders in our state.” – Jen Gastelum, Explore Program Manager

The Explore program runs from March to June and travel ranges from single to multi-day trips. Each visit will focus on learning about each community’s various assets, opportunities and challenges. Participants will gain a better understanding and perspective of how lived-experiences in our state vary based on different communities. To learn more about the Explore program, visit 

Meet the Class:

Amber  Cordoba VP of External AffairsPrestamos CDFI, Chicanos Por La Causa
RussDickeyLegal CounselVMI Holdings, Inc.
Lauren Witte GirardOwner & Lead Content StrategistConan and Co Content Marketing
MelissaGuardaroAssistant Research ProfessorArizona State University
Steven Harper Senior Director of Partner SuccessASU Enterprise Partners Outreach Hub
GenevieveLeachDigital Content SpecialistASU Enterprise Partners
Adolfo  Maldonado EngineerAPS
ChrisMendoza DevSecOps Product EngineerIntel Corporation
Julia C. PatrickCEO / FounderAmerican Nonprofit Academy
MichaelSlugocki AttorneySlugocki Law PLC
Kavitha Thomas Senior Strategic Market Intelligence AnalystSRP
GloriaVasquez Chief Programs OfficerMesa United Way
Hayley  Winterberg Executive DirectorPeer and Family Career Academy

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