Member Login

  • Home
  • Emerging Sustainability Leaders Program

2020-2021 Emerging Sustainability Leaders Program

Presenting Sponsor

As the case for sustainability grows larger and more urgent, this and the next generation are tasked with leading transformative change in the way Arizona conducts business, develops policy, manages natural resources, grows cities and supports communities. Across all sectors, leaders of today and tomorrow need new and diverse tools to usher in a more sustainable, resilient future. Our experience and reputation as a trusted convener of some of the state’s most crucial conversations and support of many major initiatives, gives us the ability to equip upcoming leaders with the tools necessary to drive sustainability into the core of their work.

2020/2021 Nominations

For your nomination, please complete the online nomination form with the candidate’s name, title, and a short summary of their suitability for the program, along with their resume, by September 9thApplicants will then be required to complete an application and a Zoom interview with us. We will announce the selections for 2020-21 class by September 21st.


The Arizona Forward Emerging Sustainability Leaders Program introduces participants to concepts of sustainability and demonstrates sustainability in real-world practice. The program takes place from October through May annually, and meets once per month. All candidates must be nominated by established leaders in Arizona. The application process begins in August and selected candidates are announced in September. 

The program is geared toward early to mid-career professionals who are identified for their leadership potential. Participants are chosen for their: commitment to sustainability; capacity to integrate sustainability into their organization; interest in being a long-term influencer in Arizona’s sustainability initiatives; and the capacity to take on a new challenge. The selection process factors in a balance of government, nonprofit and business organizations.

Participants will develop:

    • a broad awareness and understanding of the social, environmental, ethical and economic challenges of sustainability as well as opportunities facing Arizona
    • the ability to drive business leadership to achieve real systems change
    • the knowledge, experience and skill to critically evaluate a range of strategic levers for change

Desired Outcome

Participants will have a broad understanding of the pillars of sustainability as well as practical application of sustainability initiatives.


Each class features content, presentations and discussion with experts at the top of their respective fields. Given the complex nature of sustainability challenges and solutions, the program aims to explore diverse pathways and perspectives in achieving sustainability. Practical application of sustainability concepts is a primary focus.

The program takes place on Fridays from October through May and will begin in an online format and transition to a hybrid (in-person and online) program in early 2021.

Meet Our 2019-2020 Emerging Leaders Class


Adam is a sustainability advocate working as a Planning and Zoning Analyst at the City of Maricopa. While pursuing a Bachelor of Science from ASU, Adam interned with City of Phoenix Water Services Department. He analyzed water usage to identify trends and target areas prime for conservation to ensure future residents have an adequate water supply. Using his Urban Planning degree, Adam hopes to plan sustainable communities that are socially, economically, and intellectually rich. He is currently working on a Sustainable Development Incentive that will encourage new development in Maricopa to be environmentally-friendly. In his spare time, Adam enjoys traveling, art, cooking, and spoiling his Chiweenie. He is honored to be a part of Arizona Forward’s Emerging Sustainability Leaders, and looks forward to working hard with like-minded individuals.


As a Sustainability Program Manager with Arizona State University, Amy connects corporate and nonprofit leaders to environmental expertise within the university. She is passionate about the power of partnership in developing solutions to meet both ecological and social needs. Amy has managed humanitarian and sustainability projects locally and globally, and holds a Masters in Environment and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science. A fourth-generation Arizonian whose family works in mining and logging, Amy loves the Southwest and is happiest when exploring its natural wonders. She is thrilled to be a part of the Emerging Sustainability Leaders program and looks forward to learning from others how to make Arizona more sustainable and resilient.


Becky is a graduate of the Master of Urban and Environmental Planning and Master of Sustainability Solutions programs at ASU. She is a professional transportation planner working on transit projects both locally and nationally. She is passionate about mass transit and active transportation infrastructure because of the powerful role they can play in reducing GHG emissions, as well as connecting communities. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her dog, swimming, hiking, or really anything outdoors. As part of the program, Becky hopes to advance her skills and knowledge of the tools and strategies to implement sustainable programs and initiatives within governments, companies, and other entities, and to develop a meaningful connection with other young sustainability professionals to foster future partnerships and knowledge share opportunities


As the Air Quality Manager for Freeport-McMoRan, Brian works to produce the responsibly sourced copper needed to electrify the global transportation sector. He holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Arizona State University and is a registered Professional Engineer. Brian spent 10 years in various roles at the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality including serving as the Air Permit Manager and Air Quality Planning Manager, and is a proud veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Brian enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife Gina and their four children. Through the Emerging Sustainability Leaders program, Brian hopes to learn and share strategies for developing a sustainable Arizona.


Dayna is a Transportation Planner at AECOM in Phoenix. She attended NAU where she earned her Bachelor’s of Geographic Science and Community Planning with an emphasis in Community Planning and Development. Dayna began her career in Flagstaff when she was awarded the Montoya Fellowship which allowed her to work with the Flagstaff Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority. Through that experience, Dayna gained a holistic view of how transportation shapes communities. Upon graduation, Dayna accepted a job with AECOM where she has led efforts to implement sustainable transportation systems across the country and explore how emerging transportation technologies will impact the way we design our cities. Outside of work, Dayna enjoys travelling and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Professional Writing.


Elizabeth works in roadway design at Psomas as a licensed Professional Civil Engineer and an Envision Sustainability Professional. Born and raised in Mesa, she now lives in Tucson with her engineer husband and many houseplants. Elizabeth graduated from Arizona State University in just 4.5 years with both a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and a Master’s degree in Civil (Sustainability) Engineering. Her passion for sustainability shows in all aspects of her life, from her role as a sustainability committee member for Psomas, to volunteering in her personal life, and her commitment to only purchase ethical or sustainable goods. In her free time, she enjoys exercising, reading, and skiing.


Eric is a designer at Architekton – a Tempe-based architecture firm. As an alumnus of the University of Arizona College of Architecture, Eric practices under the taught pillars of arid-regionalism culminating in designed responses balancing both the history and future of materials and technology. Influenced and driven by the necessity for sustainable construction and subsequent design practice, Eric is currently involved in several projects which will serve as case studies for desert vernacular architecture studying the use of emerging technologies and passive design. Along with active involvement in the architecture community, Eric enjoys traveling to other arid regions in the world where he studies assumed cultural constructions and social assimilation.


Gina is passionate about sustainability and education. She is currently a Senior Customer Service Analyst for Salt River Project and manages the SRP School of Energy program - an interactive partnership between SRP and elementary schools that engages students, educators and communities in energy education and conservation through hands on learning. Gina graduated from ASU with a degree in Business Communication and worked at the Global Institute of Sustainability, which inspired her to continue in the sustainability field. With nearly ten years in the sustainability sector, Gina hopes to develop relationships with other like-minded individuals and inspire others. Gina is a Tempe Leadership alumni and an active planning committee member of Tempe Cares. In her spare time, Gina enjoys being creative (painting, building, anything crafty), as well as hiking, traveling and spending time with her husband (Julius) and puppy (Manu).


Elizabeth (Izzy) is a State Regulatory Analyst for Arizona Public Service. In this role, she works on several sustainability related topics including transportation electrification, renewable energy standards, and demand side management. Before moving to State Regulation, she spent five years in operations at one of APS’s natural gas power plants. Izzy is looking forward to the Emerging Sustainability Leaders Program and is excited to develop a broader understanding of how sustainability issues impact other industries in Arizona and to meet people with a similar passion for sustainability. In her free time, Izzy and her husband, Nathan, enjoy traveling and visiting national parks and monuments.


Joseph is a Program Manager at the City of Phoenix where he focuses on growing the innovation district in downtown Phoenix, building resilience among south Phoenix farmers and helping the City transition toward a more sustainable, circular economy. Previously, Joseph was a Project Manager for the Reimagine Phoenix Initiative, which is a citywide sustainability initiative to increase the City’s waste diversion rate to 40 percent by 2020. Joseph is also passionate about mitigating food waste and was recently selected by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to travel to Milan, Italy for the Food Matters Milan Study Tour to examine food waste reduction policies in action. Through the Emerging Sustainability Leaders Program, he hopes to find opportunities to collaborate with others in the 2019-20 cohort to build a more sustainable Arizona.


Matt Lovelady is an accomplished leader in utility and industrial environments with an extensive background in work management and business development. Since 2007 he has been working for Salt River Project (SRP). During his tenure at SRP, he has held various positions throughout the Facilities Services, Mechanical Construction & Maintenance and Investment Recovery departments. Matt is the Manager of the Supply Chain Sustainable Solutions within the Corporate Services organization. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, obtaining a Bachelor’s of Applied Science in Manufacturing Engineering and a Master’s of Science in Management of Technology.


Oliver is the Director of People and Culture for Mother Road Brewing Co. Over the last three years, he’s helped codify Mother Road’s people processes and organizational culture to manage growth. Throughout this past year, Oliver also project managed the public-private partnership between Mother Road Brewing Co. and AZ Dept. of Game Conserve and Protect K├Âlsch. Originally from Los Angeles, Oliver moved to Flagstaff to attend NAU, and earn a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. In his free time, Oliver enjoys running, traveling, camping, nerding out about organizational culture, and spending time with the people who mean the most to him. Sustainability has been a long term interest of his, and he looks forward to working with a diverse cohort to better understand and solve Arizona’s sustainability challenges.


Stella Carr is a Marvin Andrews Fellow at Arizona State University pursuing her Masters in Public Administration and is currently a Management Intern for the City of Chandler. She is interested in how cities can leverage their position to create meaningful improvements to sustainability in their communities and at large. She also holds a Bachelor's degree from Northern Arizona University in Environmental Studies and Global Sustainability. Stella is passionate about sustainability in Arizona and is looking forward to learning more. In her free time, she performs with a local Improv team, hosts a podcast, enjoys hiking and travels.


Tatiana is a Contracts Administrator for Freeport-McMoran, in Morenci AZ. She has worked for Freeport-McMoRan since 2008 and with their supply chain since 2015. As part of the supply chain team, she works to incorporate local suppliers, and suppliers with sustainable business practices whenever possible. She has a strong passion for sustainability and the importance of incorporating best practices into all sections of business. In her free time, she enjoys reading, camping, and hiking with her husband and (3) rescue dogs. Through the Emerging Sustainability Leaders program, she hopes to expand knowledge on how to incorporate sustainable business practices, especially within supply chain, and network to build relationships with peers who share a similar vision.


Willa Kaough is a Policy Advisor for Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego focusing on sustainability, youth and education, arts and culture, and the 2020 Census. With an academic background in International Relations and her current lens of municipal governance, Willa is passionate about developing creative local solutions to global challenges. She is proud to be an AmeriCorps VISTA alum and attributes much of her knowledge, as well as her Arizona residency, to the Resilience AmeriCorps role that brought her to Phoenix. In this role she worked closely with residents to enhance their communities' sustainability and preparedness to extreme weather events. Originally from Austin, TX, Willa's love of the Sonoran Desert is rivaled only by her love of the Texas Hill Country.

Arizona Forward

3800 North Central Avenue

Suite 1030

Phoenix, AZ  85012


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software