Imagining Arizona in 2020 and Beyond
The Monzón Fellowship is a statewide fellowship designed to: 1) help build relationships among progressive leaders, 2) identify and support leaders who will be running statewide campaigns in the future, and 3) invest in new ideas to fill gaps in our political infrastructure.
We had more than 60 nominations for this first cohort and selecting 17 was a tremendous challenge. Arizona is fortunate to have so many leaders working for progressive values, and we chose fellows from around the state. Two of these powerful individuals are Adriana Garcia Maximiliano and Randy Perez.
We asked them to spend some time together reflecting on what they want to get out of this fellowship and what they are excited about. Get to know more about how these two 2019 Monzón Fellows see themselves and envision Arizona as they prepare for 2020 and beyond.
Adriana Garcia Maximiliano
1- Why are you excited about the fellowship?
Adriana: I’m excited about the Fellowship because I am excited to make new connections with people whom I have not interacted with before. I am also excited to learn not just from my peers but from the trainers that Instituto have put together. Getting to share what other people’s visions for Arizona are will be positive because I’m in a lot of spaces where we are talking about problems and short-term solutions, not long term sustainable solutions and the kind of world we want to create.
Randy: I’ve been excited about the possibilities of the fellowship. When we are all in a room together we organically grow and I’m excited to see what new programs and teams will come out of this. We have an obligation to take what we learn to others, including those we work with and mentor, so I’m excited about that.
2- How do you think this will help you continue to grow as a professional?
Adriana: As a professional I hope that besides the connections, I am able to learn how to do to long term vision making and goal setting. This will challenge me to think about problem solving in different ways. I also hope to learn more about coalition building which is accountable and that is loosely based on a shared vision, but is still accountable to that vision because I have found that is one of the hardest things to do.
Randy: I’m at a point in my career where I’m looking for new challenges. I want to change the dichotomy of what I’ve been doing. I’m excited to learn from others who have worked in campaigns in the past and how they do things differently than what I’ve done. This is an opportunity to grow into something rather than be thrown into something which has often happened to me, and I’m excited for the challenge.
3- Thinking about 2020 and beyond, what do you imagine of Arizona’s future?
Adriana: I imagine a really bright future for Arizona, thinking about not just elections but the investment coming in for young talent to be cultivated here. I think there is a lot of focus across Arizona about recruiting and retaining young talent. And with this focus and with boomers starting to retire I am excited to see a shift in leadership and thinking for the future.
Randy: 2020 is the test of everything we’ve built; whether it’s sustainable or we have to patch things up. There’ll be new people coming in as we saw in 2018 and we have to create a learning space for them. After that we will have an opportunity to survey what we’ve accomplished and whether it’s worked or not. After that, I hope we have the energy to continue to fight because these fights keep coming.
4 - What do you currently do?
Adriana: My favorite pastime is making fun of Randy for waking up late for this interview!! Currently, I am the Manager of Alumni Programs for NAL I recruit first and second generation Americans to run for office and run campaigns. I am the Vice chair of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, and I serve in other capacities at other organizations, but my main answer is that I am cultivating an ecosystem where people of color can thrive in Arizona.
Randy: Currently looking for new opportunities after taking some much need time off to reset. I had been working nonstop from one campaign to another and I had to take time to really regroup. Now I’m looking for my next challenge and Instituto is a part of that. I also currently mentor other young people to make sure they’re successful and I enjoy that.
5- What is your favorite song? Movie? Book?
Song-This is the hardest question! My favorite currently is UltraLight beam by Kanye West.
Book-Favorite book of all time is The Little Prince. That book has every life lesson and moral in life all in a children’s book.
Song- This is a really hard question, but I would have to say “Where were you when the sky opened up” by The Dangerous Summer. I’ve seen that band a couple of times and I love them.
Movie- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy because I love fantasy !
Book- Again, I have to say “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy because they had so much influence on me
6- What would say is the most fun thing to do in Arizona that people outside don’t know about?
Randy: Go to mill in Tempe ! [laughs] But really I have to defend Tempe’s honor every chance I get. On a serious note, it’s the people here that makes Arizona the most fun.
Adriana: Obviously meeting us is at the top of the list. What I find fun to do is go hiking, Arizona has tons of different places to hike, but I would encourage folks to get out of Phoenix and go hike in Sedona. There is a trial called West Fork that is beautiful any time of the year, the Chiricahuas which are in South Eastern Arizona.