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Candidate Training & Leaders Fellowship

“LFC Trainings prepared me to run a winning campaign - and then to lead with my core values.” 

Representative Randall Friese, Legislative District 9


It's Not What We Say ... 

It's What Our Alumni Say About Us and the Work They're Doing Today

Building a stronger and more representative democracy by providing a diverse community of individuals the training, coaching, resources, and networks needed to become more effective social justice change agents and leaders is the essence of Leading For Change.  We hold ourselves to high standards that can only be measured by what our alumni are saying about their LFC experience and how it has shaped them in moving forward to achieve their vision of change.

I met amazing leaders from across Arizona and identified amazing opportunities for cross-sector working. I feel more confident broaching opposition and having difficult conversation. Mostly I am encouraged to continue this hard work, accept the challenges and the rough times and continue to learn, grow and stay committed to my causes.

- Joanna Carr


LFC really centered the importance of identifying and leading from my values and really taught the power of storytelling and inclusive language in pushing forward a vision for change.

-Rekha Nair


I think the most significant impacts of the LFC Fellowship are the increased focus I now have, along with the connections made, and the confidence I have gained. Thank you, Thank you!

-Tami Staas


I am taking the knowledge I have gained in this course through my Personal Political Leadership Plan (PPLP) to help develop our organization’s strategic 4-year plan, using knowledge from the resources and tools given during my time in LFC, to help me break down the components and the steps into workable parts. I am also using the skills and the candidate plan from my candidacy course to prepare for a campaign and hopeful election to the Tempe Union school board.

-Amanda Steele


I used my Personal Political Leadership Plan (PPLP) to get my next job! I spoke about my mission and shared my root cause, and not only did they offer me a job- but they also offered a higher position based on what I shared. I will be getting paid to implement my PPLP!  RELATIONSHIPS! I have made connections that will last a lifetime. I have often felt isolated living where I live in AZ and to have made such incredible relationships across the state have changed not only who I am but what I am becoming.  

-Michelle Capriotti

I was able to use the idea of power mapping at work to assess current and future partnerships with external partner organizations who could provide an updated layer of relevancy to our services.  

-Ariel Baber


I just wanted to drop you a quick note thanking you for this excellent program.  I have had such an incredible experience as a fellow in LFC.  It has pushed me, it has frustrated me, but importantly, it has helped me achieve a greater sense of clarity and provided a framework that I may employ to help address my chosen topic area.  Just loved it.  Thanks for this phenomenal opportunity.

-Blake Lindgren


The Fellowship sharpened my interview skills, helped me do better in envisioning the broad picture.  I was able to gain a deeper understanding on how to navigate Arizona's non-profit and government agencies.

-Rukiya Anthony


I have been able to use the teachings on Values and Messaging in my current position.  Identifying my personal core values, where they originate from and how to lead from those core values has been a tremendous benefit in my current role. The lessons on creating a message, and communicating it accurately and passionately, has also been a huge help in the time of virtual meetings and electronic communications- simplifying and emphasizing my goals, reasoning and calls to action have been much better since being trained on this in the LFC fellowship.  A group of likeminded individuals: the ability to meet with and make connections with other individuals who have similar world views, passions, goals and desires has been liberating and such a boost during a time when the world was seemingly falling apart. Knowing how to act on my passions and goals: I've often felt like I have a million different ideas and things I want to change, but was never quite sure how to go about enacting that change or mapping out a way to achieve progress. The PPLP, faculty and peer coaching was extremely helpful in helping me better understand how to organize myself, strategically approach goals, and identify resources to help create support and achieve progress..

-Hannah Christensen


I have used my fundraising skills that I have learned for a new campaign that I have just started on and will continue to use them and other skills that I have learned.

LFC helped me become overall more confident in my leadership skills. The 360 degree leadership assessment especially helped me to know what I was doing right and wrong in my leadership and to make moves to change what wasn't working for me.

-Cameron Adams


I really enjoyed LFC. I feel like I learned a lot about political work, advocacy, and leadership. I find the power mapping, networking, and strategic partnerships, and coalition building aspects were really useful. I also enjoyed the 360 assessment and learning what areas of leadership I am good at and what I can work on. The PPLP was so instrumental in giving me direction as I move forward in law school. I feel well equipped and excited about my future. All of LFC was useful, and know once I graduate law school, I'll be looking back and referencing all the materials one it comes time to implement my PPLP. I'm so grateful for this opportunity.

-Jasmine Robinson

My faculty coach was incredible in helping me clarify specific steps to work toward my vision. Her encouragement was a huge confidence boost and helped me envision the significant impact I can have.

-Emmie Cardella


In addition to leading by my values, my PPLP has outlined my strategic plan for the organization that I am currently leading. Additionally, the feedback from the 360 degree leadership assessment reviews has truly given me insight and ways that I can improve as a leader.

-Katie Ares


I feel more skilled and prepared to serve the community by focusing on our shared values and approaching community issues from a collaboration point of view. I have also appreciated what I learned about public policy design and budget. I feel that any leader wanting to move into a space of impact needs to learn that activism is a solid first step, but advocacy, electoral work, and policy require additional skills and experiences.

I enjoyed being part of a group where we could all have different approaches to issues and discuss these differences and learn from them. I believe my understanding of how legislation works increased significantly. I always felt supported, seen, and heard, and in a position where I could also witness and support the life experiences of my peers.

-Tania Gerard

I've used all of it in my Tutskwat Oqawtoynani planning.  It reminded me that there are plenty of tools out there that can help you to navigate community organizing. LFC also helped to push me out of my comfort zone in understanding politics, I've always despised politics. I learned that the political system can work for my people.

-Marissa Nuvayestewa


Recognizing my own strengths has been the biggest thing for me, interacting with this learning, and then actually using it has been amazing.

-Christina Bustos


I learned that  people who aren't necessarily in  positions of power can change the world.

-Christie Kendzior


Networking/making connections, support from fellows/coaches, feeling accomplished when we graduated, building skills I will use in my work has been so key.

-Amy D’Arpino


The 360 leadership assessment review was really helpful and informed my communication plan. The PPLP helped me nail down what my strategy should be to implement real change.

-Tamara Wright


I have used telling our story on multiple calls and have been able to garner the necessary support needed to further our cause in creating safe and supportive learning environments for our Black Children.  I met some amazing fellows and I am currently working with some of them to further our work. We all realized our focuses intersect in various ways and we can collaborate on future projects.

-Janelle Wood


For me it has been the building of a lifelong network of peers, support, connections, co-workers and mentors. While I was in civic duty, I was not terribly engaged in the political process. I have learned a great deal about policy change and the steps to make that happen.

-Francine Sumner


I am trying to help my fellow teachers right now with their white fragility. I would have avoided this altogether a year ago. There is conflict, but I can’t shy away. It was a great experience.

-Noelle Smetana


The single greatest benefit of LFC is the networking and the cohort. I was able to learn alongside and learn from some incredible people, and I am grateful for that opportunity. I was forced to confront harsh realities (we can't focus on every issue, it's not possible to achieve our greatest visions without strategic thought, we all have leadership weaknesses). Confronting those realities was painful, but growth is often painful at first. I'm glad to have had the opportunity to struggle against those realities and to be on the other side now, able to plainly articulate my vision, values, and key issues.

 - Abby Henderson


I also think the overall fellowship made an impact on me in that it slowly but consistently built up my understanding of just how much work is involved in creating sustaining change. The workshops being spread out every two months allowed me to have the time to take a deeper dive into the issues using what I learned in the previous workshop.

-Danelle King


Like so many other fellows, there are several substantive impacts for me. There are three which immediately come to mind when asked this question: coalition building, values clarification and power analysis. Before LFC, I saw coalition building CB as a way to gather like-minded people together to accomplish something. While that definition is still somewhat applicable, my understanding of coalition and coalition building has expanded exponentially. Some examples of this expansion are, CB is relationship crafting and maintenance of transformational change. CB does not need to always be with people who are of like minds, but rather value driven and clear on purpose. Having a more through understanding of the benefits and pitfalls of CB is beneficial moving forward. Value clarification--why do you believe what you believe? What is the difference between personal values and public values? How does one translate into the other. Values clarity also assisted me in understanding why I continue to be civically engaged and why I encourage others to be as well. Values clarification continues to ground me, my decision making process and the realities faced with issues at hand. Finally, power analysis uncovered that I have no clue who my opponents are and how to actual target them. Additionally, understanding who actually has the power and influence to implement the change I would like to see was lost on me until LFC.

-Jamal Brooks-Hawkins


I was able to work on my ability to set-up long term plans and work with my coach to allow me to incrementally achieve smaller (short-term) goals while setting myself up to achieve the long-term goal.

-Nathan Bacal

I learned the important of using values-based messaging to communicate, in a simplified manner, the complex issues around energy policy in the Southwest. I also learned how to better strategize political pathways in regulatory policy.

-Dylan Hendel


The LFC Fellowship had an immense impact on me. LFC helped me recognize myself as a leader. It helped me regain confidence in myself, my voice and my power. This experience gave me access to a plethora of knowledge and people that I would have otherwise not have had access to. I learned new strategies to implement my vision of change and learned new skills, such as fundraising and speaking from my values. Throughout the 8-month process, I was challenged mentally, emotionally, and politically. I was pushed to answer hard questions, and to think critically about how I was going to effectively implement my vision of sustainable change. And most of all, by the end of the 8-month process, I felt like I had gained a part of me that I thought I lost. I felt like I finally had the confidence to say “Yes, I can do it, and I will.”

-Feliz Baca

I wanted to tell you that today I'm putting a part of my PPLP into action! I wanted to work on improving services for domestic violence victims, and this afternoon I'm meeting with Chairman Farnsworth to ask him to sponsor a bill that improves the order of protection process for victims of domestic violence. It's amazing to me that in 2014 I started the fellowship as an advocate at a DV Shelter and that today I get to work on fixing the problems I saw every day. I can't thank you enough for giving me the tools to do this.
- Jaime Watson 

It strengthened my commitment to stay politically active and it helped implant a mindframe ready to handle the political defeats that will be part of changing this state's politics.
-Derick Goodrich

The leadership program gave me confidence in believing that I can make a positive impact in the community. It has provided me with tools on how to achieve long term goals effectively and not get overwhelmed or lost in the process. I have also gained a good network of peers that I feel comfortable with and know I can call on for constructive feedback or just to bounce ideas. I gained valuable information that helped to improve my leadership skills. I have incorporated things learned in class into both my personal and professional life. LFC was a great way for me to learn about Arizona. I feel that I have a better grasp on how the state functions politically.  
-Chiquita Serpas

The LFC Fellowship had a significant impact and increased my ability to advance progressive political and/or policy change. It also had a huge impact on my political and leadership skills and my confidence in fulfilling my vision ...
-Krysta Laurano 

I learned the importance of effective 'story telling' & messaging, values-based leadership development and Fundraising. The faculty coach provided me with constructive leadership feedback on my leadership. I built so many new skills and approaches for my political and civic leadership.

-Robert Davis

The LFC Fellowship expanded my knowledge of the significance of developing strategy associated with dreams and vision and most importantly going from there to taking action to start moving the needle.
-Sherri Jones


Thanks to the Fellowship I have new strong relationships with other progressive leaders - I have enlarged my network, increased my confidence and I trust that I can accomplish the political change I am after.
-Jaclyn Boyes

When I started the LFC Leaders Fellowship I knew my political goals, but I did not know how to accomplish them. I didn't have clear cut steps to get there. LFC helped me map out a clear path forward and I am so excited.
-Naketa Ross

The Fellowship has given me so much advantage and increased my self-confidence with my political activities and so many other skills. I really appreciated the depth of the program, the presenters and the hands-on experiences each time we met.
-Melissa Davis

I learned how to have difficult conversations - that we all experience at work, in collaborative situations and personally. I have now built collaborations that are stronger. The Fellowship connected me to a network of positive political leaders who have knowledge and skills that can aid me in my leadership development.  
-Murphy Bannerman

LFC guided me in where and how to start to create the change I want. It gave me direction and helped me become more self-aware of my strengths as a progressive leader. The 360 leadership analysis was incredibly transformative.
-Azza Abuseif

The LFC Fellowship increased my confidence and knowledge in the political process. It helped me to move from direct impact work and into a much bigger and more impactful place with my political plan.  
-Ashley Marengo

My favorite skill that I learned was how to navigate the Arizona legislative session and the added confidence to participate in that process.  
-Travis Harrick

I have a better understanding of myself, my values and what inspires me. LFC gave me direction when I had none and connected me with an amazing network of like-minded individuals and organizations

- Crystal Allen 

I learned and practiced how to pivot back to my message and to lead by my values.  Most of all, the people who are a part of the fellowship, alumni and present, are inspiring.  

-Baily Hershberger

It was great to meet a group of leaders and also to be connected to alumni. I think one of the biggest impacts is the network that is built from participation in the fellowship. I also a learned lot more about the political infrastructure that already exists in Phoenix. 

-James Arndt  

The LFC Fellowship was totally transformational.  This experience occurred during a time that I needed the reminder of who I am with supportive guidance to push me to the next chapter in my life.  Thank you!  


Getting over my huge discomfort with fundraising was a great plus.  The networks and relationships I developed were an even bigger advantage to me. 

-Ajlan Kurdoglu

The LFC Fellowship increased my confidence and knowledge in the political process.  It helped me to move from direct impact work and into a much bigger and more impactful place with my political plan.  

-Ashley Marengo

The Fellowship gave me honest feedback and holdingheld me accountable to my plans;It also introduce me meetingtoan incredible network of 12 years of current and past Fellows that I am able to call on for support.  

-Kendall Jones

I learned how to make an effective, achievable plan to address my issue and goal for positive political change in Arizona.  The depth of experiential learning about how to strategically form coalitions to achieve success has been enormously helpful in my political activities.

-Vanessa Gallego

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