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Mesa Leadership selects 32 community members for its Class of 2024

Mesa Leadership Class of 2024 (Photos Courtesy of Mesa Leadership/DigitalFreePress)
Mesa leadership journey includes classes, tours and enhancement activities
By Jill Adair | Digital Free Press

The Mesa Leadership Training & Development Program announces its newest leadership class — the Class of 2024.

These 32 new class members represent a cross section of local small and big business, city of Mesa departments, nonprofits and other community organizations. In May 2024, the graduates will become part of nearly 900 Mesa Leadership alumni, many who are serving in public office, on nonprofits boards or city commissions, and/or donating their time and energies in a variety of ways to benefit the city of Mesa and its residents, according to the organization’s leaders.

Mesa Leadership is a nonprofit organization that is supported by the Mesa Chamber of Commerce. It was inaugurated in 1981 with a mission to educate and train potential leaders who are seeking the opportunity to serve in the community and who need exposure to information, organizations and leaders to make that service possible.

Mesa Leadership is pleased to announce the members of the Class of 2024:

  • Lisa Anderson
  • Carrie Aranda
  • Charlie Averkamp
  • Anthony Canez
  • Efren Carmona
  • Michael Castillo
  • Cesar Celis
  • Jenaye Collins
  • Colleen Coons
  • Agustin “Augie” Fernandez
  • Tony Garvey
  • Jalyssa Gasmen
  • Justin Hart
  • Amir Hasan
  • Shon Hata
  • Jessica Jelinek
  • Beth Ann Kaib
  • David Kolozar
  • Susan McCall
  • Adrian Nieto
  • Myra O’Ferrall
  • Tim Proffer
  • Jacob Ricker
  • Kim Van Riper
  • Christen Rope
  • Mary Lou Ruiz-Gray
  • Paula Selby
  • Jenny Terry
  • M. Shane White
  • Derek Williams
  • Clifton Woods
  • Joseph Zuchowski

Class officers were elected last month and are:

Class Representative: Kim Van Riper

Assistant Class Representative: Susan McCall

Project Lead: Jacob Ricker

Historian: Jenaye Collins

Treasurer: Lisa Anderson

Tour Coordinator: Anthony Canez

Mesa Leadership selects 32 community members for its Class of 2024

“What I anticipate for myself and our class throughout the Mesa Leadership class is growth, knowledge and skills in leadership settings, especially community-oriented participation, as well as gaining a comprehensive understanding of the city of Mesa,” said Ms. Van Riper, elected class representative. “So far it has been a grand adventure in meeting wonderful people and learning about all of the diverse layers that make the city of Mesa the best city in the Valley!”

She added, “This program immerses us in so many aspects of Mesa, exposing us to the many community-oriented programs that Mesa offers.”

The nine-month Mesa Leadership Training and Development Program began its first class in August and includes an all-day class once a month, focusing on a different leadership topic and specific topic(s) related to the city of Mesa: city history, city government and administration, sustainability, municipal services, arts, education and more. Classes are led by leaders from the community, business and nonprofit organizations.

The class curriculum is augmented by a series of educational tours and activities to give participants access to Mesa’s inner workings. Tours are chosen based on the topics covered in monthly classes and have already included trips to the Salvation Army, Mesa Multi-Generational Center, IDEA Museum, Helen’s Hope Chest, Phoenix- Gateway Airport and other organizations and nonprofit groups.

During the year, each class member must shadow a local leader and provide a report in order to earn the associated points.

Other activities include ride-a-longs with police, fire, code enforcement and park rangers. Attending a board meeting for a nonprofit organization is also a part of class participation.

In addition, there will be a class project, which will be chosen by class members this month. This project will benefit a local nonprofit organization.

The class ends in May 2024 with a graduation celebration.

Mesa Leadership Training & Development Program is a 501(c)3 sponsored by the Mesa Chamber of Commerce and is part of the Mesa Chamber Business in Education Foundation. The program is administered by volunteers who serve as board members.

For more information, visit

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