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Scottsdale Leadership: 2022 Spirit of Community Leadership Award recipients announced

Scottsdale Leadership bestows Hodges, Drinkwater & Jenkins Awards

By Dana Close | Special to the Digital Free Press

Scottsdale Leadership is recognizing Jack Miller, general manager & regional vice president of Fairmont Hotels and Resorts; and Christine Kovach, vice chair at the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center for their commitment to the Scottsdale community through two annual awards – The Drinkwater Community Leadership Award and the Hodges Alumni Achievement Award.

The Spirit of Community award also recognizes outstanding student, Giselle Rojas Guzman of Coronado High School who is the recipient of the Bill Jenkins Youth Leadership Award.

The Scottsdale Leadership Drinkwater Leadership Award

The 2022 Drinkwater Leadership Award winner is Jack Miller.

Hospitality is an important component of Scottsdale’s economy and identity. When Jack Miller arrived at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in July 2009 he quickly realized the temperature was not the only hot thing happening. He has created the July Freedom Fest celebrating 4th of July and honoring veterans. That was followed by Christmas at the Princess and now Spirit Halloween.

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is also the signature hotel for Waste Mangement Phoenix Open.

When the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, the hospitality industry saw 90% of its hotels close. The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess didn’t close, but employment was curbed. However, Mr. Miller made sure his former employees had food by serving 35,000 meals in 90 days. In addition, Mr. Miller has served with multiple valley hospitality, convention, and resort commissions. He is a former chair of Experience Scottsdale.

Scottsdale Leadership Hodges Alumni Achievement Award

This year’s Hodges Alumni Achievement Award recipient is Christine Kovach.

While Ms. Kovach is serving as vice chair of the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, helping them to relocate, expand and enhance the center for rehabilitation of wild animals, she has reshaped multiple aspects of the community over a 30-year span. Most notably she was a critical force in bringing to fruition the McDowell Sonoran Preserve where she served as the chair multiple times and is the doner of two interpretive trails – Bajada and Kovach Family Nature Trail.

Ms. Kovach is a vocal and enthusiastic member of the Scottsdale Public Art Advisory Board and a key member of the Public Art Ad Hoc committee that advocates for changes to Scottsdale’s public art program. For her community engagement and leadership, she was inducted into the Scottsdale History Hall of Fame in 2017.

Scottsdale Leadership Bill Jenkins Youth Leadership Award

Giselle Rojas Guzman is the 2022 Bill Jenkins Youth Leadership Award winner.

Giselle is a senior at Coronado High School and will be the first in her family to pursue a college degree. She is expecting to major in psychology and minor in early childhood education so she can become an educator. She is a member of National Honor Society (GPA 3.9), Interact Club, and Link Crew. She is also a club officer in Coronado’s Jobs for Arizona Graduates program.

Along with on-campus work, like welcoming the new class of 2026 Dons, she has worked as a childcare volunteer with the Dream Academy Program at Tonalea K-8 school. She hopes her positive attitude and unwavering determination will be an inspiration to her younger brother to continue his education.

“Herb Drinkwater, Frank Hodges, and Bill Jenkins would be so proud to see their legacy continued by awarding these community members for the passion, commitment, and leadership they have exhibited through the years and will continue to exhibit in the future,” said Lee Ann Witt, Scottsdale Leadership executive director. “It is our privilege to honor these elite leaders, both past and present.”

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