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Scottsdale Leadership: 2023 Spirit of Community Leadership Award recipients

photo of Scottsdale Leadership award winners
From left are 2023 Scottsdale Leadership award winners: Chrstine Irish, Kevin Maxwell and Alex Stephenson. (File Photos/DigitalFreePress)
Scottsdale Leadership honors community leaders with 2023 awards
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

Scottsdale Leadership is naming the 2023 Spirit of Community Leadership award recipients.

Scottsdale Leadership is recognizing:

Christine Irish, director of public affairs at the DC Ranch Community Council, with the Drinkwater Community Leadership Award; Kevin Maxwell, technical analyst at State Farm Insurance, with the Hodges Alumni Achievement Award; and Alex Stephenson, of Saguaro High School, as the recipient of the Bill Jenkins Youth Leadership Award.

The 2023 Drinkwater Leadership Award winner is Christine Irish.

Ms. Irish epitomizes many of beloved Mayor Herb Drinkwater’s values through her community advocacy and the positive impact she has had on Scottsdale. She has served on the Scottsdale Public Arts Board from 2007 to 2023 and was a tireless advocate for the One-Eyed Jack sculpture, 101 Freeway art and Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd project. She is currently working on the Art in Private Development ordinance which would bring Public Art to ALL of Scottsdale. Ms. Irish was asked to help form Keep Scottsdale Beautiful in 2011, a nonprofit dedicated to engaging individuals to take greater responsibility for preserving and enhancing the community environment. She led those efforts for 11 years. As executive director for Scottsdale Leadership, Ms. Irish spearheaded the vision, support, and passing of the city’s Principles for Civil Dialogue. She now serves on The Women’s Collective which supports and inspires women to reach higher in their leadership rolls.

This year’s Hodges Alumni Achievement Award recipient is Kevin Maxwell.

Mr. Maxwell is a technology analyst for State Farm Insurance and a tireless leader in the Scottsdale community. He founded FUEL Scottsdale, which stands for Focus, Unify, Engage and Lead. He chaired the Airport Advisory Commission and serves on the board of Family Promise. Mr. Maxwell is a champion for technology and inclusion by helping fund programs such as Saguaro High School’s Sisters in STEM program and robotics team. Mr. Maxwell is a podcaster for The Scottsdale Coalition of Today and Tomorrow, which just reached their 100th podcast. An avid golfer, Mr. Maxwell volunteers his time to serve as a caddy for special needs golfers. He has been recognized by the SUSD Foundation for his efforts in aligning a partnership with Scottsdale Community Partners.

Alex Stephenson is the 2023 Bill Jenkins Youth Leadership award winner.

Alex is an amazing leader and innovator and has a passion for services and leadership. As president of Saguaro’s Robotics class/club, he has directed over 30 students to create, build, and discover ways to help the community at-large through innovative engineering projects. He has worked on the art installations for Canal Convergence in Scottsdale and is at the helm of the Go Baby GO program that adapts toy cars for special-needs children.

Alex previously worked as a mechanical engineer intern at the ASU Luminosity Lab working on NASA grant projects and currently works as a Project Leaders in sustainable video game development helping to educate others about climate change. Alex is the youngest employee at Axon and is an engineer contractor where he advises on R & D engineering projects, creates prototypes and works with various police and fire departments. Alex is a Senior at Saguaro High School and plans to attend ASU to be an electrical/software engineer.

“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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