Arizona Industry Fellows: how the Arizona Chamber Foundation is helping develop young leaders

Millennials will make up half of the United States workforce within five years and 75 percent within a decade.

To help prepare the next generation of up-and-coming business leaders, the Arizona Chamber Foundation created the Arizona Industry Fellows program, a non-partisan, educational program that explores how public policy impacts the state’s economic landscape.

“Arizona Industry Fellows is a unique leadership opportunity for young professionals in the business community to gain the network and knowledge needed for a deeper understanding of the intersection between business and public policy, and its impact on the Arizona economy,” Emily Anne Gullickson, CEO of the Arizona Chamber Foundation, said. “The Arizona Chamber Foundation in partnership with the Arizona Chamber recognized a responsibility to participate in the development of the next generation of business leaders,”

“It gave me a really solid understanding of…[asking] what are things that need to be addressed and how can I as an individual step in and be an agent of change?” Ashley Shick, a 2017-2018 fellow and director of communication & public affairs at Bashas’ Inc., said.

The program’s focus on public policy and its impact on Arizona’s job creators is part of what makes the Arizona Industry Fellows program unique, according to the Arizona Chamber Foundation.

While I do have a background in politics, my background in specific policy issues in the sectors that the Chamber would touch on I’m not as familiar with,” current Fellow and President of Data Orbital George Khalaf said. “I was really better able to immerse myself in places I wouldn’t naturally find myself and I can now find out how these businesses work and what types of policy are needed for them to thrive.”

“The Arizona Industry Fellows gives young professionals a front row seat to understand how policy is used to tackle major challenges across different industries and how those same policies impact Arizona’s economic landscape,”  Diego Gettler, 2018-2019 Arizona Industry Fellow and MomDoc relationship director, said.

The year-long program immerses fellows in the industries that drive Arizona’s economic opportunity through nine full-day sessions on a variety of topics such as:

  • Health care
  • Education & workforce development
  • Manufacturing
  • Policy in action
  • Technology and innovation
  • Tax climate
  • Energy, water, land and natural resources
  • Arizona-Mexico cross-border trade
  • Economic growth & business attraction
  • Public-private partnership

My favorite part of the fellowship is being able to hear from powerhouses in the business, policy, and political world and to get to hear them talk about their industries and seeing the passion on their face,” Khalaf said.

Similarly, Shick said that getting an “under the hood” look at the different industries that make Arizona an incredible state was a neat experience that most individuals do not get.

The fellowship runs from October to June and while it may be a time commitment, Khalaf, Shick and Gettler agree that it is worth every second.

It’s absolutely worth the time and energy,” Shick said. “You get out what you put in… I think being committed and interested in learning and growing as an individual. It’s a great program to start learning more about the industries and social issues.”

“It means not only showing up once a month, it also means engaging,” Khalaf said. “what it entails is you being engaged not just present. You can easily be a warm body, show up today and leave and not even ask questions but for me, it was more than that… Engagement is the biggest thing.”

Applications for the fellowship open this week and are due Sept. 18, 2019. 

Interested candidates can apply online

“You won’t regret it,” Khalaf said.

Emily Richardson

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