In front of a standing-room-only, live audience in their downtown Phoenix studios, the STN team and its partners came out of the gate with a season-premiere episode that left the leaders and changemakers in the crowd nodding along, applauding and, at times, audibly gasping.
After a one-month hiatus following season one, the groundbreaking, local media experience that aims to change the conversation about solving the systemic issues facing the greater Phoenix area returned last Thursday with one overall, clear message: Get after it.
From a discussion about how to make data actionable to a Girl Scout wise beyond her years to an honest assessment of the growing numbers of homeless in the Valley, the opening salvo for season two lived up to the STN mission to “Create a better local media experience” while focusing on actionable solutions.
Here are the highlights from the action-packed premiere episode:
Season two started with a Community Collaborative discussion about how data can be used to not only inform decisions but actually create change when used correctly. Teniqua Broughton, Executive Director of State of Black Arizona, and Paul Padilla, Director of Market Intelligence at the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce joined co-producers Monica Villalobos, CEO of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber, and Robin Reed, CEO of the Black Chamber of Arizona, to address a changing population, access to funding and minority-owned businesses.
The STN team takes you inside Ability360 for a look at its Peer Mentorship program and the important role it can play in improving the lives of people with disabilities. Vice President of Advocacy April Reed explains the process of connecting anyone the nonprofit organization serves with mentors and the incredibly important role volunteers play in helping Ability360 fulfill its mission.
In the Room brought the audience an inspiring discussion about the journey of leadership spearheaded by host Lloyd Hopkins and featuring one of the youngest voices to ever take the It Happens at STN stage. Girl Scouts Arizona-Cactus Pine Co-CEO Mary Mitchell and Girl Scout, and high school junior, Shiloh Saganey, helped flip the script on the traditional leadership structure and take an honest, blunt, and inspiring look at what the next generation of leaders needs from the leaders of today.
The audience got to meet President and CEO of Valley of the Sun United Way, Carla Vargas Jasa in the first Leadership Profile of season two. As a first-generation American, she explained how her father’s time in jail inspired her lifelong desire to speak up against human rights abuses and how following a path of advocacy eventually led her to the United Way.
Families, especially those with young children, are often among the hardest hit by the homelessness and housing crisis. Chief Program Officer at UMOM, Mila Valle, takes the audience inside UMOM and its mission to address and end family homelessness, how partnerships with other community organizations are helping them achieve it and how it can lead to generational change when it is successful.
The season two premiere wrapped up with a very important look at the impact of flex funding on the effort to address the housing crisis in the Valley. McQuaid Mission co-producers and hosts, Amy Schwabenlender, CEO of the Human Services Campus (HSC) and UMOM CEO Jackson Fonder were joined by Richard Crews and Johnny Furtado from HSC to discuss disturbing data when it comes to the homelessness crisis and the best ways to help people stay in their homes or move from shelters back into housing.