Class 6 of ASU Leadership Institute is diverse in profession, experience

August 25, 2023

Their professions are diverse, and their experiences in the field may vary, but the 20 Sun Devil alumni participating in the 2023–24 ASU Leadership Institute all remain committed in their pursuit of leadership.

The Arizona State University Alumni Association is honored to introduce the Class 6 cohort participating in the nine-month immersive program aimed to develop and understand critical leadership skills. Group photo of people standing on the stairs of the Old Main building on ASU's Tempe campus. Class 6 of the ASU Leadership Institute, despite their diverse professions, are committed in their pursuit of leadership. Photo courtesy the ASU Alumni Association Download Full Image

Every year, the ASU Alumni Association selects a cohort of outstanding alumni and aims to inspire participants as well as enhance their leadership development. They are prepared to serve on ASU boards and councils, mentor students and serve as community ambassadors.

From firefighters and nurses to college professors and business owners, Class 6 members make up an impressive group of alumni with graduation dates ranging from 1986 to 2020.

Standing before them on Aug. 23, Christine K. Wilkinson, president and CEO of the Alumni Association, reminded participants of the university’s commitment toward instilling leadership in its alums.

With key principles such as access and excellence at the forefront of that push, Wilkinson cited ASU’s mission-at-large: “It’s not whom we exclude, but whom we include, and how they succeed.”

Emily Hein, who completed her bachelor’s degree in nursing in 2020, plans to leverage this opportunity to pursue a leadership role at her current company, Banner Health.

“I’m working on my MBA in health care (at ASU), and I really wanted to tie that leadership aspect back into my career,” she said. “I’m hoping it will allow me to pursue a leadership opportunity somewhere in health care.”

In addition to adopting necessary leadership and development skills, members of the class are also eager to rub shoulders with fellow alums in different industries than their own.

I think that being part of this group, seeing different aspects of ASU that I didn’t get to see when I was a student, is going to broaden my experience and help me move to the next level in developing leadership skills to be a Sun Devil leader,” said Lesley Miller, a media relations and communications manager for the city of Glendale.

Meet the 20 members of the 2023–24 ASU Leadership Institute:

  • Alicia Morrison Skupin, Chandler Municipal Court.

  • Andrea Petrof, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona.

  • Austin Howe, Blackstone Consulting Inc.

  • Crystal Alvarez, Arizona State University.

  • Efraen Amarillas, Phoenix Fire Department.

  • Emily Hein, Banner Health.

  • Emily Holden, Fiesta Bowl.

  • Emily Soccorsy, Root and River.

  • Evener Scott, HonorHealth.

  • Herminio Meneses, Pat Tillman Veterans Center.

  • Jon Dille, JE Dunn Construction.

  • Kathleen Walsh, Lauren's Institute For Education.

  • Kevin Pistole, Geneva Financial.

  • Lesley Miller, city of Glendale.

  • Lindsay Penzenstadler, Sundt Construction.

  • Micky Gutier, Arizona Department of Education.

  • Nigel Pinto, West Pharmaceutical Services Inc.

  • Sarah Nicholas, Sundt Construction.

  • Sue Rigler, Hundred Mile Brewing Co.

  • Shalaka Sawant, Clayco.

For information about the ASU Leadership Institute and how to apply for Class 7, click here.

Griffin Fabits

Marketing Copywriter, Alumni Association

ASU Law to host mock NBA trade competition in November

Student-run event is the first of its kind at ASU

August 25, 2023

Students with a head for business and a passion for sports will be happy to learn of a first-of-its-kind event being hosted by the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University this November.

The Mock NBA Trade Deadline Competition will take place Nov. 2–4 at the Beus Center for Law and Society in downtown Phoenix. The national competition will involve undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines and across the country, and will allow them to learn what it’s like to work in the front office of an NBA team as they draft players. It’s the first program of its kind to encourage collaboration across analytics, legal, business and scouting in sports. An older man and a younger man stand next to each other smiling. ESPN NBA front office insider Bobby Marks (left) with Kyle Goodier, a 3L student at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. Marks will be a judge in ASU Law's NBA Mock Trade Deadline Competition this November. Photo courtesy Kyle Goodier Download Full Image

The ASU Law-hosted competition is the brainchild of Kyle Goodier, a rising 3L in the Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Sports Law and Business (MSLB) programs. Goodier said that students interested in the business of sports have very few opportunities to learn the trade from experts in the field, and this event hopes to bridge that gap.

“There is so much demand for working in a front office,” he said. “Students need to build their network and demonstrate that they can provide value to a team or an agency to get a job. This event is intended to allow students to build that network and show industry executives that they can provide this value.”

A previous, similar competition that was held at Tulane University became one of the largest networking events for the NBA, with coverage in ESPN and The Athletic.

Big names in the NBA and sports worlds have already signed on to be judges for the ASU Law-hosted event, including Bobby Marks from ESPN; Doug Collins, a 50-year NBA veteran and senior advisor for the Chicago Bulls; Eric Pincus from Bleacher Report; and Seth Partnow of StatsBomb.

“I decided to start this competition to provide students with an opportunity to learn front-office operations in a way that provides them feedback from real NBA professionals,” Goodier said. “The goal is for passionate and driven students to leave the event with a better understanding of the NBA, tangible results to share, and a new network of NBA and student contacts.”

Multiple ASU departments have already gotten in on the action, with the Global Sport Institute at ASU signing on as a sponsor.

The student-run event has already surpassed expectations for Aaron Hernandez, assistant dean of the Allan "Bud" Selig Sports Law and Business Program.

“Each year, a student will approach me about their ideas for a competition, clinic or initiative. Each year, I ask them about their plan of execution,” he said. “That’s usually where the conversation stops. Kyle researched the cost, leveraged resources, pitched a major proposal and assembled peers to help execute his vision. I am very proud of Kyle and how he has gotten this off the ground.”

Participants in this event will have to make trading decisions, defend their positions in front of NBA executives and ensure that their trades comply with the NBA regulatory framework. They can also expect to have to hold their own in a room full of sports professionals, with plenty of opportunities for networking with other students and experts. 

“In my opinion, this is one of the more valuable competitions you can participate in if you want to be a general manager or involved in basketball operations,” Hernandez said. 

Registration for the event is now open. 

Lindsay Walker

Communications Manager, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law