Delta Dental of Arizona strengthens leadership team

Building on an already strong culture of excellence, Delta Dental of Arizona (DDAZ) is pleased to announce the internal promotions of both Leslie Hess and Craig Livesay to their executive team. Hess has been named general counsel and chief compliance-risk management officer while Livesay has been elevated to vice president and chief operating officer.

Hess will expand her current corporate compliance and risk management duties to include oversight of DDAZ’s legal affairs working with outside counsel when appropriate. She will also lead and direct the companies Government Affairs and Advocacy initiatives in Arizona and at the national level in coordination with Delta Dental Plans Association (DDPA). 

Prior to joining Delta Dental of Arizona, Hess served as the interim director at the Arizona Department of Insurance, where she was responsible for directing and managing the operations of the state agency.  Hess was tasked with analyzing, interpreting and enforcing statutes and regulations relating to all lines of insurance, including health, life, property and casualty. She also spent two years at the Arizona Legislature at Legislative Council and worked in the securities division at the Arizona Corporation Commission for seven years.

After 15 years with DDAZ, Livesay’s promotion to Vice President and Chief Operating Officer reflects his hard work, dedication and broad industry knowledge having previously served as vice president of operations. He will now lead the growth and development of the organizations individual market business sector and group services along with overall strategy and performance of underwriting, claims and call center operations. 

“Both Leslie and Craig made this a very easy decision for us as their leadership capabilities and industry insight are second to none,” said Allan Allford, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Arizona. “It is important to us as the leading dental insurance provider in Arizona to have the most talented individuals lead these departments as we continue to grow and launch new products and programs to make dental care accessible to all Arizonans.”

UA Sonoran Center welcomes new director

Wendy Parent-Johnson, PhD, CRC, CESP, has joined the University of Arizona Sonoran Center for Excellence in Disabilities as its new director.

The UA Sonoran Center is part of the UA Department of Family and Community Medicine. Through teaching, innovative model programs, research and community education, the center works to ensure individuals with developmental and other disabilities have the support they need to fully participate in the community.

The founding director of the UA Sonoran Center, Leslie J. Cohen, JD, is retiring from the position after leading it since 2007.

Dr. Parent-Johnson previously worked at the University of South Dakota (USD), where she was a professor in the Department of Pediatrics, served as the executive director for the Center for Disabilities and was director of the university’s Leadership Education in Neuromuscular Disabilities (LEND) program.

Erika Acorn hired as Tempe Chamber business development specialist

The Tempe Chamber of Commerce has hired Erika Acorn to serve as the Business Development Specialist. Acorn will develop and implement programs to increase membership and sponsorships.

Acorn has worked for a non-profit membership-based company where she was able to connect members with new opportunities and create programs that aligned with their needs. She brings experience in community engagement, brand development and fundraising to the Chamber.

“Erika has an exceptional business background with strong communication and marketing skills,” said Anne Gill, Tempe Chamber President/CEO. “She will be a great asset to the team and a valued resource for our members.”

Scottsdale resident joins Esperanca’s volunteer board

Esperança, a Phoenix-based nonprofit whose mission is to improve health and restore hope both locally and globally, announces David Schlinkert as its newest volunteer on the board of directors. 

Schlinkert, who joined the board in October, will primarily focus on strengthening the organization’s evidence-based programs through further research, planning and evaluation. He will also work to foster individual empowerment and help share Esperança’s stories and successes.

“Esperança’s domestic and international investments in surgical missions, public health and economic development initiatives, provide opportunities for people to overcome challenges and become everything they can be,” said Schlinkert. “Esperança has the power to change lives and generate hope for people in need– I think very highly of this organization and am honored to be joining their team.”

“We have a very committed and dedicated group of volunteer board members,” said Jeri Royce, executive director of Esperança. “David’s knowledge and expertise will be a welcome addition to our organization.” 

Schlinkert, who is currently a policy analyst for Morrison Institute of Public Policy at Arizona State University, graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications in 2007 with a minor in anthropology. He later earned his Master of Public Administration in 2016, with a concentration in nonprofit leadership and management.  Most recently, Schlinkert is working towards a Ph.D. in Transborder Studies, focusing on migration, trade, development, and health and human services.