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Scottsdale Leadership Announces
2023 Spirit of CommunityAward Winners

October 8, 2023

2023 Spirit of Community Leadership Award Recipients Announced


Scottsdale Leadership Honors Community Leaders through Hodges, Drinkwater and Jenkins Awards


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – October 8, 2023 – Scottsdale Leadership proudly recognizes Christine Irish, Director of Public Affairs, DC Ranch Community Council, and Kevin Maxwell, Technical Analyst, State Farm Insurance, for their commitment to our community through two annual awards – The Drinkwater Community Leadership Award and the Hodges Alumni Achievement Award.  It also recognizes outstanding student, 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.  Chris epitomizes many of Mayor 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. Chris 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, Chris 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.  Kevin is a Technology Analyst for State Farm Insurance and a tireless leader in our Scottsdale community.  He founded FUEL Scottsdale, which stands for Focus, Unify, Engage and Lead. He chaired the Airport Advisory Commission and currently serves on the board of Family Promise. Kevin is a champion for technology and inclusion by helping fund programs such as Saguaro High School’s Sisters in STEM program and robotics team. Kevin is a podcaster for The Scottsdale Coalition of Today and Tomorrow which just reached their 100th podcast. An avid golfer, Kevin 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,” stated Lee Ann Witt, Executive Director.  “It is our privilege to honor these elite leaders, both past and present.”


About the awards:


The Drinkwater Community Leadership Award is named after the Honorable Herb Drinkwater who served as Scottsdale’s Mayor and as a City Council member for more than 25 years.  He was always eager to introduce Scottsdale to people who might be interested in becoming a part of our city.  It is because of Herb’s purposeful living and positive intent for the community that Scottsdale Leadership honors a similarly-purposed community leader each year.


The Hodges Alumni Achievement Award honors Scottsdale Leadership alumni who illustrate the passion and commitment Frank Hodges, Scottsdale Leadership Class 1, had for his community.  Frank was an Assistant Fire Chief with Rural Metro and his dedication to the people of Scottsdale knew no boundaries.  His efforts were tireless, and his legacy lives on through the lives he touched.  His life, spirit and dedication are honored through this annual Alumni Achievement award.


Both awards are based on community service and involvement which demonstrates commitment to Scottsdale Leadership’s core values: Leadership that is recognized by others for roles in various organizations or community initiatives; Consistency of Community Involvement over an extended period of time, and Humanitarian Values that exemplify inclusivity and concern for different groups of people with varying backgrounds.


The Jenkins Youth Leadership Award honors William C. (Bill) Jenkins.  As a 29-year Scottsdale High School teacher and Scottsdale Mayor (1974-1980), Bill worked tirelessly for his students in the Social Sciences department and as their student government advisor.  As a mayor, Bill took Scottsdale through rapid growth and through a recession.


Since 1986, Scottsdale Leadership has graduated more than 1,300 individuals who are prepared to take on leadership roles across our communities.  Through powerful, transformative experiences during its leadership development programs, Scottsdale Leadership enhances the ability of leaders and creates engaged citizens who ensure a sustainable future for our community.


For more information, call Scottsdale Leadership at 480-627-6710 or visit

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