Board Member Joan Jordan's favorite memories abroad include working in Asia, especially spending months in Hong Kong pre-and post- the British/Chinese handover. She has studied sovereign history by traveling to the ancient capitols of numerous countries including Egypt, China, Greece, Kenya, Japan and Turkey. Joan's international experiences, thirty years of traveling abroad for a variety of tech industries, enable her to contribute a unique and valuable perspective to PCFR. Participating in PCFR satisfies part of Mrs. Jordan's continuing learning quest by presenting an array of global humanitarian, diplomatic, and military discussion opportunities. She enjoys spending time with PCFR members, who she characterizes as a gracious group of people willing to give of their time and energy. Mrs. Jordan considers the depth of knowledge among members as one of PCFR's most valuable assets: "over a coffee or cocktail conversation you can gain unique and personal insight to what our members have experienced abroad."
The greatest thing Mrs. Jordan has learned from PCFR is that volunteerism and philanthropy are thriving. As a part of the Membership and Navigator Committees, she sees how a few volunteer hours can add tremendous value to the PCFR experience in our global community. Phoenix, as the 5th largest city in the U.S., is an important part of the national and international conversation. PCFR hosted and co-sponsored programming allows its members to ask the tough questions and encourages deeper thought regarding issues affecting us all. A fun fact about Joan Jordan: She won't eat a fish, but she enjoys deep-sea fishing! PCFR is fortunate to have Joan Jordan as a board member, and appreciates her dedication to serving the Phoenix community.
Board member Stephen Rodis moved to Arizona from Connecticut to attend Arizona State University (ASU). After completing his studies at ASU, Steve became a Certified Public Accountant and is now a Partner at Wallace, Plese + Dreher. Steve believes in using his knowledge and experiences to give back to the community, so he volunteers his time to educational organizations. Two organizations he is passionate about include the Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants and PCFR. Steve developed an interest in PCFR after attending the annual International State of the State event. Since then, he has enjoyed learning about leadership from Colin Powell, and gaining understanding of current events in China, Russia, and the Middle East. He values the quality and reliability of PCFR's speakers, who are able to relay information from personal and professional experiences abroad. PCFR allows Steve to hear information that isn't shared in other news sources and keeps him attuned to the international events affecting his clients.
Steve sees PCFR as a link between international news and Phoenicians. From his perspective, PCFR provides individuals an opportunity to see and hear from world leaders and is an important alternative news source for the public. As a participant in PCFR, Steve is able to remain knowledgeable of various topics and engage key speakers about international affairs. In addition, Steve enjoys making wood furniture, has three children, and is the proud grandfather of three grandsons and a recently born granddaughter. PCFR is fortunate to have Steve Rodis as a board member, and appreciates his dedication to serving the Phoenix community.
Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations is fortunate to have Michael Patterson as a board member. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Patterson and enjoyed hearing about his background, passion for international law, and interest in PCFR. Mr. Patterson is an international business lawyer with Polsinelli, one of the 100 largest firms in the country. He works with clients primarily on transactional, merger and acquisition and securities deals. His family is from Arizona - his grandfather owned the Purity Dairy in Douglas two blocks from the historic Gadsden Hotel.
After completing his undergraduate degree in History with a focus on Latin American Studies, he worked with the poor in Latin America, which is where he developed an interest in an international career and learned to speak Spanish fluently. He returned to the States, graduated with his Juris Doctor from Arizona State University, and went back to Mexico City to work with law firms there. He loves being an international business attorney because he works with clients from around the world and participates in internationally focused organizations, such as PCFR. Mr. Patterson became involved in PCFR at founding member Shoshana Tancer's recommendation. PCFR allows Mr. Patterson to connect with top international leaders in the region. He considers PCFR a great organization because it keeps Phoenicians abreast of international policy. He recognizes that PCFR performs a key role in keeping global policy clarified for our city and state by facilitating timely, interesting, informative, and critical dialogue. An interesting fact about Michael Patterson: he sings in a Spanish band called the Hijos de Papi!
I recently had the privilege of interviewing PCFR board member, Mr. Matthew Apfel. Matthew is originally from Arizona and discovered an interest in international affairs after he was selected to represent Phoenix as a high school Sister Cities youth ambassador living abroad in Chengdu, China. This experience opened a whole new world to him which compelled him to study at The George Washington University in Washington D.C., where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs with a focus in Chinese politics, and later his Juris Doctor degree with a focus in public international and Chinese domestic law. As an attorney in Phoenix and Washington DC, he enjoys working with complex and culturally sensitive issues. Following work at the U.S. Department of State, Matthew helped direct litigation in Federal court in Washington DC against terrorist sponsor nations such as Syria, Libya, and Iran.
When Matthew moved his primary residence back to Arizona from Washington D.C. he wanted to join a group that would allow him to speak with people from different perspectives about international affairs and PCFR provided him this outlet. He believes PCFR is important to the Phoenix community because it exposes people to think about pertinent and daily issues from different perspectives and allows for discussions on how these issues will affect the United States and Arizona. He values that PCFR provides an opportunity to hear knowledgeable speakers explain international events. As an active member in PCFR and the Phoenix community, Matthew believes maintaining our civil society requires bringing people together and taking action. He wants to see Arizona continue to sustainably grow and takes much pride in his home state. A fun fact about Matthew: he enjoys cooking, and has been to every national park and monument in Arizona!
I recently had the privilege of interviewing PCFR board member, Mrs. Lorianne Taitano. Lori lives in Tempe, AZ with her husband of 20 years and three sons. After a childhood of living abroad, since her father was in the military, she attended Arizona State University where she received her degree in Political Science. She has worked with SRP for 12 years and loves her role as Executive Analyst and Chief Compliance Official. She joined PCFR because her role at SRP involves work in public affairs and managing international programs. PCFR allows her to develop a clearer understanding of international events, and strengthen her relationships in the community. She enjoys the speakers PCFR hosts and engaging in thoughtful discussion at the unique events.
From her perspective, the opportunity to ask key speakers questions and the reasonable cost of PCFR sets this organization apart from other organizations in Arizona. As a board member, she looks forward to connecting more of the community to PCFR and facilitating opportunities for the next generation of PCFR members. As a member of various local groups, including the Chamber of Commerce, and Valley Leadership, she realizes engaging the greater community is key to understanding the world around us. She has seen Arizona grow over the past 25 years and firmly believes that Arizona will be most successful as people stretch beyond their comfort zones to build community. A fun fact about Lori: She learned to speak German in elementary school in Germany, but couldn't learn Spanish in high school in Arizona, despite being part Mexican!
I recently had the privilege of interviewing PCFR founding member, Professor Shoshana Tancer. Early on, she recognized the need for an organization in Phoenix that would allow individuals interested in international topics to connect with and learn from one another. Professor Tancer has learned a lot from the PCFR lectures, and most values the community she's gained. Because of PCFR, she has a professional network she can call on if she ever needs insight from an area outside of her expertise. Professor Tancer told me that she believes the quality of life in a community is based on a variety of factors including the arts, education, international topics, and women's rights and access to the community. By contributing to organizations focused on these topics, she is able to improve the quality of life in Phoenix. Professor Tancer is the first founder to take advantage of the new PCFR Lifetime Benefactor Program. She recognizes that every organization has a lifecycle, from founders to those who continue it. Professor Tancer and her husband wanted to make sure that as PCFR founders make way for other members, the organization continues to be successful.