a schmooze galentine’s day

We started schmooze to celebrate the work of women in Arizona. Since the beginning we have felt very proud of the progress women made and ARE making to create better communities. In celebration of the magnificence of women, we thought taking a time to mark a special holiday, made sense.

Galentine’s Day was created by Leslie Knope, the fictional shero of the television show Parks & Recreation, starring Amy Poehler. Held annually on February 13, the holiday is aimed at celebrating female awesomeness. As two ladies who founded our soul sister path while starting our master’s in public administration program, we think marking the holiday of a fellow public servant is only proper. Besides, don’t we all need another reason to celebrate how awesome women are?!


Earlier this week we shared a cute little graphic with some of our ideas of how to celebrate this lady friendly holiday, to sum it up:

  • In a recent conversation, Jaclyn’s awesome co-worker Rebecca, suggested a great app that will be helpful sending surprises to a fellow Galentine. Postmate‘s is an easy way to treat your girl to lunch or something sweet like Sprinkles cupcakes. Truly a sweet gesture!
  • Topping our list is simply making a coffee and/or tea date with your Galentine sans phones. We schmooze ladies try to schedule regular time to just talk. Some of our favorite places are Rollover Donuts and Lola Coffee. It’s simple and meaningful, and for us one of the best ways we recharge.
  • Jovanna shows she cares by cooking for others and Jaclyn loves to host a good party. Combine our two ways of showing love and host a festive brunch! Your lady friends will appreciate it.

As our gift to you, we wanted to share a graphic for you to send to your favorite mujer (woman in Spanish) or asdzaan (woman in Navajo). As women who are proud of our identities, we thought this was a great way to share appreciation of language, culture and the beauty of uniqueness.



Happy Galentine’s Day lovelies!

Jovanna & Jaclyn


schmooze profile: megan finnerty


This is Megan on stage at Phoenix Theatre in September.

Name: Megan Finnerty

Hometown: Long Beach, Ind.

Preferred title: Reporter at the Arizona Republic, Founder of the Arizona Storytellers Project

Favorite Arizona place: Grand Canyon. Too obvious? Also – my patio on the 7th floor of my building, facing north and looking at the Phoenix Mountain Preserve.

Favorite drink: Anything I’m having at AZ 88.

Favorite local project: Pretty much everything Local First Arizona does is class-act. Also – the investigative journalism my colleagues at the Arizona Republic do is invaluable to our community, holding elected officials accountable, ensuring systems work for the citizenry and that the vulnerable and poor have the resources they need.

THIS or THAT – Morning person or Night owl?

BOTH. I work out in the mornings at the Phoenix College Track, but I rarely miss an opportunity to stay out for a drink with friends.

What was your first real job?

Val’s Pizza and Grinders in Michigan City, Ind. I answered phones, made pizzas, prepped ingredients, cleaned the kitchen…


This is me interviewing Native American young people at the bottom of the Grand Canyon in June for an Arizona Republic story.

How do you describe the work you do?

I am a journalist and storytelling consultant. I am a professional listener. Who loves to talk. It’s complicated. I write and talk about feelings. A lot. I report on issues of identity as seen through the lenses of fashion, food and drink, relationships, and the pursuit of idle pleasures.

In 2015, I was named by Editor & Publisher as one of 25 under 35 legacy newsroom leaders. In 2011, I was a finalist for the Knight Fellowship at Stanford University. Also in 2011, I founded, and still host, the Arizona Storytellers Project.

In 2012, it won a Rocky Mountain Emmy Award and a National Headliner Award for first place in Journalistic Innovation. Now, I’ve taken versions of it to eight other cities, including Cincinnati, Palm Springs and Nashville.

I’m obsessed with the idea that oral storytelling and journalism are dedicated to the same goals: serving and reflecting a community while fostering empathy among those community members.

What activity do you consistently make time to do, or at least try to?

I volunteer teaching spin at my YMCA twice a week, and I run with girlfriends twice a week. I  am pretty firm in those commitments. And I put out a newsletter every other week. Sign up at MeganMFinnerty.com.


Megan is the Founder of the Arizona Storytellers Project, a dedicated to the idea that oral storytelling and journalism have the same goals: serving and reflecting a community while fostering empathy among those people.

When do you feel most in your element, zone, etc.?

When I’m telling a story. When I’m coaching a person who is telling their own story. When I am sipping a Negroni.

What advice do you have for your younger self?

I spent some very real time trying to make men into good boyfriends instead of appreciating that they were already good men. I would focus on some potential greatness that I thought certain men were withholding more than the in-the-moment goodness they were actually offering. This is a horrifying realization.

What direction would you like your life to take from here?

More of everything. I want my life only to be bigger, every day. And, I would like to be of service to as many people as possible, with both my heart and my hands.

our vlog debut!

As we continue to transition to a fuller multi-media platform, we are delighted to share our first vlog (video – blog). In it, we explain more of what you can expect from schmooze and how this year we will be aiming to CONNECT more with YOU. Most importantly, we hope you consider to answer our call to share with us what and who you want to see featured on schmooze.


Jovanna & Jaclyn

Hey there…it’s been a minute!

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Hello…from 2016! Our inaugural year at schmooze was filled with great conversations (listen to our archived episodes here) and provided us with many opportunities to connect with incredible women in our community- we can’t believe it’s already been two years! Life in 2015 was so jam packed with excitement for the both of us that we unintentionally took a hiatus- but don’t fret, we’re back.

Now that we’ve rung in a new year and prepare to mark our second anniversary, we are delighted to share new plans for schmooze as well as a couple of episodes that were recorded last year. You can find episodes 7 & 8, featuring conversations with our sparkly friend Hayfa Marengo & two brave female veterans, here.

Looking ahead, we will be leaving the podcast studio behind (though we might revisit it every once in a while) and are excited to explore new ways of connecting you with amazing women and interesting projects. We have some cool ideas for a variety of multimedia formats and in person events that we think you’ll dig. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and blog for details to unfold.

We are thrilled to kick off this new year with an evolution of sorts, thank you for your continued support!

Cheers –

Jovanna & Jaclyn


Conversation on Immigration with Lisette Flores


schmooze was founded to shed light on the remarkable work of women in Arizona. We envisioned this podcast as a way to share the stories of women in the community. Due to the recent news coverage regarding the influx of children crossing into the United States, we wanted to have a conversation about the misconceptions of the immigration debate and the housing of children in the Arizona town of Nogales.

This episode we welcome Lisette Flores, J.D. an alumnus of Arizona State University and long standing community volunteer. Flores has practiced law for nearly ten years having shifted her focus, a little over two years ago to serving as an immigration attorney. As shared in our conversation with Flores her passion for her work comes from her strong family foundation. Shown even more as Flores waits to welcome her first child into her family. Schmooze is excited to document this moment as Flores reflects on her work in Arizona at a critical time in her life as she readies to take on her next venture – motherhood.

Click on the badge above to listen to the episode or visit HERE.


Music “Fake French” by Le Tigre
Available on the Free Music Archive freemusicarchive.org/
Under CC BY license

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Conversation on the Culture of the Art


Featured in this episode are two trailblazing women who’ve dedicated ample time in the past few years “re-imagining Arizona” and its arts and culture community. Mary Stephens Director of Arizona State University’s Performance in the Borderlands initiative and owner of the Phoenix Hostel and Cultural Center, and Casandra Hernandez, Interpretation and Programs Coordinator at the Deer Valley Rock Art Center are passionate about creating dialogue and reflection around peoples’ interactions in the desert.  Their work, both individually and as a collaborative duo, has provided an innovative platform for many voices previously not heard here in the southwest. Their conversation with us focuses on their motivations for their work, what it means to collaborate as women and how being a woman is a powerful force for change – an omnipresent topic here at schmooze. Click the badge above to listen or go here.


Music “Fake French” by Le Tigre
Available on the Free Music Archive freemusicarchive.org/
Under CC BY license

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Episode 4: Mama’s Day


schmooze was founded on the idea all women are remarkable. We started this podcast because we wanted to share the stories of inspiring women we’ve had the pleasure to meet. Foundational to our lives are our relationships to our moms. Debra Perez and Karina Roessel are two women who have instilled in us a strong sense of self but also pride in being women.

In this episode, we sit down to have a conversation with our moms. Two selfless women who have worked hard to create and sustain our families while cultivating careers in education. We are delighted to share these two women with you as they are nothing short of remarkable. Thanks Mamas…for everything.

To listen click the badge below.

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Music “Fake French” by Le Tigre
Available on the Free Music Archive freemusicarchive.org/
Under CC BY license

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Episode 3: Conversation with Sara Presler

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Tune in as Sara Presler J.D.,  CEO of the Foundation for Arizona Women, reflects on being a young professional, her experience as both the first youngest and female mayor of Flagstaff, Arizona and how the women of Arizona are critical to our state.

We continue to welcome your suggestions on remarkable women to include on the show. You can submit your suggestions via email found here or via Facebook. Click the badge above to listen to the episode and to hear more episodes check here.

Music “Fake French” by Le Tigre
Available on the Free Music Archive freemusicarchive.org/
Under CC BY license

*Presler offered the following correction to the interview when discussing poverty differences between women with less than a high school diploma and women with a college degree. “The poverty rate among women with less than a high school diploma is six times higher than a woman who earns a Bachelor’s degree.” The information in the interview about this topic should reflect the above quote.

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Episode 2: Entrepreneurs

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Of the many roles women take on in the community, entrepreneurs are some of the most public. In this episode of schmooze, we talk with three Phoenix women who started their own venture from Ebone Johnson, the owner of Rejected Thrifts, Gerri Hormel, who started Almost There Foster Care and Jill Bernstein of Jill Bernstein Creative Services. Each of these women blazed their own trail to work their passions and begin a business. Listen as they share what surprised them most, what investments they won’t go without and other pieces of advice. We thank each lady for taking the time to take part in a candid conversation about their journeys. Click on the badge above or HERE to listen.

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schmooze thanks…

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There are many people behind the scenes who helped us get schmooze off the ground. First, a very special thanks is owed to Anna Consi and the Downtown Phoenix Partnership for consulting with us as we researched the recording process and for allowing us to use DPP’s equipment, we are grateful for our new collaboration.

The look of schmooze is deliberately fresh and bold, the resulting influence of two talented men. First, thanks to Victor Pascual of Digital Navajo who consulted with us about our design ideas. The creation of our logo and icons is the product of hard working Daniel Perez. We could not be happier with the results of our website!

Our first episode would not be possible without the participation of the brilliant, confident and beautiful women who took time from their lives to have candid conversations with us about what it means to be a woman today. Your friendship, support and mentorship drives us to make this project meaningful for women like you.

Thank you.

Jaclyn and Jovanna

Listen to the first episode of schmooze here or by clicking on the badge above. Don’t forget to visit us often, share with friends and follow us on SoundCloud. We will post via our Facebook page when schmooze is available on iTunes.