Bethany Bennick

BETHANY BENNICK

Manager, Investor Engagement,
Greater Phoenix Economic Council

Why are you in Arizona?
I am a proud first-generation Arizonan – born and raised in Cave Creek. My childhood embodied the nexus between hyper-localization and globalization in way that has shaped my entire adult life. While I had the fortune to live, study, and work in Switzerland, France, and California, I ultimately returned home because of the immense, untapped opportunity to introduce the world to Arizona and vice versa.

I did this by pursuing my master’s degree at the Thunderbird School of Global Management and managing exchanges for Phoenix Sister Cities and the World Affairs Council of Arizona. To date, I’ve curated the exchange of 469 citizen diplomats from 70+ countries, including 35 projects for the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program. For many, it was their first encounter with Arizona. It has been my personal joy to reinvigorate their understanding of Arizona.

I recently transitioned to the Greater Phoenix Economic Council team to manage engagement opportunities for 22-member communities and 170+ private investors. My primary duties include overseeing the Ambassador Program and supporting the organization’s strategic councils. I never tire of learning about the region’s competitiveness and supporting business attraction efforts for quality jobs.

What concerns you?
I am deeply concerned about the cost and access to healthcare for all Americans, especially Arizonans. The practice of healthcare being tied to employment began largely as a result of the wage caps of World War II. Once the war was over, we never reverted. While privatization of the industry has undoubtedly led to faster medical innovation, our current healthcare system is nearly impossible to navigate for the average person, let alone marginalized populations. This system has not translated into robust medical care for everyone. While we have some of the best hospitals in the world, we do not outrank most other OECD countries on standardized health metrics.

To highlight one example, employees of small non-profits are often not afforded employee-sponsored healthcare and must pay hundreds of dollars a month in high-deductible plans they could not possibly afford to use if needed. This is a powerful detractor for motivated young people to pursue mission-oriented careers as they cannot sustain themselves long term without access to affordable healthcare. It is also factor in other milestone decisions such as purchasing a home or starting a family.

It is also a concern for aging and marginalized communities with fixed resources. My father has Multiple Sclerosis and is fortunate to have robust health insurance, yet the out-of-pocket cost of his medication continues to increase without any real changes to the medication itself. It is unsustainable. Medical debt affects 72 million Americans and serves a deterrent for precautionary care. The systemic, intentional opaqueness of coverage and costs is mind-numbing and financially ruinous – I am glad to see a transition towards transparency of treatment costs so patients can make informed decisions.

Why would you leave?
While I do not foresee any immediate departure from Arizona, I will pursue opportunities abroad at some stage in my career. With that said, I have every intention of returning to Arizona. It’s not the sort of state you can stay away from for long.

 

Young Talent Advisors