SPECIAL SECTION: AREA WOMEN LEADERS
Four years on from that first Women’s March, she says, “I see it through different eyes now. It’s about so much more than women’s rights. We're fighting for human rights.”
True leadership is often done by those quietly working in the background,affecting change and supporting causes and ideals that many of us take for granted. Tirelessly giving of their time, these people are the backbone of any nonprofit. Maria Lynam is one such leader.
Maria began her career as a county assessor, then with the State of New York as an analyst. She became a project manager for the Office of Real Property Services, working with her team to provide tax rolls and related ephemera to municipalities and counties. Ultimately her area of responsibility increased and she led her agency's Y2K team.
Through these experiences she developed an understanding of the importance of organizing large groups of people to accomplish their work successfully. She strongly feels that top-down leadership does not allow for personal and professional growth. She encouraged her teams to be invested in the processes that lead to successful outcomes. These skills allowed her to help save the arts program at her children's public school. She developed a project in which volunteer parents taught elementary and middle-school students, and it continues today.
Moving to Prescott in 2000, she continued exploring her interest in the arts, taking classes at Yavapai College and teaching at various community venues. Eventually she was teaching printmaking and gold leaf at YC. She helped support the art and theatre programs of the Prescott Center for the Arts as a board member from 2012 to 2015.
Maria came to political organizing and leadership as many of us did, called to action after the 2016 election. A lifelong protester, she saw an ad for sign-makers for the 2016 Women’s March, which proved to be pivotal. Through working the event she developed new relationships, and became a founding member of Prescott Indivisible, one of the nation's leading Indivisible groups.
“Working with Maria is one of my greatest pleasures. She is patient, always willing to help, very informed, a voracious information analyst. If I could give a medal for commitment to our fellow humans, Maria Lynam would be first on my list,” says former PI Chair Rosemary Dixon.
Lynam still publishes the bimonthly Persist & Resist, the area’s leading action-network publication.
Pursuing ever more profound commitment to change, she offered her skills as a volunteer for the Democratic Women of the Prescott Area. She found she could help the organization grow and have an impact. It did not take long before her leadership skills were recognized and she was asked to chair the organization. Looking back, she reflects that she was reluctant to take on additional responsibility, but now is very proud of DWPA and how it has grown.With a supportive board and over 200 members, not all women, the group is making inroads in supporting Democratic progressive values in greater Yavapai County.
Four years on from that first Women’s March, she says, “I see it through different eyes now. It’s so much more than women’s rights.We're fighting for human rights.”
Democratic Women of the Prescott Area - DWPA’s mission is to engage, unite, and empower women to promote the principles of the Democratic Party and to attain public office and leadership positions in Arizona.
For more information visit: https://dwpaaz.org/
Lesley Aine McKeown is the Communication Director of the Yavapai County Democratic Party