Monday, November 30, 2009

Sanford-Brown College Names Cheryl Pietkiewicz Director of Education

Sanford-Brown College (SBC), which provides education in allied health care programs designed to prepare its graduates for related employment opportunities, is pleased to announce Cheryl Pietkiewicz as its director of education. In her role, Pietkiewicz will be responsible for overseeing the school’s academic department including the faculty, registrar, records and library functions.

Pietkiewicz has more than 20 years’ experience in the healthcare field and education administration, most recently as the director of education and the director of clinical education at Anthem and Kaplan Colleges, respectively, in Phoenix. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Respiratory Therapy from Salisbury State University and a Master of Arts degree in Communication Studies from Arizona State University. Pietkiewicz is also a registered respiratory therapist. She resides in North Phoenix.

Eight Distinguished Women to Be Recognized at Dec. 5 Girl Scouts Awards Luncheon

Eight distinguished women have been selected to receive the Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council’s 2009 World Awards and will be recognized at the annual World Awards luncheon on Dec. 5. As Girl Scout alumni, these women exemplify the Girl Scout Promise and Law in their personal lives and make meaningful contributions to the betterment of their community.

Recipients have been selected in seven annual categories: humanities, community service, arts, learning, courage, future and leadership. This year’s honorees are:

World Leadership Award
Lisa Keegan, The Keegan Company

World of Community Service
Kay McKay, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flagstaff

World of Courage
Leslie Mihata Bloom, Partnership for Drug Free America-Arizona Alliance and
Lt. Jacquelyn MacConnell, City of Phoenix

World of the Future
Lisa Love, Arizona State University

World of Humanity
Marian Frank, The Arizona Republic

World of Learning
Melinda Romero, Chandler Unified School District

World of the Arts
Deborah Gilpin, Children’s Museum of Phoenix

The council has also selected eight Young Women of Distinction who are current Girl Scouts, ages 15 to 18, in the same categories. Those honorees include: Melanie Erin Picciano of Fountain Hills, World Leadership Award; Taylor Dawn Petersen of Scottsdale and Hillary Jean Eder of Mesa, World of Community Service; Sara Ellenberger of Ahwatukee, World of the Arts; Kaitlyn Amanda Stone of Flagstaff, World of Courage; Gabriela Marie Guerra of Arcadia, World of Humanity; Catherine Bina of Ahwatukee, World of the Future; and Alyssa Rollando of Ahwatukee, World of Learning.

World Award recipients will be recognized for their achievements at a luncheon co-chaired by Christine Wilkinson and Ellen Kirschbaum, and presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield on Sat., Dec. 5, at the Arizona Biltmore Spa & Resort. Event activities begin with a silent auction at 10:30 a.m. followed by a luncheon presentation at noon. This is the council’s largest alumni event of the year; sponsorship opportunities are still available.

The World Awards is open to the public and luncheon tickets are $75. All proceeds from the event will support new and existing Girl Scout programs. For more information, contact Leslie Friedman at (602) 452-7003 or visit

Teacher of the Week Inspires New Generation of Educators

The newest Fulton Homes’ “Teacher of the Week” was nominated for not only being an exceptional English literature teacher, but also preparing her students for life beyond middle school. Christie Roe, an eighth grade teacher from Phoenix-based Christ Lutheran School, will be featured on the KNIX Ben and Matt Show Friday, Nov. 11, between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m.

Roe was nominated by one of her former students, 18-year-old Kortnee Manning. Even though it has been years since Manning had Roe as a teacher, she still stands out to her as a source of inspiration. Due to Roe’s influence, Manning aims to pursue a teaching career herself.

“[Roe] prepared us more for college and life in general than our high school teachers did,” Manning said. “She showed me that teachers could be your superheroes in life.”

Manning is now on the path to become a “super” instructor like Roe. She is currently in college studying secondary education.

“Mrs. Christie Roe has changed my life,” Manning said. “I started eighth grade wanting to get out of school and just be done. She made me want to make time slow down as much as I could learn as much as I could.”

Roe also commits herself to all aspects of Christ Lutheran School. According to Principal Cheryl Ehlers, in addition to her already heavy teacher workload, Roe works with students on the school newspaper, chaperone’s dances, leads school field trips and more.

“She goes out of her way to make sure her students exceed in the classroom and their lives,” Ehlers said. “She commits to way beyond the 8 to 3 school day.”

Every week, students are asked to nominate teachers like Roe for the chance to win a prize package that includes $300 in cash plus prizes from Fulton Homes and the Dairy Council of Arizona. The winning teacher will also be spotlighted on the KNIX Morning Show with Ben and Matt, where they will receive special recognition on their Friday show. At the end of the year, the 34 winning teachers will be honored at a special luncheon, where one outstanding teacher will be selected as “Teacher of the Year.”

“The best educators do more than just teach, they inspire,” said Douglas Fulton, CEO of Fulton Homes. “Mrs. Roe has been an inspiration to her students to be the best they can be in their lives.”

Grant Thornton Promotes Wanda Denton to Senior Tax Manager

The Phoenix office of Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International, is pleased to announce it has promoted Wanda Denton to senior tax manager. In her new role, Denton’s responsibilities will include tax consulting and compliance for large public, private and middle-market companies while overseeing a staff of nine tax associates. She will continue to apply her expertise in accounting for income taxes, accounting periods and methods and corporate taxation.

Denton has nearly 10 years experience in public accounting. She previously served Grant Thornton as a tax manager in the Phoenix office, where she provided tax planning and advice for clients in the cement and concrete, mining, manufacturing and distribution, software and service industries.

Denton holds a Bachelor of Accountancy degree from Arizona State University and is a regional firm specialist in the area of IRC Section 382. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants (ASCPA) and American Society of Women Accountants. She also serves as elected official Republican Precinct Committeeman in and for her precinct in Maricopa County and is a member of the Auxiliary Board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley.

Patterson Joins Lewis and Roca as of Council for Tribal Affairs and Gaming

Lewis and Roca is pleased to announce that Kerry Patterson has joined the firm’s Phoenix office.

Patterson is of counsel in the firm's Tribal Affairs and Gaming practice group. She has extensive experience in Native American law and real estate law. In addition, Patterson has worked on several multimillion-dollar projects involving Native American lands that included development agreements, negotiation of leases as well as other types of agreements. She also is well versed in real estate development including retail leasing, purchase and sale, negotiation and preparation of easement agreements, development agreements, license agreements and other related documents.

Patterson received her J.D. from Arizona State University College of Law and her B.A. from the State University of New York, Fredonia.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Stevie Awards for Women in Business Unveil Winners of Sixth Annual Competition

Shining a spotlight on more than 60 outstanding women executives, business owners and organizations, the winners of the 2009 Stevie Awards for Women in Business were unveiled on Friday, Nov. 13 in categories including Best Entrepreneur, Best Executive, Most Innovative Company and Best Overall Company.

With over 300 businesswomen in attendance, the winners of the 6th annual awards competition were announced at an awards dinner at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. More than 1,100 nominations were submitted for consideration in 54 categories.

Notable Stevie Award winners from this year’s competition include:

-Best Executive: Anna Chagnon, President and CEO of Bitstream Inc.

-Best Latin American Executive: Griselda Hernandez, General Manager of UPS Mexico

-Best Asian Executive: Shunee Yee, President and CEO of CSOFT International Ltd., China

-Best Entrepreneur: Lindsay Phillips, Founder of SwitchFlops by Lindsay Phillips

-Best Young Entrepreneur: Melissa Fields Tugwell, Founder of PetRays Veterinary Telemedicine Consultants

-Best Canadian Entrepreneur: Shabnam Rezaei, Managing Partner, Big Bad Boo Studios

-Best Overall Company of the Year: Camp Bow Wow

-Lifetime Achievement Award: Jennifer Openshaw, Founder & President, WeSeed & Women's Financial Network

-Mentor of the Year: Nancy Long, Chief HR Officer and Senior VP-Human Resources of Hitachi Data Systems

-Fastest Growing Company of the Year: The Bioengineering Group, Inc.

The 2009 honorees reflect a diverse group of large and small organizations from around the world. Additional Stevie Award winners include: Reading Room (London), iRobot Corporation, Canada Post and more. Eulogy! Public Relations (London) was the only organization to win two Stevie Awards this year, for Best Overall Company of the Year (Services Businesses--up to 100 Employees) and Best Executive in EMEA (President Lara Levanthal). For a complete list of honorees and more information, visit:

The Stevie Awards for Women in Business is an international competition recognizing the accomplishments of outstanding women executives, business owners and the organizations they run. The awards are produced by the creators of the prestigious American Business Awards. The Stevie Awards for Women in Business are governed by a Board of Distinguished Judges and Advisors that features many leading women entrepreneurs and luminaries in business.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Local Bank President Wins International Award

Candace Hunter Wiest, President and CEO of West Valley National Bank, has won the coveted Stevie Award for Women in Business. Wiest claimed the prize for Best Executive for Service Businesses with up to 100 employees. This prestigious international award recognizes accomplishments of outstanding women executives, business owners and the organizations they run.

The Stevie Awards for Women in Business are governed by a Board of Distinguished Judges and Advisors that features many leading women entrepreneurs and luminaries in business. More than 1,100 entries from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted for consideration. Awards were presented at the gala event at New York’s Marriott Marquis Hotel on Nov. 13. We applaud Candace Hunter Wiest for her outstanding leadership with West Valley National Bank and congratulate her on this achievement.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lina Quintero of Elements of Design Honored by the Arizona Republic and 35 Entrepreneurs, 35 and Under

Elements of Design, a full-service, luxury residential and commercial interior design studio in Scottsdale with one of the largest showrooms in the state, is pleased to announce that The Arizona Republic and recently recognized Elements of Design’s owner and lead interior designer, Lina Quintero, as one of Arizona’s top 35 Entrepreneurs, 35 and Under. Quintero was awarded the honor after being selected by a panel of judges who determined the winners from a group of over 175 applicants. The group of applicants was initially divided into the top 35 male and top 35 female competitors. Then the combined list of the top 70 males and females was pared to the definitive list of Arizona’s 35 Entrepreneurs, 35 and Under.

According to The Arizona Republic and, applicants were selected by a five-person panel: Dave Bittner, Beanstalk CFO Group; Anil Jain, managing partner of Endeaver Innovation Partners and a man recognized in the 2008 "35 entrepreneurs" competition: Robin Orchard, president, Orchard Medical Consulting; Andrew Johnson, business and innovations reporter, The Arizona Republic and; and Kathy Tulumello, business editor, The Arizona Republic and

Lina Quintero remarks, “This is an award I will never forget. To be recognized at 27 as one of Arizona’s up-and-coming business leaders is a remarkable accomplishment. Yet, with this accomplishment comes tremendous expectations for the future. This recognition will spur my motivation to take the next giant leap in my career.”

Marcia Mintz Named John C. Lincoln Health Foundation CEO

Valley fundraising leader Marcia L. Mintz has been named chief executive officer of John C. Lincoln Health Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the John C. Lincoln Health Network.

Mintz joins the John C. Lincoln Health Network after four years as chief development officer of Valley of the Sun United Way in Phoenix. Her background includes more than 18 years of international and regional nonprofit and corporate work in development and philanthropy.

“We welcome Marcia’s experience and skills in the areas of development and philanthropy,” said Tom Batson, chairman of the Foundation’s board and Managing Director--Investments, Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC. “She joins a strong team with a long history of supporting health care and community service in Phoenix.”

“I am excited to join the John C. Lincoln Network. The Foundation is uniquely positioned to support both medical excellence and community service programs. Philanthropy and community partnerships will continue to play an important role in our success,” said Mintz.

The John C. Lincoln Health Network has 85 years of history in the north Phoenix community, providing medical care through its North Mountain and Deer Valley hospitals, 20 physician practices and specialty centers and its Desert Mission Food Bank, Children’s Dental Clinic, Community Health Center, Marley House Behavioral Health Clinic, Lincoln Learning Center, Neighborhood Development and Adult Day Health Care. The Foundation helps support these efforts through volunteer and donor activities and two special events a year. Last year, the Night of Gold Ball and Lincoln Guild Invitational Gold Tournament together raised almost $500,000, and the Network served more than 100,000 people.

“As the philanthropic arm of our organization, the Foundation’s mission is to support health care and community services provided through the John C. Lincoln Health Network,” said Rhonda Forsyth, president and CEO of John C. Lincoln Health Network. “We’re proud of what our organization has accomplished over the past 85 years, and we look forward to continuing to grow our services in the challenging years ahead. Marcia will help us build an even stronger organization that stays true to our mission, so we can continue to help the people of Phoenix achieve the highest level of well-being possible.”

Monday, October 19, 2009

Besler of Lewis and Roca Receives 2009 INTA Volunteer Service Award

Lewis and Roca is pleased to announce that Mary Beth Besler has received the International Trademark Association’s 2009 award for the Advancement of Committee or Subcommittee Objectives. This award will be presented, with all of INTA’s 2009 awards, on Nov. 11 at INTA’s 2009 Leadership Meeting in Miami Beach, Florida.

Besler is the Trademark Administrator to the firm’s Intellectual Property practice group. She is also chair of the Young Practitioners Subcommittee of the Membership Services Committee for INTA.

About the International Trademark Association
The International Trademark Association (INTA) is a not-for-profit membership association of more than 5,900 trademark owners and professionals, from more than 190 countries, dedicated to the support and advancement of trademarks and related intellectual property.

About Lewis and Roca LLP
Lewis and Roca has been one of the Southwest’s leading law firms for over 50 years. With offices in Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Reno and Silicon Valley, the firm’s practice includes numerous industry and legal practice areas including business transactions and litigation. For additional information, please visit

2009 Woman of Excellence Award

Phoenix Woman magazine is proud to sponsor the 2009 Woman of Excellence Award, where a special Valley woman will be honored Nov. 13 at the Woman of Excellence Luncheon.

The winner of this award will be one who has demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of women or girls in our community. This "Woman of Excellence" will also demonstrate the type of personal and professional growth that makes her an exemplary "Phoenix Woman."

These are the nominees for the 2009 Woman of Excellence Award:

Donna Bartos
Donna Bartos is the founder of the Purple Ribbon Council to Cut Out Domestic Abuse. She is the creator of Girls Night Out to Cut Out Domestic Abuse, Purple Ribbon Brunch, It’s Okay to Talk About It Community Circles, Rock the Purple, Pedal for Purple and the Pretty in Purple Party.

Elaine Birks-Mitchell
Elaine Birks-Mitchell is CEO of Bosom Buddy Bra Recycling, a green group devoted to recycling new and used bras to various organizations across Arizona and other states.

Margaret Dunn
Margaret Dunn serves Scottsdale as a Board Member of the Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce, and is president of a 45-employee, 21-trolley, $2.5 million-a-year trolley business.

Kristen Sandquist
Kristen Sandquist founded her first non-profit in 1996 called Circle of Friends. In 2003, she founded Visions of Hope. She is president of both organizations, and continues to support several local charities.

Lindsay Rattay
Lindsay Rattay founded Blankets for Babies, an organization that sends quality chenille Boh Boh Blankets to babies and children in need.

Pam Gaber
Pam Gaber is the founder and CEO of Gabriel’s Angels, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of abused, neglected and at-risk children through the application of pet therapy.

Peggy Bilsten
Peggy Bilsten served on the Phoenix City Council for 14 years and was the chair for Governor Napolitano’s Commission to Prevent Domestic Violence against Women, and continues to advocate on behalf of human rights issues facing women.

Sherry Lund
Sherry Lund is the founder and president of several nonprofit organizations including the Victoria Lund Foundaton, named for her stepdaughter who passed away in 2002 from liver failure. She also contributes to several communities programs with the hope of easing the burdens many women face.

Tara Hitchcock
Tara Hitchcock is the anchor/host of the highly rated "Good Morning Arizona" news program that airs each weekday morning on 3TV. She volunteers for several charities, including Best Buddies, Childhelp and the Foundation for Blind Children.

Mary Peterson
Mary Peterson co-founded Maggie’s Place, a community that provides hospitality for pregnant women who wish to change their lives for the better and achieve a variety of goals.

The winner will be announced Nov. 13 at the “Woman of Excellence” luncheon at the Silverleaf Country Club in Scottsdale. Visit the Black Tie Arizona Website for more information and to RSVP for this event.

For more information on the nominees, check out our upcoming Nov./Dec. issue of Phoenix Woman.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Chamber Hires New Account Executive

The Scottsdale Chamber is pleased to announce the addition of Sarah Hansen as Relationship Manager in support of Business Development. Sarah will focus on new member acquisition while also working with existing members and committees in fulfillment of their needs.

Sarah was born and raised in Arvada, CO. She moved to Arizona in 1998 to help start and establish a family business specializing in custom bathroom and kitchen remolding. Sarah also worked at Wells Fargo Bank for over six years. She began as a teller and was quickly promoted to a Customer Service Sales Rep, then a personal banker, and finally attained assistant branch manager. Sarah led a successful sales team and received many awards and accolades from Wells Fargo.

Sarah loves charity and volunteer work, traveling, extreme sports (dirt biking, scuba diving, white water rafting, trap shooting, etc.) movies, plays and spending time with friends and family. Sarah is very devoted to her Jack Russell Terrier named Tootsie Monster. Her main passion in life is helping people, and in her new role with the Scottsdale Chamber, she wants to help local business grow, develop, and prosper.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Philanthropy, Flying are Passions for 2010 Honor Ball Chair

Community involvement and philanthropy have always been important to Paradise Valley resident Sandy Trznadel. She and husband Frank are longtime supporters of the Scottsdale Healthcare Foundation, which is presenting its 34th annual Honor Ball on Feb. 6, 2010.

Sandy is chairing the committee of community leaders organizing the gala black-tie event, which has a new beneficiary this year: The Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare.

Her support for the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center derives from personal experience. Frank's father and Sandy’s mother both lost their battles with cancer.

Watching their parents struggle intensified the Trznadel's commitment to fight cancer, and both are avid supporters of the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center.

Prior to the center’s construction in 2001, Sandy served on the Community Cancer Advisory Council that provided input on its design, services and amenities. Their philanthropy established the Sandy and Frank Trznadel Education Center, which hosts numerous education and support programs in the cancer center.

"When you find a charity that you truly believe in, and you can see where your money is going, you’re able to see the impact it has on the lives of the people in your community," says Sandy.

Born and raised in a small Mississippi town, Sandy Trznadel attended Mississippi State University before moving to Memphis, Tennessee, where she began a modeling career with the prestigious John Robert Powers Agency. A few years later she moved to Chicago and continued to model for the Powers agency.

She met her husband while working in accounting at Comdisco, where Frank was the company's chief financial officer. When the couple married in 1978, Sandy left her job and realized her true passion - flying.

After years of flying and studying, Sandy obtained her private pilot's license, and her commercial and jet ratings. "It's taken many years - but anything worth doing is worth doing well," she says.

Several years ago, Sandy established a private corporation, T.S. Aviation, and flies and charters her plane out of Sky Harbor International Airport. She has also been involved with a program where she is on call to fly sick individuals or vital organs to hospitals and medical centers.

"Over time, you begin to focus on the things that are really important to you. For me, it's wonderful to be able to share my passion and give back at the same time," says Sandy. "And being able to take a hands-on approach is a tremendously rewarding experience."

One of the Valley’s most elegant and exciting black-tie events, The Honor Ball has raised more than $8 million to benefit Scottsdale Healthcare and will be held Saturday evening, Feb. 6, 2010 in The Phoenician Resort Grand Ballroom.

The Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare offers cancer diagnosis, treatment, research, prevention and support services in its facilities at the Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center, attracting patients from across Arizona and the U.S. To learn more about the cancer center, visit

For more information on 2010 Honor Ball, call 480-882-4510.

Photo by Michel F. Sarda

Grant Thornton Appoints Gail Baer to Director of Business Advisory Services

The Phoenix office of Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International, is pleased to announce it has appointed Gail Baer to Director of Business Advisory Services. In her new role, Baer’s responsibilities will include serving as Business Advisory Services practice leader for Grant Thornton’s Desert Cluster, which includes the Phoenix and Albuquerque markets.

Previously, Baer served Grant Thornton as a senior manager in the Phoenix office. She has more than 20 years of experience in information technology auditing and information systems consulting, as well as expertise in Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404 compliance, SAS 70 reviews and internal audit.

Baer earned a Bachelor of Science in Operations, Research & Industrial engineering from Cornell University and has worked in a wide variety of industries including information technology, government, consumer products and health care. She is an active member of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) and the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) and is a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).

AZWP Founder Committed to Helping Women

Paula Cullison has devoted most of her adult life to elevating the status of women. She attributes her success to a “Can Do” attitude. A former New Yorker, Cullison has been a Phoenix Woman since 1974. She is also a 20-year breast cancer survivor and recipient of both the Macy’s For Her Sake Heart and Soul Award and the Susan G. Komen Foundation Ribbon of Hope Award for her long standing advocacy efforts.

With a degree in Industrial Psychology and extensive studies in languages, Cullison’s professional background entails over 25 years of experience in management, marketing, public and community relations, strategic planning, fundraising, program development and implementation, advocacy, and volunteer coordination. Her passion for international travel has led her to writing articles for publication. Cullison’s goal is to encourage women to experience the joy of foreign travel as they broaden their horizons.

As a longtime advocate of women’s rights and a supporter of issues affecting women and girls, Cullison was presented with the Susan B. Anthony Award in April 1999. This was an especially great honor for Cullison because Susan B. Anthony is one of the women she most admires.

Moreover, Cullison served on the Phoenix Women’s Commission for three years and was then appointed to the Phoenix Futures Forum. A finalist for the Athena Award and for the Valley Leadership Award, Cullison served on the board of directors for the Phoenix chapter of the American Association of University Women for several years.

Since 1985, Cullison has been advocating for the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination CEDAW by the US Congress. She has spoken on this issue numerous times to civic organizations and to on-campus student groups. Cullison recently met with AZ Congressional members to discuss CEDAW and will be a speaker at Phoenix College to address this issue, exemplifying the motto, “Think globally and act locally.”

Having presented at the UN Conference for Women in Nairobi, Kenya and the World Women’s Conference in Moscow as a member of the United Nations Association, Cullison recently organized and co-chaired the 60th anniversary dinner for the Celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights here in Phoenix.

Three years ago, American Greetings was not offering an e-card to recognize Women’s Equity Day, which celebrates women’s suffrage. Women were given the right to vote in 1920 by the 19th Amendment, so the holiday on Aug. 26 commemorates an important event. It took Cullison a year of phoning and e-mailing the headquarters, but her persistence paid off and an e-card card was created, which is free for users. She hopes that many will send out these cards.

Cullison’s most recent focus has been the Arizona Women’s Partnership, Inc., a non-profit organization which she created in 2002 to provide grants to grass roots charities that assist underserved women and children at risk here in Arizona. To that end, she also created the fundraising vehicle Wine, Women & Jazz.

AZWP is an all volunteer philanthropic 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that relies on the generosity of the local community. To date, AZWP has awarded over $130,000 in grants to more than 40 non-profits; their profiles are on the website To volunteer time, contact the non-profits directly. The annual fundraiser will be held on April 17, 2010. An AZWP Advisory Committee reviews the grant applications; the form is also available on the website

You may contact Cullison at, or on her Facebook page.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
Welcomes New Vice President

PHOENIX— Michelle Bolton joins the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce this month as its new Vice President, Public Affairs and Economic Development.

Bolton, who has been Arizona State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) for the last 10 years, fills the void created when Todd Sanders became the GPCC’s President & CEO. In her new role, she will spearhead the Chamber’s efforts as the “voice of business” for its 3,400 business members with government officials at the local, county, state and federal levels.

“The relationship between the Valley’s business community and the state legislature is crucial, perhaps now more than ever,” Sanders remarked. “Michelle brings outstanding credentials, with years of advocacy experience in the public policy arena, a deep understanding of the issues that impact business and the ability to build strong coalitions. She will be an excellent addition to our staff and an asset to our members at the Capitol.”

"The opportunity to serve the membership of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce is not only a high honor, but also is a chance to build on the experience I bring over from my previous 15 years of association, advocacy and political work. I'm humbled and deeply thankful for the faith the Chamber has placed in me."

As NFIB’s Arizona State Director, Bolton served as the main conduit between the organization’s 10,000 small business members and lawmakers, state agencies and the community through lobbying, public testimony, speeches and media opportunities. She also worked with legislators, state agencies and stakeholders to craft meaningful legislation in critical areas such as health care, regulatory reform and unemployment insurance reform.

Her career in legislative affairs also includes grassroots efforts on behalf of the American Land Title Association, strategy, fundraising and media planning for the Associated Builders and Contractors, two years as Government Affairs Director for the Realtors Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh (Pa.) and a year as an aide to US Representative (and later Senator) Rick Santorum.

Bolton is a graduate of Arizona State University and is currently working on her Masters in Business Administration from the University of Arizona.

About the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce

Representing 3,400 businesses across Metropolitan Phoenix, the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce is Arizona’s oldest and largest Chamber. The Chamber supports the growth and development of business by offering networking and marketing opportunities, money-saving programs and a voice in government, keeping its members informed, connected and prosperous.

The Chamber enhances members’ success by promoting economic development, entrepreneurship and a connection to the community with local chapters in Anthem, Deer Valley and South Mountain/Laveen.

New Chief Development Officer hired
to head up fundraising efforts

Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Arizona welcomes Lisa Goin, CFRE

The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Arizona is proud to announce that Lisa Goin, CFRE, has been hired as the new Chief Development Officer. Lisa most recently served as the Development Director for the Arizona Humane Society where she was responsible to oversee all areas of fundraising and marketing, including major gifts, direct mail, grants, special events, and the public relations for $8.5 million of an $11.5 million annual operating budget. Lisa has also served in fundraising for PetSmart Charities and the Arizona Animal Welfare League.

For the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Lisa Goin will be sharing the powerful story about this international children’s charity that was founded in Arizona in 1980, and will be charged with raising nearly $4 million in private funding from our community during the organization’s 30th anniversary in 2010. Lisa will also work alongside CEO, Robin Dunn, and the Make-A-Wish board of directors, to institute a planned giving program for sustainable long-term growth, with a goal of granting the wishes of all of the 500 eligible children in Arizona each year by 2014.

About the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Arizona

The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Arizona grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Most people are unaware that Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Arizona is a hometown sensation! The Foundation started in Arizona in 1980 with a young boy’s dream of becoming a police officer and is now the largest wish-granting charity in the world. The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Arizona grants 250 wishes annually, with an average cost of $7,000 to fulfill a wish. For more information, visit and discover how you can share the power of a wish®.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Deborah Charlesworth Joins
West Valley National Bank

Deborah M. “Debbie” Charlesworth has joined West Valley National Bank as Vice President and Business Development Officer. With nearly 30 years of banking experience, Charlesworth brings a deep knowledge and strategic vision to the community bank. “We are tremendously pleased that Debbie is joining our team,” said Candace Hunter Wiest, President and CEO of West Valley National Bank. “Her leadership is a key element to building an even greater presence in the growth of the West Valley.”

Charlesworth is focusing on medical financial services. Her emphasis will be directed towards specialized banking services for the healthcare industry. “It is essential that the changing world of medicine has the best tools for treating patients,” said Charlesworth. “This means creating a partnership with a bank that understands the unique aspects of healthcare, patients and the structure of business.”

With financial services such as practice expansion loans, electronic medical record conversions, office management, accounts receivable financing and commercial real estate loans, West Valley National Bank is actively developing a stronghold in the healthcare market. “Medical institutions, private practices and general healthcare options are growing in the West Valley of metro Phoenix,” added Wiest. “Our bank is making a strong commitment to supporting excellent healthcare for our communities.”

Debbie is also active in the community, serving on the executive committee for Theater Works, a non-profit theater company in Peoria, Arizona and on the board of Leadership West.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lewis and Roca attorneys named to Arizona
State Bar section boards and committees

Lewis and Roca is pleased to announce that five attorneys in its Phoenix office have been elected to the Executive Councils of State Bar of Arizona sections.

Bert Acken was elected to the Executive Council of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section; Emily Bayton was elected Vice Chairperson for the Intellectual Property Section; Kimberly Demarchi was elected Chair-Elect of the Appellate Practice Section; Scott DeWald was elected Chair of the Executive Council of the Business Law Section; and David Weinzweig was elected Chairman of the Antitrust Section.

Acken is a partner in the firm’s Environmental, Natural Resources and Utilities Practice Group. His practice includes assisting industrial, manufacturing, construction, energy and mining clients with air and water permitting and facility siting. He counsels clients in federal, state, and local regulatory compliance and defends clients in regulatory enforcement actions.

Emily Bayton
Bayton is a partner in the firm’s Intellectual Property and Technology Practice Group. She focuses her practice primarily in the areas of trademarks, copyrights and sweepstakes/promotions law. Bayton counsels clients on trademark selection, clearance, registration and prosecution in the United States and around the world.

Kimberly Demarchi
Demarchi is a partner in the firm’s Litigation Group, where she represents public, private and non-profit clients in civil appeals and in the litigation of complex matters. She represents clients at all stages of litigation, with a particular emphasis on litigating complex motions, advising clients and trial counsel on how to preserve and position issues for appeal, and briefing and arguing appellate cases.

DeWald is a partner, and a leading attorney, of the firm's Corporate, Tax and Securities Group. He practices in the areas of corporate, securities, mergers and acquisitions, lending and other commercial transactions, with particular emphasis on the legal needs of high-tech, e-commerce and emerging companies and limited liability companies.

Weinzweig is a partner in the Litigation Group. His practice is concentrated in complex commercial litigation. He advises and represents clients at all stages of commercial disputes. Weinzweig has considerable experience in the antitrust field, which he has practiced in the public and private sectors.

Phoenix writer Jessica McCann wins
inaugural Freedom in Fiction prize

Jessica McCann has won the inaugural Freedom in Fiction Prize for her historical novel, All Different Kinds of Free.

The international prize recognizes the best unpublished work of fiction with the greatest potential for imparting the ideas of free markets, liberty and personal responsibility. The honor includes a $10,000 cash award. It is sponsored by The Mackinac Center for Public Policy ( and supported by the Rodney Fund.

McCann’s novel was inspired by a true story. The narrative is about Margaret Morgan, a free black woman who was kidnapped in 1837, along with her free children, and sold into slavery. Although she fought hard to regain her freedom, Margaret endured tremendous loss and hardship. Her ordeal led to one of the most pivotal Supreme Court cases in America’s history, Prigg v. Pennsylvania, 1842. The history books will have you believe the story of Prigg v. Pennsylvania is important because it ended in controversy and fanned the early embers of the Civil War. This book will have you believe the story is important because it began with Margaret.

As a novel-in-progress, the work also was named a semi-finalist in the 2004 Dana Awards and the 2005 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing competition.

McCann is currently seeking a publisher for her award-winning manuscript and has begun work on a second novel.

A long-time professional freelance writer, McCann’s nonfiction work has been published in local, national and global publications, such as Business Week, Phoenix and ASU Research magazines. Her corporate and nonprofit clients span a variety of industries, including education, gaming, retail, waste management, health care and financial services. (

McCann lives in the Phoenix metropolitan area with her husband and their two children.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Under the Influence:
Overcoming Addiction with Hope

by Barbara Nicholson-Brown

There is nothing unusual or special about my story—it happens every day. Women, men, children, young adults and teens all over the world struggle from the same disease I have: addiction. Not only does this disease destroy families, relationships and careers, it also claims thousands of lives through overdoses, illness, auto fatalities and violence.

Addiction affects 23 million people of all ages in the United States alone. Two-thirds of Americans have friends or family who struggle with addiction. It’s estimated that 5.3 million women in the U.S. drink in a way that threatens their health, safety and general well-being. Alcohol and drugs are incredibly destructive; long term chronic drinking or drug use ravages the body, mind and soul.

In a few more days, I’ll have been clean and sober for 19 years. One of my purposes in this recovered life is to let others know it is possible to live without being chained to a bottle, glass or pill—there is a special freedom that comes from not being under the influence.

Addiction dragged me into the shadows of darkness, hopelessness and isolation. While I was filled with embarrassment and shame for years, asking for help and having to admit to this “problem” seemed unbearable. What would everyone think? Then, one remarkable day after years of hangovers and blackouts, I surrendered. It took time, but I slowly began to understand, feel and believe that I was not alone.

Today, recovery from addiction is more openly talked about. Celebrities and the media have begun making a concerted effort to raise awareness, and little by little, inch by inch, the stigma associated with addiction is slowly lifting—but we have a long way to go. Many people still feel that they must hide their addiction out of fear or shame. I believe that part of my responsibility is to offer the message that hope exists by extending myself to others who have felt the struggle and putting a face to this disease.

Five years ago, in my quest to be part of the larger solution, my husband and I created the Art of Recovery Expo. We envisioned a day when we would have the opportunity to open the doors of the Phoenix Convention Center to the general public. Here, anyone and everyone would have the chance to meet the leading treatment providers, counselors, therapists and professionals in the field of mental health and addiction at no cost.

We would bring in highly recognized speakers and offer workshops, resources, education and—most of all—hope. Today, the Expo has grown to be one of the largest recovery events in September as the nation celebrates National Recovery Month.

As members of our community, we need to speak up about the successes that occur and talk about the realities of this disease. We need to make a difference by removing the stigma addiction still carries. I know for a fact that miracles are abundant for those who make the choice to change. It’s not an easy task, but it is possible. It happened for me in my worst moment of despair; I was offered something as simple as a glimmer of hope. I invite you to join us at the Expo this year and see the smiles that recovery brings. Today, my life is under a new kind of influence: hope.

Barbara Nicholson-Brown is Founder of the Art of Recovery Expo and Publisher of Arizona Together, a monthly publication with a focus on addiction recovery.

* * * * * *
Visit the 5th Annual Art of Recovery Expo
This year’s presenting speaker at the Art of Recovery Expo will be Christopher Kennedy Lawford, the first-born child of President John F. Kennedy’s sister, Patricia, and famous Rat Pack actor, Peter Lawford. Lawford is an actor and bestselling author who struggled with addiction for many years. Sober now for 22 years, he shares his personal story with others in his memoir, Symptoms of Withdrawal, Moments of Clarity and Healing Hepatitis C, in hopes of making a difference.

5th Annual Art of Recovery Expo
Saturday, Sept. 19, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Phoenix Convention Center, Hall G

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

PRIME 3 continues as leader in Phoenix PR
and marketing industry

In an economy that has been torn apart through the biggest economic downturn in years, one woman business owner sees the silver lining and is leading clientele into the spotlight. Now sole owner of PRIME 3, Jennifer Stringfellow, has taken what she’s learned through her 15 plus years of experience in the Phoenix market to lead PRIME 3, and most importantly their clientele, to bigger and brighter futures.

“As leaders in this industry, we’ve been noticing the community and companies across the board regaining their optimism for the future and investing in services such as PR, marketing and events. Many see the added value and are once again taking steps toward regaining their edge in their respective industries,” says Stringfellow. “As a company that focuses on all aspects of PR, marketing and event planning, we’ve been creating new and unique ways to help our clients stay top of mind, be it through social media campaigns on Twitter and Facebook to creating events and unique story angles pertaining to not only their services, but relating to industry trends and economic trends as well.”

Beginning her career servicing clients in marketing and sales, Jennifer Stringfellow’s successes did not go unnoticed, and she was soon offered a position with a television production company where she spent more than five years. Here she created and managed new divisions, increased profit over 300 percent and led the company to continued success as the chief operations officer. The hands-on and management experience in public relations, production, events, marketing and all facets of the company with a diverse group of clients was an invaluable experience that since led her to co-found PRIME 3 in 2005, of which she has now taken sole ownership.

Having worked with a diverse client base of over 90 companies and organizations, stretching across all industries, some of PRIME 3’s current clientele include the Arizona Cardinals Fan Club, The Big Red Army, Cadillac Ranch All-American Bar and Grill, AMA-PRO superbike racer Jonny Rock Page, Luci's Healthy Marketplace, Recess Kids Club, Rejuvena Health and Aesthetics, Sprinkles Cupcakes and Z'Tejas Southwestern Grill.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Shonna James Communications recognized
with Communicator, Spectrum Awards

Shonna James Communications, a full-service marketing communications company based in Phoenix, has received two awards for its work on the 2008 U.S. Bank Arizona Celebration of Lights event.

In a national competition, Shonna James Communications (SJC) was chosen from 7,000 entries for a 2009 Communicator Award of Distinction in the Special Event category. The company was recognized for its abilities to create a strong brand identity, solicit and confirm sponsors, design collateral materials, confirm significant press coverage, and impact charitable donations.

Locally, SJC was recognized with a 2009 Spectrum Award from the Phoenix Chapter of the American Marketing Association. One of three finalists in the Event Marketing category, SJC was confirmed the winner by judges who stated that its entry "displayed the qualities of a successful, highly integrated, comprehensive campaign: a variety of promotions, a suite of sponsors and substantial press."

"We are pleased to receive these awards, which acknowledge the excellence of our team and efforts on behalf of this event," said Shonna James, president of SJC. "We look forward to this year's event, at which we will introduce more energy efficient, LED lights and an outdoor ice-skating rink, from which our charities, the City of Glendale and residents of the entire state of Arizona will once again benefit!"

Established in 1998, Shonna James Communications' service profile includes media, community and employee relations, crisis management and event planning services. The company can be reached at (602) 424-7822 or at

Monday, June 29, 2009

Scottsdale CFO leaves employees impressed

Every once in a great while, a fantastic leader comes around and makes a positive impact on those around her. Employees of Blood Systems, Inc. in Scottsdale are lucky enough to call Susan L. Barnes their boss, and realize the benefits of working under such a qualified individual.

Originally from Pennsylvania, Barnes has been with Blood Systems, Inc.—an internationally known leader in blood banking—for the past 16 years as CFO and vice president. She is an excellent mentor as well as the financial leader of the company.

Together with its divisions, Blood Systems, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, tax-exempt organization. It is a “fee for service” organization and is a founding member of the AABB and America’s Blood Centers. Both
organizations play a major role in communicating advances in transfusion medicine nationwide. Blood Systems is also a member-owner of Blood Centers of America, an organization dedicated to improving the operating effectiveness of its members. With the help of leaders such as Barnes, Blood Systems, Inc. has been making a difference in people’s lives and delivering proven service for more than 65 years.

Although blood is freely given by volunteers, there are significant costs to recruit blood donors and then to collect, test, process and deliver blood to hospitals. Blood centers charge hospitals a processing fee to cover these costs. To meet quality standards comparable to those in pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, blood centers invest heavily in procedure development, training, equipment and facilities.

Like all organizations―whether for-profit or non-profit―blood centers must be financially fit to continue to fulfill their lifesaving missions. Gifted with the great ability to budget and plan for the future of a company, Barnes has developed many tools and models that have been very effective in planning and tracking the growth of Blood Systems, Inc.

By setting clear expectations, leading by example, cultivating unique individual talents and showing appreciation for her employees’ efforts, Barnes has created a positive professional environment at Blood Systems Inc. It’s no surprise that she has gained the respect and admiration of her staff.

Monday, June 22, 2009

First Fidelity’s Harrison promoted
to Senior Vice President

First Fidelity Bank President and CEO Lee Symcox is pleased to announce Marsha Harrison has been promoted to the position of senior vice president, treasury services relationship manager.

As treasury services manager, Harrison is responsible for supporting First Fidelity’s commercial and business banking teams. Her duties include client development and retention through assisting commercial customers with treasury management products and services.

Harrison has nearly 25 years of business and banking experience. She has served as First Fidelity’s treasury services representative in the Arizona market since 2007. Before joining First Fidelity, Harrison worked as an independent events and marketing consultant to Fortune 500 companies nationwide.

First Fidelity Bank, N.A., a nationally chartered bank established in 1921, is a family-owned, privately held full-service banking institution. The bank currently has 28 offices serving the Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Phoenix and Scottsdale metro markets. With total assets of more than $1.1 billion, First Fidelity provides commercial and retail banking, investment and trust services, mortgage origination and merchant services. For more information, visit

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Martz Agency receives certification
as Women’s Business Enterprise

Martz Agency, a fully integrated marketing and public relations agency, announced today that it has received national certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise Council-West, a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.

WBENC’s national standard of certification implemented by WBENC West is a meticulous process including an in-depth review of the business and site inspection. The certification process is designed to confirm the business is at least 51 percent owned, operated and controlled by a woman or women.

“I have always had the utmost respect for WBENC and its work as an advocate for female business owners,” said Carrie Martz, CEO, Martz Agency. “As such, I’m thrilled that the Martz Agency is now certified by WBENC.”

By including women-owned businesses among their vendors, corporations and government agencies demonstrate their commitment to fostering diversity and the continued development of their supplier/vendor diversity programs.

To learn more about the Martz Agency, visit

ABC animal shelter open house brings
fundraising closer to 2009 goal

The ABC Animals Benefit Club, a non-profit, no-kill animal shelter in North Phoenix, held it’s second annual open house and fundraiser June 14. The fundraiser was done in order to ensure the continuous care and welfare of the dogs and cats at the sanctuary and to make sure the shelter is able to keep its doors open in these challenging economic times.

Over 180 guests attended the event, which focused on animal adoption, the art of being a foster parent to an animal in need and the goal to raise $ 60,000 from the event.

“We are about 20% closer to our 2009 target," said Andra Jeffress, president of the volunteer board of ABC during a TV interview Sunday. “We understand that times are hard for a lot of individuals, but they are even harder for a lot of animals, that get thoughtlessly left behind and abandoned by their owners. This is where ABC comes in and nurtures the animals at our sanctuary.”

The shelter needs another $48,000 to ensure continuity in the operation for 2009. Expenses have already been cut over 30% compared to prior years and the operation is running nearly on all volunteer efforts.

In addition to cash donations, ABC is looking for individuals to participate in the new monthly donor program, donations for goods (blankets, food, laundry detergent and other items), and mostly for good homes that want to adopt a dog or cats in need.

For information on any of these programs or more please go to:

Shonna James Communications recognized
with Communicator, Spectrum awards

Shonna James Communications, a full service marketing communications company based in Phoenix, has received two awards for its work on the 2008 U.S. Bank Arizona Celebration of Lights event.

In a national competition, Shonna James Communications (SJC) was chosen from 7,000 entries for a 2009 Communicator Award of Distinction in the Special Event category. The company was recognized for its abilities to create a strong brand identity, solicit and confirm sponsors, design collateral materials, confirm significant press coverage, and impact charitable donations.

Locally, SJC was recognized with a 2009 Spectrum Award from the Phoenix Chapter of the American Marketing Association. One of three finalists in the Event Marketing category, SJC was confirmed the winner by judges who stated that its entry “displayed the qualities of a successful, highly integrated, comprehensive campaign: a variety of promotions, a suite of sponsors and substantial press.”

“We are pleased to receive these awards, which acknowledge the excellence of our team and efforts on behalf of this event,” said Shonna James, president of SJC. “We look forward to this year’s event, at which we will introduce more energy efficient, LED lights and an outdoor ice-skating rink, from which our charities, the City of Glendale and residents of the entire state of Arizona will once again benefit!”

Established in 1998, Shonna James Communications' service profile includes media, community and employee relations, crisis management and event planning services. The company can be reached at (602) 424-7822 or online at

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale staff receive top honors at national conference

John Patris-Browne, Youth Development Supervisor at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Mary Ellen & Robert McKee Branch, located in Fountain Hills, was presented the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Academy of Professionals “Distinguished Professional Award” at the national conference held in Atlanta on May 13-16, 2009.
John has been working for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale since 1993. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Communication from Arizona State University. During his youth, John attended the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Virginia G. Piper Branch and is an example of how Club programs and mentoring he received made a positive and lasting impression.

The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale is second in the nation with 14 staff earning this honor, which is given based on work history, professional development, training experiences and education. All 14 are members of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Academy of Professionals, a program created in 1998 to recognize staff nationwide that demonstrates a commitment to fulfilling the strategic goals and objectives that supports the organization’s mission. The Academy honors staff for continued professional growth and development that demonstrates the highest levels of competence and performance within their jobs.

Lisa Glow joins Children's Museum of Phoenix
as Director of Development

The Children’s Museum of Phoenix announced today that Lisa Glow has joined the staff as Director of Development. Lisa’s work will focus on major individual giving and larger fundraising strategies including the Museum’s current Raise the Climber Capital Campaign and Annual Giving Campaign.

Lisa most recently served as President & CEO of Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC), a title she held for three years. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona College of Law, and has had a distinguished career in private practice and in state government including the position of Executive Director of the Arizona’s Governor’s Division for Children, Youth and Families.

Lisa joins the staff at a transitional period in the Museum’s Development Department as Kate Wells, current Director of Development and Communications, and Museum Founder, prepares to leave the organization at the end of the month.

"We cannot be happier with this new addition to our team," said Debbie Gilpin, President & CEO of the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. "Lisa brings a great deal of experience and knowledge to this position not only in the nonprofit development arena but also in the areas of early childhood education and child development. We are excited and proud to have her join our team."

Monday, June 15, 2009

Susan Ratliff Named Advocate of the Year Finalist

Washington, D.C. — NSBA today honored Susan Ratliff of Phoenix-based Exhibit Experts, Inc. as a finalist for the 2009 Lewis Shattuck Small Business Advocate of the Year Award. Ratliff was recognized among four other entrepreneurs during NSBA’s Annual Advocate of the Year Award Luncheon held Tuesday, June 9 at in Washington, D.C.

“Susan Ratliff is the embodiment of the word ‘entrepreneur,’” stated NSBA President Todd McCracken. “Her zeal for helping other small-business owners is not only impressive, it is making a difference every day to entrepreneurs across Arizona.”

Ratliff has been a small-business owner since 1988, during which time she’s taken an active role as small-business cheerleader, supporter, encourager, teacher and promoter. A true believer in the power of entrepreneurship, Ratliff created the first Women Entrepreneurs’ Small Business Boot Camp which just celebrated its fifth anniversary. Ratliff has been involved with NSBA, the Entrepreneurial Mothers Association, the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Chambers of Commerce, the National Speakers Association, NAWBO and the Arizona Small Business Association, to name a few.

Beyond her broad involvement in small-business organizations, Ratliff is a true believer in the power of entrepreneurship. When asked by the warden of a women’s prison in Perryville, Arizona to speak to the inmates, Ratliff’s talk about entrepreneurship turned it into a moving address to women whose lives she touched by giving them positive perspectives on their future.

The criteria used in determining award finalists was a commitment to small business advocacy, a proven history of volunteer activism on behalf of the small-business community, and success and growth as a small-business owner.

Since 1937, NSBA has advocated on behalf of America’s entrepreneurs. A staunchly nonpartisan organization, NSBA reaches more than 150,000 small businesses nationwide and is proud to be the nation’s first small-business advocacy organization. For more information, please visit

Molly Brogan
VP of Public Affairs
National Small Business Association
1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 552-2904 office
(202) 276-2131 cell
(202) 872-8543 fax

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Purina Cat Chow Connected for the Cause
Celebrates Breast Cancer Survivors
and their Feline Companions

Purina Cat Chow understands the unique bond between an owner and their cat and the connection they share. Recently, Purina Cat Chow surveyed breast cancer survivors with cats nationwide. The study results emphasized the important emotional connection and relationship owners have with their cats, a relationship that inspired Purina Cat Chow to raise funds for Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the world’s largest breast cancer advocacy organization. According to the Purina Cat Chow national study, breast cancer patients that own a cat report that their relationship with their cat has played an important role in their treatment and recovery: 73 percent said their cats knew they were sick and needed their support while undergoing treatment; 68 percent of survivors conveyed they found comfort from their cat during their treatment and 82 percent felt that their cats were there to greet them when they came home from treatment.

Dr. Karen Sueda, Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, explains that cats are perceptive to their owners needs during an illness. “Whether fighting a disease such as breast cancer or going through a rough period in life such as job loss or financial stress, cats often display intuitive behaviors of knowing when their owners need extra love and support.”

This year Purina Cat Chow will donate more than $200,000 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure through the Connected for the Cause campaign. Enduring breast cancer is extremely difficult, but having a feline companion throughout the journey helps women receive the comfort they need.

For more information, visit

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Recent Greater Phoenix Economic
Council Intern Wins Fulbright Grant

Ali Anderson Headed to South Korea to Teach English, Launch Magazine

June 2, 2009 (Phoenix, Arizona) – Former Greater Phoenix Economic Council intern Ali Anderson has been awarded one of the most prestigious U.S. government grants – the Fulbright.

Thanks to the grant, Anderson will depart her native Arizona in early July for South Korea, where she will spend a year teaching English, launching an English-language literary magazine and facilitating an international newspaper exchange program.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright Program sends thousands of Americans abroad each year to study, research, teach or lecture. Anderson, 21, will serve as a teaching assistant for secondary school English classes, teaching conversational English, as well as U.S. culture.

A May 2009 ASU economics graduate, Anderson also plans to publish a local literary magazine, where her students can showcase their English skills. In addition, she wants her students to exchange school newspapers with Chaparral High School, her Alma Mater in Scottsdale.

She doesn’t know what town she’ll be placed in or what family she’ll live with, but Anderson says those mysteries don’t worry her.

“The most unnerving part, for me, is being unfamiliar with the language,” she said.

Anderson has never traveled to the country she’ll soon call home, nor has she studied the language. She plans to teach herself the basics this summer and will get six weeks of instruction upon arrival.

She says interning in the Netherlands for the U.S. Department of State last summer taught her to assimilate to foreign cultures. She also expects her two internships at GPEC, which totaled 14 months, will help in Asia.

“After being an intern for GPEC, it doesn’t really matter what situation you’re thrown into. You’ll know how to do it,” she said, commenting on the broad, fast-paced quality of GPEC’s research department internships.

Anderson credits GPEC’s Vice President of International Business Development Rodrick Miller with sparking her interest in the Fulbright Program. Miller studied international management and finance as a Fulbrighter in Monterrey, Mexico from 1999 to 2000.

“Being accepted into the Fulbright Program is extremely difficult. For some, succeeding in a foreign land can be even more testing,” Miller said. “Ali has completed the first part of the challenge, and I have no doubt her intelligence, drive and experience will allow her to excel in the second.”

GPEC President and CEO Barry Broome echoed this sentiment. “Ali’s receipt of a Fulbright Grant is an incredible accomplishment, and GPEC is extremely proud,” he said. “Ali’s work in South Korea will show the world what Arizonans have to offer.”

After her stay in Asia, Anderson aspires to attend law school. But first, she needed to get the travel bug out of her system.

She chose South Korea because she had done research on the country as part of her internship with the Department of State. Rumors that Korean is easy to learn helped sway her, as well.

With plans to join a biking club, learn to cook traditional dishes and travel to Thailand and Cambodia, Anderson said she feels prepared for her stay. There’s just one more thing on her mind.

“I’m not the biggest fan of fish,” she said hesitantly. “But I’m sure I will learn to like it!”

About the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC)
A true public/private partnership, GPEC is the regional economic development organization for Greater Phoenix. Working with its 18 member communities, Maricopa County and more than 140 private investors, GPEC attracts quality businesses to this dynamic region. By creating a high-performance economy through capital investments and jobs, Greater Phoenix companies enjoy a business climate where they can compete and thrive in today's global economy. Since 1989, GPEC has worked to achieve an economically sound and sustainable region. For more information, visit

Candace Hunter Wiest
Honored by Federal Reserve

First Woman Elected to 12th District Acclaimed
by Ben Bernanke

Candace Hunter Wiest, President and CEO of West Valley National Bank, has been honored for her service to the Federal Reserve Bank at the 12th District Conference with Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve in attendance.  Wiest was presented with a silver platter symbolizing her impressive leadership as well as her place in history as the first woman elected to the 12th District.  The only Arizona banker ever to serve on the Federal Reserve, Wiest has been an active leader within the powerful organization.

During her tenure on the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Wiest was first elected to a three-year term in 2003.  She was subsequently re-elected for another three-year term in 2006.  Wiest also served on the FRBSF Audit Committee, Performance Committee and Public Information Committee.  “The 12th District is the largest bank in the Federal Reserve,” explained Wiest.  “It serves 20 percent of the U.S. population.  With such an impressive influence on the American banking system, it was essential to take each and every action with a thoughtful approach.”

Federal Reserve policy takes into consideration the short-term and long-term impact of the economy.  “I believe the leadership of the Federal Reserve is strong and capable of guiding our nation through times of great economic change,” added Wiest.

Wiest leads the only privately held bank west of I-17.  West Valley National Bank was formed in 2006 and has assets totaling $39,000,000.  “The future of our nation is dependent upon local businesses that innovate, search for opportunity and at the same time negotiate through challenges,” says Wiest.  “The West Valley is dynamic and fundamental to the success of our state, and I see businesses here moving towards a strong and sustainable future.”

  • Candace Hunter Wiest, President/CEO West Valley National Bank.  First woman ever elected to the Federal Reserve 12th District.  Only Arizona banker to ever serve Federal Reserve 12th District.
  • West Valley National Bank President/CEO honored by Federal Reserve 12th District for leadership and service.
  • Candace Hunter Wiest is the only Arizona banker ever to serve on the Federal Reserve in the history of the 12th District.
  • West Valley National Bank is the only privately held bank west of I-17.

Linda Field Joins Keats, Connelly and Associates

Keats, Connelly and Associates, LLC, a wealth management firm with approximately $200 million under advisement that assists Canadians and Americans in realizing their dreams of a cross-border lifestyle, is pleased to announce Linda Field, CPA, has rejoined the Phoenix office full-time as a tax manager, where she will supervise tax personnel and assist clients with their tax planning and tax preparation. 

Field has been involved in corporate and public accounting for more than 13 years and previously worked for Keats, Connelly and Associates and its sister company, Cross Border Tax & Accounting, LLC, from 2006 to 2009 as both a full-time and freelance employee, where she prepared taxes and performed financial analysis.

Field has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Arizona and lives in Northeast Phoenix with her husband, Mark, and three children.

About Keats, Connelly and Associates
Keats, Connelly and Associates, LLC is the largest wealth management firm in the United States specializing in cross-border issues. With offices in Arizona, Florida and Michigan, the firm’s focus is to reduce the stress associated with living, investing and working on both sides of the border, while at the same time creating opportunities for very large potential tax savings. The firm’s fee-only compensation model enables the company to maintain its philosophy of promoting clients’ best interests, at all times, while avoiding any potential conflict of interest with commissions.  For more information, please visit

Five Valley Women Earn
Golden Heart of Business Awards
for Philanthropy

Phoenix, Ariz. --- June 2, 2009--- AZ magazine, a division of Republic Media, announced the winners of its Golden Heart of Business Awards for philanthropy today. These awards have been presented since 1996 by Arizona Woman and are now featured in AZ Magazine. The magazine features information about this prestigious award and insight into the personal lives, professional achievements and philanthropic work of the five Valley women chosen:

Dana Campbell Saylor has committed herself to developing women as she advises the YWCA board in development of strategic plans and implementation of programs and services to the community.

Joanie L. Flatt contributes public relations for a variety of causes and built the firm she founded nearly 20 years ago primarily around clients who make a difference in people's lives.

Leslie Motter sits on the boards of various philanthropic foundations as she manages about 3,300 Valley employees who work in the American Express centers.

Marisue Garganta has worked on 100+ community programs during her eight years with St. Joseph's including the United Way's Success by 6 program and the Maternity Outreach Mobile.

Rasheda Worthy provides health programs and other services for at risk families, and community outreach to youths and adults.

AZ magazine helps you celebrate the joys of Valley living with a fresh look at style, culture and people like these exceptional individuals. Laura Trujillo, editor of AZ magazine said, "We are excited to showcase these women and honor their contributions to the business world, and most importantly, the work they do with various non-profit organizations to help the people of Arizona."
Discover how these local women are making a positive impact in your community. Don't miss this inspiring issue of AZ magazine, celebrating Valley women in leadership.

Throughout June, AZ magazine and The Arizona Republic will profile dynamic women leaders, examine the state of women's leadership, and offer strategies for women to use in challenging times. The series of stories will be capped off with the July announcement of the 2009 Arizona Woman of the Year. Look for the winner in the July issue of AZ magazine.

Republic Media is a multi-media company delivering local news and information to the Phoenix marketplace. Republic Media reaches over 1.1 million Phoenix adults every day. Among its product portfolio are The Arizona Republic,, La Voz, AZ Magazine, and several other print and online products.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Brown Mackie College Book Drive begins with contribution of 10 million written words

Brown Mackie College Phoenix has begun its Book Drive to benefit VNSA (Volunteer Nonprofit Service Association) at the new campus, 13430 North Black Canyon Highway. Phoenix Councilwoman Thelda Williams, VNSA Vice-President Virginia Boardman, Brown Mackie College – Phoenix President Debra Thibodeaux, students, faculty and friends made the first contributions of more than 10 million written words.

VNSA, an all-volunteer organization founded in 1949, collects books year-round for its annual VNSA Used Book Sale. In 2009, VNSA raised more than $340,000 for Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation, Literacy Volunteers of Maricopa County and Toby House.

"Books cultivate learning and support our philosophy to grow your life, evolve your mind and become your vision," Thibodeaux said. "Brown Mackie is committed to making contributions to our community. We honor the volunteers who serve VNSA and are pleased to lead this on-campus book drive."

Donations of hardback, paperback and audio books, CD's, movies, records, puzzles, maps and other book-related items may be dropped off at the Brown Mackie – Phoenix donation box located just outside the front entrance.

Classes begin at Brown Mackie College - Phoenix

Doors have opened and classes have begun at Brown Mackie College - Phoenix, the Valley's newest higher learning institution. In addition to a traditional campus setting, the 24,800 square-foot college, located at 13430 N. Black Canyon Highway, features "smart" classrooms, a surgical laboratory, an occupational therapy laboratory and a myriad of facilities for hands-on learning.

Brown Mackie College - Phoenix offers bachelor’s degree programs in Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, and Healthcare Management; and associate’s degree programs in Accounting Technology, Business Management, Criminal Justice, Healthcare Administration, Medical Assisting, Paralegal, and Surgical Technology.

The school’s educational model is designed with the needs of students in mind – flexible academic program delivery options offered at convenient times, personalized instruction and small classes which enable students to fulfill work or family obligations as they pursue a higher education degree.

“Our aim is to be a strong Phoenix partner by providing academic programs enabling students to acquire the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in their chosen occupations,” Debra Thibodeaux, president of Brown Mackie College - Phoenix, said. “The school’s curriculum and educational programs are tailored to enable students to achieve their professional and personal aspirations while making a meaningful, successful, and long-lasting contribution to the community.”

For information on classes at Brown Mackie College – Phoenix, call (888) 824-4793 or visit the school’s website at

Candace Hunter Wiest Honored
by Federal Reserve

Candace Hunter Wiest, President and CEO of West Valley National Bank, has been honored for her service to the Federal Reserve Bank at the 12th District Conference with Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve in attendance. Wiest was presented with a silver platter symbolizing her impressive leadership as well as her place in history as the first woman elected to the 12th District. The only Arizona banker ever to serve on the Federal Reserve, Wiest has been an active leader within the powerful organization.

During her tenure on the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Wiest was first elected to a three-year term in 2003. She was subsequently re-elected for another three-year term in 2006. Wiest also served on the FRBSF Audit Committee, Performance Committee and Public Information Committee. “The 12th District is the largest bank in the Federal Reserve,” explained Wiest. “It serves 20 percent of the U.S. population. With such an impressive influence on the American banking system, it was essential to take each and every action with a thoughtful approach.”

Federal Reserve policy takes into consideration the short-term and long-term impact of the economy. “I believe the leadership of the Federal Reserve is strong and capable of guiding our nation through times of great economic change,” added Wiest.

Wiest leads the only privately held bank west of I-17. West Valley National Bank was formed in 2006 and has assets totaling $39,000,000. “The future of our nation is dependent upon local businesses that innovate, search for opportunity and at the same time negotiate through challenges,” says Wiest. “The West Valley is dynamic and fundamental to the success of our state, and I see businesses here moving towards a strong and sustainable future.”

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Physician Referral Service Available 24/7

Valley residents now have 24/7 access to physician referral information that can point them to primary care physicians and specialists - and also help identify specific physician qualities such as languages spoken and training.

St. Luke’s Medical Center, Tempe St. Luke’s Medical Center, a campus of St. Luke's Medical Center, and Mountain Vista Medical Center recently launched the free service, which is staffed by bilingual representatives. Valley residents may call 1-877-351-WELL (9355) for physicians on the medical staff at St. Luke's Medical Center and Tempe St. Luke's Hospital or 1-877-924-WELL (9355) for physicians on the medical staff at Mountain Vista Medical Center in East Mesa.

In addition to finding a physician, callers can register for an upcoming seminar, become a Senior Advantage member, or learn more about the services that the hospitals provide. For more information, visit, or

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mutual of Omaha Bank Appoints
Greater Phoenix Market Managers

Mutual of Omaha Bank has added two new managers to help serve the financial needs of the Greater Phoenix Community.

Jessica Martinez Emes has been appointed to Community Bank Manager for the Pima headquarters branch at 9200 E Pima Center Parkway. In this position, Emes will lead a team responsible for the growth and development of the Pima branch in Scottsdale.

Jessica joins us from BBVA Compass Bank where she worked as a Commercial Relationship Manager. Prior to BBVA Compass Bank, she held positions as a Business Banker and Branch Manager at JP Morgan Chase. Her retail and commercial experience will be a great resource for serving the financial needs of local businesses.

Ms. Emes is actively involved in the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce and Chicanos Por la Causa. She holds her Financial Series 6 and 63 licenses and speaks fluent Spanish.

Cynthia Davis has been appointed to Community Bank Manager for the Shea and Tatum Branches located in Scottsdale and Phoenix. In this position, Davis will lead two teams responsible for the deposit and loan growth in both Scottsdale and Phoenix.

Ms. Davis brings over 35 years in the financial services industry to Mutual of Omaha Bank. Most recently she held senior management positions with First National Bank, Community First National Bank and Bank One. Her wealth of knowledge in the retail world will be a huge asset to Mutual of Omaha Bank customers and both of the teams she will lead.

Mutual of Omaha Bank is a full-service bank providing financial solutions to individuals and businesses across the United States. With more than $3.5 billion in assets, Mutual of Omaha Bank has full-service locations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska and Nevada, and operates offices in Florida, Iowa, Kansas and Texas. It is a subsidiary of Mutual of Omaha, a 100-year-old leader in the insurance and financial services industry. For more information about Mutual of Omaha Bank, visit