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.