Feedback: September 2019

by Amy Armstrong, Paige Heavey and Ruzica Markovic

What is the single greatest advantage to being in metro Phoenix, and how are you using it to benefit your business?

AMY ARMSTRONG

Interim CEO
Social Venture Partners Arizona
Sector: Philanthropy

Phoenix may be the fifth-largest city in the country, but it has a small town feel when it comes to relationships. Most people are connected by what seems like just a few degrees of separation; and thanks to LinkedIn and Facebook, that distance is shortened even more. In philanthropy in the Valley, it’s even more connected. Our community has a very “all together” approach to helping solve the issues facing our fellow citizens.

As a younger city in the nation, we don’t see as much of the traditional philanthropy where “old money” families do most of the funding. In Phoenix, those interconnected relationships work together collectively. As a membership-based organization, Social Venture Partners thrives on Partners engaging their friends and colleagues to work together. We pool our resources — in time, talent and treasure — to increase the success and capacity of our local nonprofits. It is work that none of us could do alone but, through our relationships, we join together to make the impact even greater. In Phoenix, everyone can be a philanthropist.

Amy Armstrong, an Arizona native, is currently serving as the interim CEO of Social Venture Partners Arizona, where she has been a partner for 11 years. She is also the founder and board chair of Support My Club and holds various roles in philanthropy as director of the Kiita Foundation, grant advisor of the Armstrong Family Foundation, and co-founder of Next Generation Philanthropists.


PAIGE HEAVEY

President
Bridge Relocation Concierge
Sector: Professional Services – Relocation

Quality of life helps companies choose Metro Phoenix over other cities. Complementing work opportunity are many excellent school choices, including STEM, arts and theater, college prep, and foreign language immersion. Simply put, company decision makers see their employees finding their niche here.

Our business benefits because, when we showcase these livability aspects along with an affordable house with palm trees and pool within a reasonable commute to work, company executives say “yes” to moving here.

Visitors often start with skepticism over such issues as lack of water or perceived gun violence, but that’s dispelled when they’re touring neighborhoods and schools with us, seeing for themselves the benefits of living, raising a family and enjoying our lifestyle.

We’ve helped attract companies and talent because we’re on the streets daily, spread throughout the Valley, and can share in-depth knowledge and backstories that help them choose the best neighborhood for their family to set up shop. So we’ve had long-standing relationships with companies and economic development groups that call on us to help showcase the city.

As a leader with consulting firm Accenture, Paige Heavey relocated to Arizona and created an outstanding quality of life for herself. She is now president of Bridge Relocation Concierge, which she founded with a mission to share that with others so they can live, work and love Arizona. She’s actively involved in the community with Girl Scouts, as a PTO board member and member of Charter 100.


RUZICA MARKOVIC

President & CEO
Pro One Media Productions, Inc.
Sector: Media

Metro Phoenix is the smallest big city in the world—a city where relationships and people still matter. As an immigrant and a transplant from the Midwest (albeit 22 years ago), I often reflect on how a city with this much diversity and, yes, culture, got a bad rap. I often think that our tight business community appears more homogenous than it truly is. Certainly one that, despite the misnomers, is incredibly generous. The business leaders, who weave this city together, really care about advancing socio-economic solutions and advancing community.

That said, if you want to advance your business in Phoenix, find a cause, get involved, volunteer and, if possible, get on the board. Helping others is the best way to help yourself in this city. You will meet amazing people who will refer business and mentor you through the speedbumps. As a senior-marketingexec- turned-business-owner, I’d love to tell you Google Ad Words and Geofencing are key. But they’re not. Get involved in this community; the pay-back will blow you away personally and professionally.

A senior marketing executive with more than 25 years of experience, Ruzica Markovic acquired Pro One Media Productions, Inc., a 35-year-old multimedia, video and marketing agency, last year. As a global strategist, Markovic has extensive experience working with public, global companies in highly regulated industries of education, financial services and healthcare. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

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