Prep for Open Enrollment

by Stephanie Waldrop

For many, open enrollment is a dreaded time of year. With more than 20 years of open enrollment seasons under my belt, I have experienced my fair share of employers calling me in crisis because they just received their insurance renewals and do not have a good plan of action. The problem with this approach is that it leaves little time to properly plan for success. This year … [More]

6 Ways Your Business Can Support the Nonprofit Community for Arizona Gives Day

by Jennifer Purcell

Arizona Gives is celebrating its 10th anniversary of the Arizona Gives Day event on April 5–6 this year, with the “early giving” period starting March 15. Since 2013, the online giving platform AZGives.org has raised more than $30 million for nonprofit organizations across the state to benefit Arizona communities.  As a business professional, you may be wondering how your … [More]

More Than a Bank: A Community Partner 

by Jennifer Purcell

FirstBank has been the presenting sponsor for the Arizona Gives program since its inception. Its focus on “banking for good” is one it takes seriously, literally even, and it’s evident in its partnership to this program over the past 10 years and its ongoing commitment to giving both its time and financial resources to all types of causes. Arizona Gives is a statewide online … [More]

Arizona Foundation for Women

At Arizona Foundation for Women, we envision an Arizona where all women are safe, healthy and economically independent. Since 1995, we have worked to advance the status of Arizona’s women through a holistic strategy of research, programming, advocacy and philanthropy. When a woman’s power and potential are respected, children and families are healthier, economies are … [More]

Aunt Rita’s Foundation

Aunt Rita’s Foundation, in its current form, has been pursuing since 2005 its mission to end HIV in Arizona but has a rich history dating back to the 1980s in the beginning years of the epidemic. Starting out as a bake-sale fundraiser to provide relief for those living with and dying from AIDS to becoming the leading philanthropy nonprofit organization in Arizona, we deliver … [More]

Diana Gregory Outreach Services

Founded in 2010 with a mission to “enrich lives through healthy eating.” Diana Gregory Outreach Services and Gregory’s Fresh Market address food insecurity issues resulting from poverty. The organization works to restore meaningful food access and eliminate health disparities in under-resourced communities. DGOS and GFM accomplish this by providing seniors and veterans access … [More]

New Pathways for Youth

At New Pathways for Youth, we’re awakening the full human potential to bring about individual and community transformation. In the communities we serve, youth experience poverty and four times the adversity of their peers. Beyond material insecurities, these challenges interrupt a youth’s sense of their potential, disconnecting them from what’s true: that each of us has … [More]

The Arizona Pet Project

The Arizona Pet Project keeps pets with the people who love and need them most by connecting vulnerable community members and families in crisis with services and resources to prevent the unnecessary surrender of their beloved companions.  The Valley’s only organization solely focused on bridging the gap between human services and animal welfare, The Arizona Pet Project … [More]

Banking: The Pillar of Community

by Mike Hunter

“Banks are the single most important component of Arizona’s economy. Not only do they lend to Arizonans, but they employ nearly 50,000 Arizonans, reinvesting in their communities and providing financial and social stability in their markets. Bankers educate young adults on the importance of financial responsibility. Bankers donate significant time and money to charities. Banks … [More]

Mike Thorell

After graduating from the University of Arizona with degrees in finance and real estate, Mike Thorell began his career in banking in 1989 as a special assets officer at a small savings and loan in Scottsdale, Arizona. He never really dreamed of being a banker, but he needed a job after graduation! And to make things more challenging, he started his banking career in the middle … [More]

Trish Stark

First Western Trust believes every client is unique. Since 2002, we’ve used a team approach to build a customized plan to clients’ banking, wealth management, lending and investment management goals. Through a branded network of private boutique offices, we deliver the sophistication of a large financial institution along with the personalization of a private bank to best serve … [More]

Jeff Friesen

Jeff Friesen is the Southwest Region president for Enterprise Bank & Trust. In this expanded role, Friesen is responsible for Arizona; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Enterprise’s growing presence in Las Vegas. He is responsible for overseeing current clients’ business and personal banking needs and generating new commercial loan relationships. Friesen is also responsible for … [More]

Amber Welch

Metro Phoenix Bank (MPB) is celebrating its 14th anniversary serving the Phoenix business community and has, along the way, achieved several notable awards. According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, based on 2020 data, Metro Phoenix Bank ranked in the top 1% of community banks and thrifts under $3 billion in assets (ranking 30th among 4,287 banks nationwide). Based on Q1 … [More]

Ken Bauer

Ken Bauer is OneAZ Credit Union’s executive vice president and chief lending officer. Bauer is a veteran in the banking industry, with more than 20 years of experience working with banking institutions of all sizes. For the past six years, his depth of knowledge has been focused on the credit union movement. Two years ago, that shift toward credit unions brought him to Arizona … [More]

Todd Gerber

While big and regional banks are centralizing services for mid-sized commercial customers, WaFd Bank is going against the trend and providing more localized services and bankers to commercial customers. Using a relationship-based business model, WaFd Bank has found a solution that is built for business and produces the best results for customers across a range of … [More]

Prep for Open Enrollment

by Stephanie Waldrop

For many, open enrollment is a dreaded time of year. With more than 20 years of open enrollment seasons under my belt, I have experienced my fair share of employers calling me in crisis because they just received their insurance renewals and do not have a good plan of action. The problem with this approach is that it leaves little time to properly plan for success. This year … [More]

Message from Sandra Watson President & CEO 

from Sandra Watson

In 2011, Arizona faced a true “crossroads” moment.  Our economy slumped under the weight of the great recession. State revenue had plummeted. Families and businesses were suffering.  What came next was unprecedented in our state’s history. Hundreds of stakeholders from the private sector, academia, elected office and more came together to develop a new vision for … [More]

With Gratitude

by ACA

From its inception, the Arizona Commerce Authority has been guided by some of the best minds in private industry, the legislature and our state universities. This unique collaboration has been one of the chief strengths of the ACA, and the work of the last 10 years would not be possible without the time, leadership and dedication of all the individuals who have served on our … [More]

It Takes a Team

by ACA

Ribbon cutting for the opening of Benchmark Arizona is recognized for our streamlined approach to economic development, with state, regional and local partners all working closely together to ensure an excellent, seamless experience for companies doing business here. Each organization brings key resources to the table to highlight a region’s strengths and assets. The ACA is … [More]

Growth Reimagined

by ACA

Resilience in Arizona Arizonans are no strangers to hard times, and few times tested the state and its leaders like the Great Recession.  In the years leading up to the 2008 financial collapse, Arizona’s economy blossomed, at least on the surface. A flood of new home and construction projects boosted job and revenue numbers to new heights. But these peaks would prove … [More]

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