Michael May on Evolving a Family Business for the Future

by Michael May

A family company often takes on the character of the family who owns it. Early startup struggles and difficulties become ingrained in its culture and fixed in its corporate identity. My father’s struggles in establishing our company set our culture at Wisdom Natural Brands, makers of SweetLeaf Stevia. When my father, James May, first introduced stevia to the U.S. market 40 … [More]

Chad Verdaglio: Soaring to New Heights

by Juliet Straker

During the summer before entering college, Chad Verdaglio took an intro paraglide ride and immediately knew he wanted more. After researching programs in the area, the Scottsdale resident discovered Sawyer School of Aviation, a highly respected flight academy that was founded in 1961 and operated out of Scottsdale Airpark. Verdaglio’s goal was to earn a private pilot’s license. … [More]

Dillan Micus’ FRESH View on Leadership Comes from the Bottom, Not the Top

by Alison Bailin Batz

Dillan Micus believes in systems. He also believes in breaking down antiquated systems to effect real change for the better as it relates to his own life, team and clients. This lesson, one he is putting into action today, is something he learned the hard way. Until recently, Micus served as executive vice president of Equitable Advisors — then AXA Advisors Southwest — since … [More]

Christine Ehrich Revolutionizes the Autism Evaluation Process in Arizona 

by Valliere Jones 

For years, many Arizona families have struggled to get professional autism evaluations. A lack of psychologists and an overburdened system have created waitlists of a year or longer — far too long for parents and children who need answers and life-changing intervention therapies.  With decades of experience in the healthcare space and a proven track record of building … [More]

Ivan Royal Translates Military Leadership into Private-Sector Success

by Mary Little 

“Leadership is the process of influencing people by providing purpose, direction and motivation to accomplish the mission and improve the organization.” For more than two decades, this official U.S. Army doctrine definition of leadership shaped Ivan Royal as he rose through the ranks of the U.S. Army. Today, they have become inextricably linked to him and his approach to … [More]

Darren Rawson Leads through Chaos

by Tim Gallen

Darren Rawson is a leader who thrives on disruption. “For better or worse, I’ve often sought it out,” says Rawson, president of Phoenix-based AZP Multifamily, a leading maintenance and parts supplier to the multifamily industry. “You could say I’m a bit of a volatility junkie.” To wit, Rawson once guided a team transitioning a company through bankruptcy and spearheaded … [More]

President José Luis Cruz Rivera: Championing Access and Equity in Higher Education 

by Kimberly Ann Ott

It has been a busy first year for President José Luis Cruz Rivera, who began his tenure as the 17th president of Northern Arizona University on June 14, 2021. At that time, NAU was facing a number of challenges far beyond a transition in leadership. “We needed to bring students and faculty safely back during COVID, while also addressing issues of trust, a desire for … [More]

Kim Reedy’s Servant Leadership Serves OneAZ Well

by Kim Reedy

I’ve been running my whole life. Long before I started a career in finance and business that would eventually lead me to OneAZ Credit Union, I ran competitively in high school, college and even after college at a nationally competitive level. That was a long time ago, but I still run each day. Most days, I start before sunrise and love to put in some miles on rolling … [More]

Lilach Mazor Power Brings the Power to Cannabis

by Claire Natale

Lilach Mazor Power is the founder and CEO of Mazor Collective — the only woman-majority-owned Arizona cannabis company. The collective includes vertically integrated Arizona-based Giving Tree Dispensary as well as product lines Kindred; Sneakers; and a cannabis for menopause brand, Revelry.  Power has served nine years in the industry with a focus on R&D and retail. … [More]

Jennifer Reynolds, Building Success in the Design Industry

by Melissa Rein Lively

Since 2004, Ideation Design Group has partnered with the world’s largest brands to execute their vision into functional works of art that deliver innovation through design. At the helm is Jennifer Reynolds, a design industry dynamo responsible for building the powerhouse firm from the ground up.  Her illustrious career can be summed up in two words: passion and perseverance. … [More]

‘I Bend Spoons,’ Says 72SOLD Creator

by Greg Hague

There’s a popular scene from the 1999 blockbuster hit movie The Matrix in which Keanu Reeves (Neo) interacts with a child who appears to bend a spoon with his mind. As he hands the spoon to Reeves, the young boy says, “Do not try to bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth … There is no spoon.” I see business that way. You can’t look at “the … [More]

Whitney Yates-Woods: Breaking Barriers in the Automotive Industry

by Holly Morgan

Today, Yates Buick GMC is one of the premier automotive dealerships in the country, serving the greater Phoenix metropolitan area in a way few can boast. But the legacy of the family-owned business started more than 37 years ago when Mike Yates, who had big dreams and very little money, purchased a used car lot. “My dad started out by founding a truck dealership in Avondale … [More]

The Flower Shop Promotes Integrity in the Cannabis Industry

by Greta Brandt

As a female attorney and executive of a multi-state license holder, I’ve overcome numerous hurdles and obstacles on my journey. When I first joined The Flower Shop, I was the only female in the C-suite and that, in conjunction with my age, required me to conquer a host of baseless stereotypes. Nonetheless, I worked hard to not only excel in a male-dominated industry but to … [More]

Jayme Ambrose: Changing the Face of Healthcare through Technology 

by Niamh Sutton

Jayme Ambrose spent the first 15 years of her career as a psychiatric nurse. This experience had a profound influence on her approach to patient care and inspired her vision for a more effective healthcare model. She’s always asking, “How can we do it better?”  Ambrose explains that working as a psych nurse taught her to look beyond a patient’s physical diagnosis. “It’s … [More]

Launch: Moving the Bar on Real Estate and Leadership 

by Sean Zimmerman

For nearly 30 years, I have had an obsession with leadership since the first glimpse of what it meant to me at 13. As a teen, I was active in Student Council, participated in Hugh Obrien Youth Leadership and sought out leadership within team sports. During this time, my relationship to leadership was as much about the attention I received as it was about the purpose.  After … [More]

Linda Matthews Leads BioCare to 1,500% Sales Growth

by Jeff Beck

When Linda Matthews joined BioCare, Inc., a leading national specialty distributor of life-saving therapies, in 2001, the Tempe-based company was a $17-million organization, struggling to grow. A determined leader, Matthews made it her mission to see BioCare succeed, and in her first year the company changed course and became profitable. Today, with Matthews as BioCare’s … [More]

Sam Fox Evolves His Home-Grown Hospitality Empire

by Jan Bracamonte

Sam Fox was raised in the hospitality industry. Much of his childhood was spent in his parent’s Tucson restaurant, treasure hunting for change under the seats at night and, later, waiting tables and helping out in the kitchen. At 20, he dropped out of the University of Arizona and used his tuition money to open his first restaurant. In 1998, he launched his first FRC restaurant … [More]

Chad Arruda and Dylan Vicha Realize New Vision for Private Security

by Jamie Killin

When United States Army combat veteran Chad Arruda had the idea to create a better kind of private security company, he envisioned a firm that empowered veterans and supported law enforcement.  “I wanted to get into public safety because I wanted to continue to serve my country and community,” says Arruda. “However, after my military service and experience in critical … [More]

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