The Tempe Chamber of Commerce named Christine K. Wilkinson the 2014 Business Woman of the Year at its 19th Annual Women in Business Conference held May 21 at the PERA Club in Tempe. Wilkinson is senior vice president and secretary and president of the Alumni Association at Arizona State University.
The award was established to recognize an outstanding businesswoman who has positively impacted Tempe. The finalists have achieved excellence in their fields, displayed leadership in the community, served as positive role models and are active in programs within the community and the Tempe Chamber.
“The Business Woman of the Year award recognizes the valuable contributions that the candidates have made to the business community and to the Tempe Chamber of Commerce. Their hard work and dedication have made an admirable and positive impact that we are proud to recognize,” said Mary Ann Miller, president and CEO of the Tempe Chamber.
The other two finalists were Kate Hanley, executive director, Tempe Community Council, and Nancy Kinnard, vice president/executive relationship manager, National Bank of Arizona.
“Having grown up and [received an education] in Tempe, including ASU, and being involved in civic organizations within the city, I was very humbled by the recognition, as I am fully aware of how much the Tempe Chamber advocates for businesses and organizations as we all collectively advance the city in which we live,” said Wilkinson about being nominated for the award.
Wilkinson’s current involvement in the community includes serving on the Valley of the Sun United Way Board, the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona Board, the Governance Committee for the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center and more. She has received the University’s Award of Merit and was selected as one of Arizona’s 48 Most Intriguing Women for the Arizona Centennial Legacy Project.
Kinnard has this advice for other businesswomen striving to succeed and make a difference in their communities: “My philosophy has always been to ‘give back’ to the communities that I work in. I have been fortunate to have been mentored by several business professionals, friends and family members. I enjoy sharing my experience, knowledge and time with other professionals who are enthusiastic to learn and develop in their careers and in the community. The guidance that I share with my colleagues is to strive to be the best and never get discouraged or give up on your goals. There may be roadblocks that get in your way, but always remember that you are the only person responsible for keeping the vision alive to achieve the end result you desire. You may take another path along the way in life, but if you follow your passion and endeavors and surround yourself with a strong ‘board of directors,’ you can accomplish your aspirations in life.”
On being a successful leader, Hanley says, “Find something you love to do, set high standards and welcome all the help you can get to become the best you can be. Understand that leadership draws critics; listen, reflect, learn and move forward more boldly knowing you are stronger and more insightful as a result. Embrace words that guide your personal style: ‘respect,’ ‘yes,’ ‘cooperate,’ ‘gratitude,’ ‘forgive,’ ‘thanks’.”
Congratulations to these amazing women! They truly make a difference in Tempe.