Devney Preuss

by Devney Preuss

What most notably stands out about your leadership style or what is an example of leadership success you can share with our readers?

I hope my organization would say I advocate for the team’s needs, whether that’s evolving roles to create new growth and development opportunities, increased schedule flexibility or just taking the time to learn how to most effectively communicate with each team member. 

I strive to be an authentic leader, and accountability, fairness and gratitude are important pillars of our organizational culture. Developing clear and consistent company policies, organizational work plans and setting priorities and goals for each employee helps us achieve these pillars. And when we accomplish our goals, whether individually or collectively, it’s equally important to celebrate the wins! 

And lastly and most importantly, no relationship is insignificant. I often observe that Downtown Phoenix has been built on relationships, and the greatest strength of Downtown Phoenix Inc. is our connectivity to the neighborhood. Our work should reflect the priorities of those in the community, and that’s accomplished through our relationships with our stakeholders. From the small, locally owned restaurant to the large corporate employer Downtown and to the community groups representing the adjacent neighborhoods and districts, every stakeholder perspective contributes to the success of our work. It always starts with the relationship.  

What impact has COVID-19 or the disruptions of the past 18 months had on you as a leader?

While our organization ultimately needs to be in the office and engaged with our downtown neighborhood in order to do our jobs to the fullest, flexibility and accommodating staff needs are paramount. 

We’re making sure our employees are taking care of themselves and their families first. Since every person’s experience during COVID is different, we have led with compassion and empathy when updating our return-to-office plan as well as employees’ needs for time off for child care, elder care and their own mental health. Asking “Why?” when developing COVID-related policies, such as return-to-the-office requirements, has helped put our employees and their safety first.

Prioritizing employee safety and health while also delivering on our work plan was a rigorous challenge but one we rose to together. 

What do you feel we can be doing as a business community to empower economic growth here?

In partnership with the City of Phoenix and through collaboration with the business community and other community and economic development organizations, we must continue to make Downtown Phoenix a place for all. This means more dynamic jobs, improved access through multi-modal transportation, more housing options, increasingly diverse cultural amenities and safer streets and sidewalks. 

What is new and notable for your company’s near future that will impact our economy?

We are continuing to grow and strengthen our DTPHX Ambassadors and Clean & Green programs. Their invaluable work helps maintain our reputation as one of the cleanest, safest and most welcoming downtowns in the country. These services help us increase convention business, attract new employers and land mega events like Super Bowl (2023), NCAA Men’s Final Four (2024) and Women’s Final Four (2026). 

Through Phoenix Community Alliance, the business leadership and advocacy affiliate of Downtown Phoenix Inc., fundraising for the revitalization of Margaret T. Hance Park continues. Every great city needs a great urban park, and PCA, in partnership with the City of Phoenix and Hance Park Conservancy, is leading a capital campaign to transform Hance Park into an iconic, must-see urban park that will contribute to the thriving, world class city Phoenix is becoming. 

Name of Leader: Devney Preuss
Position of Leader: President & CEO
Company Name: Downtown Phoenix Inc.
No. of Years with Company: 5
Main Local Office Address: 1 E. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85004
Phone: (602) 254-8696
Number of offices in Greater Phoenix: 1
Year Established Locally: 2013
City Nationally Headquartered: Phoenix

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