I’m driven to make the world a better, more empathetic place for all people.
Why do you believe honoring achievement is important?
Being named a 2022 Woman of Achievement is such an honor because of the women of tremendous achievements who received this award before me. These women are my idols, partners and my continued daily inspiration to make a difference in our community. Together we have and continue to make Arizona a better place to live, raise families and build businesses.
I also believe it’s important to recognize women’s unique ways of leading. It helps young women see that there is a path for them in business and in the world.
We need more women’s leadership. According to Korn Ferry, women now hold 25% of the five critical C-suite positions. That’s an increase from 23% in 2018. Still, women hold a majority of only one of those spots, CHRO; and only 6% of CEO spots are held by women, the same percentage as 2018.
Recognizing female leaders who are in positions of influence and who can serve as role models for younger women is important for the career advancement of future generations of women. It also reinforces broader advancements in issues such as pay equity, changing workplace policies in ways that benefit both men and women, and attracting and maintaining a more diverse workforce.
What insights have you gained in your career that would inspire others?
Working for equality and empathy are my passions.
I strongly believe in bringing together diverse groups of people with differing perspectives. It makes life magical.
Helping others learn how to show and build empathy creates momentum. That passion and momentum creates the best and most rewarding environments in which to live and grow.
We all feel better when we are helping others. We grow when we work to understand people with whom we don’t typically agree.
Each of us makes a difference every single day when we pursue our passions to help others. It’s rewarding, it’s good for our health, and it’s good for our community.
And it’s also exhausting when we get knocked down. We need the support of our loved ones to keep going. That’s why building connections and community are so important.
Whether you’re focused on raising kids to be great adults, or mentoring young people, or training your company’s leaders, or advocating for changes in public policy, or fighting disease, or calling your best friend after a hard day — all these efforts when we are focused outside of ourselves matter.
You matter and I’m proud to share this community with you.
What can we do — now — to make a difference for young people/women in Arizona?
Young women in Arizona are our future and I’m very excited about our future because of them.
They are idealists. They are fearless. They are anxious. They are talented. They are fearful — just like we were.
Millennials make up 35% of the workforce, and Generation Z’s oldest members are now 27 and an increasingly large part of our teams. Above all, Gen Z and millennials want an employer who cares about their well-being. We all do! We just didn’t demand it in the same way they do.
We need to do a better job of teaching them how leadership and work contribute to their need for purpose, inclusion and impact.
We must support and challenge young women on their journey as our mentors did for us.
We need to show them how to work within and outside of institutions to make impactful change. We need to help them grow. We need to let them teach us and help us grow.
Most of all, we need to work together to make Arizona and our world the way we want it to be.
Sheila Kloefkorn is CEO and president of KEO Marketing, a full-service B2B marketing agency. Kloefkorn and KEO Marketing substantially grow Fortune 1000 companies and mid-market businesses. She is a trusted fractional CMO supported by a talented agency team that specializes in marketing strategy, messaging, digital infrastructure, execution and analytics. She was named one of the “Top 10 Business Leaders of the Year” and “Top 25 Dynamic Women in Business” by the Phoenix Business Journal, one of 15 Arizonans to Watch by the Arizona Republic, and a Top 100 Marketing and Advertising Leader.
In Few Words
- What was the last course, certification or training you took to improve yourself professionally? Business Partner Blueprint — a training course on how to develop wider business partnerships
- What would you say is a single characteristic OTHERS might attribute to you that defines your success? Contagious
- What is the one thing you feel you could work on professionally to be a greater success? Patience
- What is the one professional skill you have that has gotten you where you are today? Work ethic
- What is the single greatest issue facing Arizona today? Finding common ground