Women We Admire is pleased to announce The Top 50 Women Leaders of Arizona for 2022. Arizona, often in the spotlight for its abundant beauty and natural golden landscapes, gave women the right to vote 8 years before the national suffrage was enacted. This set the stage for progress and growth, allowing today’s women to have an equal voice and playing field. This year’s awardees are champions in their fields and hold valuable leadership roles across numerous industries including healthcare, technology, real estate, social services, and more. Their passion goes beyond work and is embodied in their every endeavor.
Among this year’s awardees are Barbara Whye, Vice President of Inclusion & Diversity at Apple, who is responsible for leading the company's commitment to building a more equitable and inclusive world by increasing diverse representation at every level; Caroline Stockdale, Chief People & Communications Officer of First Solar, who has won awards for her innovative approach to solving business issues and is a recognized thought leader in re-inventing talent and performance management; and Adele Cook, Chief Learning Officer at the Arizona Department of Economic Security, who leads the agency’s enterprise learning and development department for the State’s social safety net agency.
Coming from varied professional backgrounds, these women are all leaders of the highest caliber. Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 50 Women Leaders of Arizona for 2022.
1. Barbara Whye
VP of Inclusion & Diversity, Apple
Barbara Whye is the Vice President of Inclusion & Diversity at Apple, where she leads the company's commitment to building a more equitable and inclusive world by increasing diverse representation at every level, fostering an inclusive culture that brings everybody in, and ensuring equitable pay and access to opportunity for all. An engineer by training and a globally recognized leader on issues of representation in the technology industry, Whye joined Apple in 2021. She has more than 25 years of experience, including as Intel’s chief diversity and inclusion officer and corporate VP of social impact. At Apple, Whye partners with senior leaders around the world and leads the company’s work to build inclusion and diversity into every system and process.
Whye is recognized as one of Fortune magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and Savoy Magazine's Most Influential Black Executives in Corporate America. She also sits on the Board of Directors for BlackLine, Incorporated and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Whye graduated from the University of South Carolina (USC) with an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering and an MBA from USC’s Darla Moore School of Business. She's currently pursuing her PhD in artificial intelligence and ethics at Arizona State University.
3. Adriana Kuiper
Associate Vice President of Strategy, Arizona State University
Adriana Kuiper is an Associate Vice President of Strategy and Chief of Staff for the Executive Vice President of Knowledge Enterprise at Arizona State University. She is a senior member of the leadership team responsible for the execution of strategic, operational, and cultural changes. Kuiper leads large-scale, complex projects and acquisitions on behalf of the EVP, and also oversees a variety of operational units, including project management, business analysis, quality management, analytics, marketing and communications, human resources, events and administration.
Prior to this role, Kuiper served as a leader for multiple research-centric projects including the National Cancer Institute Physical Sciences in Oncology Center; the establishment of ASU as the first university in the United States to receive ISO 9000 certification; and setting up the ASU international offices in Vietnam, Mexico, and Malawi. Kuiper also served on multiple task forces for the HIBAR Research Alliance and the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, specifically in evaluating the characteristics of use-inspired, society-oriented research. She also co-published, with colleagues at Kings College London and the Global Federation for Competitiveness Councils, a report on Leveraging Extreme Innovation. She is currently a board member for the Future Talent Council’s Faculty and Staff Development board. Kuiper holds an undergraduate degree in biology and MBA from Arizona State University. She has served as president of ASU’s Project Management Network and has served on the board since its inception. She is also an accredited Project Management Professional and an active member of the Project Management Network, National Association of College and University Business Officers, and National Council of University Research Administrators.
5. RaeAnn Grossman
EVP of Operations for Risk Adjustment, Quality Population Health Management & Consumer Engagement, Cotiviti
As Executive Vice President of Operations for Risk Adjustment, Population Health Management, and Quality, RaeAnn Grossman is responsible for leadership and management oversight of financial performance and operations, as well as innovation, vision, strategic and business planning. In this capacity, she is reframing and accelerating the success and impact of Cotiviti’s industry-leading Risk Adjustment and Quality, and Analytic solutions focused on health plan success, member health and provider performance. With her extensive track record of customer focus, value creation, along with government program and industry experience, Grossman drives the Cotiviti portfolio to optimize financial and clinical metrics, reduce inefficiency, and improve overall healthcare performance.
Grossman is a renowned industry expert in healthcare innovation and transformation, product strategy, partnership development, and risk adjustment and quality. She has more than 25 years of experience in executive roles at an array of organizations, including commercial and government health plans as well as medical groups, integrated hospital systems, startups, and physician hospital organizations. Prior to Cotiviti, she was the president of Medicare Advantage and COO of Bright Health Plan, managing 13 states and over 140,000 Medicare Advantage lives. Prior to that she held C-suite roles at various healthcare technology and consulting firms for nearly two decades, including extensive time with Gorman Health Group, the premier consulting firm for government-sponsored healthcare programs.
6. Adele Cook
Chief Learning Officer, Arizona Department of Economic Security
Adele Cook is the Chief Learning Officer at the Arizona Department of Economic Security, heading up the agency’s enterprise learning and development department for the State’s social safety net agency. Cook is a learning leader with over 25 years’ experience in employee and organizational development in both the public and private sector. She has spent 20 years in the public sector, at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, the Arizona Department of Administration, and the Department of Economic Security.
Cook specializes in building successful teams that drive success not only within the learning and development function but across the organization, and frequently beyond DES to other organizations. During her tenure, she added staff, reduced vacancy from 50% to 4%, reduced regrettable attrition to 2%, improved quality and timeliness by 10% and 75% respectively, and as a result improved employee engagement by 445% over 2 years, recently achieving an eNPS of 32.7. Learning solutions produced by the team have been adopted as national standards, as well intra-state standards, and the leadership development program is making use of world class approaches and solutions. Cook holds an undergraduate degree in English from Pomona College in Claremont, California. She is a member of the CLO Exchange Steering Committee, the Corporate Learning Network, and the Association for Talent Development.
7. Caroline Stockdale
Chief People & Communications Officer, First Solar
Work with a purpose is Caroline Stockdale’s passion and she joined First Solar in October 2019 as Chief People and Communications Officer. First Solar is a global provider of responsibly produced eco-efficient solar modules, advancing the fight against climate change. Stockdale believes their mission and approach to technology that embodies sustainability and a responsibility towards people and the planet has never been more urgent given the impact of climate change worldwide.
Prior to First Solar, she served as the CEO for First Perform, a provider of human capital services and solutions for a variety of customers, from Fortune 100 companies to start-ups. Previously, she served as chief people officer for Medtronic and EVP of global HR and business operations for Warner Music Group. Before joining Warner Music Group, she served as the senior human resources leader in global divisions of American Express and General Electric. Stockdale is a member of the Forbes Human Resources Council. She has won awards for her innovative approach to solving business issues and is a recognized thought leader in re-inventing talent and performance management. She has more than 20 years of cross-functional operating experience in finance, HR, business leadership and continuous improvement/process excellence and builds and develops high performing teams.
9. Charisse Richards
Chief Information Officer, Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County
Charisse Richards is currently the Chief Information Officer for the Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County, the country’s 4th largest court system, supporting a staff of more than 3,000 employees and serving a population of 4.8M. She joined in 2019. Richards oversees the transformation and delivery of IT solutions to provide the community access to the Court’s services and ensure public trust and confidence in the Judicial Branch. During her tenure, the Court has been nationally recognized for implementing several innovative solutions supporting Criminal Justice and Public Safety during the COVID pandemic.
Richards has more than 25+ years of infrastructure and operations experience and has held senior leadership roles in the Data Center, Hospitality, and Government industries. Previously, she led IT strategy as Chief Information Officer for IO Data Centers and Vice President of Global Integration for Iron Mountain Data Centers. At Choice Hotels International, her team designed the infrastructure for ChoiceADVANTAGE©, the hospitality industry’s first cloud-based property management system. In 2018, Charisse was identified as one of the TOP 5 Most Influential Women in the Data Center Industry, has served as Diversity and Inclusion Co-Chair and Advisory Council member for Infrastructure Masons, and has collaborated with Girl Scouts, Google, Arizona’s state universities, and various professional organizations on diversity and inclusion in STEM. Richards earned an MBA from Arizona State University with a concentration in supply chain management.
10. Kathleen Schnier
Provost & Chief Academic Officer, Colorado Technical University
Kathleen Schnier is a Provost and Chief Academic Officer of Colorado Technical University. The university offers online degree programs in business, accounting, computer science, healthcare, IT, nursing, security studies, criminal justice, and project management. They have more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and concentrations tailored to client’s interests and experience. Schnier is an academic executive with experience in creating transformational change. She is skilled in many educational pathways including undergraduate, graduate, international, online, and micro credentials. Schnier has 30 years of experience. She began her career in 1992.
Before joining Colorado Technical University, Schnier was a vice provost at the University of Phoenix and before that, an AVP of accreditation and regulatory affairs at EDMCE. In addition to her work, she is dedicated to the achievement of equity through various board and committee work including Girl Scouts, Foster Care Review Board, AZ Foundation for Women, and US/Cuba Women's Delegation. Schnier graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a PhD in cultural and educational policy studies, from Northern Illinois University with an MA in sociology, and from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with an undergraduate degree in sociology.
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12. Debbie Gross
Owner & Chief Marketing Officer, Home Instead Surprise Arizona
In 2021 Debbie Gross left 20+ years of leadership in the semiconductor industry to follow her passion of being a part of a human centered service business. When Gross’s father became terminally ill she saw firsthand how important caregiving is: “Caregiving is something that is very beautifully human, it transcends everything …cultural, socio-economic, gender, geography…the need to give and receive care brings us together” says Gross. This experience ignited a spark in her to help people retain their dignity, maintain safety, stay healthy, and happy wherever they call home.
At Home Instead, Gross leverages her prior expertise leading business transformation strategies, global service organizations, operational directives, & high-ROI initiatives to deliver quality compassionate & people focused care. Before Home Instead, Gross held numerous leadership roles within the semiconductor industry at both Intel Corporation and onsemi. Her focus has always been blending service and operations. Gross’s leadership is centered on delivering best in class service while being efficient, streamlined, and scalable. “Some people fear that scale and efficiency is the antithesis of service but having thoughtfully developed and well executed processes will drive exceptional service experiences” says Gross. She holds an MBA from Arizona State University and an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from The University of Arizona. Gross is passionate about employee engagement, culture alignment, and coaching resilient leaders to flourish through uncertainty. She served as corporate core culture champion, developed a curriculum on resilience in the workplace, served as a founding member of onsemi’s women’s leadership team. Today she is an active member of her community in the local chamber of commerce and volunteers facilitating support groups.
14. Laurice Walker
Chief Equity Officer, City of Tucson
Laurice Walker is the Chief Equity Officer for the City of Tucson. The city, located in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, is Arizona's second largest city and oldest city. Walker has nearly six years of experience in municipal equity offices and leadership positions in the field. She works closely with community and city leadership to create an equity framework to be adopted by all departments and offices throughout Tucson.
Prior to serving with the City of Tucson, Walker worked in city governments with similar offices. Most of her career was spent as a project manager for the city of Minneapolis in their Division of Race and Equity. One of her greatest accomplishments in Minneapolis was leading foundational equity training for more than 4,000 city employees. She previously led more than 22 department heads through racial equity actions plans, and she led the city through their Strategic and Racial Equity Action Plan, a toolkit used to look at policies and practices in a different lens using actionable data. Prior to Minneapolis, she served as the diversity, equity and inclusion manager for the city of Plymouth, in the suburbs of the Twin Cities. Walker graduated from Purdue University Global with dual undergraduate and graduate degrees in industrial and organizational psychology.
15. Cindy Baird
EVP of National Operations, Nations Lending
Cindy Baird is the Executive Vice President of National Operations, overseeing multiple operational departments including Processing, Underwriting and Closing. Baird’s passion is to drive Operational Excellence focused on creating a culture of continuous improvement including digital transformation and automation to achieve maximum customer satisfaction.
Baird joined Nations Lending in 2022. She started in the Mortgage business in 1984 as a mortgage loan processor. Her extensive background includes origination, a variety of roles in operations, and sales and operations management. Baird earned her bachelor’s degree as an honors graduate from the University of Phoenix in business and accounting. Baird lives in Scottsdale, AZ where she loves to travel with her husband and stay at home hanging out with her bulldogs.
16. Shelley Bausch
SVP of Global Industrial Coatings, Axalta
Shelley Bausch is Axalta’s Senior Vice President for Global Industrial Coatings, responsible for driving global expansion into a broad range of industrial applications including the automotive, agriculture, building and construction, and energy and electrification markets. With over 35 years of global experience in the manufacturing and chemical industry, she has led the transformation of business models while creating inspired teams through her personal authenticity and purpose-driven leadership style. She brings a unique ability to see market possibilities and to guide and steer effective short-and long-term strategy.
In addition to her executive positions at Axalta, Carlisle, PPG, and Dow Corning, she has served as an independent director of Kraton Corporation, a global manufacturer of chemicals and specialty polymers where she was recognized by Women Inc. in 2019 as one of the “Most Influential Board Directors”. Involved in her communities, Bausch has served as a trustee for the Midland Community Center and has been an avid supporter of Junior Achievement, serving in both the evening and in-school programs and earning the Rising Star Award recognizing both her leadership and service. She is a strong speaker on leadership, innovation, and the advancement of women in business and has recently delivered key messages at the Women in Leadership Symposium in Phoenix, the Women in Finishing Forum, and participated as a panel speaker at the NACD Southwest Chapter event on the 2020 Blue Ribbon Report, Fit for the Future. Bausch has a passion for mentoring women in the manufacturing/chemical industries and volunteers on multiple panels to inspire, share her knowledge, and create opportunities for others in the business. She is a Summa cum Laude graduate of Alma College in biology and business with a master’s in business with highest distinction from the University of Michigan-Flint.
19. Mia Mackman
Principal & Owner, Mackman|ES Consulting
Mia Mackman is a Wellness-Hospitality Visionary. She is the Principal and Owner of Mackman|ES Consulting, a comprehensive wellness-hospitality prevision consultancy. She specializes in strategic planning, complex facility design and development, feasibility reports, financial forecasting, and asset repositioning. Mackman is recognized as a vanguard in the wellness sector for her multidimensional approach, industry knowledge, and 20 years of esteemed accuracy.
Mackman partnered with the global hospitality firm HVS in 2017 to develop and chief the HVS Spa and Wellness Consulting Division as Managing Director. In this partnership, she provides financial and feasibility services for HVS’ global client network. Based in Sedona, Arizona, she founded the Arizona Spa and Wellness Association in 2012 to integrate wellness attributes with traditional spa services to raise wellness awareness and spa industry growth. In 2012, this was the first professional Spa & Wellness Association to enter the world market. Consulting since 2001, Mackman works with global investment firms, owners, hotel and resort companies, mixed-use property developers, and hospitality organizations. She has served as an Official Visiting Judge for the World Spa & Wellness Awards based in London, UK, since 2016. These awards are one of the highest honors in the industry, serving to raise global industry standards. Mackman is a long-standing Hotel Executive and Editorial Board Member. She also leads the discussions of Hospitality Net’s World Panel of Wellness, Lifestyle, and Spa as the panel champ and contributing expert.
21. Sandra Searle
Chief Development Officer, Esperança
Sandra Searle is the Chief Development Officer of Esperança. She first joined the company in 2022. In 2000, Esperança began servicing the growing health disparities in Arizona. Their domestic work follows partnerships with Title I schools, dental clinics, and community centers, using bilingual and bicultural health educators to provide children, adults, and seniors with education on oral health, chronic disease management and prevention, nutrition, physical activity and more. As a senior leader with the organization, Searle’s role is to guide and grow the resource development operations and widen community outreach. In addition to providing healthy food programs for seniors and nutrition classes for underserved children in Maricopa County, Esperança's unique model of collaborating with in-country organizations is what originally drew her as a donor.
Searle is recognized as a leader in the nonprofit and fundraising arenas. With a 25-year track record of conducting successful annual, capital, and comprehensive campaigns her leadership has helped raise more than $50 million at some of the area’s most well-known organizations. As a hands-on fundraiser, AFP Master Trainer, AFP Mentor, and experienced volunteer community board member, Searle has seen all facets of the fundraising world. She was honored as the 2010 Outstanding Fundraising Executive of the Year by the Greater Arizona AFP Chapter. She earned an undergraduate degree in economics and political science from the University of Arizona.
22. Catherine Pearson
General Counsel & COO, SpringBoard Healthcare
Catherine Pearson is the General Counsel and Chief Operations Officer of SpringBoard Healthcare, a consulting, education, and talent acquisition partner for leading hospitals and healthcare organizations that are looking to develop, optimize or expand their cardiovascular service lines. Established in 2002, Springboard is staffed by industry experts and thought leaders that are dedicated to staying up to date on the latest advancements and requirements in this rapidly growing field. Springboard works with some of the most prestigious institutions across the nation to provide best-in-class training programs, top-tier talent, and strategic consulting services. Pearson brings 17 years of experience with significant employment, litigation, and healthcare experience. She is an expert in reducing operational inefficiencies and streamlining workflows to support rapid and sustained growth.
Prior to joining Springboard, Pearson was general counsel and chief administrative officer for SimonMed, where she assisted with strategy development, provided legal and healthcare regulatory counsel, reorganized the corporate structure, and addressed payer concerns. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame Law School with a JD and from Seattle University with an undergraduate degree in philosophy and English.
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24. Tiffany Fisher
Executive Vice President, GCON
Tiffany Fisher started her construction career over 35 years ago. Today she serves as the Executive Vice President of GCON, Inc, a national full-service construction management firm comprised of almost 200 team members working in multiple states and providing construction services for multiple industries. First joining GCON in 2012 with the commitment to define its strategic growth and expansion, Fisher now continues to lead the company’s success where it has earned top recognition in employee engagement, corporate philanthropy, and most recently #1 place to work chosen by Women in 2021.
Before joining GCON, Fisher held executive and leadership positions with CORE Construction, Smith-Woods Contracting, Gosnell Builders and Koll Construction. During the course of her career, she founded TSG Constructors, serving as owner and qualifying party for more than a decade. She is a graduate and alumni of Leadership West, a board member of the non-profit Speak Up Stand Up Save a Life Youth Program, a board member of Pendergast ESD Foundation, and a member of the Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED).
25. Kandis Michnal
Partner & VP of SBU Operations, Cardone Ventures
With 15+ years of experience working among Inc. 500 and Inc. 5000 financial institutions and business consulting firms, today Kandis Michnal is a Partner and Vice President of SBU Operations at Cardone Ventures as a principal executive who supports business owners and their teams achieve personal, professional and financial goals through the growth of their businesses. Michnal has built and actively leads the largest department at her organization composed of operating teams that guide and advise clients through business infrastructures that are equipped to scale and capture market domination nationally, and globally, through innovative data-driven processes and strategies.
Previously, Michnal occupied various roles as a subject matter expert across operations, human resources, and professional development for one of the largest privately held hearing care consulting firms in the nation, where she assisted with streamlining systems, blueprinting best practices, and provided training support to hundreds of private practice Audiologists through a proprietary patient engagement model. She holds an undergraduate degree in business management and operations from Washington State University and in addition, various certifications in conflict management and leadership development.
26. Ning Duong
SVP & Chief Operating Officer, Credit Union West
Ning Duong is the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Credit Union West. Founded in 1951, Credit Union West is a full-service financial institution in Arizona with 200 employees and a growing membership of over 85,000. With more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, Duong became COO for the organization in 2021 and oversees all 13 branch locations, business and community development, contact center, marketing and communications, and operations support.
She previously served as Chief Retail Officer for San Francisco Federal Credit Union in California. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership from Colorado State University, has her Diversity and Inclusion certificate from eCornell and earned her Credit Union Development Education (CUDE) designation from the National Credit Union Foundation. She is also a member of Chief, a private network and only organization specifically designed for the most powerful women executives.
28. Diana Parafiniuk
Founder & CIO, E-Therapy
Diana Parafiniuk is a seasoned and nationally recognized business leader in the teletherapy market. She pioneered the teletherapy industry in education with innovative practices, services, solutions, and first-to-market approaches to serve Pre-K-12 schools and students. Since founding E-Therapy in 2009, Parafiniuk has developed every department within the business from hiring, training, and operations to sales and marketing, and business development. Her entrepreneurial innovation is the heart of E-Therapy’s programming, and its services have supported students’ special education needs nationally. As E-Therapy’s Founder and Thought Leader, she is an integral part of the company’s expansion and growth from developing the deployment of how-to provide teletherapy sessions to cultivating school relationships with administrators to directing and managing marketing and sales strategy. She creates specialized content webinars for speech telepractice and educational podcasts, and speaks at national conferences and events.
Through her creativity, passion, and strong relationships, Parafiniuk expanded E-Therapy’s mental health programs. Currently, working closely with her product managers and expert licensed professional counselors, she manages and develops all new mental health programming and products. Together, they created an exceptional mental health framework that districts and schools can implement for their whole school community to address the needs and to support staff and students’ mental health well-being. In 2019, Parafiniuk received the prestigious “Women Achievers of Arizona” award from the Arizona Capitol Times. The honor is given to women who excel in their profession to advance their community and make a difference in people's lives. Parafiniuk’s in-depth expertise comes from her extensive experience as a certified speech language pathologist holding certificates of clinical competence, providing speech and language services to online and brick-and-mortar schools across the country for over a decade. In addition to founding E-Therapy, she holds a MA degree in communication sciences and disorders and a BA in Spanish and linguistics from Northern Arizona University. Parafiniuk served as an adjunct professor at NAU teaching Childhood Communication Science Disorders, and Screening and Treatment classes in the Speech-Language Pathology Assistant program.
29. Jody Collup
Chief Operations Officer, Global DMS
Jody Collup has more than 25 years of marketing and management experience working in both the private and non-profit sectors, with the majority of her experience being in the mortgage industry and specifically technology. She currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer, where she manages the company’s operations, organizational structure, and long-term business strategy.
Before being recruited by Global DMS®, Collup headed the marketing strategy at Calyx Software, Inc. While at Calyx, she successfully aligned sales with marketing while operating in a hyper-growth environment as well as the mortgage industry downturn, establishing brand consistency and positive industry awareness behind the company and its solutions. Prior to Calyx, Collup spent six years at the American Heart Association as the product development marketing manager, where she managed all aspects of the department’s product offering including conceptualization, content development, creative development, production, and maintenance. Collup is very familiar with numerous types of mortgage technologies ranging from enterprise-class valuation software to LOS platforms and best-of-breed applications. She works closely with Global DMS’ integration partners, initiating strategic alliances and developing joint marketing activities. She is an active member of the Mortgage Bankers Association, is involved with numerous industry-focused trade shows and events, serves as a regular thought leader on the topic of technology in the mortgage media, and has won multiple awards.
30. Elise King
Chief of Staff & VP of Partnership, United Pet Care
Elise King is the Chief of Staff to the CEO and Vice President of Partnerships for United Pet Care (UPC). UPC is a voluntary benefits company currently working with thousands of employer groups and vet practices nationwide with a mission of making world-class pet healthcare affordable and accessible to pet parents everywhere. King is focused on building out UPC’s current offering for members and vets through value-added industry partnerships. She is also responsible for developing and implementing strategic initiatives to help the expansion of UPC and company operations.
Prior to UPC, King was the head of corporate strategy and shareholder services at Sculptor Capital Management in New York City, a $36.6 billion alternative asset manager. She led the firm’s shareholder services efforts, corporate development, communications, and media relations. In her time at Sculptor, King created and grew the firm’s environmental, social and governance program, helped execute financial issuances, and managed the rebranding to Sculptor Capital. King serves on the board of Invest in Girls, a non-profit focused on financial literacy for under-represented high-school girls. She holds an undergraduate degree in business administration from the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business.
31. Greta Brandt
President, The Flower Shop
As President of The Flower Shop, Greta Brandt takes a hands-on approach to overseeing every aspect of operations including cultivation, retail, manufacturing, and wholesale. Greta is a licensed corporate attorney who applies her legal training to ensure compliance and scalability of The Flower Shop and its subsidiary brands in emerging markets with varied regulatory structures. Previously, Greta served as general counsel for Sky Dispensaries before stepping into the role of President and rebranding the company as The Flower Shop in 2019 and expanding it into Utah as True North of Utah.
Prior to that experience, Greta practiced law at firms in California and Arizona after earning a JD from the Gonzaga University School of Law with an emphasis on public interest law and international law. She also is active in shaping the cannabis industry beyond the C-Suite, serving as president of the Utah Cannabis Association and a member of the Arizona Dispensary Association. In addition, Greta regularly engages with Arizona and Utah regulatory bodies, including the Arizona and Utah Departments of Health Services and the Utah Department of Agriculture. Outside of her professional capacities, Greta is also a proud mother of three.
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34. Billie Tarascio
Owner & Family Law Attorney, Modern Law
Billie Tarascio is the Owner and a Family Law Attorney for Modern Law, a unique family law firm offering a refreshing, progressive approach customized to individual needs. With offices currently in Mesa and Scottsdale, Modern Law gives clients the option of instant access to an attorney without paying a retainer through webinars, video conference, telephone or in office appointments. By embracing technology, their virtual practice comes to clients. Their model of business keeps costs low and eliminates administrative fees so savings can be passed along to clients.
Additionally, Tarascio is the owner of Access Legal, a certified legal document preparation and legal technology company dedicated to increasing access to justice. She is a national speaker and author of the books Decode Your Divorce and Tiger Tactics, winning strategies for building law firms. She was previously the president of The Ridgewood Group. Tarascio graduated from the University of Oregon with a JD and with an undergraduate degree in political science.
35. Lesli Knee
VP & Director of Client Services, Angell Marketing
Lesli Knee is a Vice President and Director of Client Services of Angell Marketing. She first joined the company in 2017 as an account director. Angell Marketing is a premier advertising agency that specializes in custom sales and marketing, senior living communities, and health care services. In her role, Knee oversees client relationships, key marketing strategies, and annual plan development. She leads Angell Marketing’s client services team with a deep commitment to excellence, ensuring client projects are delivered with the highest quality.
Experienced, dedicated and results-driven, Knee is highly skilled in helping clients define and meet their marketing objectives. She has spent more than 18 years in marketing, including 12 years as a senior marketing manager with a well-known Fortune 500 technology company. Coupled with her extensive experience, Knee’s strategic, creative approach brings a fresh perspective and smart, innovative solutions that foster real results. Knee earned an undergraduate degree in family and consumer science from Seattle Pacific University.
36. Jane Christensen
CEO & Co-Founder, Omni Bioceutical Innovations
Jane Christensen is the Co-Founder and CEO of Omni Bioceutical Innovations, an innovative biotech company that provides skin and hair care treatment products through physician offices, formulas and products for private label dermaceutical companies, and business consulting for the medical aesthetic community.
Christensen has been an entrepreneur most of her life, starting her first businesses in her early twenties. Her prior ventures include Omni Medical Imaging, a spa-like outpatient radiology center; Omni Wellness Center; and Integrated Laser Solutions. Her passion and attention to quality-of-life issues have earned her the coveted “Golden Heart of Business” award, BizAz’s “Top Coolest Companies in Arizona,” and the Business Journal’s “The Most Innovative Woman.” Christensen sits on several non-profit boards and holds chair positions for many fundraisers where she was key in raising millions. She graduated from Lawrence University.
37. Jo Svendblad
Chief People Officer, Uphold
Jo Svendblad is the Chief People Officer of Uphold. She first joined the company in 2018 as senior vice president of HR. Founded in 2013, Uphold is a digital wallet and trading platform that makes cryptocurrencies and other assets affordable and accessible for everyone. They provide borderless access to financial services you can’t get through your bank. Covering over 300 assets, they allow both consumers and businesses to easily transact between digital and traditional currencies, with full integration between old and new money systems.
Previously, Svendblad was a founder and principal consultant at Alio Consulting, LLC and before that, a VP of people at Digital Air Strike. Earlier in her career she worked with eturn, inc. as a manager in HR and operations. Svendblad earned an undergraduate degree in business administration from San Jose State University.
39. Laura Kelly
CEO & Co-Founder, Clover
As Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Clover, Laura Kelly has consulted one-on-one with billion-dollar businesses and CEOs. She’s toured the country with a venture capitalist investment group and has run over 30 events in 8 months for business owners and investment hunters across the country. She’s also won awards for her theory developed for business owners to get the most out of their employees.
Laura majored in business psychology and optimal human performance where she graduated valedictorian. She was offered a funded PhD at Trinity College Dublin, one of the world’s top universities. She has spoken throughout Ireland to CEOs and other professionals about optimal performance in the workplace and won awards for her theory developed for business owners to get the most out of their employees. Laura has consulted global brands like Dell, Ornua, Tech Mahindra, Eli Lilly, Royal College of Surgeons, and CPL Jobs. She also has run events for leading business psychologists in Ireland and has headed up sponsorship relationships with Google. In her career, she has helped hundreds of contractors achieve 30% more growth and profitability year over year through developing Clover’s Contractor Education Programs.
40. Sher Downing
CEO & Founder, Downing EdTech Consulting
Sher Downing, PhD, is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Downing EdTech Consulting, offering guidance in digital transformation for business advancement and professional performance. Known for her ability to lead strategic planning and creative innovative solutions for online learning, she has been acknowledged as “a distinguished value-giver...very few professionals of her caliber are so willing to share their insight, knowledge and guidance.” Her coaching expertise has assisted online learning and tech professionals to expand career opportunities and launch startups. She is also the host of the podcast EdTech Speaks, focusing on innovation between education, business, and technology. Downing’s expertise was acknowledged with a 2021 nomination for Women in IT Entrepreneur of the Year-USA.
Downing previously completed her post-secondary career as a Vice Chancellor, eLearning, having spent 35 years in higher education and corporate training advancing institutions and companies in eLearning initiatives. She earned a PhD and master’s degree from Capella University and a Master of Legal Studies degree from Arizona State University. Downing serves as a dissertation chair and faculty member at multiple institutions. She also serves as a member of the customer experience advisory board member for University of California, Irvine, startup board member with EdTera, and a startup mentor for Newchip.
42. Lisa Levy
Founder & CEO, Lcubed Consulting
Lisa Levy is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Lcubed Consulting. In her roles, Levy helps companies align people, processes, and technology to utilize agility as a strategic advantage and acknowledge change is a business constant. Her secret to success is leveraging key elements of project management, process performance management, internal controls, and organizational change management to build teams with the skills and capabilities to drive strategic results.
Levy is a best-selling author of Future Proofing Cubed, a book she created to share her insights on productivity, profitability, and process refinement in business. Her goal is to prepare her clients with the skills, capabilities, and self-reliance they need to thrive in the future without Lcubed’s guidance. In addition to Lcubed, Levy is an advisor at the C-Suite Network, a space where executives connect, consult, and share expertise. She's also the leadership advisor for Rhize Tech, a team serving remote communities with world-class IT solutions. Prior to her current roles, Levy has held numerous positions in the vein of project management and consulting. She was a trust member and contributing writer for the Phoenix Business Journal and was director of the Program Management Office at Norton LifeLock. Levy earned an undergraduate degree in electronic media management from Northern Arizona University. She is a Project Management Professional and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt.
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43. Christina Eades
President & Benefits Advisor, Calibrated Benefits Group
Christina Eades began her professional career over 25 years ago. Today, she is the President and a Benefits Advisor for Calibrated Benefits Group. At Calibrated Benefits Group, they bring benefits to life, calibrating benefits using innovative exclusive technology suited for all workforces, with cost effective and affordable solutions for both the employers and their employees.
Eades started in the insurance industry in 1998. She has been a licensed agent since 2012, and has partnered with multiple carriers for major medical, MEC plans, dental, vision, life, and voluntary insurance products both as an independent agent and with Calibrated Benefits Group. Throughout her career she has worked with employers customizing benefits packages that meet the needs and is in the best interest of both the employer and employees. She is also a certified benefits counselor and case manager with various carriers and exercises the knowledge and skill of enrollment platform solutions. Eades’ goal is to help employers and their employees in their times of need while partnering with other broker partners to deliver the best experience possible. She brings a wealth of knowledge to the industry and as a former district sales coordinator with Aflac she has developed and led a team of qualified insurance agents ensuring every agent excelled in the knowledge of products, procedures, and maintained compliance to give every client a good experience. Eades graduated from Glendale Community College with an undergraduate degree in social science.
44. Patti Sampson
Founder & CEO, EngageMore CRM
Patti Sampson is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of EngageMore CRM. She founded the company in 2020. The company’s CRM is built for real estate professionals. They provide hundreds of engaging pre-built email and text templates built into drip campaign flows that are proven to get a response. The platform was created by a top producing real estate agent for real estate agents to provide the content and training needed to help close more sales faster, consistently, and more efficiently.
In addition to her work with EngageMore CRM, Sampson is the CEO and founder of ExposedAgent Marketing Solutions. She is a top producing real estate broker for eXp Realty in the Phoenix Metro area where she specializes in residential resale of single family and condo/townhomes, new construction, investment property, foreclosures, and short sales. She was previously an associate broker and lead team manager at West USA Realty. Sampson earned an undergraduate degree in business administration and management from Arizona State University.
46. Ellie Paget
Founder & Chief Executive Officer, HomeSlice Stays
Ellie Paget is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of HomeSlice Stays. At HomeSlice, they provide the most authentic, trusted homes, and believe travel should be accented with every piece as extraordinary and exceptional as the first experience. Paget started HomeSlice in February 2019, and through organic growth, within 6 months has scaled to over 50+ units in four major metropolitan cities. Ambitious and confident in the trajectory for HomeSlice, she is already developing new concepts with family offices, multifamily developers, and investors seeking to diversify by adding hometels into their portfolios. Paget has 16 years of experience in hospitality.
In addition to her roles with HomeSlice, Paget is a successful real estate agent who earned a D.C Real Estate License from Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS®. With GreenLine Real Estate in Washington D.C. as well as a private pilot license in Scottsdale Arizona. She was previously a director of operations at Manorshare and before that, a sous chef at Brasserie Beck by Robert Wiedmaier. Earlier in her career she worked onboard a National Geographic cruise ship in Alaska.
47. Mary Lyn Hammer
President & CEO, Champion Empowerment Institute
Mary Lyn Hammer is the Owner, Founder, President and CEO of Champion Col-EDGE Services, Inc., Champion Empowerment Institute, LLC, Champion for Success, Inc., and Champion for Life, Inc., Champion’s education-based companies collectively offer financial literacy training and certification program, life skills, personal development, default prevention for Federal and private student loans, job placement verification, skip tracing, consulting services, and custom surveys for students, alumni, and employers. Hammer specializes in staff training, program development, and default prevention operations. She has participated in training sessions and workshops for numerous states, provincial, regional, national, and private associations in both the U.S. and Canada in a continued effort to share her experiences and knowledge. Champion for Life, Inc. is a health and wellness company specializing in Lyme disease, from which Hammer and her daughter have recovered. Hammer’s book, Over My Dead Body, depicts her near-death experience and the healing journey of herself and her daughter to heal from chronic Lyme disease.
Hammer’s accomplishments include numerous state, regional, and national awards and recognitions over the years in both the higher education industry and in professional business arenas. She has served as a board member for numerous education associations, coalitions, and groups. She has had hundreds of articles published in numerous higher education magazines over the years. She is an avid supporter of the Imagine America Foundation, a provider of need-based college scholarships. Hammer graduated from Brooks College with an undergraduate degree in marketing and advertising.
49. Tonya Dawn Recla
Executive Director, Super Power Experts
As the Executive Director of Super Power Experts and creator of the Superpower Network, the #1 podcast network for inspired personal development, Tonya Dawn Recla spends her days proving superpowers are real. She’s passionate about creating scalable, sustainable solutions to support rapid evolution and vibrational shifts for individuals and the collective. Through her experiences in academia, high finance, corporate America, the military, government counterintelligence, corporate espionage, entrepreneurship, intuitive and spiritual embodiment and now, superpowers, Tonya explored the human psyche and deconstructed the human experience. The superpowers body of work rests on decades of dedicated research, exploration and trial and error establishing a framework to co-create a multidimensional experience in this lifetime. From Tonya’s divine guidance, and in concert with her husband, Justin, and daughter, Neva, the Reclas stepped forward in faith and created an organization based in synergistic collaboration, proving both the body of work and the business models that support it.
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