Women We Admire is pleased to announce The Top 50 Women Leaders of Arizona for 2023. The state's economic growth has been fueled by factors such as a favorable business climate, a skilled workforce, and a strategic geographic location, all of which attract companies from various industries to establish their operations in the state. It’s no surprise that the area has a robust workforce with countless notable women leaders. This year’s awardees have been instrumental in driving positive changes and contributing to their organizations’ development. They lead within organizations, both large and small, including Banner Health, Massage Envy, MEB Management Services, and more. We celebrate each for their achievements within the workplace and for their commitments to their respective communities.
Among this year’s awardees is Yvonne Bilshausen, Vice President of Aviation at Hill International, an aviation leader with nearly 25 years of experience in managing airport programs, delivering aviation infrastructure projects worth over $10 billion. Her dedication has led award-winning project teams at major airports worldwide, including Chicago O'Hare International and London Heathrow. Awardee Melissa Wright, the Chief Sales & Marketing Officer at American Pacific Mortgage, is a highly accomplished executive leader who has propelled organizations to the top of their industry, and significantly increased sales from $4 billion to $24 billion over her 20-year career in C-suite leadership. Also awarded is Ann Boomsma, the Senior Vice President of Operations at MEB Management Services, who leverages her extensive real estate and client management expertise to manage a portfolio of assets worth $2.5 billion across Arizona and Texas.
Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 50 Women Leaders of Arizona for 2023.
1. Beth Stiller
Chief Executive Officer, Massage Envy
Beth Stiller is the Chief Executive Officer of Massage Envy. She is the first female leader of the brand, the largest provider of therapeutic massage and skin care services in the US collectively across its nearly 1,000 franchise locations in 49 states. She has more than 20 years of global and domestic experience in retail, branding, merchandising, and management. She is a driver of retail and product innovation with a proven track record of achieving results through motivating teams and influencing positive change. She joined Massage Envy in 2016 as chief commercial officer.
Prior to relocating to Arizona to join Massage Envy, Beth spent 6 years at Walgreens where she most recently held the role of group VP responsible for global sourcing and retailer brands. Born and raised in Canada, Beth moved to New York to join the team at Duane Reade to help with the reinvention of the brand and store experience before its sale to Walgreens.
Beth started her career in Canada where she held various merchandising and private brand positions at two of the country’s largest and most respected retail brands, Shoppers Drug Mart, and Loblaws. She graduated with a business administration degree from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.
3. Yvonne Bilshausen
Vice President of Aviation, Hill International
As an international aviation leader, Yvonne Bilshausen brings nearly 25 years of experience leading airport program management, master planning, and the design and delivery of terminals and other aviation infrastructure projects cumulatively valued at over $10 BB. Through her passionate fusion of high design, business acumen, and remarkable communication, she has successfully led award-winning project teams, supporting airport and airline clients, at some of the world’s busiest airports including the O’Hare 21 Terminal Area Plan, World Gateway Program, and Capital Improvement Program at Chicago O’Hare International (ORD) and the new Terminal 2B, holistic renovation and expansion of Terminal 3, and the temporary 2012 Olympic Terminal at London Heathrow (LHR).
Yvonne’s fusion of high design and business acumen yields success for major airlines, international airports, and notable business partners through the pursuit of value-for-money, sustainable solutions that answer the questions, “What does ‘good’ look like now and in the future?” as well as “How can we simultaneously & sustainably improve the passenger experience, operational efficiencies, and non-aeronautical revenue?”
Yvonne earned both her master's and undergraduate degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago and attended the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture in Versailles, France.
4. Ann Boomsma
Senior Vice President of Operations, MEB Management Services
Ann Boomsma possesses more than 30 years of real estate and client management experience within the multi-family industry. This experience has provided a unique ground-level understanding of operations. As Senior Vice President of Operations, Boomsma supports strategic initiatives for sales and client acquisitions and works closely with principals and other industry professionals to manage a portfolio of assets throughout Arizona and Texas. She is responsible for more than 40 Assets, valued at $2.5 billion. Boomsma manages the New Development team with over 8,000 lease-up units in the pipeline for 2023-2025. As well, Boomsma oversees the management of the MEB New Business Development team which grew revenues over 20% in the year 2021 and 25% in 2022.
Boomsma joined MEB in 2000 as an asset director. She was awarded Volunteer of the Year in 2006 and Regional Supervisor of the Year in 2012 by the Arizona Multifamily Association (AMA). In 2020, Boomsma was awarded the Soaring Eagle Award through MEB, the highest award given. In 2021, Boomsma was awarded CPM of the Year, a prestigious award offered through the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM)
Boomsma serves on the board of the National Multifamily Housing Council, NMHC, Arizona Multifamily Association, AMA, and the Institute of Real Estate Management, IREM. She has an undergraduate degree in advertising/marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Boomsma is a licensed real estate agent in Arizona.
5. Melissa Wright
Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, American Pacific Mortgage
Melissa Wright is a nationally ranked executive leader, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer of American Pacific Mortgage, and a true expert in strategic design. With more than 20 years in C-suite leadership, Melissa has built companies from the ground up to multi-million-dollar acquisitions, led organizations from last place to #1 in their industry, and grown sales from $4 billion to $24 billion.
Melissa has been ranked as a Top Marketing Leader, awarded Top 30 Women in Business, a 7-time winner of Best in State, and nationally recognized as one of the Elite Women in Mortgage. Throughout her career, as a highly regarded practitioner and speaker, Melissa has presented to thousands of audiences on sales and marketing innovation, easy-to-implement customer experience strategies, and how to create alignment in your personal and professional life to do work that matters.
As a self-proclaimed entrepredoer, she currently leads the areas of sales technology, marketing, communication, sales innovation & support, training, and business development. She sits on 3 advisory boards for advancing tech companies and works with and speaks to executives, leaders, and emerging leaders on how to transform their leadership style through radical generosity, purpose-driven work, and living to make a difference.
12. Adaliz Gimenez
VP & Commercial Banker, Bell Bank
Adaliz Gimenez is Vice President and Commercial Banker of Bell Bank, a privately-owned community bank in Phoenix, Arizona. Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Adaliz earned her undergraduate degree and MBA from the University of Puerto Rico before relocating with her family to Arizona in 2004.
Adaliz has over 20 years of banking experience since starting her career in 2000 as a manager trainee. She specializes in lending and banking for professionals in healthcare, law, and other private practice. Before joining Bell Bank in 2019, she spent 15 years with the Professional Banking Group at Wells Fargo Bank. In 2020, she was named one of the Most Influential Women in Arizona by the Arizona Business Magazine.
Adaliz is an active member of both, the American and the Arizona Bankers Association, serving on the ABA Emerging Leaders Council. She also serves on the Board of New Pathways for Youth, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving at-risk youth through 1:1 mentoring and action planning. When she is not at work or volunteering, you will find her enjoying the outdoors and spending time with her family and friends.
13. Michelle Acosta
Managing Principal, HDR
Michelle Acosta is the Managing Principal of HDR’s architecture practice in Phoenix, AZ. She leads the strategy and success of the Phoenix office by collaborating with other principals, business development groups, and designers to provide the highest level of quality and service to clients, cultivating relationships and strengthening connections in Arizona and surrounding Southwestern states.
Michelle graduated with a BSD in architectural studies from Arizona State University and immediately embarked on a career in healthcare design. At age 25 she became a registered architect and went on to serve as a project architect and medical planner on large acute care and outpatient projects in the western United States and the Middle East. She was elected 2016 chapter president of AIA Pasadena & Foothill and represented the chapter on AIA California’s board of directors. The theme of her presidency was “Building Bridges”, focusing on the mentorship and development of emerging professionals to help fill the void that was left in the industry due to the economic downturn of 2008.
Michelle was the recipient of the 2018 AIA Young Architects Award. Her national AIA involvement has continued since then, helping to pilot the ‘Align’ mentoring program with the College of Fellows and serving as a juror for the 2020 Architecture Awards and the prestigious 25-Year Award. Most recently, Michelle was honored by Encyclopedia Britannica in 2021 as one of 20 Young Shapers of the Future Under 40 in the architecture and engineering category. She is board certified in healthcare architecture by the American College of Healthcare Architects and is also an Evidence Based Design Accredited Professional.
14. Debra Mickey Larson
Global Client Partner, FranklinCovey
As a Global Client Partner with FranklinCovey, the world’s most trusted leadership development company with a presence in 160 countries, Debra Larson brings a team of resources to major corporations that create positive work cultures where people feel valued and achieve results through behavior change. Many of her clients feel she is a member of their organization positively impacting employee engagement, customer satisfaction, strategy execution, and leadership development at all levels. She is highly sought after by clients for her incredible ability to immediately understand their business and to evaluate their organization’s culture. As a designated “culture sniffer” she helps CEOs determine if they have the right talent on their leadership teams to execute their strategy. During her tenure at FranklinCovey, she has held various management positions leading teams in the US & Canada. A member of the prestigious $40M Club, she counts her success based on lives changed.
Debra collects and connects people. Since early childhood, her personal mission statement has been to “help others succeed.” She has retained clients for more than 30 years, not only helping them chart the path to business success but also personal success.
Debra is a recognized leader in the nonprofit arena maximizing her network to help individuals find a community board activity that fuels their passion and will strengthen each organization. Her personal community involvement as former board chair for the Phoenix Boys Choir and the Herberger Theater Center allowed her to guide these organizations to build their reach to greater and more diverse audiences. She serves on the City of Phoenix Arts & Culture Commission, the Phoenix Dress for Success Board, as a mentor for Arizona Foundation for Women SHE Leads program, as a member of the Arizona Community Foundation Asian Women’s Giving Circle, and as President of the University Club of Phoenix Foundation.
Larson graduated from the University of Arizona with a BS in public administration and MS with honors, in marketing. Before joining FranklinCovey, Debra spent several years in the public sector. She was CEO of a marketing research company that helped cable companies convince their buyers that cable services were as necessary as a utility when cable was first launched.
View the complete list of awardees.
17. Stefanie Gorres
Executive Director & Branch Manager, Morgan Stanley
As a Branch Manager, Stefanie Gorres is responsible for driving growth in three Arizona offices, Phoenix, Peoria, and Prescott, and helping every financial advisor in her branches realize his or her full potential. She is committed to cultivating a positive atmosphere that promotes peer-to-peer idea exchange, team building, and the strategic connections required to satisfy the sophisticated needs of clients. She is also a passionate advocate for women in business and financial services. In 2021, Stefanie was one of eighteen individuals across Morgan Stanley Wealth Management to be named a Morgan Stanley MAKER.
Stefanie joined Morgan Stanley in 2006 and has held positions as a complex manager assistant, branch service manager, complex business service officer, and associate complex manager before taking on her current role. Before joining Morgan Stanley, Stefanie worked at AIG where she managed a team that was responsible for writing compliance policies and procedures for all broker-dealers under the AIG Advisor Group umbrella.
Stefanie earned her undergraduate degree in business finance from Minnesota State University at Mankato. She began her financial services career at Ameriprise Financial where she started on the service and trading queue before transitioning to institutional compliance. There, she and two others developed a patented personal trading monitoring system. She then moved to the retail side of the business where she performed high-profile fraud investigations and branch exams as a senior compliance examiner. Her background in risk, compliance, and operations gives her a well-rounded vision of all the different components of the financial services industry.
Originally from Minnesota, Stefanie moved to Arizona in July 2005.
19. Nadya Bliss
Executive Director of the Global Security Initiative, Arizona State University
Dr. Nadya T. Bliss is the Executive Director of the Global Security Initiative (GSI) at Arizona State University (ASU). In this capacity, she leads a pan-university organization advancing research, education, and other programming in support of national and global security. Bliss is an experienced leader of science and technology organizations with over two decades in the defense, security, and higher education sectors. She has expertise in leading and growing mission-focused research organizations.
With in-depth knowledge of the technology transition pipeline, Bliss has significant experience identifying advanced research capabilities to address mission and application needs. She has more than 80 publications to her credit, holds two patents, and is a sought-after speaker around topics related to technology development and national security. She has appeared on PBS and NPR, and in the Christian Science Monitor, Phoenix Business Journal, and CIO Review.
Actively involved in service boards and national committees, Bliss currently serves as chair of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Information Science and Technology study group (DARPA ISAT) and vice chair of the Computing Community Consortium. She also serves on the National Academies Climate Security Roundtable and the National Academies Forum on Cyber Resilience.
Prior to leading GSI, Bliss was assistant VP of research strategy at ASU and spent a decade in various positions at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, most recently as the founding group leader of the Computing and Analytics Group. In that role, she oversaw all of the laboratory’s high-performance computing, along with a portfolio of programs focused on advanced analytics and computer architectures for DoD and IC mission needs. Bliss holds a Professor of Practice appointment (and is a member of the Graduate Faculty) in the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence and is a Senior Global Futures Scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global
Futures Laboratory. She received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from Cornell University and earned her doctorate in applied mathematics for life and social sciences from Arizona State University.
23. Nika Gueci
Executive Director, University Engagement at Center: Mindfulness, Compassion and Resilience, Arizona State University
Dr. Nika Gueci is a born and bred New Yorker who moved to the desert to advance Arizona State University’s Charter of Inclusion and Belonging. She is the inaugural Executive Director of ASU's Center for Mindfulness, Compassion, and Resilience, created as an institutional-priority initiative to build human capacity through an innovative whole-person approach. Here, she furthers individual and community resilience through translational research, customized curriculum, and leadership training. Nika has presented over a thousand speeches, workshops, and events; and has been invited to speak on media sources such as AZ3TV, NPR, and ASU News, and keynote at national conferences. She serves as co-chair of the Mental Well-Being Committee, Arizona Department of Health Services, and leads a state-wide strategy to reduce loneliness and social isolation.
She is a senior fellow at ASU's Learning Enterprise as lead on personal development offerings for lifelong learners, where she designs concepts for a scalable and equitable approach to flourishing. She creates systems where education propels individuals, families, and communities to have the sovereignty, resources, and capital to lead a life free from structural (e.g., language, financial, or knowledge barriers) and societal obstacles (e.g., stigma, learned ignorance or unconscious bias) to realize and develop their full potential as thriving human beings.
Nika is a registered yoga teacher and ardent advocate for animal rights. She serves on the Arizona Veterinary Medical Association Wellness Task Force and fosters dogs. She holds an EdD in leadership and innovation from Arizona State University, MA in communication from New Mexico State University, and an undergraduate degree in Russian from Columbia University in the City of New York.
24. Tiffany Johnson
Chief Product Officer, NMI
Tiffany Johnson is an experienced, innovative product executive and award-winning leader passionate about financial technology and inclusion. She has been published, quoted, and consulted by many top players and publications in the payments industry. Her reputation for excellence in planning and executing large-scale, complex products at strategic and tactical levels has allowed her to stand out among her peers. Tiffany has also won several awards, with American Banker recognizing her as one of the Most Influential Women in Payments in 2022 for being a Change Agent in the space.
Earlier this year, Tiffany joined NMI, global payments enablement platform, as its Chief Product Officer (CPO). NMI brought on Tiffany as CPO for her leadership experience and diverse product portfolio, including some of the world's top embedded finance and consumer-facing payment programs. In response to Tiffany’s enlistment with the company, Vijay Sondhi, CEO of NMI, shared, “As we continue to drive more product innovation and solutions for our partners, Tiffany's deep payments experience makes her the perfect leader for our product team."
Before joining NMI, she served as SVP of product at Green Dot and head of product for North America at U.K.-based Railsr (formerly Railsbank). In these roles, Tiffany led new product development and drove innovation across each company’s banking, payments, debit, and credit "as-a-service" offerings. Tiffany has her MBA, BS in economics, and BS in management from WP Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.
25. Beth Brady
Chief Brand & Development Officer, Solari
Beth Brady oversees Solari's marketing, communications, development, community engagement, education, and culture programs. She is a dynamic leader with clinical mental health, suicide prevention, communications, and employee engagement expertise. Beth was a Phoenix Business Journal Health Care Hero Finalist and ranked as one of the two top Mental Health First Aid instructors in the state of Arizona.
Beth has been in the mental health field for more than 15 years. She is a Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC), International Council for Helplines crisis center examiner, and is trained in performing psychological autopsy investigations. Beth earned her Bachelor of Psychology and her Master of Clinical Mental Health Counseling degrees from Argosy University. She currently serves on the board of directors for Mental Health America of Arizona. Her clinical background fuels her passion for effective communications, marketing, and design to reduce the stigma of mental illness, promote well-being, and reduce mental health disparities.
30. Ami Mendez
Vice President of Operations, CNHA, ALM, Avista Senior Living
Ami Mendez is a distinguished, Certified, and Licensed Nursing Home Administrator and is Assisted Living Manager in AZ & Utah. She is the recipient of the American College of Healthcare Administrators' "Eli Pick leadership award" given for consistency in exceptional outcomes and has been in Arizona Skilled Nursing and senior care services since 1991. She holds a master’s degree in business administration and has enjoyed her past role as an adjunct faculty member at Ottawa University where she educated master’s level students on the dynamic of organizational theory and behavior.
Having served in multiple healthcare settings over the past 25 plus years, she has invaluable experience which includes multiple deficiency-free surveys, multisite/state supervision, home health, skilled nursing, assisted living, for-profit, not-for-profit, memory care, and CCRC environments, all with consistent award-winning outcomes. Her specialty is turning struggling networks/communities into premier providers by creating self-managed, high-performing teams. She is and has been, a true champion of transformational leadership.
31. Joanne Mizell
Chief Operating Officer, Banner|Aetna
Joanne Mizell is the Chief Operating Officer at Banner|Aetna. She has over 30 years of experience as a healthcare industry executive and is highly regarded for her ability to cultivate strong teams and develop creative strategies. Joanne is passionate about improving the member experience and has championed innovative initiatives like Banner|Aetna’s diabetes reversal and telehealth programs.
As an engaged community leader and advocate, Joanne also serves on the board of Family Promise of Greater Phoenix and as a state and global council member for multiple animal welfare nonprofits.
View the complete list of awardees.
32. Liz Martin-Malikian
Executive Director & CEO, The Cosanti Foundation
As CEO & Executive Director, Liz Martin-Malikian oversees operations, facilities, programming, and philanthropic initiatives for The Cosanti Foundation at both Arcosanti and Cosanti, as well as for the artisan bell-making business, Cosanti Originals. Liz’s unique background encompasses art, architecture, and academics, a rare combination that aligns fully with the unique mission of The Cosanti Foundation.
Originally from New York, Liz holds degrees as a Master of Architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and a Master of Architecture in Urban Design from Tulane University. She has more than 30 cumulative years of experience as a practicing and principal architectural designer and more than 15 years of experience as an academic practitioner teaching domestically and internationally as a professor of architecture and urban design.
Liz has curated, presented, lectured, and published extensively. Her lifelong commitment to her profession and her community is evident in her service as part of dozens of commissions, committees, and councils, including the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Women’s Leadership Initiative, Metropolitan Public Art Coalition (MPAC), and AIACC Monterey Design Conference committee. She has also received a variety of honors and accolades for her dynamic work, such as the AIA/ACSA Practice and Leadership Award, AIAS Educator of the Year Award, and most recently, recognition as part of the ULI Atlanta The Leader 2021 cohort. In addition to her professional accomplishments, Liz is a musician, having graduated from the Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Division with a major in violin and composition.
33. Christine Gilo
Founder & Chief Operating Officer, MOGEL
Christine Gilo, Founder of MOGEL RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) is a highly respected leader and innovator in the human capital and talent acquisition industry. With over 20 years of experience in the field and a deep understanding of workforce solutions and human capital management, she has developed unique and effective approaches to recruitment.
Throughout her career, Christine has held executive positions in Fortune 500 recruitment firms and Top 25 law firms, solidifying her expertise and shaping her industry perspective. Drawing from her extensive experience, she has become a trailblazer in the field, constantly pushing the boundaries of traditional recruitment practices.
Christine's visionary mindset led her to establish MOGEL, a Global Recruitment Process Outsourcing firm headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona. At MOGEL, she built the company on an innovative business model that prioritizes connecting companies with the right individuals for the right positions, resulting in an average of 58% cost savings to her clientele. This approach reflects her belief in the power of meaningful connections and the positive impact they can have on businesses and individuals. Under her leadership, MOGEL has become a trusted partner for organizations seeking exceptional talent solutions. Her commitment to personalized and strategic recruitment has propelled the company to new heights, earning recognition and admiration in the industry.
Christine’s unwavering passion for human capital and talent acquisition, combined with her
extensive experience and innovative mindset, have positioned her as a driving force in the industry. She continues to shape the future of recruitment by challenging conventional norms and fostering connections that create lasting success for both companies and individuals. Christine's expertise and dedication make MOGEL an ideal partner to help navigate the complex landscape of talent acquisition and workforce solutions.
35. Jamie Ciocchetti
Vice President of Operations & Education, DeLex Realty
Jamie Ciocchetti is recognized as a highly accomplished professional who has made a significant impact as the VP of Operations and Education at DeLex Realty. With an unwavering passion for excellence, Jamie has revolutionized the company's operations and education strategies, contributing to its outstanding success in the real estate industry. Jamie has optimized efficiency throughout the organization, resulting in improved productivity and increased profitability. Her keen understanding of marketing trends and industry dynamics has allowed DeLex Realty to maintain a competitive edge in a rapidly evolving market.
One of Jamie's most notable achievements is her dedication to enhancing the educational programs at DeLex Realty. She has equipped DeLex Realty's agents with the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in the industry. She has actively contributed to the real estate and small business community by sharing her expertise and insights with other professionals. Her passion for helping small business owners achieve success is the driving force for her hands-on training and coaching. Her ability to build strong relationships and foster collaboration has earned her a reputation as a respected thought leader amongst business owners.
With a track record of accomplishments as the VP of Operations and Education at DeLex Realty, Jamie continues to drive the company's success through her unwavering commitment to excellence, innovation, and continuous improvement. Her ability to navigate challenges, inspire her team, and achieve remarkable results sets her apart as a dynamic leader in the real estate industry.
36. Stephanie Waldrop
Principal, Employee Benefits International
Stephanie Waldrop is a highly accomplished professional with over 20 years of experience in the insurance industry. She brings extensive expertise in employee benefit consultative and brokerage services for mid and large employers. Stephanie has held executive-level positions with renowned insurance companies such as Humana, PacifiCare/United Healthcare, and Aetna, focusing on all aspects of employee benefits for varied size employer groups.
Stephanie's knowledge and skills encompass program design, market review, renewal negotiation, financial budget projections, claims utilization analysis, wellness programs, and compliance. She excels in strategic planning, working closely with employers to develop long-term employee benefit solutions tailored to their specific needs. Stephanie is dedicated to controlling healthcare costs, engaging employees to be healthier consumers, and delivering creative solutions that meet the challenges of the insurance industry.
In addition to her professional accomplishments, Stephanie is actively involved in the business community and serves on the board of directors for the Arizona Business Council and the Entrepreneurs Organization, Arizona Chapter. Her commitment to supporting local businesses reflects her dedication to fostering economic growth and success in the region. Stephanie's passion for making a positive impact extends beyond her professional endeavors. She is actively involved in initiatives aimed at helping women and children escape trafficking and abuse. Stephanie's commitment to this cause demonstrates her empathy and her desire to contribute to the well-being of others.
37. Felecia Rotellini
Chief of Staff & Senior Advisor, Ginnie Mae
Felecia Rotellini serves as Chief of Staff to the President. Her responsibilities include advancing the mission of Ginnie Mae through communications and broader public and stakeholder engagement and partnerships. Rotellini brings to Ginnie Mae more than 35 years of private and public sector experience in law, policy, corporate governance, and bank and non-bank financial services supervision
Before joining Ginnie Mae, Rotellini was director of regulatory compliance for a nationwide automotive sales and financial services company under the supervision of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In that role, she stood up a compliance department and led the development of a compliance management system. She has more than 16 years of regulatory and consumer protection enforcement experience. From 1992 to 2005, as an assistant attorney general in the civil and criminal divisions of the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, she investigated and prosecuted cases involving accounting, real estate, and mortgage fraud and violations of consumer protection laws.
As superintendent of the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions, she oversaw the supervision of financial services including state-chartered banks and credit unions and non-depository financial enterprises. She led an initiative to license loan originators and raise professionalism ahead of the mortgage industry reforms included in the Dodd-Frank Act. In 2006, she created the Arizona Mortgage Fraud Task Force, bringing together state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to share expertise to tackle complex mortgage fraud more effectively, resulting in civil and criminal prosecutions. In 2009, the US Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, recognized her department with its “Excellence in Cooperative Law Enforcement Award” for the Task Force’s instrumental participation in the U.S. Attorney’s “Operation Cash Back” prosecutions. During her time as Superintendent, she was a member of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors Board of Directors and Regulatory Restructuring Task Force. Rotellini has a JD from the University of Notre Dame College of Law and an undergraduate degree in history and political science from Rocky Mountain College.
38. Lisa Rehurek
Founder & CEO, The RFP Success® Company
Lisa Rehurek is the Founder and CEO of The RFP Success® Company where she leads her team of skilled RFP consultants to help clients win state government contracts. Using a simple yet proven winning framework, they achieve dramatically higher-than-average win rates in State and Local RFPs (Requests for Proposal), with over $500 million secured for their clients. The RFP Success® Company has been disrupting the RFP consulting industry since its inception. Lisa maintains the first and longest-running podcast dedicated solely to RFP response topics. She’s written one book dedicated to the subject, with a second being published in late 2023. In total, Lisa has published eight books on leadership and is a celebrated expert and highly esteemed best-selling author.
Lisa also loves to bring fun to the mix. She developed a set of Core Values called the ‘Ride or Die’ that she uses as guideposts for the culture at The RFP Success ® Company. These values are both serious and fun - and even includes a value of “Must Love Dogs.” Lisa’s get-it-done personality coupled with her ability to color outside the lines when needed has created the kind of notoriety that magnetizes clients and employees, alike.
In addition to being an international best-selling author, Lisa is a speaker and trainer, sharing key strategies that help lead readers and audience members to RFP wins. An influential member of the local business community, Lisa is deeply committed to investing in the growth of small certified diverse, and mid-market businesses. She is passionate about simplifying the RFP process to enable these businesses to compete for millions of dollars in state contracts. Lisa has built an impactful seven-figure business and is among the top 2% of women business owners. In 2023, she led her company to be named one of Inc. 5000’s fastest-growing private companies in America.
41. Jamie Winterton
Senior Director of Research Strategy, Arizona State University
Jamie Winterton is the Senior Director of Research Strategy for ASU’s Global Security Initiative, where she designs interdisciplinary research concepts for defense and security missions. Jamie oversees GSI's large-scale research centers on cybersecurity, human/AI teaming, and disinformation within GSI while creating and maintaining the organization’s five-year strategic plan and financial projections. Jamie's area of research is in cybersecurity policy at the US federal level, and she is a faculty fellow at the Center for Law, Science, and Innovation at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law.
In October 2017 Jamie provided expert testimony on data breaches to the US Senate Subcommittee for Technology, Privacy, and the Law. She chairs the university's DARPA Working Group. Jamie has appeared in the Washington Post, NPR, USA Today, the Christian Science Monitor, Slate, KCBS, KTAR, and the Associated Press.
Before joining ASU in August 2014, Jamie worked as a staff scientist for Lockheed Martin, where she developed and directed projects in electro-optical and radar processing/analysis for multiple military and government organizations. Jamie’s work in optical characterization of materials, high-fidelity physics-based 3D modeling and simulation, and exploitation of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data has been recognized for both innovation and mission utility. Jamie received her undergraduate degree in physics from Arizona State University and her master’s degree in physics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
View the complete list of awardees.
42. Ashley Cole
Senior Director of Accounting, PrePass
Ashley Cole is the Senior Director of Accounting for PrePass. She first joined the company in 2019. PrePass is the most utilized and technologically advanced weigh station bypass platform in North America. PrePass services also include electronic toll payments and the INFORM™ Safety and Tolling dashboards. PrePass saves time, fuel, and money for over 750,000 commercial vehicles and helps government agencies improve highway safety. Services are offered through PrePass Safety Alliance, a nonprofit public-private partnership focused on commercial transportation safety and efficiency.
Ashley is a tenacious worker, voracious learner, system and internal control implementer, problem solver, team leader, and culture builder. She began her career as an auditor at a local CPA firm, where her client industry focus was mainly non-profit and construction, during her tenure as an auditor, she helped to build the firm’s Construction Services Group, which included consulting, tax, and attestation services. Upon leaving public accounting, Ashley worked in construction, utilities, software, transportation, manufacturing, and retail. Some of her most rewarding achievements in the corporate world involve system implementations, process design and improvement, and acquisition transaction management; including valuation, due diligence, and integration.
In her current role, Ashley led the stand-up of the accounting department during the Company’s post-acquisition transition, including implementing multiple systems, defining all operational accounting and financial accounting processes/controls, and building out the high-performing accounting team. Ashley earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Arizona State University and her MBA with a servant leadership emphasis from Grand Canyon University. She is a Certified Public Accountant through the Arizona State Board of Accountancy.
43. Katherine Ricker
Associate Director of Product Strategy for ASU Online, Arizona State University
Katherine is the Associate Director of Product Strategy for EdPlus at Arizona State University. She is an exceptional technical professional making significant strides in the world of EdTech product management. With over 10 years of experience in higher education, she combines her passion for serving others with her expertise in user experience, business analysis, and product strategy.
As a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and holder of a master's degree in User Experience from ASU's Ira Fulton School of Engineering, Katherine brings a wealth of knowledge and a customer-centric mindset to her work, leading her organization to develop high-performing, high-impact solutions. She is a true customer experience evangelist, consistently challenging the status quo and asking the hard questions that lead to scalable, data-informed, innovative solutions. Katherine's collaborative leadership style fosters an environment of trust and empowerment, where she deeply cares about the people she works with and serves. Her ability to balance strategic vision with user-centered execution makes her an outstanding woman to admire in her field.
44. Christine Johnson
Associate Director of Financial Planning & Analysis, Kasa Living Inc.
Christine Johnson is a financial strategy leader at Kasa Living Inc. The company is focused on building a global accommodations brand and partners with owners of multifamily and boutique hospitality properties. Kasa transforms underutilized real estate into stylishly furnished, professionally managed units that cater to business and leisure travelers seeking trustworthy and comfortable accommodations. The company is a leading innovator in the hospitality technology market and is actively growing its portfolio.
Christine designs technology-driven portfolio analytics for Kasa, leveraging her background in real estate finance and knowledge of the company’s business model by optimizing tailored processes and reporting solutions for her team to make efficient data-driven decisions that in turn help maximize value and profitability. Christine is a renowned industry expert in real estate planning software and transforming legacy processes into agile and scalable planning models. Before her current role, Christine worked with Panattoni Development Company, one of the largest privately held industrial developers. This experience created broad exposure to industrial development and acquisitions where she was involved from prospect underwriting, acquisition to building stabilization, and post-stabilization asset management. Her responsibilities grew rapidly as her focus shifted to company financial strategy, where she cultivated operational forecasts and strategy across thirteen core US markets and two European markets, focused strategy related to 1031 exchange targets, tax strategy, and client/portfolio pipeline. This role established her affection to tailor her career toward helping companies grow their value proposition through innovative financial management.
Christine graduated summa cum laude from San Francisco State University with an undergraduate degree in business finance and a BOMA-sponsored concentration in commercial real estate while on scholarship and as captain of her NCAA volleyball team. Upon graduation, Christine received the David G. Hysinger Exemplary Student Recipient Award and the Arete Award for her diligence as a student, passion for commercial real estate, involvement in community service, and success in athletics.
48. Elaine Penn
Director of Outreach, Pilgrim Baptist Church
Elaine Rose Penn is an Elder and Director of Outreach for the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church in Phoenix, Arizona. In her current role with the church, she works with her Pastor, Dr. Terry E. Mackey, and other elders and leaders of the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church family to provide comfort and care to its in-person and online membership of approximately 4,000 members. Her oversight includes the Outreach Ministry which services a monthly mobile food pantry feeding hundreds of people each month challenged by food insecurity in partnership with St. Mary’s Food Bank.
Elaine has an extensive work experience with the General Motors Corporation as a public relations representative and served the New York State Comptroller’s Office as its affirmative action officer, and Minority-Women Owned Business Enterprise Liaison for 10 years as a political appointee of former NYS Comptroller, H. Carl McCall.
Elder Penn is the CEO and founder of Kingdom Life Purpose Ministries International, Inc., a ministry currently operating in Uganda, East Africa. In addition to feeding, clothing, and providing education to approximately 150 orphans in Uganda, her Ministry provides free Bible training to the rural pastors and people of Mbale, Uganda. With the recent donation of land in Uganda, she is at work making plans to build a campus there that would house the orphanage as well as the Kingdom Life Purpose Ministry, Inc. School of Ministry. Elder Elaine Rose Penn is currently working on a PhD in education with an emphasis on instructional design from National University.
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