Women We Admire is pleased to announce The Top 50 Women Leaders of Arizona for 2024. Home to the Grand Canyon, one of the seven wonders of the world, Arizona is a top bucket list destination, but the state’s diversified economy thrives on so much more than tourism dollars. Other prominent industries include healthcare, bioscience, technology, defense, manufacturing, education, hospitality, and financial services. 

Proficient, skillful women leaders serve in high-level roles in all these industries and more in the Grand Canyon State. 

This year’s honorees feature an innovative leader in the financial services sector, Tiffany Johnson. An award-winning executive who has worked with the world’s top embedded finance and consumer-facing payment programs, Johnson was recruited as Chief Product Officer for NMI, a global payments enablement platform, in 2023. 

An industry veteran with over 25 years of experience, honoree Barbara Whye is the Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity for Apple, ensuring DEI efforts are prioritized at the leading global technology company that employs over 150,000 people worldwide. 

Lastly, we extend our honors to Nadya Bliss, an experienced leader of science and technology organizations with over two decades in the defense, security, and higher education sectors. Bliss serves as the Executive Director of the Global Security Initiative for Arizona State University, where she oversees and solves complex security challenges for one of the nation’s most innovative universities. 

Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 50 Women Leaders of Arizona for 2024. 

1. Yvonne Bilshausen
Senior Vice President, Global Head of Aviation Architecture & Engineering, AECOM

Yvonne Bilshausen is the Senior Vice President and Global Head of Aviation Architecture and Engineering at AECOM, a trusted infrastructure consulting firm that delivers professional services throughout the project lifecycle – from advisory, planning, design, and engineering to program and construction management. 

As an international aviation leader, 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 billion. 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).

Bilshausen’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 and sustainable solutions. Bilshausen 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.

2. Barbara Whye
Vice President of Inclusion & Diversity, Apple

Barbara Whye is the Vice President of Inclusion and 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. Ann Boomsma
Senior Vice President of Operations, MEB Management Services

As Senior Vice President of Operations for MEB Management Services, Ann 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 to 2025. She also oversees the management of the MEB New Business Development team, which grew revenues over 20% in the year 2021 and 25% in 2022. She joined MEB in 2000 as an asset director. 

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. 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.

4. Alexandra Loye
Executive Managing Director Capital Markets & Life Sciences, Cushman & Wakefield

Alexandra Loye is an Executive Managing Director in Cushman & Wakefield’s Capital Markets and Life Sciences groups. She has been one of the top healthcare brokers in Arizona over the last decade and is also the leading expert in Life Sciences in the Phoenix market.

With more than 13 years of experience, Loye is a respected commercial real estate broker and authority with a distinguished skill set specializing in healthcare and life sciences. She has completed more than 500 sales and lease transactions valued at over $1.2 billion during her successful career.

Prior to Cushman & Wakefield, Loye was a senior vice president at Colliers, where she was recognized as a top producer in Arizona and the United States. She holds a degree in business real estate from Arizona State University. When not working, Loye values spending time with her two children and husband and enjoys skiing, tennis, and traveling.

5. Nadya Bliss
Executive Director of the Global Security Initiative, Arizona State University

Nadya Bliss is the Executive Director of the Global Security Initiative (GSI) at Arizona State University, one of the nation’s most innovative universities. Bliss oversees efforts to address the complex, interdependent security challenges of today and beyond. Before leading GSI, she spent time as assistant vice president of research strategy at ASU and a decade in various positions at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, most recently as the founding group leader of the Computing and Analytics Group.

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. 

Actively involved in national service, she is the chair of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Information Science and Technology Study Group and the vice-chair of the Computing Community Consortium. She also serves on the National Academies’ Cyber Resilience Forum, the National Academies’ Climate Security Roundtable, and the National Academies’ ad-hoc committee examining defense-related STEM activities at minority institutions. Bliss is a member of the National Academies’ Committee on Transformative Science and Technology for the Department of Defense and the National Academies’ Panel on Assessment of the Network, Cyber, and Computational Sciences at the Army Research Laboratory (ARL). Bliss received Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Computer Science from Cornell University and a doctorate in applied mathematics from Arizona State University.

6. Evelyn Bassett
Group Vice President, Elastic

Evelyn Bassett currently serves as the Group Vice President of Global Rewards, HR Operations, Systems, Analytics, Workforce Expansion, and Sustainability at Elastic, a leading high-growth software company. Since joining the company in 2018, Bassett has been a key executive, managing a comprehensive range of HR functions and leading a global team that oversees compliance, policies, and programs in over 40 countries. Her strategic leadership has been pivotal in the development of a fair pay philosophy worldwide and the implementation of major HR systems, including ServiceNow and Workday. She also led Elastic’s ESG initiatives, contributing to its recognition as one of Newsweek's 300 most sustainable companies.

Before her tenure at Elastic, Bassett held significant roles at Palo Alto Networks as Vice President of Global Rewards, Systems, and Services and at Pinterest as the Global Head of Total Rewards. At both companies, she launched a branded Total Rewards portal and managed comprehensive compensation, benefits, and retirement plans. Her experience also includes impactful roles at Blue Shield of California, where she oversaw the transition of pension plans, yielding substantial savings, and modernized the employee’s benefits plans. Additionally, she held global positions at McCain Foods and TD Bank Group, where she led international teams and developed reward strategies across multiple continents.

Bassett’s career is defined by her robust leadership in managing intricate HR functions within dynamic settings. Her strategic acumen in employee relations and innovative approaches to HR technology and analytics have positioned her as an influential leader in human resources. She is deeply committed to enhancing employee experiences and driving organizational success through people-focused initiatives.

7. Roselin Romney
Global Head of Talent Acquisition, Houzz

Roselin Romney is the Global Head of Talent Acquisition of Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing an all-in-one software solution for industry professionals and tools for homeowners to update their homes from start to finish. Roselin is an accomplished leader who has succeeded in rapidly growing companies pre- and post-IPO. She is a strategic global leader who has led diverse teams across the globe, including people operations and employee experience teams, with over a decade of experience at three startups.

Romney joined Houzz in 2022. Previously, she was the head of talent acquisition at Two Chairs. Before that, she was the head of talent acquisition at Opendoor. Earlier in her career, she worked with ADP as a sales consultant. Romney earned an undergraduate degree in business and communications from Arizona State University.

8. 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 clients’ interests and experience. 

With three decades of 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. Before joining Colorado Technical University, Schnier was a vice provost at the University of Phoenix. Before that, she was, an AVP of accreditation and regulatory affairs at EDMCE. 

In addition to her work, Schnier 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.

9. Elena Volfson
Vice President of Outpatient Psychiatric Services, Meadows Behavioral Healthcare

Elena Volfson is the VP of Outpatient Psychiatric Services at Meadows Behavioral Healthcare. She first joined the company in 2021 as an outpatient psychiatrist. Meadows Behavioral Healthcare is the most trusted name in treating unresolved emotional trauma, along with co-occurring conditions, including alcohol and drug addiction, sex and love addiction, eating disorders, panic and anxiety disorders, PTSD, codependency, depression, bipolar disorder, and more.

Previously, Volfson was a psychiatrist at Mayo Clinic. Before that, she was a managing partner at Gateway Institute of Addiction Medicine and Rehabilitation. Earlier in her career, she worked with the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine as a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry.

Volfson received her medical degree from Saint Petersburg Pavlov Medical University in Russia and completed a residency in internal medicine at St. Petersburg Medical Academy for Postgraduate Studies. She came to the US on the US Congress Scholarship and completed a Master's degree in Public Health with a focus in Epidemiology. She completed a residency in psychiatry and a fellowship in addiction psychiatry at the UMDNJ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, NJ (now Rutgers Medical School).

10. Kandis Michnal
Partner & EVP of Partnerships and SBU Operations, Cardone Ventures

Kandis Michnal is a Partner and Executive Vice President of Partnerships and SBU Operations at Cardone Ventures. With decades of experience working with Fortune 500 companies, as well as Inc. 5,000 financial institutions and advisory firms, Michnal is a true catalyst of transformation. At Cardone Ventures, she has built and continues to lead the organization’s largest client-facing operating teams, overseeing business portfolios exceeding $2 billion in managed revenue.

Michnal has a proven track record of optimizing business infrastructures across a diverse range of industries. She aids companies in preserving their legacies by equipping them with the resources necessary to create cultures of excellence and capture market domination and scale.

Through her relentless determination and commitment to lead others, one of Michnal’s greatest passions is cultivating growth and development through business owners and their teams, empowering others to surpass their perceived limits and achieve goals they may have once deemed unattainable. Michnal has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Management, and Operations from Washington State University’s College of Business and Economics.

11. Adaliz Gimenez
Vice President & 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. 

Gimenez 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.

Gimenez 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 one-on-one 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. 

12. 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.

Acosta 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.

Acosta 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, Acosta 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 an Evidence-Based Design Accredited Professional.

13. Debra Larson
Managing Partner, FranklinCovey

As a Managing 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. She is highly sought after by clients for her incredible ability to immediately understand their business and to evaluate their organization’s culture. She helps CEOs determine if they have the right talent on their leadership teams to execute their strategy. 

During her tenure at FranklinCovey, Larson has held various management positions leading teams in the US and Canada. A member of the prestigious $40 million Club, she counts her success based on lives changed. She 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 an MS with honors in Marketing. Before joining FranklinCovey, she 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.

14. Tasha Aubey
Head of Consulting Services, bluCognition

Tasha Aubey is a customer-centric, results-driven leader with a unique multi-discipline career.  An expert in customer loyalty, operations, process re-engineering and sales, she has been successful in both a large multi-national company as well as in privately held and VC funded companies across a variety of industries.

Tasha started TRK Consulting in 2020 with the goal of bringing her large company experience into the small business sector that she served throughout her career.  Her strategic and advisory firm partners with senior-level executives to drive growth, customer engagement, and transformation in scaling businesses.  She prioritizes driving revenue growth and designing transformational strategies to deliver improvements across the customer journey.

She recently expanded her consulting services by becoming Head of Consulting Services at bluCognition, providing its customers solutions to transform their commercial underwriting processes through bluCognition’s AI-backed products.  In addition, she partners with its clients to drive operational enhancements across the customer lifecycle through world-class consulting support and managed services.  

Previously, Tasha led a variety of large teams at American Express with her most recent role driving significant revenue growth in the small and middle market Global Commercial Card business.  Before her move to sales, Tasha led global Merchant Servicing as well as Credit Operations and SMB Underwriting ensuring top talent development, execution excellence and an ongoing focus on driving transformational change.

Tasha earned an MBA from Arizona State University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Southern Methodist University. She earned an AMEX and Harvard Certificate in Leadership Excellence and completed the Women’s Leadership Acceleration Program through the G100 Network. 

15. Caroline Stockdale
Chief People and Communications Officer, First Solar

Caroline Stockdale is the Chief People and Communications Officer for First Solar. She first joined the team in October 2019. 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 responsibility toward people and the planet has never been more urgent given the impact of climate change worldwide.

Before First Solar, Stockdale 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 the 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 reinventing 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.

16. 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 of 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.

17. Catherine Pearson
Executive Vice President & General Manager, SpringBoard Healthcare

Catherine Pearson is the Executive Vice President & General Manager, 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. 

Pearson previously served SpringBoard Healthcare as the general counsel and chief operations officer, where she was responsible for employment law, contract negotiations, integration of acquisitions, talent management, compliance, credentialing, and business streamlining. 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.

18. 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. Johnson 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.

In early 2023, Johnson joined NMI, a global payments enablement platform, as its Chief Product Officer (CPO). NMI brought her on as CPO for her leadership experience and diverse product portfolio, including some of the world's top embedded finance and consumer-facing payment programs.

Before joining NMI, Johnson served as SVP of product at Green Dot and head of product for North America at UK-based Railsr (formerly Railsbank). In these roles, she led new product development and drove innovation across each company’s banking, payments, debit, and credit "as-a-service" offerings. Johnson has her MBA, BS in Economics, and BS in Management from WP Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

19. 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 and corporate philanthropy and was ranked number one as the Best Workplaces for 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 nonprofit 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).

20. Beth Brady
Chief Brand & Development Officer, Solari

As the Chief Brand and Development Officer, Beth Brady oversees Solari's marketing, communications, development, community engagement, education, and culture programs. Solari Crisis & Human Services is an award-winning, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping individuals through a continuum of crisis and human services. 

Brady is a dynamic leader with clinical mental health, suicide prevention, communications, and employee engagement expertise. She 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. Brady has been in the mental health field for more than 15 years. She is a Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC) and an International Council for Helplines crisis center examiner, and she is trained in performing psychological autopsy investigations. 

Brady earned a Bachelor of Psychology and her Master of Clinical Mental Health Counseling 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. 

21. Cassandra Gholston
CEO, PartnerTap

Cassandra Gholston is the CEO of PartnerTap, the leading partner ecosystem platform for the enterprise. PartnerTap gives partner and sales teams everything they need to automate account and opportunity mapping, share and track partner pipelines, identify new sales opportunities, and enable co-selling across complex partner account teams. 

As an enterprise software sales rep, Gholston understood that her secret to success lay in working with partners. Assisting partners in accessing new accounts, leveraging her relationships to expedite partner deals, and sharing insights helped her establish a network of trusted partnerships around her accounts. This approach propelled her to the #1 enterprise sales rep spot three years in a row.

Before joining PartnerTap, Gholston was a senior regional sales executive at Concur Technologies. Before that, she was a senior major accounts district manager at ADP. Earlier in her career, she worked with Eschelon Telecom as a communications specialist. Gholston graduated from Western Washington University with an undergraduate degree in communications.

22. Ning Duong
Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Credit Union West

Leveraging more than two decades of excellence in the credit union movement, Ning Duong currently serves as the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Credit Union West. Founded in 1951, Credit Union West is a full-service financial institution with 240 employees and a growing membership of over 90,000.

In her role, she leads strategic planning and global initiatives to support the organization’s mission, “To inspire our members, employees, and communities to achieve their financial goals and enhance their quality of life.” Her diverse career background includes leading branch operations, business banking, business and community development, contact centers, digital delivery, human resources, information technology, marketing and communications, organizational development, and operations.

Among her professional accomplishments, Ning is proud to have been named one of the Top Women Leaders for 2023 and one of the Top 50 Women Leaders of Arizona in 2022 by Women We Admire. She has also been featured in the Top 100 People of Finance by the Top 100 Magazine in 2022. As a dedicated civil advocate, she serves as a board member with the Arizona chapter of the Gift of Adoption Fund and the CU West CARES Charitable Foundation. She leads and supports the Global Women’s Leadership Network Phoenix Sister Society, convening credit union women to discuss issues, exchange ideas, network and provide education to share lessons learned with network members worldwide.

Ning holds an undergraduate degree in Organizational Leadership from Colorado State University and a Master’s in Human Resources and Employment Law from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. She has earned two Diversity and Inclusion certifications from eCornell and the University of South Florida and is certified in Adult Mental Health First Aid through the National Council of Mental Well-Being. Well-qualified in her field, she holds designation as a Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE) from the National Credit Union Foundation.

23. 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), the affordable pet health savings plan that works for all pets. She is responsible for the expansion of UPC’s membership, veterinarian, membership distribution, and benefit administration partnerships, aiding in the growth of UPC and driving value to both members and vets. In addition to these responsibilities, King leads the development and implementation of corporate-level strategic initiatives improving UPC’s operations and increasing member and group retention.

Prior to UPC, King spent seven years at Sculptor Capital (NYSE: SCU), a $33 billion alternative asset manager. Most recently, she served as sculptor’s head of corporate strategy and shareholder services. In her time as a sculptor, she created and grew the firm’s environmental, social, and governance program, helped execute both debt and equity issuances, led public shareholder investor relations, and managed the rebranding from Och-Ziff to Sculptor Capital.

King currently serves as Treasurer of the Board of Christ Church School in Paradise Valley, Arizona, and is on the advisory board for the Arizona Council on Economic Education. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business. King resides in Phoenix with her husband, two children, and their loyal Havanese. 

24. Sadhna Bokhiria
Chief Executive Officer, KIRIA Research

Sadhna Bokhiria is the President and CEO of KIRIA Research, a biotech and pharmaceutical advisory firm that specializes in international market access strategy. The company's tailored health system intelligence drives the delivery of the world's most promising drugs and drives the growth of her clients’ multibillion-dollar assets.

Bokhiria is an honoree of PBJ’s 40 Under 40 award, a TEDx Speaker, and a Global Delegate for the American Express Leadership Academy. Her TEDx, “Comedy is No Joke,” explores the relationship between humor and intelligence and has been viewed more than 100,000 times.

 In partnership with Banner Health, Mayo Clinic, and Phoenix Children’s Hospital, she owns and operates housing facilities for patients traveling to Arizona in order to obtain cancer treatment. Her research on the psychosocial factors that impact survivorship in cancer patients was published in partnership with the University of Arizona’s Cancer Center. This research led her to begin exploring the ways in, which laughter impacts healing in cancer patients, which later inspired her research on stand-up comedians.

Bokhiria also hosts LeaderVoices, a podcast created in association with American Express and Arizona State University that showcases leaders and their infinite ability to change the world. Her podcast guests have included experts on the US healthcare sector, global nonprofit leaders, stand-up comedians, and entertainment icons, such as comedian, writer, and actor John Cleese and ever so brilliant daughter, Camilla Cleese. While writing her dissertation, Bokhiria interviewed over 600 comedians and saw more than 1,000 performances. Her research explores the ways in, which humor impacts psychology, physiology, resilience, and leadership. It supports the notion that humor is intelligence.

25. Laurie Lapat-Polasko
Vice President, Matrix New World Engineering

Laurie Lapat-Polasko is the Vice President of Matrix New World Engineering. Matrix New World Engineering is a growing business with project experience throughout the US and the Caribbean. A company of engineering and science experts who focus on some of the nation's most pressing long-term challenges, Matrix addresses the issues of climate change, water supply, disaster response, and urban revitalization. 

Lapat-Polasko has 34 years of experience. Before joining Matrix New World Engineering, she was a principal at Ramboll Environ. Before that, she was a chief science officer and consultant at Ciris Energy, Inc. Earlier in her career, she worked with URS/ Greiner/ Woodward Clyde as an office manager and vice president.

Lapat-Polasko has a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Maryland, an MS and Engineers Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Stanford University, and a BS in Biology from Chatham University.

26. Diana Parafiniuk
Founder & Chief Innovation Officer, 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 CIO, 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 and 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 and providing speech and language services to online and brick-and-mortar schools across the country for over a decade. She holds an MA 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.

27. Ami Mendez
Vice President of Operations, Avista Senior Living

Ami Mendez is the Vice President of Operations at Avista Senior Living. She is a Certified, and Licensed Nursing Home Administrator (CNHA) and is an Assisted Living Manager (ALM) in Arizona and 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. 

Mendez 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, Mendez 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. 

28. Jennifer Caraway
Founder and CEO, The Joy Bus

Jennifer Caraway's journey in the restaurant industry began at the age of 14 when she started as a dishwasher and steadily climbed the ranks, gaining experience in every role, both front and back of the house. Her unwavering dedication led her to the remarkable achievement of opening her first restaurant at the age of 26. From that pivotal moment, her entrepreneurial spirit blossomed, and she went on to establish multiple restaurants across the United States and even expanded her culinary ventures to Mexico.

Caraway wears many hats as the Founder and Executive Director of both The Joy Bus and The Joy Bus Diner, a popular breakfast and lunch destination that plays a dual role by financially supporting her established nonprofit, The Joy Bus program. This program is committed to providing gourmet meals, meaningful conversations, and educational support free of charge to homebound cancer patients, symbolizing Caraway’s unwavering commitment to her cause.

Caraway’s selfless work with The Joy Bus received well-deserved recognition, including accolades, such as 'Best Food for a Good Cause' by Phx New Times, 'Best of 2015 Movers and Shakers' in PHX Magazine, and being honored as the 'H.O.P.E. Award Recipient' by Mass General Cancer Center. Her remarkable achievements also include being named the ONE Annual Non-Profits Director of the Year-Innovation Award, an ATHENA Business Women of the Year, a published cookbook author, and even earning the title of Food Network Chopped Champion. Caraway’s journey from the restaurant industry to a philanthropic entrepreneur exemplifies her dedication to making the world a better place through the transformative power of food and compassion.

29. Karen Cappello
CEO & Founder, Karen Cappello LLC

Karen Cappello is the CEO and Founder of Karen Cappello LLC. She is a Master Certified Coach, a credential held by only 4% of coaches worldwide. In addition, she’s a coach trainer, communication specialist, and motivational speaker. She collaborates with executives, business leaders, and entrepreneurs to significantly enhance communication skills and promote beneficial business outcomes. 

With over 25 years of experience and expertise in business management, financial planning, and higher education, Cappello acquired a broad-based background for her coaching business. In her 22 years as an executive and business coach, she has taken a very solution-focused, strength-based approach. Her coaching style is engaging, supportive, and practical. During their work together, her clients learn to apply their most creative ideas to their current challenges. Under her guidance, previously unseen solutions become evident.

Cappello has served as president of a privately held semiconductor manufacturing firm with preferred supplier status to Motorola Inc. As an estate and financial planner, she was affiliated with PartnersFinancial, an independent financial group. In her second year in estate planning, she qualified for Million Dollar Round Table status and obtained her Series 7 license. Cappello has presented at international conferences all over the world, including having the honor of being a keynote speaker at Ca’ Foscari University, the oldest business school in Venice, Italy. 

30. Liz Martin-Malikian
Executive Director & CEO, The Cosanti Foundation

As CEO and Executive Director, Liz Martin-Malikian oversees operations, facilities, programming, and philanthropic initiatives for The Cosanti Foundation at Arcosanti and Cosanti, as well as for the artisan bell-making business, Cosanti Originals. Her 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, Martin-Malikian 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.

Martin-Malikian 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, Martin-Malikian is a musician, having graduated from the Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Division with a major in violin and composition.

31. 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, Gilo 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. Gilo’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.

Gilo’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 companies and individuals. Gilo’s expertise and dedication make MOGEL an ideal partner to help navigate the complex landscape of talent acquisition and workforce solutions.

32. 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 conferences, telephone, or in-office appointments. By embracing technology, their virtual practice comes to clients, and 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 co-author of the book Tiger Tactics: Powerful Strategies for Winning Law Firms. She was previously the president of The Ridgewood Group. 

Tarascio graduated from the University of Oregon School of Law with a JD with a special focus on Family, Juvenile, Elder Law, and Mediation Services. She received her undergraduate degree in political science also from the University of Oregon. 

33. 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, Ciocchetti has revolutionized the company's operations and education strategies, contributing to its outstanding success in the real estate industry. She 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 Ciocchetti’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 at DeLex Realty, Ciocchetti 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.

34. Felecia Rotellini
Consultant, Freelance

Felecia Rotellini is a veteran prosecutor, consumer advocate, and regulatory compliance expert with over 34 years of experience in private and public law, specializing in consumer and financial fraud, corporate governance, the supervision of financial institutions and enterprises, and the enforcement of civil and criminal laws.

Most recently, she served as chief of staff to the president at Ginnie Mae. Her responsibilities included advancing the mission of Ginnie Mae through communications and broader public and stakeholder engagement and partnerships. 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 set 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, 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 US Attorney’s “Operation Cash Back” prosecutions. 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.

35. Stephanie Waldrop
Principal, Employee Benefits International

Stephanie Waldrop is the Principal at Employee Benefits International. She 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. Waldrop 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.

Waldrop’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. Waldrop 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, Waldrop 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. Her 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. Waldrop’s commitment to this cause demonstrates her empathy and her desire to contribute to the well-being of others. 

36. 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. Rehurek 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, she has published eight books on leadership and is a celebrated expert and highly esteemed best-selling author.   

Rehurek 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 include a value of “Must Love Dogs.” Her 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, Rehurek 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, she 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. Rehurek 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. 5,000’s fastest-growing private companies in America. 

37. Dana O'Rourke
National Director of Sales, OurPharma LLC

Dana O'Rourke is the Director of Sales of OurPharma, a Fayetteville, Arkansas-based DEA, and FDA-registered 503B outsourcing facility committed to providing high-quality compounded sterile preparations to healthcare organizations across the United States. Founded by former hospital and healthcare executives, OurPharma recognizes the impact on the healthcare supply chain from not having trusted and reliable suppliers to provide essential medications for patients. 

As a solutions-driven regional account director and regional sales director, O'Rourke has demonstrated multiple leadership strengths by turning under-producing territories into exceptionally lucrative business endeavors within extremely competitive markets. She coaches and manages representatives throughout the Western United States, developing and mentoring them to exceed company and personal career goals. With multiple field sales promotions and increasing levels of responsibility, she has consistently earned top rankings, awards, and commendations.

Before joining OurPharma, O'Rourke was a regional director of sales at Fagron Sterile Services (FSS). Before that, she was a key account manager at Exela Pharma Sciences LLC. Earlier in her career, she worked with Milex Products as a medical device sales representative. O'Rourke graduated from Arizona State University with an undergraduate degree in communication.

37. Jacqueline Adams
Senior Director, Banner Health

With 30 years of experience in healthcare, Jacqueline Adams is the Senior Director for Population Health Management at Banner University Medical Group in Tucson where she has established and expanded a multidisciplinary population health team. Spearheading the launch of Banner Network Southern Arizona, a clinically integrated network, Adams designed and developed the strategy, workflows, and training that have resulted in the procurement of shared savings and improved health outcomes in their inaugural year. She has also played a pivotal role in facilitating a large-scale Rapid Cycle Improvement Program, driving continuous enhancements in healthcare delivery.

Prior to that, Adams lead a team at Banner University Health Plans that managed value-driven care, payment reform, and care transformation. Her tenure included collaboration with primary care providers statewide, navigating the challenges of value-based agreements, and ensuring optimal patient care while managing medical expenditures. As a proactive participant in national healthcare initiatives, she contributed to the advancement of value-based care, including being selected as a panelist at the prestigious 2017 Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network (HCP-LAN) conference in Washington DC. Adams holds a Master’s in Healthcare Administration with an undergraduate degree in nursing.

38. Michelle Donati-Grayman
Director of External Communications & Brand Reputation, AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah

Michelle Donati-Grayman is a storyteller who champions the power of communication to help brands succeed. Her story with AAA began after a flat tire left her stranded on a Phoenix highway. Shortly thereafter, she joined the organization's public affairs team and has dedicated nearly 18 years to one of the Most Trusted Brands in the automotive and travel industries. As the Senior Director of External Communications and Brand Reputation for AAA NCNU, Michelle oversees the brand's external communications and government affairs strategies across Northern California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska.

In addition, Michelle co-hosts the Via Podcast. The podcast, an expansion of AAA NCNU's award-winning print and digital magazine, explores the American West through interviews with experts and locals. It also features contributions from listeners and AAA Members. A native of Arizona, Michelle is a proud wife, dedicated soccer mom, and community leader. She serves on the Tempe Citizens' Panel for Review of Police Complaints and Use of Force and the Kyrene Superintendent Advisory Council.

Her past volunteer roles include service on the City of Tempe's Human Relations Commission, Tempe Leadership Class 35, the Arizona Executive Leadership Team for March for Babies, the 161st Air National Guard Spouse Advisory Council, and Valley of the Sun United Way. Michelle's commitment and leadership have earned numerous accolades, including AAA NCNU's President's Leadership Award, Phoenix Business Journal's Outstanding Women in Business, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce's ATHENA Young Professional Finalist, Hood College's Outstanding Recent Alumna Award, and Volunteer of the Year honors from the Arizona Air National Guard and the Valley of the Sun United Way.

39. Amy Steele
Director, Strategic Partnerships, Desert Financial Credit Union

Amy Steele serves as the Director of Strategic Partnerships for Desert Financial Credit Union, leading a team that manages local, and corporate partnerships. She oversees key relationships with organizations like Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, Arizona Cardinals, and ASU Gammage. Steele is known for her collaborative approach, adept at uniting diverse stakeholders to conceptualize, endorse, and execute large-scale initiatives. Notably, she spearheaded the successful partnership between DFCU and ASU, surpassing expectations and goals for credit union membership and brand perception since its launch in 2023.

With a background spanning 15 years in marketing, including five at DFCU, Steele has led teams specializing in social media, public relations, content, and data analytics. Beyond her professional endeavors, she is deeply committed to community service, volunteering at over 60 events last year alone, and consistently recognized as a top volunteer at Desert Financial. Steele also dedicates her time to developing resources for Desert Financial employees, serving on the task force, which contributed to the launch of employee resource groups, and actively participating in the Multicultural and Mental Health Employee Resource Groups.

Steele is a native Arizonan and a double Arizona State University alumna. A lifelong learner, she’s attending the ASU Alumni Leadership Institute in 2024, furthering her personal and professional development. Among her proudest achievements are her two college degrees, including an MBA from ASU, and her two beautiful children. 

40. Jamie Winterton
Chief Research Officer, Boston Fusion

As Chief Research Officer, Jamie Winterton designs Boston Fusion’s company-wide research strategy, enabling the team to design and develop revolutionary AI/ML scientific solutions to national defense challenges. 

Winterton’s expertise comes from a long history in both academic and commercial defense research. As the senior director of research strategy at Arizona State University’s Global Security Initiative, she designed interdisciplinary research concepts, oversaw GSI’s large-scale research centers, and chaired the university’s DARPA Working Group. As a staff scientist at Lockheed-Martin’s Advanced Technology Center, Winterton directed projects in electro-optical and radar processing for military organizations that were recognized by the Pentagon for innovation and mission utility.

Winterton holds a BS in Physics from Arizona State University, an MS in Physics from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and a PhD in Cybersecurity Policy from ASU. Her doctoral research focused on misaligned incentives in US federal cybersecurity policy.

41. Ashley Cole
Senior Director of Accounting, PrePass

Ashley Cole is the Senior Director of Accounting for PrePass. She first joined the company in 2019 as an accounting manager. PrePass is the most utilized and technologically advanced weigh station bypass platform in North America. 

Cole 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 nonprofit 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, Cole 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, Cole 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. Cole 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.

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: The Definitive Guide to Improving Productivity, Refining Processes, and Bolstering Profitability, 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 trusted 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.

43. Katherine Ricker
Associate Director of Product Strategy for ASU Online, Arizona State University

Katherine Ricker 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, Ricker 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.

 Ricker’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. 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 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 are 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 and procedures and maintained compliance to give every client a good experience. Eades graduated from Glendale Community College with an undergraduate degree in social science.

45. 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. 

Johnson 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. She is a renowned industry expert in real estate planning software and transforming legacy processes into agile and scalable planning models. Before her current role, Johnson 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, and 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.

Johnson 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, Johnson 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.

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. 

With 16 years of experience in hospitality, 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.

In addition to her roles with HomeSlice, Paget is a successful real estate agent who earned a DC Real Estate License from the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS. She was previously a director of operations at Manorshare. Before that, she was, a sous chef at Brasserie Beck by Robert Wiedmaier. Earlier in her career, she worked as a cook 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 state, provincial, regional, national, and private associations in both the US 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.

48. Robin Bramman
Director of Strategy and Corporate Transformation, Molecular Testing Labs

Robin Bramman is an expert strategist and growth advisor with a proven track record of driving business transformation and innovation. As the Director of Strategy and Corporate Transformation at Molecular Testing Labs, she guides the C-suite executives through long-term strategic planning and activation and collaborates with cross-functional teams to ensure alignment and execution. 

Bramman is the leader of strategic growth initiatives, identifying new business opportunities, and developing partnerships to accelerate growth. She also spearheads B2B marketing efforts and corporate communications, leveraging her expertise in brand strategy to drive business results.

In addition to her work at Molecular Testing Labs, Bramman serves as a partner at SUMMi7, a midsize business consultancy where she advises clients on business strategy, growth planning, and brand development dedicated to creating opportunities for underrepresented communities and driving positive social impact. Bramman is the former CEO of Branding Solutions, and in 2017, she was selected as one of Phoenix Business Journal’s 20 people to know in Startups.

49. Rana Mortensen
Executive Director, NEXA Mortgage

Rana Mortensen is the Executive Director of NEXA Mortgage, a full-service mortgage company headquartered in Chandler, Arizona. In this role, she is a force multiplier, always willing to take on any task and assist any department. She handles the day-to-day operations and works directly with the owners, company managers, and directors to ensure everything is running efficiently and effectively. She enjoys working hand-in-hand with the CEO and president to accomplish their vision for NEXA by helping create and execute the implementation of future plans.

Mortensen is proud to be the founder of the “Women of NEXA” group, created to bring recognition and support to all the women within their organization and the other women in the industry who work with NEXA Mortgage. Their motto is “Stepping Forward Together as WON,” aiming to inspire and empower women to achieve more within the mortgage industry.

As a leader, Mortensen strives to be honest, have integrity, and continually propel NEXA forward with every decision she makes, working to achieve success for the good of NEXA Mortgage and its valued partners.

50. Jill Gossett
Director of Corporate Acquisition, Catholic Education Arizona

Jill Gossett began her professional career over 25 years ago. Today, she is the Director of Corporate Acquisition at Catholic Education Arizona (CEA, a School Tuition Organization) and a member of the leadership team. She is responsible for growing Corporate Partnerships with S-Corp and C-Corp business leaders and educating them about how easy it is to participate in redirecting their Arizona Corporate Tax Liability to support student scholarships. She draws on her expertise to cultivate partnerships between businesses and communicate the value of investing in a private education. 

Prior to this role, Gossett has a diverse background in broadcast media, marketing, and executive management with leadership roles in radio, television, digital, and out of home. She worked in major media markets including Chicago, Washington DC, Jacksonville, Grand Rapids, and currently is in Phoenix. Roles have included work at NBCTV, Univision, Clear Channel Radio & Outdoor, Westwood One, CBS Radio and others. Jill earned a BA in Political Science and studied Broadcast Journalism at Arizona State University. She is a graduate of The Leadership Institute for Managers, and a Certified Radio and Digital Marketing Consultant. Beyond her professional endeavors, Jill is an active volunteer, dedicating her time to support educational initiatives and philanthropic causes. Her commitment to service underscores her belief in making a tangible difference in the community. Jill's integrity, professionalism, and unwavering dedication have earned her acclaim in shaping the education landscape in Arizona and beyond.