What makes a great leader?
The dictionary — that heavy thing we used before we could Google things — defines leader as “the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country.” But the definition and expectations of a leader can change from moment to moment and from circumstance to circumstance.
Case in point: I once attended a leadership forum where the definition was based on the skill set it would take to transform Arizona’s education system into one that can produce a generation of skilled workers to meet the needs of Arizona’s growing technology, bioscience and healthcare sectors. For that, we need a leader who can transform a system. That night, I was coaching a Little League baseball team made up of 5-, 6- and 7-year-olds. For that circumstance, effective leadership meant having the ability to get the players to buy into the fact that paying attention to the ball coming off the bat was infinitely more interesting than playing Pokemon Go in the outfield. For that, we need a leader who can focus a group of individuals on a common goal.
In the pages on Az Business Leaders, you will read about men and women who can do just that — and more. The men and women profiled in these pages have created industries, transformed industries, saved lives and made the lives of those in the communities they serve.
The leaders you will see profiled in the pages of this magazine were selected from a pool of more than 5,000 of the most innovative entrepreneurs and the best and brightest Arizona business leaders in healthcare, real estate, construction, education, banking, financial services, manufacturing, technology and law. Over the course of more than two dozen meetings, that list of 5,000 leaders under consideration was paired down to about 500 names, which the selection panel considered to be the most influential leaders in their industries. Then, they were divided up into the categories you will find inside this book.
The drivers of Arizona’s economy who are profiled inside the pages of this magazine have counseled presidents. They have survived plane crashes and kidnappings. They play in rock ’n’ roll bands. They were Olympians. They reflect a wide spectrum of ethnicities, age and gender. But they share one thing in common: they are catalysts for Arizona’s economy. They are leaders. They are innovators. They have influence. And when they speak, they make things happen. And together, they are guiding Arizona toward greatness.
Enjoy this edition of Az Business Leaders. And if you have someone who you think should be considered for next year, nominate them here.
Michael Gossie, Editor In Chief