DIVERSITY BUILDS STRENGTH
At one point in our state’s history, there was a group known as the “Phoenix 40.” The group was assembled in 1974 by Arizona Republic publisher Eugene Pulliam, attorney Frank Snell and KOOL owner Tom Chauncey. The group’s goal was to provide the leadership needed to improve transportation, decrease crime and bolster the state’s education system. They were an influential group of leaders, but — with the exception of Gov. Raul Castro — it was a group of white men.
Times have changed. Leadership has changed. And those changes are reflected in the pages of Az Business Leaders. When the concept of Az Business Leaders started to come into focus more than two years ago, the leadership at AZ Big Media — which publishes this magazine, Az Business magazine, AZRE, Ranking Arizona and four other magazines — began putting together a list of all the business leaders in Arizona that we thought should be considered for inclusion in the first issue of Az Business Leaders.
That list eventually contained the names of nearly 5,000 business leaders. From that initial laundry list of names, categories of leaders began to emerge: healthcare, real estate, banking, law, finance. From those main industry categories, we developed subcategories and placed names into those subcategories to make the list of names more focused.
Once the subcategories were identified, the names of leaders under consideration were placed into the most appropriate subcategory. Over the course of more than two dozen meetings, each subcategory was paired down to a list containing about 25-50 names. The lists were organic. An established leader would move on to a new company. A new leader would emerge. The names of some other leaders were brought to our attention through our online nomination process.
Once we were confident that we had a list of the best possible candidates to represent each category, we reached out to associations that cater to specific industries and reached out to established individual industry leaders and asked them to help us establish the 10 most influential leaders in each subcategory. Once the 10 names were selected, Az Business Leaders’ selection committee picked the six leaders — four influential leaders and two impact players – who exhibit the greatest influence, experience and leadership in their industries.
The final list of Az Business Leaders shows that the state has come a long way since the days of the Phoenix 40. The drivers of Arizona’s economy who are profiled inside the pages of this magazine have counseled presidents. They have played tennis against Pete Sampras. They have served as prosecutors during the Watergate scandal. 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 the first issue of Az Business Leaders.
Michael Gossie, Managing Editor