Tag Archives: citizen leadership award

lanning

Lanning Receives Economic Development Leadership Award

Kimber Lanning, Executive Director of Local First Arizona, was awarded the Citizen Leadership Award by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) for her extraordinary commitment in promoting economic development.  The honor was presented on Tuesday, October 21, during IEDC’s Annual Conference in Fort Worth, TX.

“The Citizen Leadership Award celebrates a community or business leader, or an individual who is not an economic development specialist, but who plays a major leadership role in economic development pursuits,” said William C. Sproull, IEDC chair. “Ms. Lanning is a fine example of such an individual.”

A longtime leader in the Phoenix metropolitan area, Kimber Lanning began her career as a successful entrepreneur and currently serves as Executive Director of Local First Arizona. Her enthusiasm in supporting local businesses and community culture has shaped her career and helped transform the city.

“This award is a milestone in a changing economy, one that is now recognizing the work of Local First Arizona and other Local First initiatives as a viable part of economic development.” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “Kimber can proudly accept this award on behalf of everyone working to create sustainable, resilient, diverse, and vibrant local economies in their own communities.”

Witnessing the adverse effects of local businesses departing from her community, Ms. Lanning took a different approach towards economic development when she opened an art gallery in a blighted area in central Phoenix. Her dedication to her business and neighborhood attracted other small business owners to the area and inspired a neighborhood transformation. Lanning’s willingness to contribute energy, creative event planning, and economic development strategies led to the reduction of crime in the area by 62 percent, created over 135 full time jobs, and provided immeasurable community pride.

In 2003, Ms. Lanning launched Local First Arizona in an effort to inspire others to stay in Phoenix to help build a world-class city.  She knew that in order to encourage residents to feel connected and rooted to the area, a climate needed to be cultivated so that local businesses could compete against chain stores and large companies. Ms. Lanning developed a specific strategy to gain the traction needed to move the needle on Arizona’s economy. She streamlined the City of Phoenix’s Adaptive Reuse program, which was so cumbersome that it was preventing small businesses from opening. Ms. Lanning’s pilot program was a success and is now encouraged citywide. Because of her persistence, Phoenix’s overall economic strategy now includes small businesses that have important connections to the community.

Ms. Lanning’s innovative small business and entrepreneurial programs have proven to be highly successful. She went to work on the state’s procurement procedures, transforming them from a “low-bid wins” policy to a focus on selecting local contracts. She also created a Spanish language initiative and the Fuerza Local Accelerator Program to assist and encourage low-income Latinos in entrepreneurial endeavors.

Because of Ms. Lanning’s leadership of Local First Arizona, the organization is now the largest locally owned business coalition in North America with over 2,600 business members large and small. Most importantly, the local business community reported sales were up 8.1% in 2013, almost twice the national average. In 2013, Ms. Lanning shared Local First Arizona’s success with rural communities surrounding Phoenix by incorporating the Arizona Rural Development Council and encouraging sustainable development in rural communities through an annual Rural Policy Forum.

Kimber Lanning is actively and enthusiastically involved in fostering cultural diversity, economic self-reliance, and responsible growth for the Phoenix metropolitan area. She has come to economic development via unconventional means but quickly demonstrated to her community that her ideas and programs work.

“The successes of Local First Arizona over the last decade have underscored the broad range of strategies that Arizona needs to pursue for sustainable economic development,” said Ms. Lanning. “Through supporting entrepreneurs and locally owned enterprises—both large and small—we are maximizing the ecosystem of a healthy economy that builds widespread prosperity and supports more jobs. Local First Arizona is creating healthy local economies across the state that will in turn draw further economic development opportunities.”

sharon.harper

Harper wins national economic development award

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council today announced that Plaza Companies President and CEO Sharon Harper has won a citizen leadership award from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). The Citizen Leadership Award, part of the IEDC’s annual award series, is presented to a community or business leader who has been involved in economic development for at least 10 years.

Harper has been a board director at GPEC since it was founded in 1989. She was chairwoman of the board in FY2003 and has co-chaired GPEC’s International Council since it commenced in 2007. To date, one of her biggest accomplishments was her partnership with Arizona State University to open SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center. Since its 2007 inception, SkySong has generated an economic impact of more than $460 million for the region.

“Sharon was selected for this award because she is a stellar business and community leader,” GPEC President and CEO Barry Broome said. “I’m honored to have her longstanding leadership on GPEC’s Board of Directors and applaud her multifaceted efforts to improve the Greater Phoenix region.”

“The Greater Phoenix Economic Council has been front and center, leading job creation and business growth in the state of Arizona, and our communities and our residents benefit dramatically,” Harper said. “It has been such an honor to be a part of the economic engine that has supported the lifestyle, the educational opportunities and the job growth opportunities for today and for the future.”

Plaza Companies is a nationally-recognized real estate development, investment and management firm. Harper is active throughout the Greater Phoenix community, also serving on the board of directors for Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, Banner Health Foundation and Arizona Community Foundation, among others. She has been on GPEC’s board of directors for nearly 25 years and is the only founding board director to still serve.

GPEC also received a 2013 IEDC award for its monthly eNewsletter, GPEC Connection, which received a Silver Excellence in Economic Development award.

“The Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the Greater Phoenix Economic Council as being one of the leading organizations in the industry for innovation, creativity and successful strategies,” IEDC Chairman Paul Krutko said. “These awards are meant to honor the organizations and individuals who are dedicated to making a positive change in their communities.  The award represents an acknowledgment and appreciation for GPEC’s dedication to continuous growth within itself, as well as improving the industry overall.”

GPEC Connection is sent to more than1,600 individuals and stakeholders. The eNewsletter keeps readers informed about recent news relating to GPEC, lists upcoming GPEC events and includes articles highlighting regional advancement and spotlighting a regional municipality.  It also meets contractual obligations with GPEC’s member communities to report the previous month’s prospect and locate activity.

IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. These awards honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities.