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Jennifer Anderson: Most Influential Women in Arizona Business

Jennifer Anderson, senior vice president and regional manager, Wells Fargo

Greatest accomplishment: “Working my way up to lead Wells Fargo’s 200-person business banking group in Arizona. I began my career with Wells Fargo in 1997 as a credit analyst, so it was a proud accomplishment for me.”

Childhood aspiration: “I wanted to be an equine/large animal veterinarian.  I encouraged my dad to start an Arabian horse farm and he encouraged me to consider a business degree at ASU.”

Reception: The 2015 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business will be recognized at the Most Influential Women in Arizona Cocktail Party on August 27, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Chateau Luxe. Click here to purchase tickets.

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Az Business honors Most Influential Women in Arizona

They are the best business minds in Arizona. They are innovators, trailblazers and leaders of industry.

They are Az Business magazine’s Most Influential Women in Arizona Business for 2015, as selected by the editorial team at Az Business magazine and a panel of industry experts.

“While their resumes and career paths may differ, the women we selected have all procured influence in their respective fields through hard-earned track records of profitability, business ethics and leadership,” said AZ Big Media  Publisher Cheryl Green. “Az Business magazine is proud to congratulate the women who earned the right to call themselves one of the Most Influential Women in Arizona Business. They are changing the face of Arizona business.”

Members of the 2015 list will be recognized at the Most Influential Women in Arizona Cocktail Party on August 27, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Chateau Luxe. Click here to purchase tickets.

The women selected to this prestigious list for 2015 are:

Amy Abdo, director, Fennemore Craig

Jennifer Anderson, senior vice president and regional manager, Wells Fargo

Karen Anderson, researcher, ASU’s Biodesign Institute

Lauren Bailey, founder, Upward Projects

Glynis Bryan, CFO, Insight Enterprises

Rita Cheng, president, NAU

Judith S. Gordon, associate professor and associate head for research at the University of Arizona Department of Family and Community Medicine

Alisa Gray, shareholder, Tiffany & Bosco

Sue Hasenstein, BMO Harris Bank

Melissa Ho, Polsinelli

Bo Hughes, CFO and COO, Pinnacle Bank

Veronique James, CEO, The James Agency

Isabelle Jazo, senior vice president of strategy, LaneTerralever

Carolyn J. Johnsen, Dickinson Wright

Eileen Klein, Arizona Board of Regents

Rosey Koberlein, CEO, Long Companies

Becky Kuhn, executive vice president, Banner Health

Betsy Kuzas, chief operating officer, Phoenix Children’s Hospital

Michelle Lawrie, economic development director, Goodyear

Nona Lee, SVP and general counsel, Arizona Diamondbacks

Hope Leibsohn, member, Sherman & Howard

Stacey L. Lihn, Gallagher & Kennedy

Tina Machado, president, CodeRed-I

Carol May, president, Wisdom Natural Brands DBA SweetLeaf

Sara McCoy, first female to manage a power plant for SRP

Erica McGinnis, president and CEO, AIG Advisor Group

Tammy McLeod, vice president, APS

Rose Megian, president and CEO, Health Net of Arizona

Dion Messer, general counsel – intellectual property, Limelight Networks

MaryAnn Miller, senior vice president, Avnet

Ioanna Morfessis, president, IO.Inc.

Harriet Mountcastle-Walsh,VP and General Counsel, Honeywell

Annette G. Musa, Arizona market president, Comerica Bank

Christine Nowaczyk, senior vice president, Bank of Arizona

Deborah Pearson, Arizona State Credit Union

Susan Pepin, president and CEO, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

Suzanne Pfister, president and CEO, St. Luke’s Health Initiatives

Christina Roderick, principal, REDW

Patricia Rourke, market president, Bankers Trust

Lisa Sanchez, COO, The CORE Institute

Adelaida V. Severson, president and CEO, Bushtex

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-AZ 9th District

Sherri Slayton, Alliance Bank of Arizona

Wendi A. Sorensen, Burch & Cracchiolo

Molly Stockley, vice president of hospital growth, CTCA

Cathy Valenzuela, president, Arizona Business Bank

Kimberly Van Amburg, CEO, Casino Del Sol Resort

Cheryl Vogt, managing director, Marsh

Cynthia Walter, president, BAGNALL

Lori L. Winkelman, Quarles & Brady LLP

In addition to the Most Influential Women in Arizona Business, Az Business also selects five “Generation Next” women who are making an impact on Arizona, even though they are less than 40 years old. Those women selected for 2014 are:

Denyse Airheart, interim director of economic development, City of Maricopa

Jessica Benford, shareholder, Ryley Carlock & Applewhite

Dr. Ivana Dzeletovic, Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center

Stephanie Parra, executive director, T.W. Lewis Foundation

Teresa M. Pilatowicz, of counsel, Garman Turner Gordon

To select the best and brightest women to recognize each year, the editor and publisher of Az Business magazine compile a list of almost 1,000 women from every facet of Arizona’s business landscape — banking, law, healthcare, bioscience, real estate, technology, manufacturing, retail, tourism, energy, accounting and nonprofits. Once that list is compiled, we vet the list, narrow it down to about 150 women who we feel are most deserving, and then submit the list to 20 of their peers — female leaders from a variety or industries — and ask them to vote. If they want to vote for someone whose name is not on the list of those submitted for consideration, voters are invited to write in the names of women who they think deserve to members of this exclusive club.

Az Business also does not allow a woman to appear on the list most than once.

Prepare loan package, secure loan

Small businesses get loans in record numbers

A common complaint since the financial crisis began was that some of the Wall Street banks that were being bailed out by the federal government weren’t doing enough to help the mom-and-pop shops on Main Street.

“In 2008 when the recession hit, the impact on small business lending was pretty catastrophic,” said Greg Lehmann, managing director of Biltmore Bank of Arizona. “Not only did you have small businesses struggling with lost revenue and weakening balance sheets, but all the banks were retrenching and looking inward.  The unique element about the Recession was that it hit every business sector; small business, large businesses, banks, etc. Nobody was immune to its impact.”

In 2013, small business owners and entrepreneurs have a little more reason for optimism. So far this year, big banks are approving small business loans at the highest rate in more than two years, according to Biz2Credit, which calculates its monthly Small Business Lending Index using 1,000 loan applications made over its online lending platform.

“With an improving economy, Wells Fargo is growing new lending commitments, providing more dollars to help small businesses stay competitive today and for the long term,” said Jennifer Anderson, business banking manager for Wells Fargo Arizona. “The business owners who see increased demand for their products and services are investing in their businesses now. As business owners become more confident and find more opportunities to grow and improve their businesses, we expect to do more business.”

Wells Fargo literally puts its money where its mouth is. According to SNL Financial, the bank was the nation’s largest lender to small business in 2012, lending $32.8 billion to small businesses.

But Wells Fargo isn’t alone. If you look at recent reports, small business lending is up across the board:

* Biz2Credit found that big banks — those with more than $10 billion in assets — approved 15.9 percent of the small business loan applications in February 2013, up from 11.7 percent in February 2012. Small bank approval rates have also ticked up — 50.3 percent in February, up from 47.6 percent in February 2012.
* Government-guaranteed loans have increased 6 percent year-over-year in fiscal 2013. That represents $9.2 billion, an 18 percent increase over the dollars approved during the same period a year ago. Approvals in the last two years have set Small Business Administration records.

Despite the positive reports, the general belief is that small businesses aren’t getting loans, which isn’t true, said Dee H. Burton, executive vice president of Alliance Bank of Arizona.

“Yes, small businesses can get loans now,” Burton said. “At Alliance Bank, we have always been actively engaged in lending to small business — and we never stopped lending even through the toughest times of the Recession.”

What about the perception that lending standards have changed or tightened? That’s another misperception, bankers said.

“General underwriting guidelines have not really changed over the years,” Burton said. “Unfortunately, the Recession has made it more challenging for businesses to qualify. For most businesses, a reduction in revenue may have resulted in a negative impact on cash flow or resulted in a more leveraged balance sheet. Further, the value of assets which banks often look to take as collateral — equipment, real estate, accounts receivable, etc. — are not at the levels they were pre-Recession. All-in-all, these factors have impacted small businesses’ ability to meet the typical standards under which banks underwrite business loans.”

While Lehmann said banks were more willing to bend on some of the fundamentals prior to the Recession, he said banks always look to cash flow, collateral, and capital levels to make a credit decision.

At Wells Fargo, Anderson said lending standards have remained consistent. Before the bank extends credit, it looks for a business to show:

* Steady cash flow. Cash flow is a key indicator of a business’ financial health and its future prospects. When it can show reliable cash flow, we can see it has the resources to repay new loans.
* Debt load is manageable. Banks want to make sure a business has the ability to take on additional debt and is in a strong financial position to manage its debt payments.
* Good payment history. Payment history provides an important record of its ability to responsibly pay down debt.

As for lines of credit for small businesses, Ward Hickey, business banking manager for National Bank of Arizona, said, “Small business lines of credit are based on  business cash flow and collateral values. As both of these improve for small businesses in Arizona, the underwriting standards will ease and more small business lines of credit will be available.”

As the economy in Arizona continues to strengthen, bankers see a better environment for small business.

“We can point to a number of positive signs in small business lending,” Anderson said. “There is more small business activity in our stores, more small businesses are applying for credit, and loan delinquencies continue to decline.”

As businesses shift from survival mode to growth mode, the outlook for lending to small and medium-sized businesses — which Lehmann called “the life blood of the Arizona economy” — continues to be positive, which will help small businesses grow and add workers.

“Arizona will continue to be a growth state and businesses that have survived this Recession will be able to grow as the state continues to grow,” Burton said. “We see businesses are now investing in items such as new equipment and new expansion, which had been put on hold during the Recession. Businesses are also taking advantage of the current interest rate environment to fund their expansion.”

Lehmann agreed.

“As the economy continues to heal and grow,” he said, “so will the small businesses of Arizona.”