It’s amazing how the definition and perception of leadership can change between morning and evening. On a recent Friday morning, I attended a leadership forum where leadership 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 the state’s growing technology, bioscience and healthcare sectors.
On that Friday evening, I was coaching a Little League baseball team — made up of 5-, 6- and 7-year-olds — and leadership took on a whole new meaning. That night, 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 building a pile of dirt between second and third bases.
At one point in our state’s history, there was a group known as the “Phoenix 40.” 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 old white guys. Times have changed. The faces of leadership have changed. And you will see those changes reflected in the pages of Az Business Leaders.
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 and law. Over the course of more than two dozen meetings, that list of 5,000 leaders under consideration was pared down to about 500 names, which the selection panel considered to be the most influential leaders in their industries, broken down into categories.
While we know the selection committee did an amazing job, we want our readers’ voices to be heard for next year’s edition of Az Business Leaders. We are going to let the readers select who they believe are the most influential business leaders in Arizona. The leaders who get the most votes will be profiled on special “readers’ choice” pages inside Az Business Leaders. To vote, go to azbigmedia.com and click on the Az Business Leaders tab.
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 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 be sure to vote at azbigmedia.com.
Michael Gossie, Managing Editor