As the promise of 2022 looms on the horizon, most people are anxious to close the books on what is likely the most unsettling year — from the pandemic to politics to supply chain shortages — we will ever experience. Strong leadership has never been more essential than it is today. To share their best leadership practices, Az Business magazine sat down with Arizona business leaders to watch in 2022, including Michelle  Heeb, president and CEO  of Forward Tilt.

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Highlights of Michelle Heeb interview

Heeb is the founder of Forward Tilt, a full-service commercial furniture dealership that does business nationally, but is based in Arizona.

START OF BUSINESS: “Forward Tilt was started in January 2014. I had been in the commercial furniture industry for almost 20 years and I really felt a need for something different and unique, and didn’t see that at my previous role. I started the company from scratch. I rolled up my sleeves. It was myself and two people. We borrowed desks from one of my previous clients, who I had sold to several years before, and started from nothing. We really felt like we had a unique perspective in our client relations and our approach to business in this commercial furniture world.”

ESSENCE OF BUSINESS: “A commercial furniture dealership provides products and services from start to finish with the client’s needs in mind. They may be going into a new space, reconfiguring an existing space, or refreshing their space. We can provide all of those services for them. We design, source the products, install, and do the servicing. If they need extra parts and pieces or if they’re adding to or taking away, we can make those adjustments and help them meet their goals.”

THE DIFFERENTIATOR: “We are a certified women-owned business, which was a personal goal for me. We became women-owned certified in 2019. I think that is unique and it sets us apart in the industry. I also feel like we get equally excited about small projects and large projects. It’s not one-size-fits-all. We really just want to help people create the best space, no matter what size their organization is. And that in and of itself, I think, makes us special and unique.”

COMPANY OUTLOOK: “We’ve almost doubled in size from 2020 to 2021. Having a growth year in 2021 was pretty unique in our industry. So, for 2022, we’re seeing huge growth potential, not only with the commercial side, but we’re also seeing public sector growth.”