Az Business magazine recently highlighted Arizona’s most influential women in 2016 in its July/August issue. Given that the most recent issue of Az Business is dedicated to the most influential women in Arizona, it’s appropriate to hear from one of the state’s best and brightest female leaders, Nicole Stanton who is managing partner at Quarles & Brady LLP.
Az Business: You started the Dion Initiative for Child Well-Being and Bullying Prevention. What inspired that?
Nicole France Stanton: The Dion Initiative is named in honor of my brother, Dion France, who was bullied relentlessly as a child. Dion passed away in the early 1990s. The seeds for the Dion Initiative began when I launched an organization called Stop Bullying AZ in 2012. That first year, Stop Bullying AZ sponsored an anti-bullying summit at Arizona State University’s Tempe campus in 2012. The summit provided about 300 school administrators and teachers with information and strategies to help stop bullying in schools. The support we received from educators, local and national leaders, parents and students has been overwhelming. So much so, in fact, in 2015, Stop Bullying AZ was renamed the Dion Initiative for Child Well-Being and Bullying Prevention and is now located within Arizona State University.
AB: In what other ways do you give back to the community?
NFS: I am a founding board member and the past president of the Women’s Metropolitan Arts Council at the Phoenix Art Museum. I assisted with forming this organization, now in its 11th year, to get more professional women engaged in the art museum. I have assisted with fundraising galas or brunches for both Southwest Center for HIV and AIDS (“Night for Life”) and Aunt Rita’s Foundation (“Red Brunch”). My only brother died of AIDS in 1991.
AB: What attracted you to the legal profession?
NFS: Throughout my life, I’ve been very justice-driven. I have a real internal passion for what’s right and what’s wrong. I didn’t know any lawyers growing up. It wasn’t until my mass communications law professor in college suggested law school to me that I even considered it.
AB: How do you balance your community work with your family?
NFS: I try to dispel the notion for other women that there is such a thing as balance. If it exists, it is an elusive creature. My life is often very out of balance. From week to week, I have to make difficult decisions about the priorities in my life. On the community front, I have started more and more to try to involve my children in my activities. They are my priority and everything else has to take a backseat when they need me.
AB: How would you like to be remembered?
NFS: For being the type of leader that creates more leaders, not more followers.