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Lessons LearnedLast night, our team had the opportunity to attend the Phoenix Business Journal’s 2014 Business Leadership Panel, hosted by (client) Quarles & Brady LLP and moderated by partner Brad Vynalek.

Now in its third year, the program focused on providing some of the Valley’s most transformative leaders the opportunity to discuss the essence of a true transformation in our new economy.

The panel included:

For us, it was socially nice to hear from Don, who – as publisher of the Phoenix Business Journal – is traditionally the moderator at these types of events. With his retirement just days away, however, he was nice enough to step on the other side of stage and reflect back.

Among the lessons learned from our team during the event:

  • It’s nice to be important, but it's much more important to be nice
  • Go out of your way to build relationships, communicate and hold yourself accountable
  • Consider private (not just public) companies headquartered here when evaluating Phoenix’s economic landscape
  • With success, it can become slower, harder to make decisions. But collaboration is crucial to success and moving things forward
  • Don’t be afraid to surround yourself with people smarter than you
  • Look for everyone on your team’s “extraordinary” – everyone has something special, help them find it, develop it and use it
  • Mentors matter – having one, and being one

But my favorite nuggets from last night were stories (paraphrased):  

Don: Think about it. We go to a computer and write a story. Then, we take it to this big printing press and put the words on paper. Then, we take those papers and put them in a car. Then, we take the car to people’s houses and drop those papers at doors. Then people come out of their homes, in their pajamas, and fetch them. Then they read the news. Doesn’t it make more sense to move online when you consider all of this? It is no wonder the move to digital didn’t happen a decade earlier! Having said that, traditional print newspapers just need to hold on with their great content long enough to find their niche online – many of them will succeed, but not all.

Mary: Next year, we have the Super Bowl, NFL Pro Bowl and Waste Management Open all in our backyard in the same week. This is our chance to showcase what Arizona is really about – leadership, innovation, collaboration, moving forward. And we can show all of that – just as long as the legislature doesn’t do anything stupid between now and then…and that is a big “if” considering recent years’ decisions and the negative impact on our state.

Gary: Be a mentor – and start with young kids. At the Be a Leader Foundation (which he founded), they work with 7th graders to write resumes…resumes! As they choose jobs and fill them out, many see for the first time the importance of education and community service. As a result, it is, for many, the first time any of the kids think about going to college.

David: My team really wanted me to understand every level of service we provide in our stores. They gave me the opportunity to do that in a unique way. From acting as a cashier to a manager to a janitor, I worked in a store – even during holiday months – for more than a year. It changed my life.

For those who attended, did I miss anything? Share below!

Alison Bailin
Alison Bailin
Senior Account Executive Alison has a lot to say…about pretty much everything...all the time. From the current state of public relations to the social media impact on Shark Week to crisis communications in the sports world, Alison’s blogs are focused on “amusing through her PR musings,” and then some. Check out Alison's full bio

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