Arizona Originals

Arizona Originals, hosted by Jason Isaak, is brought to you by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Here we share with you the stories, leadership lessons, and life lessons of the people who make Arizona a great place to live and work.
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Jun 28, 2017

This week we are joined by Jackie Norton who is the president and CEO of The Rodel Foundation of Arizona.  A native Arizonan, Jackie's career path has taken her from the private sector as a partner at the Gallagher & Kennedy law firm, to the public sector where she held several positions including the Director of the Arizona Department of Commerce for two governors, and in the non-profit space where she led the Arizona State University Foundation and now leads at Rodel.

Jackie shares valuable insights about how to become an effective leader though collaboration, focus, and discovering how to leverage assets.  Her views on mentoring, lifelong learning, and vision for an organization will instruct and inspire you.



Interview with Shawn Linam


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Jun 21, 2017

This week we are joined by Colleen Jennings-Roggensack who serves as the executive director of Arizona State University's Gammage and is ASU's Vice President for Cultural Affairs.  

We recorded this episode just days after Colleen returned from the Tony Awards.  She holds the distinction of being the only Arizonan who casts a ballot for the Tony Awards.  And this year she celebrates both her 25th year leading the way at Gammage and the fact they have already sold out their 2017-18 season.  Not to mention the fact she is responsible for bringing Hamilton to Arizona next year.

Colleen talks about life as a military brat in which she found herself living in 13 states and two countries before going to college.  She recounts the influence her parents had on her and her siblings through the lens of "sacred texts" her parents taught them to live by.

In our brief conversation, we cover several issues related to leadership and personal growth...and we provide some teasers for an eventual Part II to this delightful conversation.


ASU Gammage Beyond

Desert Botanical Garden

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Jun 14, 2017

We all read books and hear inspirational speakers which motivate us to look at how we lead or run our organizations.  But, often, the daily grind prevents us from actually taking action on those ideas.

This week we have a special, topical episode featuring Michael Lorsch, principal consultant for The Table Group which was founded by best-selling author, speaker, and leadership guru Patrick Lencioni.  Today, Michael discusses how to strategically do the hard work to implement ideas.

Jun 6, 2017

This week we speak with Jim Ward, the president and CEO of The Phoenix Symphony.  In addition to his role at the Symphony, Jim is also a Venture Partner in the venture capital firm, Alsop Louie Partners.

In our conversation, Jim takes us from his roots in Indiana to his first move to Arizona where he attended the Thunderbird School of Global Management.  From there, his career took him to places he never expected and afforded him the opportunity to lead global marketing campaigns for Apple, Microsoft, and Nike.  Jim was also recruited to oversee the global distribution and marketing of all of Lucasfilm's motion picture, television, and video properties...and develop the plan to launch Star Wars Episodes 1-3.  In case he needed more to do, he was concurrently named the President of LucasArts where he oversaw the rebuilding of the video game company.

Jim talks about mentors (including his influential piano teacher, Ms. Breckenridge), building trust with clients, the importance of teams, how data influences marketing decisions, and explores the concept of "irreverence justified."  You will enjoy the stories and learn from his perspectives on leading and innovating.


Mind Over Music

B-Sharp Music Wellness

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May 31, 2017

What happens when your organization drifts from its core mission?  How do successful entities innovate and push the envelope while maintaining firm footing?

This week we have a special, topical episode featuring Michael Lorsch, principal consultant for The Table Group which was founded by best-selling author, speaker, and leadership guru Patrick Lencioni.  Today, Michael discusses the concept of strategic anchors and how organizations use them to make efficient and focused decisions.

Next week we will be back with our regular program where we talk with another Arizona Original!  Please join us again next week.

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May 24, 2017

This week's guest is Phil Potter, founder and CEO of The Armory Incubator - a non-profit with the mission of helping veterans launch and scale startups.  Fast Company magazine listed The Armory as Arizona's contribution to its "United States of Innovation" special feature in the May, 2017 issue.

Phil earned his Bachelor of Science degree from The Ohio State University and then received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Arizona State University.  Phil shares what led to his decision to join the US Air Force where he received his commission and served for six years.  Following his service in the Air Force, Phil returned to academia at ASU and found his way to an opportunity focusing on helping veterans seeking to become entrepreneurs.

Phil shares the early influences which led him to be an entrepreneur, in his own right, at an early age.  From there, he discusses lessons learned from the Air Force, why it is good to be the "dumbest person in the room", identifying the context of leadership, his connection with the book Hillbilly Elegy, and much more.


Email Phil 

Follow The Armory Incubator on Twitter

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May 16, 2017

Today's guest is longtime Arizona radio personality Tim Hattrick.  In our conversation, Tim tells  stories about notable personalities he has worked with over the years, including his nearly three-decade partnership with Willy D. Loon (the Tim and Willy Show).  At the beginning of 2017, Tim returned to the airwaves at KNIX 102.5 FM as a member of the morning show (the Tim, Ben and Brooke Show) after he encountered some unexpected twists and turns professionally.

Tim shares entertaining stories (including one about Glenn Beck you may not know) and valuable insights he has gained over his many years in the broadcasting booth.  He touches on a number of topics including working with millennials, building rapport with a team, and pursuing your passions.



Connect with Tim via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

The Moth podcast

Arizona Storytellers on KJZZ

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May 9, 2017

Today's guest, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, has served as a US Navy physician, was hand selected to serve for two years as one of three attending physicians for the US Congress (including the US Supreme Court Justices), and has practiced medicine in Arizona.

The son of political refugees from Syria, Dr. Jasser also founded the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and can often be found testifying before Congress and speaking at conferences and on television about issues related to terrorism, Islam, and democracy.

He shares his story about growing up in middle America and how his paternal grandfather, in particular, helped foster his passion for political, social and cultural change.  He discusses the concepts of passion, hard work, and how to channel a strong competitive spirit in positive directions.  And listen to the very end of the discussion where he shares some fascinating thoughts about having a sense of humor.


Reform This! - podcast hosted by Dr. Jasser

Dr. Jasser on Twitter (@DrZuhdiJasser)

Take Back Islam

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May 2, 2017

This week, Dolan Ellis joins us to share his journey from a farm in Kansas, to landing a job at KOOL-TV in Phoenix, to winning a Grammy with The New Christy Minstrels, and then back to Arizona where he continued his career in music.  The merging of his passion for Arizona, music, heritage, nature and photography has resulted in a diverse body of work spanning nearly six decades.

In 1966, then-Governor Sam Goddard approached Dolan and asked if he would be willing to be Arizona's official balladeer, and the first person in the country designated as such.  The next 12 governors made the same designation, and this year marks Dolan's 51st year as Arizona's official balladeer.

In our conversation, we cover a number of topics relevant to entrepreneurs, artists, and people who simply love Arizona, including pursuing your passion, finding mentors, taking risks, and making time for contemplation.  Dolan belies his age (82-years-old) and will enrich the way you think about Arizona.


Dolan's Official Website

Arizona Folklore Preserve

Salt River Wild Horse Management Group

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Apr 25, 2017

You will not want to miss our conversation with Glenn Williamson.  Glenn serves as the Honorary Consul of Canada to Arizona, is the founder and CEO of the Canada Arizona Business Council, is the chairman and CEO of EPCOR Water USA, and owns and operates Nest Ventures.  But the list of titles and jobs does not end there.  Glenn shares his passion for family and community involvement, and why he values his role as assistant Boy Scout leader.

Glenn holds nothing back as he shares his story which begins in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  His journey takes him from a dysfunctional family, to military school, to becoming a wunderkind in the tourism industry, to finding great ups and downs in the entrepreneurial world, and ultimately to Arizona where he lives out his passion for building strong economies and strong families.

We cover a host of topics and he shares some remarkable insights into how he leads, how he views success and failure, how his mistakes got him hired to a remarkable job, and how he engages with his children.  He imparts wisdom which will inspire and challenge you.

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Apr 18, 2017

Co-founder and CEO of Qwaltec, Inc., Shawn Linam, shares the unique journey which led to her role as chief executive of an aerospace engineering company.  As you hear her story, the idea of resilience emerges time and again as she recounts moving frequently as a young girl, struggling with math, and navigating the male-dominated engineering profession.  But through it all, you will hear the constant refrain of hard work, finding your passion, and the importance of being open to unexpected opportunities.

Shawn has led Qwaltec from three employees (the original founders) in 2001 to 65 employees today.  Her company provides support for manned and unmanned space flight programs for both government and private entities.  She also plays an active role in the community where, among other things, she mentors young women and serves as the STEM Director for the Girls Rule Foundation.

Podcast Home Page

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Apr 11, 2017

This week's conversation with Joel Grimes ties together several subjects - entrepreneurship, art, passion, hard work, intuition, competition in the marketplace, and overcoming obstacles.  Drawing upon his real world experience as an acclaimed photographer, who nearly gave up on his dream were it not for a college professor who encouraged him to move beyond a limitation some would consider a non-starter for a photographer, Joel shares marketplace insights relevant to everyone from CEOs to students.

Joel teaches classes all over the world related to lighting and photography, and he holds the distinction of being both one of Canon's Explorers of Light and one of Adobe Photoshop's Spotlight Artists.  Additionally, he continues to work as a professional commercial photographer in Arizona and around the world.


Joel Grimes Photography & Joel Grimes Workshops

Ray Lamontagne

Apr 4, 2017

Kimber Lanning is the founder and executive director of Local First Arizona, a nonprofit that supports, promotes, and advocates for a strong local business community here in Arizona.  In our conversation, Kimber shares how this passion for locally-grown businesses and her connection to "place" developed.  Additionally, Kimber owns both Stinkweeds new and used record store and Modified Arts gallery and performance space.

Kimber discusses the foundations of Local First Arizona's mission, and explains how she engages with employees and communities/neighborhoods to advance that mission.  Additionally, she discusses how she views entrepreneurship through the lens of hometown pride and connection to the individuals in your community and neighborhood.  She also mentions several former podcast guests whose companies exemplify those locally grown businesses, such as Infusionsoft, U-Haul, Upward Projects, and PING.

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Older, Smaller, Better


Mar 29, 2017

What happens when your organization or an individual or team within your organization fails?

This week we have a special, topical episode featuring Michael Lorsch, principal consultant for The Table Group which was founded by best-selling author, speaker, and leadership guru Patrick Lencioni.

Today, Michael discusses the characteristics of both leaders and organizations who can push through failure and come out better on the other side.  Past conversations with several guests, including Joe Shoen (U-Haul)Tom Sadvary (HonorHealth), and Jim Adkins (Jimmy Eat World), touched on this subject, so we decided to pause and explore it further.

Next week we will be back with our regular program where we talk with another Arizona Original!  Hope you join us again next week.

Check out the show notes on our website: Arizona Originals

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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

Mar 22, 2017

This week we have a special, topical episode featuring Michael Lorsch, principal consultant for The Table Group which was founded by best-selling author, speaker, and leadership guru Patrick Lencioni.  These special episodes - which will appear from time to time -  address topics raised in prior podcast episodes and allows us to take a moment to dig a little deeper.

Today, Michael discusses the value of mentoring at all levels of an organization.  Past conversations with several guests, including Dr. Mike Berens (TGen) and Courtney Klein (SEED SPOT), touched on this subject, so we decided to pause and explore it further.  We even touch on the need for leaders to get honest issue raised by Lauren Bailey (Upward Projects) just a few weeks ago.

Arizona Originals

Arizona Chamber of Commerce

Mar 15, 2017

This is the first of several conversations we have with Michael Lorsch, principal consultant for The Table Group which was founded by best selling author, speaker, and leadership guru Patrick Lencioni.  Michael is based in Arizona.

Mar 7, 2017

This week Lauren Bailey, CEO of Upward Projects, joins us for a great conversation about entrepreneurship, being in the people business, collaboration, parenting, and so much more.

Lauren is a co-founder of Upward Projects - a locally focused group of restaurateurs in Phoenix.  Their brands include Postino WineCafe, Joyride Taco House, Windsor/Churn and Federal Pizza.  She serves on the boards of both Local First Arizona and the Entrepreneurs Organization, as well as serving as a steering committee member for Devour Phoenix.  Additionally, she has received recognition for her accomplishments from such diverse entities as the Arizona Republic, the Phoenix Business Journal, the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame, and the Arizona Restaurant Association.

Feb 28, 2017

Today's guest, Tom Sadvary, has spent the past 30 years in various leadership roles at what is today HonorHealth, the second largest hospital system in Arizona.  Since 2005, he has served as CEO of Scottsdale Healthcare which merged with John C. Lincoln Health Network to become HonorHealth.

Tom shares his professional story which begins with him riding in the back of ambulances as a paramedic in Pittsburgh.  From there, his passion for leading hospital organizations ultimately brought him to Arizona.  And in our conversation, he discusses the core lessons learned as a paramedic and how they have influenced his leadership style and the culture of HonorHealth.

Tom was recently recognized by Scottsdale Leadership with the (Herb) Drinkwater Leadership Award.  The award is given to those who exemplify engagement, inclusion, connection, courage and stewardship.  You will hear each of those areas discussed in our conversation and I know you will hear something to help you grow as a leader and as a person.

Feb 21, 2017

Today's guests are Sara O'Meara and Yvonne Fedderson, the founders of Childhelp.  Since 1959, Sara and Yvonne have dedicated themselves to caring for orphans and abused children in the US and around the world.  Their story begins in 1950s Hollywood and takes us to Japan, Vietnam, and ultimately right here to Arizona when they relocated their headquarters here 22 years ago.

Our conversation demonstrates the passion and compassion Sara and Yvonne have for children, and how various events - many unexpected - over the course of their lives have shaped them as leaders and changed the lives of countless children.  Their stories and wisdom will inspire and encourage you.

Feb 15, 2017

Today's guest is Denise Resnik - the founder and CEO of DRA Collective, co-founder of the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), and founder and president/CEO of First Place AZ.  The mother of an adult son on the autism spectrum, Denise has not only run her marketing and communications business, but she has dedicated herself to giving back to her community, including making Arizona a leader when it comes to supporting those affected by autism.

In our conversation, Denise covers a host of topics ranging from mentoring, the importance of pouring back into the community, why investors are attracted to vision and collaboration, and so much more.  

Feb 8, 2017

Our guest this week is Tran Tran, founder and CEO of Axis Employment Services located in Phoenix, Arizona.  Axis has been recognized time and time again as a top minority owned business and a top staffing agency in Arizona.

In our conversation, Tran shares her story about growing up in Saigon and how her family fled Vietnam just before the fall of Saigon in 1975.  Within just a few months, her family settled in Arizona after a local dentist sponsored them.  In addition to telling the stories surrounding her family's escape from Vietnam, Tran shares her insights on family, culture, leadership, delegation, building a team, and so much more.

Jan 31, 2017

This week, we're joined by Jim Scussel, co-founder of Four Peaks Brewing Company.  A Phoenix native, Jim tells the story of how he moved around the country with his family and, ultimately, moved back to Arizona after one of his bosses did not give him a raise.  His story proves you never know what events will set your life on a different trajectory.

Jim discusses many issues related to entrepreneurship, team building, the art and science of brewing beer, and much more.

Jan 24, 2017

This week's podcast features Jim Adkins - lead singer and lead guitarist for Jimmy Eat World.  The band has been together since 1993 and has released nine albums, and they have always been based in Arizona.  

Jim covers a wide range of topics:

  • his definition of success and failure
  • the evolution of gratitude especially with the smaller things in life (and on the road)
  • utilizing outside perspective to help shape your work and art
  • the difference between playing with the band a going on a solo tour
  • and so much more...
Jan 17, 2017

CB Dollaway is a mixed martial artist currently fighting in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship).  CB came to Arizona when Arizona State University recruited him into their wresting program from Colby Community College (in Colby, Kansas) where he was an NJCAA Division I All-American Champion.  In our conversation, CB talks about his unexpected journey from college, to corporate life, and ultimately to the UFC.

Today, in addition to being a professional athlete, CB has just opened his own training gym, DMA Life Club, and in the planning stages of starting a non-profit focused on veterans.

In our conversation, CB talks about life as both a wrestler and a mixed martial artist.  He discusses how mental preparedness, attitude, strategy, and resilience have helped make him a world class fighter.

Jan 10, 2017

Jim Click, Jr. moved to Tucson in 1971 to turn around a struggling Ford dealership.  Fast forward 45 years, and Jim Click has become one of Arizona's premiere car dealers and philanthropists. Jim has dealerships for Ford, Lincoln, Dodge, RAM, Chrysler, Jeep, Mazda, Nissan, Kia, and Hyundai in Tucson, Green Valley, and also in Orange County, CA.

In our conversation, Jim shares the story of how he ultimately began in the car business after growing up in Oklahoma and earning a business degree from Oklahoma State University (where he was a Scholastic All-American football player, captain of the football team, and made the Dean's Honor Roll every semester).  Among other topics, he recounts the stories of how two men, Holmes Tuttle and Jim Click, Sr., influenced him at various stages of his life and taught him valuable lessons which serve him today.

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