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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Arizona Originals




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Now displaying: 2016
Dec 13, 2016

This week, Lee Benson joins us on Arizona Originals.  Lee is the CEO of Able Aerospace Services and also the CEO of Execute to Win.  Able Aerospace Services is a leading maintenance, repair and operations provider of FAA-approved replacement parts, repairs, overhauls, and exchanges for aircraft.  Execute to Win specializes in helping CEOs create an intentional culture within an organization to measurably and intentionally execute their strategy.

Lee talks about many issues including his approach to leadership, the importance of emotional energy, moving corporate values from words on office walls to behaviors your team lives out in an intentional culture, and so much more.

Dec 6, 2016

Our guest this week is Eileen Klein, the president of the Arizona Board of Regents.  The Board of Regents provides leadership and guidance to Arizona’s three public universities – the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and Northern Arizona University.  In her role as president, Eileen oversees the entire $4 billion public university enterprise and gives leadership and guidance to the Board of Regents.  Additionally, she heads the Enterprise Executive Committee which is made of of her and the three presidents of our public universities.

Prior to joining the Board, Eileen held leadership positions in both the private and public sectors.  These include her service as chief of staff to Governor Janice K. Brewer and chief operating officer for Arizona Physicians IPA for UnitedHealthcare.

In our conversation, Eileen shares her story which took her from Alaska to Florida to Arizona.  She discusses lessons she has learned about getting an education, building respect within organizations, managing and leading through tension, and becoming resilient.  She also shares some important lessons she learned from former-Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives Jake Flake when she served on his staff…and much, much more.

Nov 29, 2016

This week our conversation is with Craig Weiss, the Founder and CEO of Aladdin Dreamer - a technology company designing consumer technology allowing people to control their dreams (also known as "lucid dreaming").  Prior to founding Aladdin, Craig was the CEO of NJOY, the world's largest independent electronic cigarette and vaping company which is headquartered in Arizona.

Additionally, Craig is a patent attorney, a published author, an inventor with seven patents, an entrepreneur, and a frequent lecturer at ASU's W.P. Carey School of Business.  He discusses the roles creativity, risk, and the value in getting comfortable with the inevitable failures and setbacks in business.  He discusses the lessons learned while writing "I Am My Brother's Keeper" about the origins of the Israeli Air Force, and tells his story about transitioning from patent attorney, to hedge fund manager, to CEO, to entrepreneur.

Nov 22, 2016

Today's guest is Pam Slim - an award-winning author, speaker and business consultant who has a passion for career and organizational development.  She spent the first 10 years in business as a consultant to large companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Charles Schwab and Cisco Systems, where she worked with thousands of executives, managers, and employees.

In the last 11 years, she helped hundreds of people to start and grow successful businesses.  Through her online presence at Escape from Cubicle Nation, Pam developed and taught business building courses for thousands of entrepreneurs.  In August, 2016, Pam opened K'é, a place to grow small business in downtown Mesa, Arizona.

Pam has written two books, Escape from Cubicle Nation and Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together.  When you pick up Body of Work, you immediately notice the endorsements from some of the leading thinkers in business today: Brené Brown, Daniel Pink, Nancy Duarte and Seth Godin.

In our conversation, Pam covers a wide range of topics, including the value of being uncomfortable, the power of fear, the importance of thinking about your legacy, and how developing connectional intelligence can benefit both you and your business.

Nov 15, 2016
Our guest this week is Mike Nealy - he serves as the executive director of the Arizona Sports Foundation and the Valley of the Sun Bowl Foundation which are community-based organizations who operate the Fiesta Bowl, the Cactus Bowl, and numerous community events across Arizona.
A Minnesota native, Mike spent eight years with the Phoenix Coyotes and served as President and COO prior to joining the Fiesta Bowl.  And before that, Mike spent four seasons with the Minnesota Wild and 14 years with the Deluxe Corporation.
In our conversation, Mike shares his journey from Minnesota to Arizona and lessons he has learned along the way.  He discusses the challenges of balancing work with family, how hard work today can lead to unexpected opportunities tomorrow, and the lesson of 212 degrees.  He also discusses how he passes his principles and values on to his children and the importance of leading by example at work and at home.
Nov 8, 2016

Today's conversation is with Courtney Klein, co-founder and CEO of SEED SPOT.  This year, Arizona State University honored Courtney as the “Young Alumni of the Year” and Arizona Economic News named her “One of Arizona’s most Influential Millennials.” In 2015, the Phoenix Business Journal named Courtney as one of the “Top 10 Business People of the Year” and in 2013 as one of the “25 Most Dynamic Women in Business.” She has also been recognized by media outlets as one of the nation’s “Top 30 Civic Leaders Under the Age of 30,” one of Arizona’s “35 Entrepreneurs Under 35,” one of “20 Women to Change Arizona by 2020,” and one of “Arizona’s Most Intriguing Chief Executives.”

In the podcast, Courtney shares her passion for people, entrepreneurship, mentoring, and dreaming.  Among other topics, she tells the story of how she discovered her passion, how she chose to cultivate relationships instead of going for the quick dollar, and how having a mentor and being a mentor to others has shaped her professionally and personally.


Nov 2, 2016

In today's podcast, we talk to Clate Mask - co-founder and CEO of Infusionsoft.  Clate was named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, a Top 100 Small Business Influencer by Small Business Trends, one of the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs of 2013 by Goldman Sachs, and Business Leader of the Year by the Arizona Technology Council.

In our conversation, Clate talks about the early years at Infusionsoft and how they developed their focus and clear vision to help small businesses.  He discusses how he approaches personal and professional growth, and how he studies the characteristics of the CEOs of billion dollar companies and uses determined discipline to grow as a leader and grow his company.  These topics, among others, will provide you with inspiration and motivation.

Oct 25, 2016

Today's podcast features Chris Callahan, the founding dean of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.  He also serves as the vice provost of ASU's Downtown Phoenix Campus, and is the CEO of Arizona PBS.  

In our conversation, Chris shares from his experiences growing up the son of a New York City cop, studying journalism and working for the Associated Press, and then transitioning into higher education.  Among other topics, he discusses the value of internships, the discipline of critical thinking, the critical impact a clear vision has on an organization, and how to clearly define and carry out culture in an organization.  

Oct 17, 2016

This week we talk with John Solheim - the Chairman and CEO of PING.  For over five decades, this family-owned manufacturing company has called Arizona home, and John recounts both their history and his path to leading the company.  

In this podcast, John discusses many subjects, including:

  • lessons learned in their Phoenix garage building the first Anser putters,
  • how he balances his passion for engineering with his responsibilities as CEO,
  • how technology and creativity influence design,
  • his approach to succession in a family-owned business,
  • his favorite life lesson from the game of golf,
  • the importance of investing in the community and the military,
  • and much, much more.
Oct 11, 2016

This week's podcast features Win Holden who has been the publisher of Arizona Highways magazine since 2000.  Win has an extensive background in advertising, communications and publishing and had a distinguished career at a variety of firms including Moses Anshell (now Moses Inc.), MAC America Communications, Phillips-Ramsey Advertising and Public Relations, and Tatham-Laird and Kudner Advertising.

While we did not have the opportunity to discuss it on the podcast, Win has a passion for giving back to the community and has served in over 30 volunteer organizations in various capacities.  These include, the Phoenix Pride Commission, the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Citizens Transit Commission, and the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitor's Bureau, just to name a few.

In our conversation, Win discusses his journey from advertising to publishing, building a multi-generational team at Arizona Highways to meet the demands of its subscribers and readers of all ages from around the world while staying true to the decades-old mission and vision of this iconic magazine.  We also get a great story and lessons learned from Win's involvement in developing the original concept for "Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean" with Linda Cobb, and much more.

Oct 5, 2016

This week's podcast features the Chairman and CEO of AMERCO, Joe Shoen.  While AMERCO may not be a household name, it is the parent company to one of the most familiar brands in America - U-Haul.  For the past 30 years, Joe has served as CEO and remains one of the most hands-on chief executives anywhere.

In our conversation, Joe discusses how his leadership style differs from the stereotypical Harvard MBA graduate, how he engages with customers to meet their needs, how owning a small business and working closely with small business has contributed to U-Haul's success, how he leverages his exhaustive travel schedule to improve internal and external relationships, and much more.

Sep 27, 2016

Gary Bender, who began his network sportscasting career in 1975 for the NFL on CBS  doing play-by-play, shares his thoughts on hard work, the power of listening, the value of preparation, and explores the similarities between the qualities leaders share with sportscasters.  Plus, he tells some amazing stories from his years covering some of the greatest athletes in the world.

Gary had an amazing career covering the NFL, college basketball, Major League Baseball, the Olympics, the NBA, and nearly 25 more sports on network television.  Over the years, he worked alongside other notable sportscasters such as Johnny Unitas, Hank Stram, John Madden, Lynn Swann, Al Michaels, Bill Russell, and Bob Costas.


Sep 19, 2016

Dr. Michael Berens from TGen shares his story and provides insight into leading a world-class genetics research team.  He speaks of the importance of mentoring, the value of family, the latest cutting edge genetics research going on at TGen, and much more.

Sep 9, 2016

Glenn Hamer is President and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Here he discusses the mission of the Arizona Originals podcast and shares his story taking him from the Bronx to Arizona. He also shares his thoughts about leadership, management, building an organization, the value of internships and letting good people go from your organization.