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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Oct 11, 2017

Heidi Jannenga is the president and co-founder of WebPT, a SaaS company providing support to physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists.  

WebPT has been on the INC 5000 list of fastest growing companies in the US for five years straight and is one of Arizona's fastest growing companies.  

Our conversation takes us from Heidi’s days playing basketball to finding her passion in the profession of physical therapy. She then explains how seeing a huge problem led to the creation of WebPT. We talk about corporate culture, engaging your customers, the fear of failure, generational issues, and so much more.



WebPT careers

WebPT's values

Conscious Capitalism

Special Episode with Michael Lorsch - Vision v. Behavior

Special Episode with Michael Lorsch - Overcoming Failure


Arizona Chamber of Commerce

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Rising Strong - Brene Brown

Oct 3, 2017

This week Jeffrey Pruitt, founder and CEO of Tallwave, joins us for a fascinating conversation about his journey from accountancy to entrepreneurship and from "running through walls" to leading smarter.

An Arizona native, Jeffrey explores taking ideas to market, finding capitol for those ideas, and building a strong organization based on values and strategy.  You will want to have your notebook ready for this conversation, especially as he talks practically about how Tallwave strives to be a friction-less workplace.


Jeffrey Pruitt on LinkedIn


Tallwave Capital


Camelback Mountain

12 Week Year by Brian Moran

The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer

Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry

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Sep 27, 2017

This week, Colleen Jennings-Roggensack returns for the second installment of our conversation.  When she last joined us in Season One, we left her in Colorado, and today we hear the rest of the story.

In addition to her journey, Colleen addresses topics each of us can learn from.  Those range from mentoring, to life-long learning, to taking risks, and finding balance in life.  You will also want to hear her story about one particular cast of the show "Evita" and the lessons we can learn about excellence and accountability.


ASU Gammage

Stadium 365

Built to Last

The Experience Economy

Bernstein Meets Broadway

Yes, Chef: A Memoir

Setting the Table

Noorderzon - Performing Arts Festival - Groningen

Traverse Theatre Edinburgh

Game of Thrones

Being Mary Jane

Arizona Chamber of Commerce

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Sep 19, 2017


Jason Pistillo is the president of the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, Arizona.  Our conversation takes us from Jason building his first computer game at the age of eight, to becoming a network engineer at 21, to his 23-year career at UAT.  He has been recognized as a leader in business and was most recently given the East Valley Institute Technology's "Sam and Olga Bender Award" for being a strong community partner over the past decade.

We cover a wide range of topics ranging from building a "fast, fun, friendly and smart" culture, instituting rigorous hiring practices, maintaining motivation and focus, investing in the community, and empowering staff.  Jason also discusses why their culture of vulnerability among staff has made their team stronger, and so much more.


University of Advancing Technology

Contact Jason via email

Ballet Arizona YouTube video

Valley Leadership


Leading Geeks by Paul Glen

Alignment For Success by Katherine Halpin

The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook by Peter Senge

S*** My Dad Says by Justin Halpern

Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry

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Sep 12, 2017

Greg Head has spent most of his professional life in the world of software, including being part of the startup and growth stages of two major Arizona companies and as the chief marketing officer for Chandler-based Infusionsoft.  Today, Greg consults founders and CEOs, curates Gregslist (an active list of Arizona-based software companies...over 300 strong), and has more projects and initiatives on the way.

In our conversation, Greg shares thoughts on not only marketing, but focus, intensity, scaling your business, Arizona's technology mindset, and what it means to transition your business from being ADD to OCD.  You will want to take notes!


Greg Head - LinkedIn

Greg Head Consulting


Clate Mask podcast interview

Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry

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Sep 5, 2017

Our first guest of the new season is Brian Mueller - Chairman, President and CEO of Grand Canyon University.  Our conversation begins in Milwaukee, WI where Brian grew up along with his parents and seven siblings.  We then look at his years as a teacher and basketball coach and ultimately to his move into leading two major higher education institutions.

President Mueller discusses everything from finding purpose and passion to the importance of focusing on planning and preparation.  He talks about the time in his life he received the best training for leading businesses, and discusses his decision checklist when it comes to running a publicly traded company.  We also talk about partnerships, team building, and so much more.


Grand Canyon University


Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry

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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


Arizona Originals Podcast Website

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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 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 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

Arizona Originals Podcast Website

Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry

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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

Arizona Originals Podcast Website

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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

Arizona Originals Podcast Website

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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.

Arizona Originals Podcast Website

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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 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.

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