Wonder Women

Wonder Women

By Alison Bailin Batz

There’s no rest for the wicked, and even less for the wickedly smart and successful women across Scottsdale.

And they wouldn’t have it any other way.

Here is a look at how several local female business leaders got to where they are today, each making a difference in the area by carving their own paths.

Tamara Woodbury

CEO, Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council

Tamara Woodbury has dedicated her career to creating the conditions for personal and organizational transformation.

“I am passionate about preparing youth and adults for leadership that is sourced from an inner authority and authenticity,” Woodbury says. “I’m grateful that my career has allowed me to experience professional leadership in the social sector for over three decades.”

Since 1993, Woodbury has served as the CEO of Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council. Throughout her 30-plus years in the nonprofit sector, she has also served as executive director of the YWCA of the National Capitol Area, Washington, D.C., as assistant director of the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capitol and in professional leadership positions at Girl Scout councils in San Francisco and Salt Lake City.

“Girl Scouting prepares girls for a lifetime of leadership, a safe space where they can be themselves and discover their strengths and talents, and a place where they can speak about important issues and be heard,” Woodbury says. “I’m not sure any other organization gives all of this to girls.”

The council serves 20,000 Girl Scouts across central and northern Arizona, including 3,100 in the North Valley alone. Under Woodbury’s leadership, the nonprofit has been transformed over the last 27 years by fostering the leadership abilities of its staff, members and volunteers, in place of a traditional organizational structure.

Since 1993, Woodbury has led the council to see unprecedented growth in services and resources, which have brought national recognition and research interest to the organization and community.

In 2017, the council introduced an $18 million campus to Phoenix – The Bob & Renee Parsons Leadership Center for Girls and Women at Camp South Mountain. This addition allows for Valley Girl Scouts to experience summer camp close to home, in addition to having the option to explore up north at three other camps located in Prescott and Payson.

According to Woodbury, none of this would be possible without the council’s staff and volunteers.

“Words seem wholly inadequate to express my appreciation for the courage, strength and passion they bring to Girl Scouting,” Woodbury says.

Michelle Lind

CEO, Arizona Association of Realtors

After spending five years as an obstetrics and surgical nurse, Michelle Lind was compelled to do something more with her medical experience.

“Assisting an attorney with reviewing the medical records of a mother who had died after childbirth, gave rise to the idea of becoming a nurse consultant,” Lind says. “But the more I considered my options, it became clear. Rather than work for an attorney, I would go to law school and be an attorney.”

She earned her law degree in 1990 with honors and spent a few years practicing professional liability law before making another career change to a boutique law firm that focused on real estate.

“I quickly discovered that I enjoyed the real estate practice,” Lind says. “There were more opportunities to be proactive rather than reactive, giving me the chance to prevent problems before they occurred.”

The Arizona Association of Realtors the firm’s client. At the time, the Arizona Realtors did not have in-house counsel. In 1999, after a discussion with the then-CEO, Lind joined the Arizona Realtors as its general counsel. She concentrated on risk management, the development of standardized transactional forms and authored a real estate book.

Since 2012, Lind has served as the CEO of the Arizona Association of Realtors.

“If you would have asked me 30 years ago, I would have never guessed that I would have practiced real estate law or even liked it,” Lind says.

“I feel very fortunate to have represented the Arizona Realtors all these years. I wouldn’t have dedicated my career to it if I didn’t believe that the association provides vital services to our members and makes important contributions to our community.”

Janenne Lackey, CFP

Investment Adviser Representative and Chief Compliance Officer, Wilde Wealth Management Group

Janenne Lackey has always been focused on helping individuals navigate the twists and turns of life.

“For many years, I did this quite literally,” says Lackey, who initially worked in athletic training, primarily for gymnasts. “If you’ve have competed in sports at a high level, or support your children to do so, then you know that it involves more than just physical aches and pains.”

Lackey is referring to the oft-painful financial toll competing can take on one’s wallet, saving and retirement.

“I actually enjoyed math and science in school,” Lackey says. “So, after doing my part in science via training, I decided to try my hand at helping people using my math skills.”

In 2000, Lackey began her second career, in financial services. And it stuck.

During the past 20 years, Lackey earned her CFP and became an independent investment adviser. In 2008, she affiliated with Wilde Wealth Management, and by 2013, she was asked to serve as the firm’s operations manager. She is now the chief compliance officer.

“I still work with clients day to day, as well as manage retirement plans of small and medium-sized companies, and individual accounts at colleges and universities,” Lackey says.

Since joining the firm, Lackey has been an avid volunteer and active participant in Wilde Wealth Management’s Wilde for Arizona Community Outreach Program, which empowers the staff to be active volunteers, fundraisers and neighborhood champions. In addition, her own volunteer and civic leadership with such organizations as the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Girl Scouts, Camp CEO and Little League Basketball, has earned her the National Association of Women Business Owners Unsung Hero Award.

Amanda Sett

Creative Director, Fasturtle Digital

At just 5 years old, Amanda Sett illustrated a book.

“Well, sort of. It was called ‘Bunny Goes to School.’ My mom and I made the story up together, and then I drew all of the animals to help make it come to life,” Sett says.

Her artist mother sent it to a self-publishing house and had it professionally printed and bound to share with friends and family.

Seeing her story and pictures come to life had a profound impact on Sett, who continued illustrating through elementary school, eventually moving on to digital art by teaching herself to use Adobe Photoshop in her early teens.

In high school, she took graphic design classes and still remembers her first project: a graphic novel. Those classes, as well her more traditional art projects, became her passions.

“My decision after graduating was easy. I enrolled at the Art Institute of Los Angeles to study graphic design professionally,” Sett says.

Upon graduation, Sett signed on for the school’s professional showcase. During her presentation, Eric Olsen, founder of a then-small digital start-up called Fasturtle, applauded her portfolio.

“He hired me a week later, and 12 years later I’m still here,” says Sett, who is the global firm’s creative director.

She helped launch a new division for the firm, Fastsites by Fast Turtle, to help small and micro-businesses, and is about to complete a website refresh for Phoenix Children’s Museum.

In her spare time, she sculpts and dabbles in costume design.

“You have to flex your creativity muscles if you want them to stay strong. You have to mix it up regularly, like with any workout,” Sett says. “Use it or lose it.”

Karen Gleason

Founder, Glove It!

As a child, Karen Gleason’s mother taught her how to sew.

“I loved it and actually sewed my own clothing throughout the rest of my childhood and teen years, falling in love with all things fashion along the way,” says Gleason, who moved from South Dakota to study fashion merchandising at ASU in 1979.

Upon graduation, Gleason she became a wholesale apparel manufacturer for Star of India Fashions.

“The job took me to New York in 1987, where I soaked in every bit of knowledge available from designers around the world,” says Gleason. “Soon, I was ready to spread my wings.”

She returned to Arizona in 1989 and partnered with colleague and friend Kay McDonald to launch Regalia Accessory Co., a clothing and accessory company she led for 18 years.

“During that time, I also took up golf,” Gleason says. “It was actually during golf with girlfriends that I got inspired to pursue what would become my life’s passion.”

Sick of the generic, white golf gloves, Gleason envisioned a line of colorful, boldly designed female golf gloves. She brought her vision to a few PGA Golf Shows, and by year’s end had a manufacturing partner to help turn her dream into reality.

“I started the company, which I named Glove It!, out of my home while still leading Regalia. I even wrote designer Nicole Miller a letter, expressing my desire to license her whimsical designs for my line, to which she agreed,” Gleason says. “The business grew so fast that I sold Regalia in 2007 to focus on Glove It full time.”

She opened an office in Tempe, and then a formal headquarters in Scottsdale in 2016. Today, the brand is in golf clubs, tennis clubs, resorts and country clubs worldwide.

“We have distribution across Europe, Australia and Canada, and locally at The Phoenician, Troon North, The Boulders and The Biltmore Golf Clubs, among others,” Gleason says.

Paige Lund

General Manager, JW Marriott Camelback Inn

When Paige Lund was 13, she got a job at Country Kitchen in her native Minnesota.

“From the day I walked in the door, I knew hospitality was my fate,” says Lund, who began researching college restaurant programs while in high school. “I settled on Northern Arizona University as it had similar weather and the small-town feel of my hometown, but with a world-class School of Hotel and Restaurant Management.”

By 1993, as she prepared to graduate and get married, she set her sights on a role with Old Spaghetti Factory, who’d been recruiting her, says Lund. “But, in an effort to practice my interview skills, I met with one last company first.”

That company was Wyndham Hotels and Resorts.

“I started with Wyndham in 1993, taking a position as a food and beverage manager in development back in Minnesota, though long-term Arizona is where Clark—a Lake Havasu City native—and I longed to put down roots,” Lund says.

The next 20-plus years flew by, with Lund serving in various leadership roles at a laundry list of Arizona’s top resorts including the The Ritz-Carlton, Boulders Resort & Spa, Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, The Wigwam and Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel, among others. Lund also took on several leadership roles within the Arizona hospitality and tourism sectors. Notably, she is a member of the board of directors for the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association, the Phoenix Tourism and Hospitality advisory board, and the NAU School of Hotel and Restaurant Management national advisory board.

In spring 2019, she joined the iconic JW Marriott Camelback Inn as its first female general manager.