Treasurer Eileen Klein receives Transformational Leader Award

Yesterday, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry hosted its Annual Awards Luncheon, recognizing exceptional Arizona leaders and lawmakers who are champions for the state.

State Treasurer Eileen Klein received the Transformational Leader Award, a designation given to an individual who demonstrates transformational leadership by creating a vision for positive change in Arizona, by inspiring business and industry in pursuit of that vision and by enriching the future for the Arizona community. After years as a respected leader in the private sector, Klein served as chief of staff for Governor Janice K. Brewer, serving Arizona during the worst economic downturn in its history.

“She answered the call to service during one of the darkest times in our state’s history, and she helped put together the blueprint that we’re all enjoying today as Arizona sees record economic activity,” said Glenn Hamer, president & CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

A staunch advocate of higher education, Klein served as president of the Arizona Board of Regents for five years. During her storied time at ABOR, the partnership between the business and education communities grew to where it is now.

Described by colleagues and friends as a true visionary, the “Iron Lady of Arizona,” Klein took the stage to accept the award, thanking the business community for its partnership in her many endeavors.

Klein paid tribute to several great Arizona leaders, citing Governor Brewer, Senators McCain and Kyl and others as the figures who inspire her in her tireless work to better the state.

“The state today is better than it has ever been, and today, our state is at the forefront of everything that is going to happen in this country,” Klein said. “Having great leaders who do great things for business turns out to be one of the best ways you can create a strong state.”

At the event Klein donned a signature neck scarf designed by the late Kate Spade and covered in pink Cadillacs. The corner of the scarf read “Off we go,” words symbolic of the innovative climate in Arizona. “Thanks for all the support as we work together to transform this state. I’m very excited for our future so, off we go,” Klein said.

Other award recipients included APS executive Jessica Pacheco for Volunteer of the Year, Representative Jeff Weninger for Arizona State Representative of the Year and Senate President Steve Yarbrough for Arizona State Senator of the Year.

The end of the ceremony saw the passing of the gavel from outgoing Chairman of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry Board of Directors Steve Macias, to incoming Chair Susan Anable.

“The passion, knowledge and concern that the members of the Chamber’s board possess is unparalleled,” said Macias. “Our state is at the top of the growth curve, and we want to stay at the top.”

Incoming Chair Susan Anable, vice president of public affairs of the Southwest region for Cox Communications, has served on the board for six years. Anable assumes the chairmanship with three goals: to continue to engage in and influence smart public policy; to celebrate those communities that value the business community and actively work to help it flourish; and to continue to protect Arizona’s recovering economy, which she calls her “don’t screw it up goal.”

In terms of filling Macias’ shoes, Anable said, “I’m going to just slip on my sensible wedge heels, and do my best to emulate his steady leadership and consistency in leading the Chamber this year.”

Ava Montoya

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