Nicole Stanton PWA luncheon

Nicole Stanton, Quarles and Brady and Angela Perez, Snell & Wilmer

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are traumas that take place in a child’s life before age 18. Research shows that ACEs are detrimental to the future physical, mental and overall well being of a person and ultimately have a large negative impact on our communities.

Nicole Stanton, managing partner at Quarles and Brady, LLP and anti-bullying advocate brought to light the importance of knowing how ACEs are negatively affecting Arizona’s children and community.

“ACEs are good in poker, they’re not good when it comes to our children,” Stanton said.

Stanton shared stories of her journey through the world of community service to find her true passion for helping children and her community during the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce’s February Professional Women’s Alliance luncheon.

In 2007, Stanton had a baby and decided to take a step back from her many community roles but continued her involvement in a few organizations including, Arizona Women’s Education & Employment’s Special Projects Committee and the Phoenix Art Museum’s Women’s Metropolitan Arts Council. Stanton also decided to join the Arizona Education Foundation board; she used it as a great opportunity to learn about the state of education in Arizona.

“I knew that one of the things I was passionate about after having a child was the state of education in Arizona,” Stanton said.

She made the connection between education and bullying and in 2012 created her anti-bullying initiative; the program was picked up by ASU in 2014. The program focused on mitigating the consequences of bullying.

Stanton realized if she wanted to affect bigger change when it came to bullying, she was going to have to focus efforts on what was happening in earlier stages of life.

“If a child is experiencing an ACE at home they are much more likely to engage in bullying behavior,” Stanton said.

Marcia Stanton, no relation to Nicole Stanton, from Phoenix Children’s Hospital gave insight into ACEs and how they affect children.

“ACEs are responsible for a big chunk of workplace absenteeism, costs in health care, emergency response, mental healthcare, child welfare and in criminal justice,” Marcia Stanton noted.

ACEs include recurrent physical, emotional and sexual abuse, alcohol or drug abuse in the household, an incarcerated household member, a household member who is suffering from depression, mental illness or has been institutionalized for attempted suicide. ACEs may also include having a mother who was treated violently or experienced emotional or physical neglect themselves.

The higher the number of ACEs in a young person’s life, the higher the likelihood that person will develop cancer, depression, diabetes, alcoholism, smoking, heart disease and other conditions that most often show up in adulthood.

The good news is that supportive families and responsible adults can teach children that even though they’ve gone through trauma they will be okay.

“Healthy kids make healthy communities which make prosperous societies,” Marcia said.

Additionally, Stanton shared her path to finding her place in her new community upon first arriving in Arizona in 2000.

“Phoenix is a wide-open city. If you are eager to get involved, want to volunteer or take on a leadership role, Phoenix is a place you can do that and make a difference,” Stanton said.

After graduating from law school at the University of Arizona, Stanton arrived in Phoenix and began a year of looking for opportunities to be involved in the community aside from her position as a law clerk with Quarles and Brady, LLP.

Stanton went to an organization that served as a nonprofit and volunteer match maker that matched her to the Arizona Animal Welfare League, UMOM and many others but her passion for animals finally drove her to volunteering with the Arizona Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Her passion was put to the test at ASPCA as she was tasked with retrieving injured or sick animals and transporting the animals to a 24-hour clinic.

“You have to have that passion and I had that passion for animals at that time in my life,” Stanton said.

To learn more about this leading business leader and her extensive commitments to the community, visit

– Written by Alexie Chavez, marketing coordinator, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce

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