During March we celebrate Women’s History Month to commemorate the vital contributions from women in American history. From winning the right to vote in 1920, to earning the right to equal pay in 1963, history has shown women making a significant difference to challenge the system and shape our country into what it is today. Arizona has a proud history of female trailblazers, including Rose Mofford, the first female governor in Arizona history, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and Annie Dodge Wauneka, an advocate for the Navajo Reservation who was awarded the U.S. Medal of Freedom in 1964.
Today more women are represented in leadership positions and the gender pay gap has narrowed as more women become more educated and break into occupations traditionally dominated by men. There are a record number of women serving in the 117th Congress, making up a quarter of all members of Congress, the highest percentage in U.S. history. This includes Senator Kristen Sinema, the first woman to represent Arizona in the U.S. Senate.
There’s no denying the immense and important role women play in every facet of business. I am proud to lead the Greater Phoenix Chamber alongside many remarkable women. We are privileged to have Christina Noble, Chief Growth Officer for Sonora Quest Laboratories, serving as the Chamber’s current Board chair. Christina has been a thoughtful and engaged leader since she joined the Chamber board, challenging us to better meet the needs of our members with thought-provoking questions, a keen eye for data and analytics, and an ongoing desire to better understand the evolving needs of Arizona’s business landscape. Erin Mettille, Sales Director for Slalom Consulting, is serving as this year’s Chair-elect and will be prepared to lead the Chamber in the next fiscal year. Erin has proven herself to be a rising star within the Chamber, beginning her leadership experience as a board member and eventually, board chair of the Valley Young Professionals, and rising through the ranks of the Chamber board. Stacy Derstine, Vice President, External Affairs at APS, serves as the Foundation’s 2021-2022 Board chair. Stacy’s dedication and commitment to fulfilling the Foundation’s mission to convene and catalyze business, education, and the community to enhance college and career readiness, develop a stronger workforce, and build healthier communities throughout Arizona can be seen through the expansion of this year’s programs and financial growth. As the Chamber strives to recruit leadership that represents the makeup of our community, half of our executive committee members and Board of Directors are comprised of women leaders.
Throughout March I encourage you to acknowledge the women in your organization who are leading and taking care of business. As the Chamber continues to develop our DEI Program, we know diversity, equity, and inclusion are crucial to the future of business. I encourage you to join us at the next DEI Employer Forum later this month. I am grateful for the influence women have made in the past and present day and look forward to seeing even more remarkable contributions in the future!