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Trio of Phoenix businesswomen crowned ATHENA

Eleven women from across the Valley were recognized for achievements spanning leadership, community service and mentoring at the 36th Annual Greater Phoenix Chamber’s ATHENA Awards on Wednesday, Nov. 15.

The internationally prized honor was bestowed upon:

Naquana Borrero, director of development and communications, Jazz in Arizona/The Nash & Owner, Bella Vita Consulting Group (Young Professional Award)

Melody Lewis, owner & founder, Indigenous Community Collaborative (private sector)

Jeri Royce, president & CEO, Advance Community (public sector)

“These influential women are dedicated to building a brighter future and ensuring our community remains strong,” said Todd Sanders, president & CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber.

Kudos to all.

– Hannah Van Sickle, The Arizona 100

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On writing: Why humans are still better than bots

At its most basic level, content creation requires researching facts, organizing information and producing clean copy – of which chatbots are more than capable. But does a writer’s job end there?

Creating compelling copy hinges on feelings and emotions (which bots can describe but not evoke).

While chatbots are notoriously polite, cheerful and reliant upon feedback to learn and improve, their inability to question, explore and synthesize makes them little more than automatons (not unlike the British bloke narrating your GPS which – while at first entertaining – quickly becomes a bore).

Keen on engaging readers? Queue up the [human] writers.

Read on.

– Hannah Van Sickle, The PR Power Poll 100

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Copycat layoffs killing tech industry

Is imitation really the best form of flattery? Not when it comes to the tech industry. Copycat layoffs are more contagious than the common cold. Another 77,000 job cuts happened so far in 2023 and it’s not that they had to do it, they chose to do it.

Jeffrey Pfeffer, a distinguished professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, says, “Layoffs do not solve what is often the underlying problem, which is often an ineffective strategy, a loss of market share, or too little revenue. Layoffs are basically a bad decision.”

CEOs should just say no to pink slips.

– Vikki Locke, C2 Communications, The Southwest Florida 100

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Arizona soccer club gains new ownership

This week, FC Tucson was acquired by a local ownership and investment group led by RIGHTSURE Founder Jeff Arnold and Head Coach Jon Pearlman.

The soccer club had tremendous success at this pre-professional level, winning multiple divisional titles and counting among its alumni current U.S. Men’s National Team center back Aaron Long and MLS standout Aaron Herrera.

FC Tucson will join USL League Two in 2023, with an option to join USL League One dependent upon a long-term Tuscon stadium solution. It will continue its women’s program and partnership with FC Tucson Youth, southern Arizona’s largest youth soccer club.

– Margaret Willard, The Arizona 100

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Lotería returns: Hispanic-inspired game spotlights local artists, businesses

A month-long celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off downtown with the return of the Lotería game now through Oct. 15. Think city-wide art walk meets urban adventure game, all in one.

Each “tabla” (Bingo-like card) features 16 illustrated images that matches with a local Phoenix business. Players visit that location to receive one sticker, and four in a row wins.

This year, the local nonprofit Xico, an Indigenous and Latino artist organization, has joined Downtown Phoenix Inc. as a partner of the event – the goal being to feature both emerging and established artists with hopes of increasing exposure for all.

– Hannah Van Sickle, The Arizona 100

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Robots are coming to a pharmacy near you

Don’t be surprised if you see Wall-E greeting you at your local Walgreens pharmacy very soon. The chain plans to use robots to fill prescriptions in at least 22 stores over the next three years.

By 2025, half of all Walgreens’ prescription volume could be handled by machines. Walgreens CEO Roz Brewer explains the reason behind the move, “So the pharmacist has an easier job … doing the work they love and were trained to do.” 

Brewer says the androids will be able to fill 300 prescriptions per hour, or roughly what it takes typical staff a full day to do.

Vikki Locke, The Southwest Florida 100

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New oil discovery in offshore Guyana

ExxonMobil’s discoveries in Barreleye-1, Patwa-1 and Lukanani-1 potentially increase the estimate of recoverable resource for the Stabroek Block by nearly 11 billion oil-equivalent barrels. This brings the company’s total discoveries offshore of Guyana in 2022 to five, validating its exploration strategy.

ExxonMobil currently has four sanctioned projects offshore Guyana. Liza Phase 1 produces around 130,000 barrels per day. Liza Phase 2, which started production in February, is steadily increasing to 220,000 barrels per day. Both Paraya and Yellowtail will add 220,000 and 250,000 barrels per day, respectively, once they go online. Paraya is targeted by year-end 2023 while Yellowtail is 2025.

– Cyndee WoolleyThe Southwest Florida 100

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Targeted customer promotions with Geofencing

Imagine being able to identify and target ideal customers, then delivering your marketing messages directly to their phones and digital devices. This is the power of Device ID Geofencing.

Every mobile device has a unique ID number that carries distinctive information about its users’ activities, work habits, behaviors, interests, awareness, intent, purchases, loyalty and much more.

By tapping into the device IDs that were present in a specific location, geofencing allows you to generate a data goldmine about your customers and improve your marketing return on investment. It could be a game-changer to take your marketing to the next level.

Cyndee Woolley, The Southwest Florida 100

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Podcasting continues to gain popularity

By the end of 2021, there was an estimated 120 million podcast listeners in the United States. This number is expected to surpass 160 million in 2023 (Statista). 

And, according the, more than 57% of people in the US have listened to a podcast at least once. While podcasting is gaining market share among all generations, it is notable that 56% of 12-34 year olds are listening on a monthly basis. 

What kind of opportunities can this open up for you? Podcasts may be able a way to attract employees, train workers or attract niche audiences. 

Read more.

Cyndee Woolley, The SWFL 100

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Tech and housing find creative ways to help abroad

In these first days, different methods to help Ukrainian citizens and families have risen around the world. Performing due diligence is a challenge as scammers are certainly a problem.

Airbnb has offered 100,000 refugees free housing, and also has launched a special service that lets users offer housing or direct donations. By booking stays with no intention of actually going, Airbnb users have found a creative way to transfer money to residents in need.

Etsy has waived all fees for sellers in Ukraine, and Elon Musk put his Starlink satellite network in action over the country to provide internet access.

David Johnson, The OJT 100