They come from many different backgrounds and have a variety of careers, but the women featured in this year’s special Women in Business section have one thing in common – they are all pretty incredible women leaders.
From championing important local causes to working in traditionally male-dominated industries to even saving lives, these women are shining examples of what leadership means. We’re grateful to live in a community with such a talented group of women at the helm. You probably already know many of them, but if you don’t, we’re proud to show you even more about what makes them special!
Bea Lueck has been involved in various forms of media in Casa Grande since the mid 1990s. While her careers in magazine publication and real estate keep her busy, she has two causes that are dear to her heart – animal rescue and youth services. Bea and her husband Rick enjoy spoiling their granddaughters. Noisy musical instruments are appropriate gifts!
Dolly, the Pinal County Animal Care and Control “spokesdog,” was picked up as a stray in San Tan Valley. She was very pregnant and covered in ticks. Within a few days she had labor complications at the vet and lost her puppies. She is now our ambassador dog and attends many events and classes to educate the public about pit bulls.
Helen Neuharth is President/CEO of the Greater Casa Grande Chamber of Commerce and has, for the past 25 years, developed strong connections between business growth and community development.
Anne Donos has been a nurse for 26 years and a Family Nurse Practitioner for two years. Her nursing career involved working in various capacities including ER, acute care, Director of Nursing and currently in wound care. Anne has been with Banner Casa Grande Medical Center Wound Care and Hyperbaric Clinic for the last 11 years and says, “This is the most rewarding part of my nursing career.”
Paula Leslie moved to her mother’s hometown of Casa Grande in 1980 after her father retired from the U.S. Air Force. She graduated from CGUHS, and then received a degree from Arizona State University. In 1999, she founded the plumbing business Mankel Mechanical with Eddie Mankel. Paula has two sons, who work at Mankel Mechanical, and one granddaughter.
Tabitha Picone is a teacher of children ages 6 to 8 at Thrive Academy in Casa Grande. Thrive Academy is a pre-K – 12th grade private Christian school.
Audra Michael was a volunteer at Apache Junction Animal Control when she went on her first ride along with an Animal Control Officer (ACO). That is when she knew she wanted to work for animals and applied as an ACO with Pinal County. After moving up the ranks fairly quickly, she was given the tremendous opportunity to serve as Interim Director of PCACC after the former director left. She was selected as the best candidate for the position and became Director in July 2015.
Gloria Smith, a local artist and Zonta Member, previously served as director of The Museum of Casa Grande. She brings to life Casa Grande Pioneer, Pauline Cushman, during Day Out Downtown, kicking off 3rd Thursdays starting October 20. Visit www.cgmainstreet .org for more information.
Rona Curphy, RN, BSN, FACHE is Chief Executive Officer at Banner Casa Grande Medical Center. She has been with Banner Casa Grande (formerly Casa Grande Regional Medical Center) since 2002, serving as Chief Nursing Officer from Jan. 2002 to Feb. 2009 before serving in her current role.
Pam Burke was raised in Minnesota, a graduate of St. Cloud State University and moved to Casa Grande in 1981. Pam has been with Pinal County Juvenile Court Services as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Coordinator for 19 years, dedicating her career to increasing community awareness on volunteerism and being an advocate for children. Pam and husband Mike have one son, Sean, daughter-in-law Samantha and grandson Corbin.
Tiffanie Grady-Gillespie CPT is the owner of WickedFiTT in Casa Grande. She is a well-known personal trainer, group fitness instructor and all around fitness junkie. Tiffanie specializes in weight loss, strength and conditioning and general fitness.
Andrea Mora, born and raised in Casa Grande, has been a local hairstylist for over 10 years. You can find her at Shear Gossip by Sabrina in downtown Casa Grande.
Dr. Jacquelyn Elliott became President/CEO of Central Arizona College on July 1, 2016. She has more than 27 years of experience working in higher education, specifically in senior level administrative and leadership positions at the community college level.
Tish Sopha has been specializing in commercial, agricultural and residential real estate transactions throughout the State of Arizona for over 25 years. Starting a rewarding career with First American Title conducting title searches, she now leads the Pinal County Escrow division for Title Security Agency. Tish provides her clients with a high level of expertise and personalized service.
Elaine Earle is an accomplished publisher and management professional with 20 years of experience as a Certified Public Accountant and publisher of destination marketing products. Elaine and her team bring a “one firm” solution to clients. She has a passion for traveling and has been to over 30 countries.
Renée Louzon-Benn is the Director of Community Outreach for Sun Life Family Health Center (Sun Life). She has worked with Sun Life for over 12 years and has lived in the Casa Grande area for 21 years. She is happily married to Bob Shogren. She has an amazing son, who currently serves in the U.S. Air Force, and three cats full of “cattitude.” She enjoys hiking, cooking and exploring Arizona.
Marge Jantz is a champion of Historic Downtown Casa Grande as a previous Main Street Director, historical tour docent and current chairperson for the Historic Preservation Commission.
Debby Martin has owned the 1929 historic Paramount Theatre, where the cover photo was taken, since 1993. The preservation and rehabilitation has been a long and sometimes painful process, but the end result has been one of her proudest successes. The theatre is available to rent for a variety of events.