The Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce has announced the nominees for the 2014 Palo Verde Women in Business Award.
The nominees are:
Heather Beninato — InMotion Health & Wellness
Heather Beninato said she does what she does because she loves seeing people get back to their everyday lives.
“They always come in achy or sore, so to be able to help them and get them back to daily functions of being able to put a shirt on or play sports, it’s a good feeling,” she said. “I’ve always had a passion for muscle work and tying it into chiropractic, so that’s why I opened my office.”
Beninato, owner of InMotion Health & Wellness, has more than 14 years of experience in the health care industry. She is a licensed massage therapist certified in Active Release Technique, according to a statement from the chamber. Her clinic was one of the first in the area to offer both Erchonia cold laser therapy and NormaTec compression recovery. She continues to educate herself and offering one-on-one training to all her employees.
Beninato works with numerous charities, including Phoenix Knights, a local Junior A hockey team. InMotion Health & Wellness hosts two monthly clinics at Global Bikes and Sole Sports Running Zone. Beninato has participated in Father’s Day massages for Alzheimer’s patients at Hawthorn Court as well as massages at the chamber’s Master Charity Golf Tournament. She is also an Ironman partner.
Dr. Rashmi Bhatnagar — BellaVista DentalCare
Dr. Rashmi Bhatnagar has owned BellaVista Dental Care for seven years. She has said what makes her successful is her passion for what she does and her obsession to get each smile the best it can be. More than 3,000 families call Bhatnagar their dentist and she has consistently been voted in the top three for Best Dentist in the Ahwatukee Foothills News’ Best of Ahwatukee since 2010. She has also been nominated for the Palo Verde Award several times.
“My business is seven years old and compared to these women who have been in Ahwatukee for over 25 years and in their careers, I feel very blessed that I am being stood next to them and their experience and their years of wisdom,” she said.
Dr. Bhatnagar writes monthly dental education columns for the AFN and its affiliates and is the designated “Ask the Dentist” for the online AFN. She often has dental students visit her office. In addition to teaching clinical dentistry, she teaches the business side of her job as well to prepare the students for challenges that dental school may not cover.
BellaVista Dental Care focuses on giving back to the community. They contribute to many local organizations, including Hankies for Hannah, and in the past two years, her office has raised $7,500 for the Smiles for Life organization.
Bhatnagar is a member of the Arizona Dental Association, American Dental Association, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, Academy of Clinical Sleep Disorders, Foothills Study Club and the Spear Study Club. She is also a member of the Crown Council.
This year, Dr. Bhatnagar has implemented a branch of dentistry, called Dental Sleep Medicine, into the practice to treat sleep apnea. She is also working toward a mastership at the Academy of General Dentistry.
Danielle Collazo — Adobe Blinds
Danielle Collazo focuses on building her business through building relationships.
“I love working with people,” she said. “I love helping them with decisions on their window treatments. There are so many different options for window treatments. Getting a feel for their needs really makes it a lot easier to decide what window covering they are looking for. I enjoy providing energy efficiency so saving them money on their bills and most of all giving them something really pretty.”
According to a statement from the chamber, in her first year in business, Collazo exceeded expectations of one of the most recognized window-covering manufacturers.
“She is currently setting a new sales record for 2014 and has been asked to consult with successful large manufacturers about her opinion of current improvements, color choices and styles to improve the industry,” the statement said.
Collazo serves on the Mountain Pointe High School Girls Booster Club. She has also volunteered with The Arizona Poodle Rescue, the American Cancer Society, the Tzu Chi Foundation and the Ahwatukee Chamber Golf Committee. She also serves as a mentor to her employees, clients and networking professionals.
Collazo, a mother of three, said she strives to surround herself with positive examples and community leaders.
Christine Ellis — United Brokers Group
Christie Ellis said the real estate industry is something personal for her.
“I love real estate,” she said. “It changes daily, it’s never the same thing twice, it’s helping people and coaching people and brings in a lot of things that I enjoy. The volunteering piece of it is because I love Ahwatukee. I live here, I work here, my kids go to school here. It’s important to me to be a part of that.”
Ellis has been a Realtor and associate broker in the Phoenix area since 2003. She gave up running her own brokerage in order to provide better service to her clients and today has risen to No. 8 in United Brokers Group, the highest-volume real estate company in the Southeast Valley. She is one of four associate brokers in the company and is in the process of obtaining her Graduate Record Institute, the highest certification a Realtor can earn.
Since joining United Brokers Group, she has increased her income by 30 percent each year, said a statement from the chamber.
In the community, Ellis has served as the Sierra PTO Chairperson for Restaurant Nights for five years running, and is the 2014 vice chair of professional development at Southeast Valley Regional Association of Realtors (SEVRAR). She is also a member of the Ahwatukee Chamber Toastmasters Club, where she currently serves as the vice president of public relations. Ellis serves on the Ahwatukee Chamber Board of Directors, co-chairs the Women in Business group and solely funded one 2014 Women In Business Scholarship by donating a portion of her closed transactions, according to a statement from the chamber.
Ellis was named to SEVRAR’s Top 40 Under 40, as well as winning the United Brokers Group Cultural Award. She was nominated for the 2014 Ahwatukee Business of the Year and has been nominated for the Palo Verde Award once before.
She is a contributing author of real estate articles for the Ahwatukee Foothills News and has published a book for real estate professionals.
“You do what you do because you love it, but when someone recognizes you for doing it, it just makes it all the sweeter,” she said.
Kendra Flaum-Fleetwood — CK’s Tavern and Grill
Kendra Flaum-Fleetwood is the operating owner of CK’s Tavern and Grill, which is celebrating 10 years in business this year. The local sports grill has been recognized in the Best of Ahwatukee in the categories of Best Wings, Happy Hour, Live Music, Burgers and Place to Watch the Game.
Flaum-Fleetwood has been nominated for the Palo Verde Award several times. Her professional career began with Intel Corporation as a buyer, and ended as a program manager, said a statement from the chamber. She gained her restaurant experience as a hostess, server and bartender at El Paso Barbeque and completed her undergraduate work at Arizona State University, graduating summa cum laude with a supply chair management degree.
CK’s has contributed to Crisis Nursery, the Arizona Humane Society, has hosted numerous charity golf tournaments and fundraisers for the local schools and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Flaum-Fleetwood serves on the board of directors for the chamber and has co-chaired the Red White & Boom committee.
CK’s celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a remodel and grand reopening in September.
Kathy Hanchette — Ahwatukee Court Reporting & Premier Designs Jewelry
When Kathy Hanchette had to give up her dream job of court reporting, she took it as an opportunity to expand her own resume and try something new.
A series of three hand injuries forced Hanchette to stop court reporting, but today she still owns her court reporting company, Ahwatukee Court Reporting, and is successful selling jewelry with Premier Designs Jewelry. Hanchette said she often sets up a jewelry table at court reporting conventions and networks with her court reporting friends to further her jewelry business.
“She is in the top 5 percent of Premier Designs and has received the Founder’s Club recognition for the past nine years, which includes the top 1,500 of the company,” said a statement from the chamber. “The past two years she has received the Founder’s Circle recognition, which is the top 100 jewelers in the company.”
Hanchette also trains new and veteran jewelers in Arizona, Colorado and Texas.
Hanchette is active with the Foothills Women’s Club, serving as vice president for the past two years, and runs the Women’s Networking League in Ahwatukee. She also helps with a group called Zocate.
Devida Pi’ilani Lewis — iAloha Media Group LLC
Devida Pi’ilani Lewis has a passion for celebrating her culture through promoting small business.
Since 1998, she has held various executive positions in management, and sales and marketing in the Phoenix metropolitan area, including CB Richard Ellis Inc., Rojan Holdings LLC, D&D Commercial Real Estate Services LLC, and currently is the owner/managing partner/on-air personality at iAloha Media Group LLC, according a statement from the chamber.
IAlohaRadio.com includes iAlohaTV, iAloha Events, iAloha Films, iAloha Media Suites, and iAloha Sports. A partnership with TuneIn Radio has led to a daily listener base of more than 15,000 within nine months.
“The launch of my latest venture, the whole premise behind that was to spread aloha everywhere and anywhere,” she said. “Aloha is defined as so many different things. It truly is creating a community not only in the business environment but in neighbors and in your community in general. I launched it because of the culture where I come from and creating that close-knit community from before the technology age where people actually trusted each other and talked to each other and had fun with each other. The threat of technology didn’t even exist. Taking it back old school and connecting people one on one is important to me. IAloha Radio exists to create community and share aloha everywhere we can possibly reach.”
Lewis is active in the Lau Kanaka No Hawai’i, Arizona Hawaiian Civic Club, Arizona Aloha Festivals, Inc. and Arizona Commercial Real Estate Women (AZCREW). She is a mentor and professional dancer for Ka’imikahu Hale O Hula, facilitator and co-founder of 3D Networx Workshops, head cheer coach for Tempe Buffs Football, and is part of Alliance Youth Sports Association, Toastmasters International and a charter member and past president of the Ahwatukee Chamber Toastmasters Club. She was recently awarded the Toastmasters International Competent Communicator and Competent Leader. She has completed various professional development trainings in real estate-broker and sales, life and health insurance, international financial education, and behavioral assessment specialist certification, the chamber said.
“I’m so excited to be nominated,” she said. “That means people are recognizing what you do. I was completely shocked and humbled all at the same time.”
Arlene Sarver — Babe’s Photos
Arlene Sarver, co-owner of Babe’s Photos said she was overwhelmed to be nominated for the Palo Verde Award.
“When I received the email, I sent it back and said ‘You must have sent this to me by mistake,’ ” she said. “I was very overwhelmed and excited to be nominated. We’re involved in some exciting projects with the chamber, so it hit me all day and that night.”
Babe’s Photos has been in Ahwatukee Foothills since 1997. They focus on families, children and pets primarily, but Sarver said they’ve also photographed sports teams and done commercial photography.
“The main thing I love about our business is meeting with people and capturing an image that will serve as their keepsake and most likely their legacy from this point in time,” Sarver said. “We just feel that the photograph is worth more than that tangible product at this point in time. It can stay with them for future generations. That, to us, is the main reason we are in this business. It’s the value of that photograph.”
Sarver has spent years mentoring ASU students in the fields of social work, health administration and public policy, according to a statement from the chamber. She is a member of the curriculum development committee for the ASU West campus. She also mentors business women as they come to her for different photography projects.
Sarver is chairing a chamber committee that offers business development classes to its members.
Janet Schwab — Elements Massage
Janet Schwab is a former educator turned entrepreneur.
She spent 13 years with the Chandler Unified School District before partnering to open Elements Massage in Chandler. During that time she was awarded the “Apple Achievement Award.” She views her job as mostly educational still, sharing with the public the benefits of massage.
“Massage has so many benefits,” she said. “To hear testimonials from clients who are no longer in pain, are able to move or just have been able to gain the benefits of massage and stress relief, we have that opportunity to do that.”
Schwab has been very active in the Ahwatukee Foothills community. She mentors new Elements franchisees and other business owners. She also serves on the Ahwatukee Chamber Board of Directors and is a co-chair for the Women in Business Committee.
She is proud of the growth Women in Business has made in the last three years and the strength of education programs they have presented as well as mentoring and connecting members of the chamber, said a statement from the chamber. Schwab has been nominated once before.
Doria Tabron — Doria Me’Chelle Salon and Spa
Doria Me’Chelle Salon and Spa has only been open in Ahwatukee Foothills for a year and half but with a cross-trained and handpicked team behind her, Doria Tabron said they are ready to expand to a second location.
Tabron has over 24 years of experience in cosmetology as a stylist, makeup artist and educational style director. Her experience has allowed her to be a very successful educator. Because she owns her own salon and teaches, she’s able to handpick the best of her students to become her employees alongside their experienced stylists. Only after a rigorous hiring process that includes three or four levels of interviews do they become part of the team, she said.
As an educator, Tabron said she is constantly learning herself about all the most recent products and techniques. She’s expanding services offered at the salon to meet more needs.
Tabron said she works to inspire women all around not to be a victim of their circumstances. She and her team have donated time and service to many nonprofit organizations, including Maggie’s Place, the East Valley Boys & Girls Clubs and U-Mom, and she is also involved with Imagine-U, according to a statement from the chamber.
“I have an opportunity to make (clients) feel good about themselves,” she said. “I have so many clients that have issues with life and daily trials and tribulations, but when they come into the salon, they tell me when they get their hair shampooed they feel like all their troubles are being washed away. It’s very humbling that my touch can change a person’s life and leave them feeling fabulous.”