One-on-one with new AF chamber president Anne Gill - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

One-on-one with new AF chamber president Anne Gill

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Posted: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 8:00 am | Updated: 3:15 pm, Sat Dec 22, 2012.

It was a long wait and a long process, but the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce finally has a new president and chief executive officer.

Anne Gill has experience building businesses, working with local governments, and helping create new jobs. She agreed to sit down with the AFN to answer some questions about herself and her new role.

Q: Where are you from?

A: From Michigan, born and raised there.

Q: What schooling do you have?

A: I have a bachelor's degree in international business.

Q: What's your work experience?

A: After school I worked in Florida for a few years and then I had an opportunity to go to Alaska and become executive director of the Sitka Convention and Visitors Bureau. I was there for about six years and met my husband on a blind date. He's from Arizona originally, so that's what eventually brought us back to Arizona in 1998.

When I first got here I was the marketing director for Phoenix Home and Garden and Phoenix Magazine. Eventually, I went to work with my brother in law at One Stop Signs. He does signs all over the country.

One of his big customers is Cold Stone Creamery, which has expanded quite a bit in the last few years, so I was instrumental in helping him grow his business and handling his national accounts, as well as the day-to-day stuff.

Now I'm the executive director of the WellCare Foundation. It's a nonprofit that provides free health care services to single working mothers and their children.

Moms and kids that aren't on AHCCCS (Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System) because they make too much to qualify, but not enough to afford health care insurance.

It's sort of the group that falls through the cracks for health care assistance. We have about 150 volunteer practitioners who provide the care for free.

Q: How did you get involved with that?

A: My brother had moved here and I was helping him find a job, and I came across the listing. I really loved the mission of the organization. It's about helping these women who are trying to help themselves, who are working hard, but not able to afford the care they need. I read about the founder and her story, and just really wanted to work with her. I applied and got the job.

Q: What was the process like to get this new job?

A: It was a phone interview first, then a group interview. They chose the top three from there and we had to do a presentation in front of the entire board. I'm honored and humbled to be chosen.

Q: How will your experience in business help you as CEO and president of the chamber?

A: Owning a small business with my husband, and having worked with other businesses and helping them grow, I know what it takes to run a business. I know times are tough and we all need to work a little bit smarter. I'm able to look at things from a different perspective and give some fresh ideas.

Q: What will you do on your first day on the job (Nov. 7)?

A: It's all still new. Obviously, my goal is to increase membership and give the members more value and return on their membership. I really want to get to know the staff. I want to see what the strategic plan is for the chamber and the needs. I'll be starting right after the Women in Business Gala so I'll be seeing how that event went and getting right into the next events coming up. I want to learn everything there is to know about the chamber and the members, and I want to learn from the ground up. I don't want to assume I know everything.

Q: What do you think makes Ahwatukee unique?

A: I think it's the people. Everywhere I go it's a friendly face. It's a close-knit community, almost like living in a cul-de-sac. You get to know your neighbors and the people around you. The people all work together to make it a great place to be.

Q: Anything else people should know about you?

A: I'm a hard worker. I'm dedicated, successful, and I enjoy working with people. I think what motivates me is helping others succeed.

I enjoy recreational golfing. I'm not a great golfer, but my husband and I enjoy golfing together. We don't have any kids, but we just recently adopted a black lab. She's our baby, she's about 9 months old. We're dog people. Our family is here in Ahwatukee so we're always at baseball games and football games. We do a lot of outdoor recreation.

Q: What was your family's reaction to your new job?

A: They were thrilled. As soon as I put it on Facebook there was all kinds of excitement. I'm going to be closer to home and doing something I enjoy a lot. I'm looking forward to getting to know the community and the business members and working with them.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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