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Honoree Bios

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Lisa Bayless
In terms of IMPACT made in the community, Lisa has made it a mission to make a difference in the community. She was recently named 2022 Crusader to the RISMedia Newsmakers list with over $80,000 donated to local non-profits by the Lisa Bayless Team at Long Realty in 2021. Some of this year’s recipients include: STEAMAZing, OVPD ballistic vest upgrade, OV Chamber Scholarship Fund, Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson, Project Graduation, TROT, Oro Valley Optimist Club, Long Realty Cares Foundation and many others.

 

What do you think is our biggest strength as a community in Tucson? Area for Improvement? 
I think our biggest strength is our community.  Tucson and the surrounding areas has a community feel.  People know each other, businesses are interconnected and there are many organizations that successfully contribute to and enhance our community.  Tucson is not just a city with sunshine, golf, biking and hiking... It's a tightly knit community made up of a diverse group of people working together for a common goal. 

What is your biggest piece of advice to a fellow woman in our community looking up to you? 
Don't be afraid to be yourself.  Work hard, do the right thing and focus on your path; not everyone else's path. I truly believe: if a person thinks, feels and does the right things, works hard and stays focused they will create their own path of success. — Lisa Bayless

 


Mel Blumenthal
Mel is one of those people who makes an impression on you as soon as you meet her and she has a longstanding impact made on the community through her work in finance and dedication to financial literacy. Her passion for gender equity clearly shown through her leadership for Women’s Studies Advocacy Council (WOSAC) at the University of Arizona and F*ST! Female Storytellers and is a fixture in the local storytelling community. Mel is an impact maker with some inspirational words of wisdom:

 

How would you encourage others to get involved locally? 
I encourage members of our community to just look around them. What would they like to see improve? What would they enjoy to see grow? What are they passionate about? What do they think can have a big positive impact on their neighborhood, our community, our city?  
 
Simply take a moment to identify a change that would make them happy to see. Then find other individuals or existing groups to work on making that change a reality. 
 
Care about animal welfare? Get involved at PACC! Passionate about women’s voting rights?

Join League of Women Voters! Want to help underprivileged youths and children in foster care?  Youth On Their Own would love to have you. Want to support the LGBTQ+ community? Join SAGA, SAAF, and the LGBT Chamber of Commerce. 
 
What is your biggest piece of advice you could give to a fellow woman in our community looking up to you?
Don’t be afraid to say yes to opportunities when they present themselves. Even if you think it might not be the right time, or you can’t quite see the bigger picture yet, just say yes! 
 
Never underestimate the power of the ripple effect. A small act of kindness can have a huge impact on somebody’s life. A small effort amplified by likeminded people can effect major change. 
 
Persistence is key. Setbacks and doubts along the way are part of the process. Never give up. — Mel Blumenthal

 


Sharon Bronson
Before the pandemic hit, Sharon was our 2020 Honoree for Women of IMPACT because of her involvement with IMPACT's creation, and the many issues for which she has advocated that make a difference in the Tucson community. In 2000, Supervisor Bronson represented Dictrict One which includes Catalina. She was intrumental in helping our organization receive funding through a Community Block Grant, which launched our nonprofit. She was a leading advocate for the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan that brought together environmentalists and the business community to develop smart growth strategies that protect our unique desert ecosystem. She has championed rural economic development. Curley School in Ajo, Arizona  is now an affordable live/ work place for artists and artisans. She led the charge resulted in changing Pima Animal Control to PACC, Pima Animal Care Center.

What are the greatest challenges our community faces today, as we emerge from the pandemic?
The greatest challenge is defining the new normal as we get our economy back on track. Our regional economy doesn’t recognize jurisdictional boundaries. When one jurisdiction benefits, the region does.  We all play in the same sandbox.

 

How can Pima residents become part of the solutions?
We all lead busy lives. Government is a complicated maze at the national, state or local level. But when something government does affects you or your family. Let the elected official that represents you know how.

 

What advice would you give to people who are interested in pursuing work in Government? 
Listen and learn, don’t posture or pontificate. It’s about all of us. It’s not about you.


Dr. Arianna Sholes-Douglas
Dr. Arianna is a trailblazer and visionary in the field of women’s health dedicated to working with women going through perimenopause and menopause. In 2020, Dr. Arianna was awarded the Southern Arizona’s Woman of Impact Award and Inside Tucson’s Business Women of Influence Award: Business Owner of the Year. In 2021, she was awarded Women of Color Achievement in Business Award by Women's President Organization and 100 Black Men - honoring Women of Color who have businesses with gross revenues exceeding $1MM. With over 30 years of experience, she has helped usher life into this world and continues to do so through her career and community work making an IMPACT.

 

Why is the work you do so important?
Women’s Health is some of the most important work there is. I have always been an advocate and worked on behalf of women. The first 20 years of my career, I spent helping countless women achieve their goal of a healthy, viable pregnancy. After 30 years, I am still seeing the fruits of that labor. There were pregnancies that I was almost certain would not make it. But by the grace of God, I had the opportunity to usher countless miracle babies into this world. The second half of my career has been just as impactful. After starting the practice, and going through the menopause transition myself, I realized how important it was to help and educated women going through this transition. The book has been another important part of my work by being a resource guide for women and their families to start the conversations around aging and thriving through the menopause transition.

 

Are there any resources that have really helped you on your overall business journey? 
The collaboration with other women is priceless. Being a part of Tucson’s chapter of the Women’s President Organization, WPO, has definitely helped me on my business journey. Being in the company of other successful businesswomen in one of the greatest gifts. I’ve also joined another peer advisory group called Women Elevating Women. This group is more focused on women of color gaining access to business opportunities. 

 

What do you wish you had known when starting out?
I think part of the journey is all the learning. I don’t know if there is something I necessarily wish I had known when starting out, but I do wish I had learned to be more present in each moment. — Dr. Arianna


 

Erika Yee
Last, but certainly not least, is an incredible young woman who captured our hearts with her story of saving the life of a classmate while in high school using chest compression-only CPR  - jump starting her career in medicine. She has volunteered with University of Arizona EMS as an EMT and been involved with a number of organizations including the UArizona Sarver Heart Center and the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona. Erika has continued her commitment to health education and mentoring young women pursuing a path in medicine. After receiving her medical degree, she hopes to pursue a surgical specialty and work in the Tucson community as a physician continuing to make an IMPACT.

 

How would you encourage others to get involved locally? 

I would encourage people to reach out and volunteer with organizations that mirror your values! Tucson has a plethora of wonderful organizations that are always in need of volunteers. Personally, I love to work with organizations that promote young women in science, medicine, and non-traditional career options (fire-fighting, law enforcement, etc.) as well as organizations that provide health education to the community... Volunteering with these organizations is incredibly rewarding! A few others I suggest includes Literacy Connects, Meals on Wheels, El Rio Community Health Center(s), and more! 
 
What is your biggest piece of advice to a fellow woman in our community following in your footsteps? 
My biggest pieces of advice for people pursuing the medical field would be threefold. First, always be open to learning new things. I think that this mentality is especially useful if you encounter a setback. Don’t look at setbacks as ‘failures’ but as another opportunity to learn from the experience. Second, don’t lose yourself while pursuing a career in medicine. Third, do what you love and love what you do! — Erika Yee