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Helping Steer Flagstaff’s Future

Stephanie McKinney is one of those people who, after talking to her for five minutes, you feel you’ve known forever. Effervescent and energetic might be two other ways to describe this dynamic community leader.

Her day job is serving as vice president for business development at the National Bank of Arizona, where she helps fit bank products to best aid businesses, individuals and nonprofit organizations.

Her other job – volunteer, of course – is helping promote people and businesses in Flagstaff.

For eight years, she was president and CEO of the Greater Flagstaff Economic Council, earning three Governor’s Excellence in Rural Development awards during that time.

She was Flagstaff’s ATHENA recipient in 2004. She currently serves on the Governor’s Council on Workforce Policy, and is vice chairman of the Flagstaff Forty. She also serves on Nonprofit Resource Center Board of Directors, and the Finance Committee for Coconino County’s Economic Development Initiative.

“I think I have the best job in town because it absolutely fits with who I am and how I like to help others with my knowledge, experience and skill sets,” she said.

Those skills she learned through more than 20 years of banking.

She graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree. “An opportunity presented itself to go into a management training program for a bank in Southern California,” she said. “I bought my first suit and pantyhose and showed up for the interview.”

She said the banking industry was going through a transition trying to be more customer service oriented.

“It was attractive to me to do something in transition, being on the ground floor of something. I never intended it to be a career, but look at me now,” she said.

“I worked for Security Pacific, which was absorbed by Bank of America. I managed 11 different locations in 15 years, mostly in San Bernardino, Victorville, Corona, Fontana and Riverside,“ she said.

But as her son got older, she began to look around for a less populated place to live.

“I did a lot of careful research and Flagstaff was high on my radar screen. I wanted to be part of the community and a university town really resonated with me,” she said.

Her son was nine at the time they moved to Flagstaff.

She went from managing 74 employees and 26,000 customers to 14 employees and 3,000 customers.

“I kind of liked the idea of getting to know neighbors in the community because sometimes it really does take a village to raise a child,” she said.

Her son, Aaron Brooks, now 26, is now an internationally known rock musician. His band, The Ghost Inside, tours mostly in Europe and Australia.

Among her current activities with Flagstaff Forty is designing a vision for redistricting efforts.

“I am really proud we are crafting a common vision, working in the trenches day-to-day to bring about the positive results we are looking for.”

She is also involved with St. Mary’s Food Bank as an advisory member. She was a big sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters for eight years.

For fun, she likes to scuba dive with her family and goes “anytime I can get to the Caribbean,” she said.

I love to golf and my husband and I play Dominos about every night,” she said.

Yet, she saves time for her girlfriends.

“I have fun girlfriends. We sit around and drink wine and smoke exotic cigars.”

In addition, she and her dog Sophie, a golden retriever, volunteer at assisted living facilities.

Another hobby is Yoga.

McKinney, 52, says she is looking forward to the upcoming political season.

“Getting involved in campaigns is one of the big things I’m looking forward to,” she said. FBN





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