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Learn more about Colleen Schwab, our senior vp of marketing and communications, and a honoree of Phoenix Business Journal's 2019 Class of 40 Under 40.

GPEC Senior Vice President of Marketing, Communications named in Phoenix Business Journal’s 40 under 40

Our Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Colleen Schwab, has been named an honoree in Phoenix Business Journal’s 2019 Class of 40 Under 40. From nearly 500 nominees, she was one of 40 candidates chosen by a panel of judges. This is the 19th year the Phoenix Business Journal has recognized the region’s best and brightest young leaders.

Schwab is a dedicated and innovative leader whose work has made a profound impact on Greater Phoenix, and we are truly lucky to work with her. We spoke with Schwab about her proudest professional achievement so far, favorite part about living and working in the region, and more.

Tell us about your role at GPEC:

As the SVP of Marketing and Communications at the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, there are no two days that look the same. We know we can’t do everything the way it has always been done so we’re constantly brainstorming about how we can tell the story of the region and put Greater Phoenix on the map. If you’ve seen our recent #CAstruggles campaign, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. As part of my role, I also get to work with the Engagement team and gain inspiration from their creative ideas on ways we can give people access and insight into some of the interesting and unique Greater Phoenix assets and businesses.

What is your favorite part about living and working in Greater Phoenix?

I grew up in Minnesota on a hobby farm in a small town called Byron. I learned many valuable life lessons growing up on a farm. In 1996, my parents moved our family to Cave Creek, Arizona. Moving to Arizona was quite a culture shock, but after I graduated high school and entered Arizona State University, I started to be extremely thankful for the move. As the population of this region grew, so did the opportunities available to me.

What is your proudest professional achievement so far?

In my career I have a number of moments where I can speak to professional wins that I’m excited about, but my proudest professional achievement is having led highly-effective teams that look forward to coming to work each day. Business doesn’t exist without people, and whether those people are your customers or your employees, they should be treated with respect and given opportunities to shine.

What does being recognized for Phoenix Business Journal’s 40 under 40 mean to you?

I started earning a real pay check 20 years ago and always stayed true to my passion for purpose-driven work. Many people along the way said I couldn’t make a career out of it but I’m stubborn and said I’d find a way. Being recognized by the Phoenix Business Journal is quite humbling and my hope is that someone learns a bit about my story and is inspired to consider a career path doing work that, at their core, they find meaningful.

How do you stay organized?

I’m not sure I could ever say I stay organized, but I always strive to be! We’re juggling so many projects and get a lot of curve balls thrown so it’s not always easy to stay super organized. But we live by The GPEC Way and that means you do what you need to do to assure the job gets done and it gets done well.

What do you like to do for fun?

I’m a workaholic so I find work fun. I also believe that you need to have hobbies to assure you can continue bringing your A-game in every area of life. I love to workout, spend time with my husband and our  two rescue pups Captain and Bentley, and we always take a vacation at least two times a year to recharge the batteries.

What do you enjoy most about working in economic development?

I’ve been privileged to do purpose-driven work for my entire career and economic development is in perfect alignment with that. I always say that economic development is about One Business, One Job, One life at a time. When we bring quality jobs to the region, we’re providing people with an opportunity to grow professionally, pursue their passions and provide for their family.

What advice do you have for other young professionals? 

Stay hungry and humble.


Congratulations to all of the honorees! Meet the rest of them here.