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Founder and CEO The James Agency

Founder and CEO Evolve Public Relations and Marketing

James founded The James Agency, an award-winning, full-service advertising, public relations and digital firm in Scottsdale, specializing in hospitality and lifestyle brands. James is currently president-elect for Entrepreneur’s Organization, Arizona Chapter and will serve as the organization’s third female president in 2017-2018. James also on the board of Colleen’s Dream Foundation. Business advice: “In a competitive industry like marketing, it’s important to go the extra mile for clients. Be a creative problem solver. Present innovative ideas. Take time to simply call them to check in or invite them to lunch. In addition to the job you’re hired to do, make an effort to ‘wow’ them.”

Kaplan is a familiar face in the Valley. She is a native of Phoenix and prides herself on knowing and understanding the dynamics of the community and the deep rooted relationships she has established. Connecting with her client’s and the ability to understand their needs has led to her success. She approaches her clients as an extension of their team in order to create the ownership and passion their clients expect. Business advice: “Don’t let fear hold you back from following your dreams and — more importantly — your passion. If you are doing something you love, you will be successful.” Surprising fact: “I eat the same thing every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner ... with some exceptions.”


Owens is a passionate marketer. His leadership has enabled OH Partners to emerge as the fastest-growing advertising and PR firm in the Southwest. Along with his business partner, Scott Harkey, they are dedicated to building an

MIRJA RIESTER Partner and chief strategic officer RIESTER

Riester owns RIESTER, one of the largest advertising and public relations firms in the Western United States. Forbes included RIESTER in its list of “Top 100 Global Ad Agencies That Know Social Media and Google.” Riester is an international market researcher, brand management expert and business executive with global marketing experience. Business advice: “Be persistent, intuitive and emotional. Our industry relies on emotions to connect with audiences, on intuition to anticipate change and on persistence to seek true outcomes.” Surprising fact: “I am a fierce competitor. Growing up in Europe as a gymnast, I learned how to train hard every day, work for perfection and never give up.”

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agency that transforms the competitive landscape of their home market. They have combined the power of a fully integrated marketing agency with the vigor of a dot-com start-up. Trend to watch: “The maturation of the digital age promises to continue to force our industry to stay on the cutting edge. My hope is our ability to predict consumer behaviors will significantly drive down costs while limiting the amount of clutter in the media market place.”


President the spr agency Stevens leads the spr agency, a Scottsdalebased public relations and social media agency that serves clients nationwide, providing intelligent and innovative solutions to help entrepreneurs, small businesses and Fortune 500 companies reach customers, clients and stakeholders. Business advice: “Listening is always the more successful route to success in public relations. We all have a propensity to talk rather than listen. The more you listen, the more you can learn – about your client and yourself. ”

INDUSTRY OUTLOOK: “As with any industry, innovation forces business leaders to adapt or be left behind. In our industry, there’s no question that technology is the catalyst for change right now. Our job as communicators and

marketers is to not lose focus on the human connection that we’re attempting to make. Technology is a tool, a way to help us make better and stronger connections with one another. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about: connecting with people in a way that’s authentic and inspiring.”

AzBusiness Leaders 2018  

The leaders you will see profiled in the pages of this magazine were selected from a pool of more than 5,000 of the most innovative entrepre...

AzBusiness Leaders 2018  

The leaders you will see profiled in the pages of this magazine were selected from a pool of more than 5,000 of the most innovative entrepre...