Frontdoors Magazine October 2018 Issue

Page 1


A MATTRESS Debbie Gaby is Beginning a New Chapter of Her Fairy-Tale Life


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Black Canyon Conference Center | Phoenix, Ariz.

Find your ‘power to’ and be inspired by our opening session... “Take the Lead: A Conversation with Gloria Feldt” Gloria Feldt, Co-founder and President of Take The Lead

Learn how New York Times best-selling author, speaker, commentator, and leader Gloria Feldt turned fear into power as she joins in conversation with Robert Ashcraft, Ph.D., executive director of the ASU Lodestar Center. Gloria has gained national recognition as a social and political advocate of women’s rights and specializes in achieving bold and audacious goals that advance women in society and at work. As co-founder and president of Take The Lead, she has created the most comprehensive initiative to prepare, develop, inspire and propel women to take their fair and equal share of leadership positions across all sectors by 2025.

Luncheon Panel Conversation

“How We Took Charge of Our Future: An Inspiring Conversation with the Region’s Top Leadership Programs” Moderated by: Andrea Whitsett | Director | Morrison Institute for Public Policy Panelists include: • David Brown | President and CEO | Valley Leadership • Julie Euber | Board Member | Young Nonprofit Professionals Network - Phoenix • Angela Florez | Valle del Sol | Leadership Development Programs • Kasey Hill | Executive Director | Greater Tucson Leadership • Brian Wood | Executive Coach | American Express Leadership Academy at the ASU Lodestar Center



PLUS, choose from 26 transformative workshops! Engage in dialogue that advances the nonprofit organizations that we lead and serve and network with 300+ community leaders! This is an event you do not want to miss!


Regular rate is $149

use code frontdoors

when registering

Learn more at:





Andrea Tyler Evans EDITOR





Judy Pearson, Carey Peña FASHION WRITER


Jillian Rivera

On the Cover




Nicole King Thurlkill Studios


Thurlkill Studios

GENERAL INFORMATION & PRESS RELEASES 3104 E. Camelback Road #967, Phoenix, AZ 85016 480-622-4522 |

Frontdoors Magazine is dedicated to the memory of Mike Saucier.

TABLE OF CONTENTS {october 2018, volume 16, issue 10}


EDITOR’S NOTE......................... 05 Tell Me Something Good 10 QUESTIONS WITH............. 06 Ashley DeGooyer BOOKMARKED.......................... 10 Who’s Reading What this Month OFFICE DOORS......................... 12 Kimber Lanning of Local First Arizona Foundation CAREY’S CORNER................... 16 The Power of Intention


COVER STORY.......................... 20 Once Upon a Mattress NEXT DOORS............................. 28 Arizona’s Path to Becoming a Healthcare Mecca GIVING IN STYLE..................... 32 Purses With a Purpose CHARITY SPOTLIGHT........... 38 Family Promise of Greater Phoenix KITCHEN DOORS..................... 42 Where We Ate This Month A 2ND ACT..................................... 44 Just One


OPEN DOORS............................ 48 Changing Seasons


NONPROFIT AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS FEATURED IN THIS MONTH’S ISSUE: + American Cancer Society + Arizona Women’s Board + Debbie Gaby Charities + Family Promise of Greater Phoenix

+ Homeward Bound + Impact One + Local First Arizona Foundation + Social Venture Partners

EDITOR’S NOTE {on the job}

TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD Between radio, TV, our computers and phones, it seems like we’re consuming more news than ever these days — and a lot of it isn’t good. But in our community (and in every community) real people are making real impacts, solving problems, providing help, and reaching out and connecting to one another. Here at Frontdoors we think these positive stories are an essential part of a balanced media diet. Not only do they inform us, they make us feel better about where we live. So this issue salutes community champions who are using their time and talents to strengthen Arizona. Take Debbie Gaby, who graces our cover. A serial benefactor who has helped thousands of causes over the years, Gaby is stepping back into the spotlight to hold her Celebrity Catwalk this month after mourning her husband’s death over the last year. She opened up about her love of friends, fashion and philanthropy and how each helped her make the journey back to assisting nonprofits in need. Kimber Lanning’s name is practically synonymous with community impact. As the founder of Local First Arizona and the Local First Arizona Foundation, Lanning is a fierce advocate for locally owned businesses and an expert on economic and community development. I sat down with her to talk about the ways cultural diversity and inclusion, economic resilience and responsible growth can transform our state for the better.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we spotlight Elizabeth Ayers-Cluff, a local breast cancer survivor who created a foundation focused on supporting others fighting the disease. We also talked to Ashley DeGooyer, the executive director of the American Cancer Society’s Southwest region, about how the Society supports those fighting cancer — and how we can support them as well. This month’s Charity Spotlight looks at Family Promise of Greater Phoenix and its work championing homeless families. The organization is the only homeless family shelter in Scottsdale — and the only local shelter that accepts pets — working to keep families intact, and getting them back on the road to self-sufficiency. And that’s just a fraction of what the issue offers. By telling the stories of the people and organizations working on behalf of us all, our hope is that Frontdoors keeps its readers informed, engaged and optimistic — and more likely to do something good on their own.

Karen Werner EDITOR




Executive director of the American Cancer Society, South Region

1. How did you become involved with the American Cancer Society (ACS)? My education revolved around counseling psychology with an emphasis in social work. As far back as I can remember, I’ve been drawn to helping others who are faced with challenges. When I started with ACS as a patient navigator in 2009, it was a great fit. My work gave me the opportunity to serve patients and their families, an experience that changed the way I look at life. In some capacity, most lives have been touched by cancer. Oddly, when I started with ACS I didn’t have a personal connection to the disease. Now, nearly 10 years later, my life has been personally impacted by cancer time and again: aunts, best friends’ family members, childhood friends. People seek me out for support and I’m able to comfort 6  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | OCTOBER 2018

loved ones diagnosed with this disease in ways I couldn’t imagine if my path had been different.

2. You’ve worn a number of hats with the organization. Can you give us a glimpse into each role? My first position as patient navigator allowed me to support newly diagnosed cancer patients through the continuum of care, removing barriers through our programs and supplying resources. I transitioned to become a health systems manager, where I worked directly with top-level executives to promote systems change and incorporate ACS programs. As the senior director of community engagement, I oversaw the Society’s work in metro Phoenix and Tucson, promoting it in the community and aligning it with community partners. My focus

was on promoting events and raising awareness of our programs, services and presence in the community. Now, as the executive director of the Southwest area, my work has expanded to include Arizona, New Mexico and El Paso.

use complementary and alternative medicine in addition to traditional treatment is up to the patient. ACS urges patients to talk to their doctors and ask questions about their personal treatment. Patients need to realize they’re empowered and are their best own advocate.

3. What do you see as the organization’s biggest challenges? 6. What are the best things a family member or friend can Educating communities about our lifesaving do for a survivor? mission. The public knows our name. They know we hold fundraising events like Relay for Life and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. But they don’t know how that fundraising translates into support for cancer patients right here in Arizona. I want my region’s population to be aware of the things we offer, such as transportation to treatment, lodging and other services for patients and caregivers. I want them to know about the importance of prevention and early detection, and how the research done nationally impacts the people diagnosed locally.

4. What has been the organization’s biggest impact? Without a doubt, it’s our research program. ACS has been at the forefront of cancer research, playing a role in nearly every major cancer breakthrough. Since 1946, we’ve invested more than $4.6 billion in research and 47 of the researchers ACS have funded have gone on to win a Nobel Prize! We were the first to acknowledge a link between smoking and lung cancer, underwrote the research and discovery of the BRCA gene mutation linked to breast and ovarian cancer, developed the drug Herceptin to treat breast cancer, and more.

5. How do you see integrative oncology fitting into cancer treatment? Many patients seek integrative oncology when faced with a cancer diagnosis, whether to relieve the treatment effects or to explore treatment options with fewer side effects. Some simply want to take a more active role in their health and wellness. Whether or not to

The best thing is to continue to be “you.” What I mean by this is to continue to be the family member or friend you’ve always been. Too often, we let the diagnosis change the way we act toward people, when that loved one really needs the consistency and normalcy of the relationship not to change. Recognize that the loved one diagnosed is just as worried about you as you are about him or her. Allow them to feel their emotions; there are so many in a cancer diagnosis. Patients, too, need to be kind to others and themselves. I’ve often seen patients who feel they have to constantly be strong through cancer and put on the “I’m OK” front. That’s not necessary. Ride the roller coaster that is your treatment. Lean on the people who love you. Be true to yourself.

7. ACS does fabulous work researching better treatments and finding a cure. What kind of work does the organization do in survivorship? Survivors are the backbone of the work we do. More than 15 million Americans are alive today due in part to our efforts. Our approach is multifaceted, beginning with our patient navigators, who help newly diagnosed patients deal with the complexities of treatment and lifestyle changes. They make patients aware of free programs or discounted lodging when cancer patients must travel for treatment. Often, patients don’t have friends or family locally who can drive them to treatment, or they don’t have a car or simply don’t feel up to driving. Our Road to Recovery program provides the free transportation they need to get to potentially lifesaving appointments. ACS also OCTOBER 2018 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA  7


has online communities for survivors to connect with each other.

8. Of all the work ACS does, can you name the one closest to your heart? It would have to be our patient navigation program. Each day, our navigators meet with people and their families who have just heard the words, “You have cancer.” They are the front line to navigating the cancer journey and are able to answer the multitude of questions that come after a diagnosis. The ability to support an individual in the fight of their life, and be an unbiased ear — regardless of whether they have no one or have an incredible support system — is still something I believe makes the most personal impact in saving lives.

9. Are we getting closer to cancer being 100 percent curable? Cancer is an incredibly complex disease. It’s actually more than 100 different diseases, all with their own distinct features. A breast cancer diagnosis, for example, can be one of a variety of subsets of that disease. Because different kinds of cancer are treated differently and tend to have different outcomes, it’s not likely there will ever be one singular “cure.” However, many cancers — breast cancer, most skin cancers, testicular cancer and others — have a high cure rate through medical treatments, and improvements in prevention and early detection. ACS supports initiatives, like the HPV vaccine initiative. We educate and create awareness of the disease, while honoring cultural and generational differences. All of this will allow us to see survivorship continue to grow.

10. After nearly a decade with ACS, can you share the most inspiring story you’ve encountered? I couldn’t choose just one. Patients, caregivers and volunteers inspire me in different capacities. From the melanoma survivor who rescheduled a chemotherapy appointment so she could testify in front of lawmakers on the importance of banning 8  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | OCTOBER 2018

Community members unite for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk to honor breast cancer survivors and raise awareness about steps to reduce the risk of getting the disease.

tanning for minors, to the caregiver who became a Road to Recovery driver after their loved one passed away so everyone can get the treatment they need, to the countless people we meet each day who share their stories of perseverance, I’ve been taught never to take life for granted. The perspective I’ve been given through meeting cancer patients and hearing their stories helps me feel fortunate to wake up each day and accept life’s blessings, no matter how big or small. To learn more, visit

BOOKMARKED {what are you reading} Authors and others coming to the 39th Annual Authors Luncheon recommend a favorite read.


Author of “A Well-Behaved Woman”

R E C O M M E N D S : “Less” BY ANDREW SEAN GREER H E R TA K E “This recent Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction captivated me from the first page with its wit, its intelligence and its charming, seemingly

hapless hero, Arthur Less. The novel has humor and warmth — and a love story, too. Truly a delightful book from start to finish.”

ADRIANA TRIGIANI Author of “Tony’s Wife” and Event Emcee R E C O M M E N D S : “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America” BY BETH MACY

H E R TA K E “‘Dopesick,’ written by the stealth, brilliant, razor-sharp journalist Beth Macy, chronicles the opioid crisis in the Appalachians, including my hometown in southwest Virginia. Macy lives in Roanoke, Virginia, so she has a bird’s


eye view of the tragedy. With equal parts compassion, empathy and wisdom, she speaks to the people who believe they can solve the problem, live with the reality of drug addiction, or are in rehabilitation. It’s an eye-opening opus.”

Arizona Women’s Board President

R E C O M M E N D S : “Gone with the Wind” BY MARGARET MITCHELL H E R TA K E “This classic novel is surprisingly relevant today. The horrors of civil war, survival, issues of race and women’s struggles, coming of age and tragic love are all subjects broached in this 1936 novel set in Georgia during the time of the American Civil War. Mitchell


is a master of creating vivid characters and she brings to life difficult scenes from this brutal time in our country’s history. It is worth reading, and more haunting than the movie. The characters seem to get under your

skin and stay with you for days.”

BOOKMARKED {what are you reading}


Authors Luncheon Chairman

R E C O M M E N D S : “The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels” BY JON MEACHAM

H E R TA K E “I normally read fiction but once in a while I discover a nonfiction book that is truly inspirational. ‘The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels’ is that book. During this tumultuous political climate, Pulitzer Prize winner John Meacham reminds us that our country has overcome fear

and division in the past. His book profiles a diverse group of leaders who have guided our country through difficult times by believing in the future and not looking back. Time and time again our country sought and found, as Lincoln described it, our ‘better angels,’ and won the day.”

BOOK APPÉTIT THE ARIZONA WOMEN’S BOARD PRESENTS: The 39th Annual Authors Luncheon S AT U R D AY, N O V E M B E R 3 , 2 0 1 8 JW Marriott Desert Ridge For information, go to

Stay connected with frontdoors at FALL ARTS CALENDAR


Find a performance or exhibit to attend this weekend.

Check out the new Frontdoors Event Calendar with Fundraisers, 5Ks, Golf Tournaments and more!

WITH CAREY PENA Season 2 is here!

Advertise with us! Contact publisher Andrea Evans for more information |

OFFICE DOORS {valley changemakers}


Founder of the Local First Arizona Foundation Karen Werner | Editor

Kimber Lanning has covered a lot of territory in the last 15 years — going from a local record store and art gallery owner to a statewide leader in responsible economic development strategies. When she started Local First Arizona in 2003, she focused on organizing locally owned businesses to level the playing field with large corporations in Arizona’s unbalanced economy. As part of the effort, Local First Arizona encouraged citizens to eat and shop locally. “Then we realized we can’t tell everyone to go local or eat local when there’s not enough local,” Lanning said. As the years passed, and her experience grew, Lanning realized there was more to building a stronger Arizona than just buying locally. So, in 2009, Lanning founded the Local First Arizona Foundation to shift the focus to tackling some of the bigger challenges of the state’s economy. 12  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | OCTOBER 2018

“The foundation came to be because of an awakening,” Lanning said. “We started with very good intentions, but we were focused on middleclass and up, people who could afford to go local. But a lot of people don’t have access to local business or local foods, so we weren’t speaking to all of Arizona.” To target the inequity, Local First Arizona Foundation runs three key programs. The first, Fuerza Local, is a business accelerator program for underserved communities. “We take lowincome folks who are being victimized by predatory lending and they study with us for six months to learn better business practices,” Lanning said. During this time they also participate

in a money pool, a strategy used for centuries to help low-income people save for large expenses. Each member of the pool contributes the same amount of cash each month. Then, they take turns receiving the lump sum. “We take their payments and report them to Experian, the biggest credit bureau in the country. So graduates develop a credit score and a credit history for the first time in their lives,” Lanning said. Since it inception, Fuerza Local has produced more than 300 graduates who have gone on to start and grow local businesses and create over 400 jobs in their communities. “We work really hard to give people that leg up — that’s all they need. Now they’re creating jobs for others,” Lanning said.

The second focus area for Local First Arizona Foundation is food and farming. “Arizona is 48th in terms of our ability to feed ourselves. We are one national disaster away from a real crisis here,” Lanning said. The foundation hosts events that convene food producers — from the community and school gardener all the way to big agricultural facilities — to have conversations about how to source more food locally and get food to market more affordably. As part of that work, the foundation has created, a website that serves as a hub for consumers, procurers, farmers, restaurateurs and others to learn about and connect with Arizona’s local food providers. “It’s a resource if, for instance, you’re traveling

Graduates of the Fuerza Local business accelerator program (left and top right) appreciate what the training has offered their businesses.

Those who attended this year’s Arizona Food & Farm Forum (bottom right) looked at how to change the way Arizona feeds itself.


to Prescott and want to know if there’s a farmers market there this weekend, or if you’re a chef looking for more local products to serve,” Lanning said. “We list every single school garden and community garden in Maricopa County.”

When Lanning started Local First Arizona, she had no idea it would take her to leading a foundation and promoting broad and responsible development across the state. “We are in a different world than we were in 15 years ago, and we need to be The third area of the foundation’s work involves responsive to that,” she said. “Part of that is serving as the state’s Rural Development addressing inequity and the wealth gap that Council. “We do a lot of work in about 25 rural continues to widen, whether it’s a rural family towns, helping them with a wide variety of things, from increasing tourism to workforce development,” that’s been here for a long time that just isn’t making it work or a small entrepreneur who Lanning said. The foundation also performs has a shop everybody drives by but never economic leakage studies to determine thinks to stop in. We need to solve some the types of businesses that are missing from of these critical problems. There’s no excuse local economies. “I can tell you if you’re in a state as wealthy as ours.” reasonably good at cutting hair, you’re going to do well in the town of Superior. I know that To learn more about Local First Arizona Williams needs a dry cleaner and Ajo needs a Foundation, visit bike shop,” Lanning said. “If you can plug those leaks, all of that money stays in those towns.”

NOW OPEN: The Changemaker Academy For Nonprofit Founders and Executives


he Rayvan Group is proud to announce the opening of our Changemaker Academy for nonprofit founders and executives, a 12-month program designed to prepare nonprofit organizations for future success. At The Rayvan Group, we help nonprofits design or re-design fundraising strategies that do more than keep their doors open. We help accelerate nonprofits to the next stage in their evolution, and prepare them for a future of growth and success.

The Changemaker Academy is a program that shares challenges, solutions, accomplishments and strategies to help your nonprofit grow to its full potential. You have a purpose and passion to leave the world a better place. You are committed to finding a solution to your community’s problem. You don’t have to do this alone. Find out if the Changemaker Academy is right for your and your nonprofit — call us TODAY for a free consultation!

The Rayvan Group Be A Changemaker Jarrett Ransom, Founder & Principal

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BEHIND THE DOOR {the caniglia group}


Steve Caniglia

Shelley Caniglia

6738 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85012

341 East Deepdale Road, Phoenix, AZ 85022

One of the most beautiful custom homes on prestigious Central Avenue. Fully remodeled in 2014 to reflect a Santa Barbara style with tons of small details, highend finishes, hardwood floors, beautiful tile work and custom woodworking. Foyer opens onto great room with breathtaking floor-to-ceiling windows and grand staircase with catwalk. Custom iron work fabricated onsite for truly one-of-a-kind doors and stair railings. Home includes 4 bedrooms, 3 baths with 3681 square feet. French doors flank the office with access to the side courtyard. High-end kitchen with stainless steel appliances, island and walk-in pantry. Sunken living room with built-in shelving and window seat. Master bedroom with 2 walk-in closets and a spa-like bathroom with his and her vanities. Sitting on a sprawling 15,603 square foot lot with numerous mature trees, tons of grass for play, sparkling swimming pool, huge wood beamed covered patio, 2 car attached garage and a 2 car detached garage. Excelling Madison schools. This home is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

Location, Location, Location! Tucked into the heart of one of the most popular neighborhoods in Moon Valley, this single level beauty sits on a sprawling, 15,489 square foot lot with a sparkling diving pool, large covered patio and tons of grass for play and entertaining. The home sports four bedrooms and three bathrooms with one bedroom and bath split from the others. Open kitchen with breakfast bar, wood beamed ceilings in living room and family room, wood burning beehive fireplace and a large master suite split from the other bedrooms. Lots of windows, french doors and atrium provide wonderful, natural light throughout the home. 2 car garage with built-in storage. This is truly an A+ location nestled in the middle of the subdivision and close to excellent schools, numerous restaurants and stores. This one won’t last long!

The Caniglia Group

Shelley Caniglia: 602-292-6862 | Steve Caniglia: 602-301-2402 |

CAREY’S CORNER {carey peña reports}

THE POWER OF INTENTION Valley couple creates a necklace designed to heal the world Carey Peña | Contributing Writer


Your intention.

A word that sums up who you want to be in this moment and what you want your life to be about. Often people wait until tomorrow, or the next day, or the next to really think about this. Why not pick a word right now? Set your intention.

The Bergers believed that these intention sticks would have the power to connect and grow people like branches of a tree. And hopefully, lift us all to a higher level.

My word is inspiration. I built my entire media company, Inspired Media 360, around this word. I am completely dedicated to covering stories and creating shows that inspire people to live their best lives. And along the way I have met some incredible people. ENTER SCOTT AND MARLA BERGER. The Bergers are successful jewelers in the Valley and founders of the Tree of Life movement. They are community builders. When I first interviewed them on my podcast, Carey Peña Reports, they were preparing to launch the Tree of Life movement. As part of this movement, they created an intention stick necklace. Inside, you place your word. 16  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | OCTOBER 2018

“We believe people from all walks of life have value and that we are ultimately part of one universal soul,” Scott said. “We are dedicated to helping people realize the power of human intention and the miracles that result from each of us, individually, deciding to choose a path of intention.” THE BERGERS ARE ONTO SOMETHING. Pictures of people wearing intention sticks and sharing personal stories can be found all over social media. The Bergers engaged in an influencer campaign to help them spread the word. Both Scott and Marla personally meet with hundreds of friends and strangers in their Scottsdale showroom to talk about the intention sticks and their community-building mission. “We say everyone is walking wounded. If you

Scott Berger designed the first piece in the Tree of Life collection more than six years ago to commemorate his and Marla’s 21st wedding anniversary.

Each intention stick comes with 22 intentions designed to address health issues, marital problems, financial hardships and more.



are a billionaire or on the streets, if you are religious or an atheist; everyone in this world is going through something,” Marla said. “It is important to connect and make someone feel like they are not alone.” The Bergers excitedly share stories about people who have come into their Tree of Life community and how, they say, they have witnessed miracles. The reporter in me wonders if these are more mindset shifts than miracles, but that may just be semantics. What the Bergers (and dozens of people who have given testimonials) say is that the act of setting your intention can be life-altering. HOW CAN IT BE? When the Bergers share their Tree of Life story and speak about the power of intention, they do it with so much optimism that they raise the spirits of all those around them. Suddenly, people believe in their own power. “Each intention stick comes with a list of 22 intentions. Of those intentions, one may be placed in the stick to connect your intention with the power of your heart and mind as you wear the necklace,” Scott said. “Our intention stick is a symbol of an inner doorway that, when opened, allows us to look at ourselves and have a better understanding of who we are and what’s the truth.” TO GET TO THE TRUTH, YOU HAVE TO TAKE CERTAIN STEPS. First, you have to believe. As the Bergers will tell you, there is a growing body of evidence about the power of human intention and its ability to have an impact. Perhaps the greatest impacts are seen when several members of a community come together as a single consciousness and fix their intentions on something. Consider the power of prayer circles or the power of giving when we come together around a charitable cause.


BUT CAN A NECKLACE REALLY MAKE THAT MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE? A lot of people seem to believe it can. SInce our first interview, the Tree of Life movement has gained a great deal of attention. The Bergers now have the spotlight, and they are determined to share it with others in our community. On their website,, Scott and Marla have chosen four charities to highlight, including Open Hearts Family Wellness, an organization that provides integrated mental health and wellness services. They have also hired Phoenix-based Gompers, which empowers people with disabilities, to package their intention sticks “with love.” Like a tree, this movement doesn’t grow overnight. It needs to be watered and nurtured. It needs sunlight and love. The Bergers are arborists in his mission. And while their roots are growing in our Phoenix community, Scott and Marla have a bigger vision. They are being asked to speak to groups around the world to share the Tree of Life story. “Our goal is to get an intention stick to every person … and to have it in every language, including braille.” Scott Berger references a favorite quote from Steve Jobs. “Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do.” To hear my interview with Scott and Marla Berger about how they built the Tree of Life community based on a vision and a dream, visit



COVER STORY {by karen werner}

A MATTRESS Debbie Gaby is Beginning a New Chapter of Her Fairy-Tale Life


Debbie Gaby is back in the spotlight. A little over a year after her husband’s death, the effervescent Texan who for years invited Arizonans to come to Sleep America in pursuit of a better night’s sleep is opening up about how she is moving on. “I’m feeling good,” she said. “It took a while to be able to say that.” Born one of six children in Marshall, Texas, Gaby is a study in steely resilience. Her parents ran an antiques store that burned to the ground. They had no insurance, so the family lost everything. Just a few years later, Gaby found

herself in another tough spot: divorced and supporting a young daughter at 18. Her salvation came by way of hard work. “I was a Realtor in Texas for 15 years and I’m very proud of that because I worked very hard,” she said. “I really had no life because, being a Realtor, you have the phone glued to your ear 24/7.” During that time, fate intervened and Gaby met “the man of my dreams,” Len Gaby, the former president of Simmons, a mattress man who had been in charge of worldwide operations. The two were driving up to a restaurant — OCTOBER 2018 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA  21

Debbie and Len Gaby (shown left and right above in a 2004 Frontdoors magazine article) built the Sleep America empire from scratch and were philanthropists throughout the state. Today (center) Debbie carries on the good works on her own.

Len going the wrong way, headed straight for Debbie. Their headlights met before they did, but the pair avoided impact to enter the restaurant at the same time. Len looked at Debbie and said, “Today is my lucky day” and asked if he could buy her a drink. “We went to the bar and I guess the rest is history,” Gaby said. A seasoned businessman, Len jumped right into helping Debbie with her work, putting up “For Sale” signs and installing lock boxes. “He said, ‘This job is way too hard. Let’s do something that’s much easier,’” Gaby said. The pair married and decided to return to the business Len knew best: mattresses. “We analyzed a bunch of markets and Arizona was a bright, shining star,” Gaby said. “For every two people who moved out of Arizona, three people moved in.” Len and Debbie visited Arizona in 1996 and opened their first Sleep America store in a Phoenix strip mall in 1997. The two made a great team. Len served as the company’s CEO while Debbie was president 22  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | OCTOBER 2018

and spokesperson. Her sweet smile and Southern drawl were mainstays on Valley airwaves for years. “Everybody needs a mattress and I guarantee you, if you didn’t have one, you wanted to go see Debbie Gaby,” she said. Over the next two decades, Sleep America dominated the mattress market, becoming Arizona’s largest mattress retailer with 48 locations throughout the state. Along the way, the Gabys made giving back an integral part of their business, regularly giving away mattresses to nonprofits and people in need. The industry took note of their altruism and hustle. “Tempur-pedic came to me and said, ‘If we give you $100,000 worth of product to give away, we want to see what you can do with it,” Gaby said. “We got lots of PR. We got them on TV. We got them in magazines and developed wonderful relationships.” Next, the company challenged the Gabys to give away $300,000 worth of merchandise.


And then it was $500,000. At that point, Sleep America had so many mattresses to deliver, Debbie went to her Valley business neighbors at U-Haul and said, "Would y’all loan me trucks? Because I’ve got people going to Prescott, Cottonwood. I’m going everywhere delivering fancy mattresses for free.” U-haul agreed to comp the truck rentals for Debbie. Gaby’s charm is key to her success. “It’s got to be from being from the South,” she said. “I feel like I’m the biggest winner because I’m hooking up someone that needs to be connected. I’m very blessed and grateful for this gift.” Over the years, Gaby has used her gift to support more than 5,000 organizations. In 2004, she and Len co-founded Sleep America Charities, later renamed Debbie Gaby Charities. The organization donates 100 percent of monies raised to provide resources to local nonprofits.

A New Beginning OCTOBER 16, 2018 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia For information and tickets go to: celebrity-catwalk

The Gabys created a life of doing well while doing good. And until recently, life was good for Debbie. She loved her husband, enjoyed her charity work, OCTOBER 2018 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA  23



and wanted for nothing after Sleep America was acquired by Mattress Firm in 2015. But then came last year, and losing her soul mate. “Len was bigger than life,” she said. “I loved him. We spent 26 years together and he was my best friend and my advocate.” To help cope with the loss, Debbie relied on a lot of friends, a little travel, a bit of therapy, and her French bulldog, Banks. “I’ve got a great support system. I’m very lucky because I have dozens and dozens of girlfriends. I even have them all the way back from the seventh grade,” she said. “I’m with a friend almost every day, so I’ve filled the void.” She also sold her house, and moved into a place where everything is new and different. “I think that’s part of the healing process, to move on,” she said. Gaby will be filling her time — and moving on — with her signature Celebrity Catwalk on October 16, a biennial event she wasn’t certain would continue. “I really thought about it, because this year has been the hardest year on me. But it’s something I love to do, so it would be sad if I didn’t do it,” she said. “I really feel like it would hurt the community not to do it because it raises a lot of money.” And so, for the last few months Gaby has been racing around town, attending meetings to plan the event. She has secured broadcaster Dave Pratt to emcee and guitarist Esteban to entertain and local celebrities like Johnjay and Rich, Tram Mai, Lin Sue Cooney and Robin Sewell to walk the runways. “I’m glad I just bit the bullet and did it because it keeps me super busy,” she said. Dubbed “New Beginnings,” the event is the perfect vehicle for combining many of Gaby’s passions. Namely, friends, philanthropy and another longtime interest: fashion. Debbie Gaby looks forward to her charity’s signature Celebrity Catwalk, which is returning for its 11th biennial walk down the runway this month.

When she was 13, Gaby worked in a small boutique in Marshall called Gemini Honeycomb. She eventually became the manager and traveled to Dallas World Trade Market to shop for the store’s OCTOBER 2018 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA  25

Tips From





It’s important to try before you buy, because “you should really get the mattress that you love.”










QUALITY COUNTS “You spend one-third of your life on that mattress, so make sure you get a good one.”


“Make sure your mattress is the best one you can afford because there’s a budget for every back.”

new lines. “I bought all of the clothes in the boutique and all my friends had to buy them,” she said. Years later, when she was a Realtor in Texas, she did a fashion show to benefit a local charity and wrangled her fellow Realtors to be her models. “But never in my wildest dreams did I think I would have this compared to what I started with,” she said. As part of this year’s Celebrity Catwalk, a community member will receive the inaugural Honor Health Len Gaby Award. “It will close the chapter and demonstrate that Len’s got an important legacy,” she said.


“Going to bed and waking up at the same time is important because you get into tune with your biological clock.”

If you can’t sleep, a warm bath “causes melatonin to come out, which causes you to sleep naturally.”

“Little lights are very disturbing.”

“A cool, quiet, dark room really helps. And one of the things that I love in the industry now is a mattress with a cooling gel. Here in Arizona, I think that’s really important.”

Debbie’s eyes well up when she talks about Len, but her sadness is tempered by gratitude for what they had and all that she’s been given. “People poured the love out to me. I saved every one of their cards,” she said. “And I just want to say thank you in a public way for all the love and graciousness this town has showed me through the death and mourning of my husband.” So what’s next for Debbie Gaby? “You just never know,” she said. “But I’ll tell you what. I love this town. And as long as I’m able, helping it will be a part of me.”

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NEXT DOORS {ahead of the curve}

Arizona’s Path to Becoming a

HEALTHCARE MECCA Tom Evans | Contributing Editor

If you know someone who has lived here a long time, chances are they have some story about how they or a family member moved here “for their health.” I’ve heard a million yarns about how Grandma Sadie moved to Sun City to help her cough, or Uncle Jake moved here to ease his arthritis, or something along those lines. You hear less of that these days. Perhaps, at one 28  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | OCTOBER 2018

point, the medical value of living in the desert was a tad overstated. But we Arizonans still find ourselves 7 million strong and growing every day. Today we find ourselves with two directly divergent factors in play when it comes to healthcare. First, Arizona happens to be home to some of the finest medical facilities in the world, with more coming online all the time.

Rendering of the planned Mayo Clinic expansion in Phoenix.

But second, we find ourselves with a significant shortage of doctors, nurses and medical professionals to serve our needs. A study by the Robert Graham Center, which tracked the number of medical professionals needed to serve the state’s population, found that Arizona may require as many as 1,900 new doctors to serve the state’s needs by 2030.

“For physicians and advanced practitioners, quality of life attracts those physicians so essential to the business plan,” said Joe Lupica, chairman of Newpoint Healthcare Advisors, which provides consulting services to hospitals and health systems nationwide. “It is likely that physicians will choose to live in a resort town that is also a real city, where a professional can build a real career.”

“We are seeing a critical mass in healthcare right now and we anticipate that this activity will continue,” said Chris Camacho, president & CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “As we compare the region to other markets, since 2001 Greater Phoenix’s healthcare employment has grown 84 percent, compared to 34 percent nationally.”

There’s more than just population growth at play here — America’s population as a whole is aging, thanks to the Baby Boomer generation reaching their retirement years. This older population will require more healthcare over time, exacerbating the need for more healthcare professionals and expanded facilities.

Fortunately, Phoenix has some things going for it when you compare it to other markets.

“Just think about the growth profile of metro Phoenix,” Lupica said. “Those demographic trends — population, age cohorts, projected healthcare use rates, and OCTOBER 2018 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA  29


health plan coverage — strongly favor the Valley and thus reduce the investment risk of locating here.” This past month saw a number of new initiatives launch that promise to further boost the quality of facilities while also addressing the shortage — creating an extraordinarily dynamic period for healthcare in Arizona as a whole. Just to rattle off a few that have been announced in the past few weeks: • Banner Health — which just finished building a new tower at Good Samaritan Hospital, among other major expansions — announced an initiative to hire 1,500 new employees to help fill current and future needs. • Barrow Neurological Institute and the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation launched the Ivy Brain Tumor Center, a $50 million 30  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | OCTOBER 2018

initiative to advance research into the kind of cancers that cost Sen. John McCain his life, among countless others. • The Mayo Clinic announced an almost $650 million expansion in Arizona, growth that will nearly double the size of its Phoenix campus by adding 1.4 million square feet in new facilities. Dubbed the “Arizona Forward Project,” the new initiative is being done “to meet the increasing demand to treat patients with complex health conditions in the growing Southwest.” • Creighton University (disclosure: a client of mine) announced the construction of a new $100 million medical campus in central Phoenix, and will start offering a four-year medical school program as well as expanding their programs in nursing and other disciplines. “The healthcare industry makes up 13 percent of

Rendering of the new Creighton University health sciences building.

the employment diversity in the region and we expect this to continue growing,” Camacho said. “In the City of Phoenix alone there is $2 billion in bio capital being invested. With 17 major projects in the pipeline, we’re seeing nothing but opportunity.”

destination, but may be more than ever as these new initiatives and facilities become part of the healthcare landscape. The economic impact of the healthcare industry on the state is massive, but the impact on quality of life for Arizona residents is significant as well.

Lupica agrees. “Healthcare organizations don’t always have a choice of markets where they can make a major facility investment,” he said. “In this metropolitan area, they do. In most markets, the supply and infrastructure of hospitals and related facilities are already firmly planted. In fact, most markets are over-bedded and not great candidates for the addition of new hospitals. Arizona has none of that. New providers are welcome, and they know it.”

So maybe Arizona isn’t the cure for Grandma Sadie’s cough. But Grandma Sadie — and the rest of your family — can enjoy some of the world’s finest healthcare right here in the Valley.

The upside is more than just increased availability of care. Arizona has long been a healthcare




GIVING IN STYLE {fashion in the philanthropy lane}

PURSES WITH A PURPOSE Homeward Bound uses handbags to create pathways out of poverty Tyler Butler | Fashion Writer

Each year, designers release countless new handbags, changing color palette, shape, clasps, straps and fabrics. Chic women around the world buy the bags as a cherished accessory to their wardrobe. But as time goes on, the bags often lose their luster. Having been used or distressed by life’s trials, the bags can become tattered and worn, not unlike those who are helped by Homeward Bound. They too started their lives with hope and good intentions but through life’s struggles have experienced misfortune and, in many cases, hardships. Thanks to Homeward Bound, both the handbags and — more importantly — the women and families the organization helps are getting a new lease on life. Launched by Peter and Regina Bidstrup to help people out of poverty, Homeward Bound began as one single-family home. After years of dedication and a savvy capital campaign, the charity has grown into a full-scale facility with programs that serve the needs of families battling 32  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | OCTOBER 2018

homelessness. Homeward Bound has a unique strategy that boosts up families and gives them the education and resources they need to rebuild their lives, and in the process regain their self-esteem. Through its services, Homeward Bound helps participants with financial education, employment, life-skills courses, early learning centers and youth services. During a one-year program, participants can rebuild their credit, save for a home and change their mindset to ensure that they are ready to succeed. Homeward Bound’s impact is evident. Take Elizabeth Clarke. She came to the organization two years ago with a history of substance abuse and mental health and domestic violence issues. Thanks to the team at Homeward Bound, Clarke was able to successfully overcome these challenges and maintain a steady office job. And in April of this year she was able to go from no roof over her head to having the tools and self-confidence to put down

From simple totes to dazzling clutches, hundreds of designer handbags will go up to bid to support homeless families in need.

Photo credit: Ashley Haxby Photography OCTOBER 2018 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA  33

According to Becky Jackson, president and CEO of Homeward Bound, supporters come back year after year to join the excitement of the event.

The premise of the Old Bags Luncheon is simple: High-end handbags stored away in closets are resurrected as desirable auction items.



a down payment on her own home. This type of success comes through the efforts of countless community advocates, corporate partners and the organization’s strong leadership, who all join forces to move the charity’s mission forward. The strength of Homeward Bound’s community advocates is on display at the Old Bags Luncheon, an event the community has rallied around for two decades. Influential women gather throughout the year at “Purse Parties” to gather with friends and donate handbags. The parties provide a chance for ladies to swap out handbags collecting dust in their closets for a “new-to-them” purse that can be purchased at the Old Bags Luncheon. Corporate partners like Neiman Marcus are

instrumental to the event’s success. Each year, in addition to donating a bag or two from its collection, the store hosts fashion-oriented events to promote and collect donations for the luncheon. “Neiman Marcus has been proud to support Homeward Bound and its mission to service the needs of families going through challenges,” said Kitty Broderick, public relations manager for Neiman Marcus. “Through this vital program, families are given the opportunity to thrive.” The store’s largest contribution comes in the form of the fashion show it hosts at the luncheon. This year it will feature Escada’s new line, which is appropriate because the brand is a champion for women. Through its #followyourheart campaign, Escada empowers women around the world by donating 5 percent of proceeds from the FW18 OCTOBER 2018 | FRONTDOORS MEDIA  35

What's Coming - Up Next OLD BAGS LUNCHEON Thursday, November 15, 2018 Arizona Biltmore The Old Bags Luncheon is about women helping women. Last year, more than 500 women spent the afternoon browsing through hundreds of vintage, designer, fun and funky handbags — all up for bid with proceeds benefiting the homeless women, children and families Homeward Bound serves.

heart bag to Women for Women International, an organization that helps marginalized women in conflict-affected countries rebuild their lives. Escada America’s director of sales and marketing Felicia Marie Geller said, “Escada is committed to giving back to the community. In particular, Escada strives to work with charities that support women and children. Homeward Bound is an inspiring organization, dedicated to lifting families out of poverty.” Strong, lasting partnerships like these are made possible through Homeward Bound’s last ingredient for success: its leadership. Becky Jackson, Homeward Bound’s president and CEO, 36  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | OCTOBER 2018

has been involved in the Arizona community for 45 years. Under her leadership, Homeward Bound has not only stewarded corporate partnerships, but become Trauma-Informed Care certified, adding credence to the cause. Through the efforts of devoted people and enthusiastic supporters, Homeward Bound has grown from helping one family to helping more than 130 families each year, providing them with not just housing but an in-depth program that helps get them back on their feet. November’s Old Bags Luncheon will not only provide numerous Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and other designer purses with a new chance to shine, it will enable Homeward Bound to bring light and hope into the lives of women and families. To learn more, visit


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FAMILY PROMISE Offering families a hand up Jamie Killin | Web Editor

THE STORY Family Promise of Greater Phoenix began 20 years ago when two Phoenix Rotary members recognized the family homelessness epidemic and wanted to make a change. They visited a friend that operated an interfaith hospitality shelter in Indiana and decided to bring the concept back to Arizona. Two years later, in 1998, they began welcoming families to Family Promise of Greater Phoenix. “They started on a shoestring,” said executive director Ted Taylor. “I came in eight and a half years ago and we tripled at that point — from 30 families to 100 families — and now we’re getting ready to do it again.” Over the years, Family Promise has grown, become debt-free, and started a partnership with PetSmart that allowed the Greater Phoenix location — and several others nationwide — to accommodate families with pets in an on-site pet shelter. Through a unique interfaith network approach, Family Promise is able to keep costs low and improve the probability of success by providing families with a place to eat dinner and sleep at a local congregation. 38  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | OCTOBER 2018

“We’re a very different kind of shelter,” Taylor explained. “There are five shelters for homeless families here in the Valley but we are the only interfaith network shelter. So instead of sleeping families here in beds and then eating here, we partner with the community. We actually shuttle families to hosting congregations every night — four families per congregation. They’re going to eat their evening meal there, they’re going to have activities there, they’re going to sleep there on Coleman blow-up mattresses, and the congregation is going to provide the dinner at no cost.” Not only do congregations provide shelter and food — they also provide love and the critical healing component families overcoming homelessness need. “No matter how many social workers we have, it takes a certain amount of love just to repair the damage. That’s a critical piece,” said Taylor. “The second piece is that we have an amazing team of social workers that are focused. They know how it works. They know how to keep families motivated.” Through Family Promise, families receive clothing, childcare, cash management education and resources that connect them to jobs and schools that help stabilize them.

Ted Taylor (above right), the executive director of Family Promise of Greater Phoenix, works to provide meals, a homelike setting, emotional support and a full range of social, economic and educational services to families facing homelessness.


Since 2000, the programs of Family Promise of Greater Phoenix have helped nearly 1,000 families.

THE CAUSE Family Promise currently has a wait list of more than 100 families — with the family homelessness epidemic continuing to grow at a rate of 13 percent each year and with most homeless families consisting of young, single mothers and their children. “If you look at homeless families across the nation — and by the way, in Maricopa County, it’s the same — more than 80 percent of them are young mothers with young children,” said Taylor. Of all sectors of homelessness, family homelessness is growing fastest due to factors such as fewer families remaining intact and lack of accessible, affordable multifamily housing and quality transportation. “We’re pushing the working poor into the periphery of Maricopa County, pushing them to the perimeter,” said Taylor. “What happens when 40  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | OCTOBER 2018

we do that is those families lose the ability to participate in their children’s lives because they have to take transportation that’s really weak to get to work. So they may be in transport for two or three hours one way to get to work because they have to live in an apartment that’s far out in the community because there’s nothing available close in.” Not only does this prohibit parents from being active participants in their child’s lives, it makes working and managing childcare more difficult. Then, a third of families that become homeless, often due to job loss, have their children taken away or voluntarily give them up because they are no longer considered capable parents. “I’ve had police officers in this program, nurses, teachers, professional singers in this shelter,” said Taylor. “You see, it can happen to anybody because it’s a sequence. It’s almost always the


same. You lose the job, you run out of money and run out of friends and family. It can happen to wealthy people, middle-income people.

It can absolutely happen. The stigma around homelessness is that they’re bad people, and it’s simply not true.”

THE FUTURE Now, Family Promise is looking to help even more Arizona families, with a goal of going from a 100-family operation to a 250-family operation. To do so, the organization is setting its sight on new areas of the Valley — in Glendale, where they recently secured a new site, and in East Mesa, where they’re in the process of finding a new site. In addition to securing these sites and growing its network of participating congregations, which makes serving more families possible, Family Promise is looking to acquire eight units of communal housing. “It gives us the capacity to handle another 50 families a year,” said Taylor. “We use it for saving money. What happens is they’ll move

out of our shelter into that apartment but they have to be employed, follow the rules and save money. Then we’ll make sure that they get in a really strong position in their own place.” Which is what this family promise is all about. To learn more, visit

Jamie Killin WEB EDITOR


CONNECTING WOMEN WHERE THEY WORK, LIVE OR PLAY Join us where you live, work or play to connect with like-minded women to share information, ideas, contacts and opportunities. Learn more at: | |

KITCHEN DOORS {where we ate this month} Oktoberfest is upon us! Here are a few places to raise a glass — and enjoy a delicious meal.

PEORIA ARTISAN BREWERY AND GASTROPUB Peoria My sister and I arrived when this brewery/gastropub opened and within 15 minutes, every seat was filled. On Sunday, PAB features brunch in addition to a few selections from their daily craft food menu. We started by sampling a flight of PAB beers. Our favorite was the Honeysuckle Street Amber Red Ale for its perfect balance of sweet malt and mild hop tartness. We couldn’t decide between brunch and lunch, so we got both and shared. First up were the spent grain hotcakes served with whipped butter, warm bourbon maple syrup and two thick slices of bacon. Next, we ordered their signature PAB burger. Accompanied by crispy fries, the PAB is a juicy Angus beef patty on top of a toasted brioche bun topped with melted Muenster cheese, sweet and savory bacon jam and a touch of aioli. By the end of our meal, there wasn’t a crumb left on either of our plates and we were already making plans to go back. — Lisa Mullavey

HISTORIC BREWING COMPANY Flagstaff I’m a proud graduate of Northern Arizona University — Go Jacks! — and what the university lacks in big-time sports programs, it makes up for with quality restaurants, bars and breweries. I’m told by my people still living in Flagstaff that among these many fine establishments, Historic Brewing Company is currently “winning.” After spending a couple of hours there with friends over Labor Day weekend, I can see why. The beer selection is robust, varied and delicious, able to accommodate just about any palate (especially those misguided souls who drink IPAs, which are terrible). The food is solid as well — my party sampled fried pickle chips, fish and chips, a falafel burger and much more delicious fare. If you’re up north, give Historic a try and see why it’s the cream of the crop in Flagstaff. — Tom Evans

ARIZONA WILDERNESS BREWING COMPANY Gilbert More than a cool place to knock back suds, Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company — Gilbert’s first brewpub — has some bigger goals in mind. Chief among them: highlighting Arizona’s agricultural community. You can’t lose by picking from the bountiful brews they have on tap, but the craft beer flight is an ideal way to try a variety of beers brewed with Arizona-grown and malted Sinagua Malt. The scratch kitchen is also Arizona-proud, cooking up burgers with Arizona Grass Raised Beef and serving them on locally baked Bunz and Breadz buns. Meanwhile, the Wilderness fries come seasoned with rosemary and thyme straight from the restaurant’s beer garden. “Hop” on by this down-to-earth gem — you won’t be disappointed. — Karen Werner



Southern Rail Phoenix Happy Hours are all about being social. So at Southern Rail, they’re actually called “Social Hour.” And with food and drink specials running from 3 to 6 p.m., there’s plenty of time to be happy AND social! The restaurant’s menu is a selfdescribed nostalgic gastronomical journey inspired by the “flavors from the American South,” and they deliver, y’all! Picking favorites is like picking your favorite child (I love both of mine equally), but here goes. The deviled eggs, $1, were creamy delights. The chopped BLT salad, $7, appealed to

the need for a little green. And the sampler, $11, delivered “something smoked” — in our case salmon — and little pots of pure heaven. Not to ignore the libations, that which makes happy hour happy, try the Gentleman Johnson for a superior spin on Long Island iced tea and Hush Puppy Hush, with the hot new apéritif, Aperol. We’ll take a ride on this rail any time! — Judy Pearson

Photo Credit: T. Cooks

A 2ND ACT {survivors giving back}


Changing breast cancer survivorship, one at a time Judy Pearson | Contributing Writer

“If we can impact one breast cancer fighter each day, then we have done our job,” said Elizabeth Ayers-Cluff, the founder of Impact One. “Because I’m one. And we include that stamp in every package we send. We want women to now they’re not alone.” Words from a woman who knows the pain of a breast cancer diagnosis — Ayers-Cluff was 37 when she heard the heart-stopping words — and the struggle of fighting for your life. Married, with three small children, she was blindsided by the diagnosis. And then it dawned on her: “If I’m this depressed, if I’m in this dark place, what do single women do? What about women without a support network?” Even though she was burned from radiation, had to deal with failed reconstruction, and was living in an ACE bandage, Ayers-Cluff began searching for resources those less fortunate than she might need. By the time Ayers-Cluff had arrived at a stronger place in her survivorship, she had lots of ideas. It appeared that one of the greatest holes was in the prosthetic space. She wrote letters, lots of them, asking for donations. 44  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | OCTOBER 2018

And one day, her dream became a reality. A Virginia orthotic company called to say they were phasing out the prosthetic area of the business and sent her prosthetic breasts. Hanger Clinic in Phoenix did the same, along with other mastectomy supplies. And once she launched Impact One, the requests poured in. Ayers-Cluff became a certified mastectomy fitter to best serve women in need. In addition to filling physical needs with mastectomy items and wigs, Impact One also fills emotional needs, from general support groups serving women to specific groups serving young women or Latinas. “When I close my eyes, I see women we’ve touched in every state,” Ayers-Cluff said. “We’re almost there. We’ve had enough funding to serve women all over the country. Product comes in free, but our fundraising dollars cover our shipping and outreach.” The stories of women Impact One has touched are breathtaking. After a woman from upstate New York received a box of products, she felt compelled

Elizabeth Ayers-Cluff (left) and volunteers (above) send packages to breast cancer fighters to show that they are not alone.


Impact One board members (above left) and support groups (above right) work to alleviate the financial and emotional burdens that confront women during expensive breast cancer treatments.

to contact Ayers-Cluff. “I don’t know anyone else to ask,” she wrote. “Could I send you a picture of my skin? It’s not healing well.” Ayers-Cluff recognized that the woman’s skin looked just like hers had. “I’m not a doctor,” she told the woman, “but I will tell you your skin is in need of radiation burn treatment.” Impact One shipped the burn treatment immediately. “You would have thought I had given her a million dollars,” Ayers-Cluff said. “The fact that she felt safe reaching out to us is exactly what I had hoped women would do.” 46  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | OCTOBER 2018

Ayers-Cluff’s other favorite story involves a Latina woman. In her community, no one talks about their disease; it’s a private issue. And that makes surviving doubly difficult. A producer at Univision became aware that the woman had lost her hair and was struggling. After the producer reached out to Impact One, Ayers-Cluff found a wig that looked exactly like the woman’s pre-cancer hairstyle and packaged it with mastectomy supplies. When the producer delivered it, the woman melted into tears. Her thank you letter to Impact One described how

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Promoting sustainable businesses for over her life had changed. Before receiving the shipment, she had been afraid to leave her house. Her breasts had been taken. Her hair had fallen out. She felt like a man. But with everything Ayers-Cluff had sent to her, the woman said she actually forgot that she had had cancer.

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OPEN DOORS {publisher’s page}

CHANGING SEASONS A nonprofit leader moves on

Passionate about improving the nonprofit sector and public education, Terri Wogan Calderón has served as executive director of Social Venture Partners Arizona for more than a decade.

Andrea Evans | Publisher

It’s fall (yes, I know it was 102 the other day), a time for change in season and a time for change in many of our lives. For Terri Wogan Calderón, this fall brought the announcement of her retirement from Social Venture Partners (SVP) after 12 years of leadership as executive director. Terri and I met thanks to our mutual friend Dave Howell. He was serving as the board president of Valley Leadership and called on the two of us to co-chair the annual Man & Woman of the Year luncheon in 2004. We were both recent alumnae but did not know each other. Dave gave one of my recommendations into the program and I think he knew I couldn’t say no. I recall 48  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | OCTOBER 2018

him saying, “I know you are looking for paid clients, but I have someone you will really like to co-chair this event with if you will volunteer.” He was right. Terri and I hit it off from moment one. And I have regarded her as one of my community big sisters ever since. After volunteering together as co-chairs and then as advisors to future event chairs, our work paths crossed many times. When Terri joined Social Venture Partners in 2006, I was so happy for her new opportunity. And these past 12 years have culminated with some pretty incredible milestones: • SVP has invested more than $3.7 million

SVP's impact during the last dozen years would not have been possible without Terri Wogan Calderón’s passion and organizational savvy.


in local grants. • SVP Partners have donated tens of thousands of hours as professional consultants to more than 100 nonprofits. • SVP introduced and has run the incredible Fast Pitch competition and mentoring program for seven years. • SVP has served as an integral part of the success of nonprofits such as Feeding Matters, Treasures 4 Teachers, Teen Lifeline, Spot 127, New Global Citizens, bloom365 and many, many more. Terri and I grabbed coffee a few days after her retirement plans were announced and I asked her what was next. Time. Time to enjoy being “Gigi” to her nine grandchildren and mom to her three grown daughters. Time with her husband, Ernie. Time to do those projects around the house and in life that never seem to make it to the top of her

priority list. Time to embrace the impending change in this season of life. Terri’s retirement will start with the new year and I look forward to working with her successor. But she’s not dropping completely out of view as she will continue as an SVP Partner and volunteer vice chair for the Arizona Grantmakers Forum. It is my hope that we can sit together at the 2019 Valley Leadership Man and Woman of the Year luncheon and celebrate another new season of life. Happy fall,

Andrea Andrea Evans PUBLISHER


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THE HEALTH OF ARIZONA IS IN OUR HANDS 1,645 Arizonans died from suspected opioid overdoses in the last 14 months from June 15, 2017 through August 23, 2018, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. Together, we can reverse the trend and save lives. Let’s build on the work we’ve begun.

D21144 09/18


Visit to learn how you can reduce the risk of opioid misuse in your community. Applications for grant funding also available.