Kimber's Open Road

KIMBER LANNING

Founder/Executive Director
Local First Arizona

“If you’re going to be innovative, you’ve got to be nimble and don’t take things personally—just say, “Ok, if that’s not the great idea, then what’s my next idea?” ”

INTERESTS:

Business Entrepreneurship

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Confidence Dedication Determination Failure Struggle Hard Work Perseverance Transitions Community Opportunity Character Success

FOUNDATION:

Problem Solving

BIOGRAPHY:

  • She was born on the island of Okinawa, Japan; her father was stationed there during three tours of duty in the Vietnam War.
  • Her family moved to Arizona in 1968 after her father was transferred to Luke Air Force Base and she’s lived there ever since.
  • Says that her love of Arizona grew out of the many road trips around the state that she and her family would take.
  • While working for a record store in her teens, her boss said she’d never be a manager because “no one would ever listen to a 100-pound woman!”—inspired her to open her own record store, Stinkweeds.
  • Believes her success as an entrepreneur is due to “having guts” and being fine with failure—she utilized her friends’ help, lived on $500/month for two years, and put everything into her business.
  • Started her nonprofit, Local First Arizona, to prevent talented young people from leaving the state to pursue opportunities elsewhere, and to level the playing field so small businesses can succeed.
  • Passionately supports small local businesses in order to reenergize the economy and has made it her mission to educate people about how this can impact their futures.
  • Doesn’t believe that learning how to run a small business is something that can be done correctly or incorrectly—says, “You have to be comfortable in the not knowing.”

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