Kimber Lanning

Kimber Lanning

Founder / Executive Director

Local First Arizona

Phoenix, AZ USA

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?”


By Roadtrip Nation

Kimber Lanning


My road in life took a while to figure out.
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.”
Keep following my journey


High School
Arizona State University


Founder / Executive Director

I work with all kinds of leaders to develop new strategies for building a stronger Arizona economy.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Problem Solving

Day to Day

I lead a team that works on a diverse array of programs ranging from healthy local food access, entrepreneurial development in underserved communities, and rural community development. My day usually consists of problem solving, keeping my teams on target to meet deadlines, and researching new potential opportunities.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for everyone

Take risks and start doing. Can't learn to be comfortable in the 'not knowing' through school.


The Noise I Shed

From Peers:

"You're a woman, no one will ever take you seriously as a business owner. "

Challenges I Overcame


Interviewed By

Future West

Future West

Trailblazing new pathways in Arizona