Kimber Lanning

Executive Director, Local First Arizona

Phoenix, AZ

Accelerate Collaboration, Act Local First, Prioritize Equity, Shift Capital  |  Advocacy, Business Network / Alliance, Community Economic Development, Food and Agriculture, Incubator / Accelerator, Local Government, Public Health, Rural Community Development

Kimber leads diverse programs that create equitable economic opportunities across Arizona, including a Spanish language micro-business accelerator that helps the unbanked access capital.

Kimber is an entrepreneur, business leader and community development specialist who works to cultivate strong self-reliant communities and inspire a higher quality of life for people across Arizona. Kimber’s passions, which are seen throughout her work, include fostering cultural diversity and inclusion, economic resilience and responsible growth for Arizona’s urban areas.

Kimber owns three small businesses and is the Founder and Executive Director of Local First Arizona, which is the largest local business coalition in the US. LFA is a widely respected organization that is leading the nation in implementing systems and policies to ensure a level playing field for entrepreneurial endeavors of all sizes. With nearly 3,000 business members and four statewide offices, she leads a staff of 18 who work on a diverse array of programs ranging from healthy local food access, entrepreneurial development in underserved communities, and rural community development, each of which plays a part in building sustainable and resilient local economies.

Kimber is consistently recognized and has received numerous awards for her diverse work and extensive leadership. In 2014, she was recognized as the Citizen Leader of the Year by the International Economic Development Council, a pivotal moment in recognizing the use of Localist policies as a force for economic development. Her work in promoting adaptive reuse in Phoenix’s urban core was recognized by the American Planning Association, who presented Kimber with the Distinguished Citizen Planner Award in 2013. She has also been named one of the “50 Most Influential Women in Arizona” (Arizona Business Magazine, 2011), was the recipient of the Athena Award by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce in 2013, and was the 2014 Leader of the Year in Public Policy (Arizona Capitol Times).

Kimber also serves as BALLE’s Board Secretary.

Impact

  • Built a network of over 2,100 locally owned businesses statewide, making them the largest local independent business network in the nation.
  • Launched Fuerza Local, the nation’s first-ever Spanish-language Local First campaign, in collaboration with local Latino business owners.
  • Changed the City of Phoenix procurement policy to favor locally owned businesses and helped build a regional directory of certified local business vendors.
  • Trained over 800 rural businesses in 13 communities on building websites, increasing Search Engine Optimization, and utilizing social media to market their town collaboratively, creating a destination for tourism. Local First Arizona produced a series of award-winning cultural tourism videos called WeekendZona, to encourage in-state vacations to these rural communities.
  • Encouraged $1 million of the Phoenix Industrial Development Authority’s funds to be moved to locally owned banks from non-local banks, and the City of Phoenix plans to move $50 million to local banks before 2016.