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?”

Videos

Videos

By Roadtrip Nation

Kimber Lanning

Highlight
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Kimber Lanning HighlightInterview Highlight
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07:32
InterviewThe Interview
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Innovators Are Problem SolversWeb Exclusive
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Get Up And Fight For ItWeb Exclusive
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Shop Smart, Shop LocalWeb Exclusive
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It Takes GutsInterview Excerpt
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Failure Is OkayInterview Excerpt
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Milestones

Milestones

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
Education

Education

highschool
High School
undergrad
Bachelor
Architecture
Arizona State University
Career

Career

Founder/Executive Director

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

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Business
Business
Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship
Problem Solving
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.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

You have to be comfortable with unpredictability. There might be somedays where you don't get to pay yourself because you have to pay your employees or an opportunity doesn't work out. You have to be nimble enough to listen to constructive criticism and continually innovate until something works.

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.

Hurdles

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Peers:

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

It boils down to having guts. I utilized the help of family and friends to build things for the record store. I lived on $500 a month for 2 years and was in the store everyday until I knew everything about my customers. You have to be fearless until you succeed.

Challenges I Overcame

Failure
Failure

There have been several business ideas or opportunities that haven't worked out for me. As an entrepreneur, you have to condition yourself to be okay with failure.

Financial
Financial

In the early days of running my record store, I lived off of $500 a month for 2 years and put everything else back into the store. When I first started Local First Arizona, I didn't take a salary so that I could afford to pay my first staff members.