Trendsetter to Know: Deb Sylva

Name: Deb Stephenson-Sylva

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Age: 47

Title: Principal Architect/Partner/Game Changer at Ideation Design Group

Married/Single: single

Kids: nope!

City you live in: Scottsdale

A typical day in my life includes…

cat-herding, problem-solving and of course coaching/mentoring through Socratic discourse, all fueled by coffee.

I was born…

in Corvallis, Oregon.

My favorite thing about Arizona…

the people. I have only been here for 2 ½ years, but have already met so many incredibly intelligent, kind, familial people.

I’m listening to…  

instrumental music by Jesse Cook and the audio version of The Goal.  My friend turned me on to Jesse Cook and I am hooked.   The Goal is for Operations and Supply Chain class as part of the EMBA program at ASU. It is interesting to think of a manufacturing problem and how it applies to our business!

My family…

is full of driven, successful and sometimes stubborn women. My mom was leading IT organizations before IT even existed and my sister is a successful business-owner and physical therapist. We are all headstrong and highly opinionated!

If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be…

Dagny Taggart. Even though she is a fictional character in Atlas Shrugged, I would love to have a conversation with her about her life, how she gives so much of herself to her work, how she manages her success

One thing I cannot live without…

music, songwriting, and my guitars have been a source of relaxation.

When I was younger, I wanted to be…

funny enough, an architect. Since my Dad took me to see Hearst Castle when I was just a girl, I wanted to be an architect. At that point in time, I knew it was special for such an interesting place to be designed by the female architect, Julia Morgan.  I just thought I want to do that, too!

I’m inspired by…

beauty. You can find it anywhere and everywhere – in people, in nature, in design and architecture.

The one person who motivates me is… 

Jennifer Reynolds. She has style, conviction and is an all-around bad-ass.

If I could change anything in the world, it would be…

more kindness.

The perfect day would be… 

get up early to see the sunrise with a cup of coffee, do something productive and inspiring whether it is work or play and then end the day with sending words of kindness to someone.  This is just about every day!

My first job was…

data entry for my mom’s company. It was really because I was off for the summer and she probably needed to keep me busy. Of course, I would always complete the tasks too fast!

My favorite escape…

hiking up in Sedona. Beauty just accosts you at every turn. And then, of course, there is good food, good wine, good people.

My life…

has been quite an adventure. Although elements of my life turned out differently than I expected, I have learned to find beauty in the broken.

I’m currently working on… 

schoolwork for my MBA as part of ASU’s EMBA program class of 2020.

Always…

live a lifetime inside of every moment.

Never…

give up.

Favorite Quote…

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou

Biggest Dream…

more of a bucket list item, I guess, but travel to and taste wine in every major wine region in the world.

My Pet Peeve(s)…

making things much more complicated than necessary. One of my Swedish cousins recently made a comment to me that hits home.  We as Americans work too hard.  What I interpreted from that is that we complicate things so much that we have to work harder to complete a task.





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