Trendsetter to Know: Anne Landers, Chief Operating Officer at Junior Achievement of Arizona

Name: Anne Landers

Facebook: @annelanders

Instagram: @annelanders


Age: 40

Title: Chief Operating Officer at Junior Achievement of Arizona

Married/Single: Married for 15 years

Kids: Two sons – Jaxson (10) and Jameson (8)

City you live in: Gilbert

A typical day in my life includes… The daily mom-shuffle of getting the family up and out the door, then settling into my own work. Any given day could be meetings upon meetings, getting to see JA kids in action at JA BizTown, time spent on strategy, writing, and so on. Mixed in there is any variation of board or PTSO meetings. Then, I switch into soccer-shuttle mode before getting home for a quick dinner, racing the clock to accomplish it all – because that’s what working moms do. I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

I was born… In Tucson! Born and raised in Arizona, proud to be so. To see how our state has changed over the last several decades.

My favorite thing about Arizona… Drive a few miles in any direction for a completely different aesthetic, personality, and experience. Yet, at the same time, the business community is so tightly connected, everyone is accessible.

I’m listening to… Nostalgic 2000’s playlists while I work. Music was a big part of my 20’s – lots of cherished memories are triggered by the opening notes of songs.

My family… Is my favorite thing in the world. I’m the lone female (unless you count my two pups!) in a household of big-energy, boundary-testing, comedic males. They keep me on my toes. 

If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be… As sentimental as it sounds, I’d have dinner with my sister who I lost 12 years ago. She was my best friend and one of the most enjoyable people to be around. Unfortunately, if word got out, we ended up having more of a party because 100s of people would want to join to see her.

One thing I cannot live without… Carbonated beverages

When I was younger, I wanted to be… President. Then, a successful PR/marketing agency pro, until that conflicted with my desire for purposeful work. My role at JA merged those desires a decade ago and my responsibilities have morphed with the needs of the organization over time. 

I’m inspired by… Kids. When given the opportunity, they are resourceful, flexible, resilient, kind, and ambitious little sponges. 

The one person who motivates me is… My husband, Chris. We made a commitment to one another that we will always grow – as individuals, as a duo and as professionals. Much of our “success” is attributed to that desire to always improve and better ourselves. 

If I could change anything in the world, it would be… Simply taking away the ability for people to knowingly hurt others to advance their opinion. Making it a requisite to work through the hard stuff together. So much would be resolved if we had a willingness to see one another as valued people with inherent worth and unique contributions. 

The perfect day would be… Hanging with my family on a beach, being active, eating whatever our hearts desired, carefree, guilt free and sunburn free. A good book, some ice cream on a patio overlooking the ocean and an early night to bed. 

My first job was… Scooping ice cream at Baskin-Robbins in Tempe during college! Fun fact: my favorite ice cream is seasonal Love Potion #31. 

My favorite escape… Watching my boys on the soccer field or reading a new recommendation from a friend/colleague. I also love a good firepit with friends. 

My life… Is so incredibly different than teenage-me would have painted. And in all the best ways. I learned decades ago that if you assume you know less, you’ll learn more. I am very grateful to have the lot of this life. 

Always… “Be curious, not judgmental.” – unknown

Never… Assume the worst. Have an optimistic realistic perspective. 

Favorite Quote… “Be a goldfish.” – Ted Lasso, specific to how much we dwell on mistakes.

Biggest Dream… That every learner believes in a better future. That they have the education and are provided with the opportunities to achieve the life they want for themselves. I hope that every student in Arizona receives critical JA education and has the skills/knowledge to succeed. I hope to help advance our community for the long-term by unleashing the potential in youth and inspiring their belief in a better future.

My Pet Peeve(s)… Lack of social trust or willingness to learn, hear more, broaden views, etc. Because we fail to embrace the diversity in cultural beliefs and political views around us, we fall short of reaching our true potential. We sacrifice the level of progress and prosperity that we could have if we grew together and leveraged our combined contributions. 

Bio-on yourself/company: As Chief Operating Officer, Anne Landers is committed to ensuring that the Arizona community has a high-impact and positive experience with Junior Achievement (JA), so the nonprofit can continue to shape the futures of tens of thousands of students each year. In tandem with JA’s president, Anne ensures the organization’s unique value proposition, thought-leadership, track record and impact on our community is represented in key education, career readiness, and financial literacy conversations. She oversees all programs, external relations, marketing and the organization’s data management programs for donor and volunteer engagement. She has been part of the JA team for 9 years.

Previously, she served as the Interim Director at Life In Abundance, a nonprofit, overseeing U.S.-based operations and fundraising, to support programs in Africa and the Caribbean. She began her career at an advertising and PR agency, Decibel Blue, where she was one of the agency’s first two employees, managing clients such as Dunkin’ Donuts and My Sister’s Closet. Honored as a Phoenix Business Journal Outstanding Women in Business, Anne holds a degree in Journalism from ASU. She is also a proud alumna of Valley Leadership, Scottsdale Leadership, and the Allstate Executive Leadership program at Kellogg|Northerwestern.

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