Albuquerque Business First
By Candace Beeke, Publisher
PUBLISHED: Mar 8, 2017

As you have likely seen from your Facebook feed, today is International Women’s Day, and I am using this an opportunity to celebrate some remarkable women in our community.

Before I do that, I would offer my own personal experience in moving to Albuquerque nearly two years ago — I was surprised and pleased to see how many remarkable women are in leadership positions in our business community. From historically patriarchal industries, like finance, construction and energy, to some of our largest institutions, New Mexico has embraced high-performing women leaders.

And that’s not just a personal observation — it was borne out in Wallethub research that demonstrated New Mexico has the second highest female-to-male executive ratio after the District of Columbia. Unfortunately, overall New Mexico ranked very low for working moms in that report.

Here are a few women leaders you should know. Please join us April 3 as we celebrate more than 60 top women at our first Women’s Summit. The Summit begins with Mentoring Monday — a national event focused on advancing young women in business — followed by our longstanding Women of Influence Awards. It concludes with a brand-new Executive Leadership Roundtable session designed to help all of us be stronger leaders during challenging times. Join us for the whole day, if you can, or choose which events you can take part in.

1. Pat Vincent-Collawn, chairman, president and CEO, PNM Resources. Vincent-Collawn leads the largest utility and largest public company in the state and does so with a down-to-earth and accessible presence that surprises many. With $1.4 billion in 2015 revenue, PNM is a frequent newsmaker, including for rate increases and employee cuts and other tough subjects. It’s also received accolades for its work in securing the Facebook data center. Vincent-Collawn also serves as chair of the New Mexico Economic Development Partnership and is one of four vice chairs for the Edison Electric Institute, the largest utility trade association in the U.S.

2. Amy Coburn, director of planning, design and construction, University of New Mexico. Coburn is leading five major projects at UNM, totaling more than $170 million. In addition to her hefty day job, Coburn is leading the local chapter of the Urban Land Institute this year, making her one of five women leading commercial real estate-focused groups right now in New Mexico. With an extensive background in architecture and development, Coburn is a major force in rethinking UNM’s structures and traffic flows, which is a big part of how many people come to meet Albuquerque for the first time.

3. Michelle Franks, CFO, Studio Southwest Architects. Speaking of architects and further proving what a hyperconnected business community Albuquerque enjoys, Franks — one of this year’s Women of Influence— named developer and business owner Jeanie Springer-Knight as a mentor. Springer-Knight is one of the five women, along with Coburn, leading a commercial real estate organization in Albuquerque this year as she helms CREW. Franks also sits on the board of Studio Southwest, as well as on the board of Sandoval Economic Alliance. A graduate of New Mexico State University and UNM, Franks joined Studio Southwest in 1997, and became a principal in 2009.

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