Arizona Exec Believes in Testing Your Limits, Prefers a Mission-Driven Business Model

Todd Sanders
President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix (AZ) Chamber
2019 Chairman of the Board of W.A.C.E.


Personal: My hometown is Bogota, Colombia. I am married to my wife, Hara; have one son, Haydon; and have a rescue mutt, Scout.

Education: I hold a B.S. in political science from Northern Arizona University (emphasis on BS).

Chamber Experience: I have 12 years in the chamber business, 10 as president and CEO—all at the Greater Phoenix Chamber.

Business Philosophy

Guiding Principles: Find your limits and then keep going. When you start to feel comfortable, repeat, and do this for the rest of your life. Immerse yourself in everything life has to offer…drink it all in!

Yardstick of Success: I lean on Barbara Bush for this one, “Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people—your family, friends, and coworkers, and even strangers you meet along the way.”

Advice to Others: Listen twice as much as you speak.

Judgment Calls

Best Business Decision: Moving away from a revenue-centric model to a mission-driven business model.

Worst Business Decision: Putting off tough decisions for another day (unlike wine, problems don’t get better with age).

One Word Description of You: Shy.

True Confessions

Like Best About Current Job: It’s like a puzzle, every day, figuring out how to turn challenges into opportunities.

Interests/Hobbies: I seem to have a car fetish.

Your No. 1 Strength: Knowing and understanding what it’s like to start from nothing.

Area of Improvement: Organization.

First Choice for a New Career: Pilot. (I’m dyslexic, which means I flip letters AND numbers. What could possibly go wrong?)

Pet Peeve: Complaints without solutions.


Favorite Book: Reggie’s No Good Bird by Nellie Burchardt. You’ve probably never heard of this book, but it means the world to me. My dyslexia kept me from learning how to read until I was 11 years old. This was the first book I ever read and it inspired me to become a life-long reader…I never looked back!

Favorite Movie: “Lost in Translation.” Being a dual citizen means never feeling 100% at home in the U.S. or Colombia, so this movie speaks to me.

Favorite Quotation: Less is always more.

Favorite Song: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” by The Rolling Stones

Favorite Vacation Spot: That’s a tough one, but I would have to say New Zealand, especially on a dark clear night when you can see the Southern Cross and the Milky Way.

Favorite Way to Spend Free Time: Taking the road less traveled.