The Transformation Leader of the Year award program recognizes the achievements of Arizona’s transformational leaders who have driven significant change in their organization.

RECOGNIZING Successful Transformation

Each year, MSS Business Transformation Advisory presents its MSSBTA Transformation Leader of the Year award in partnership with the Arizona Technology Council and the Arizona Commerce Authority at the annual Governor’s Celebration of Innovation gala event. 

This award recognizes a leader or organization that has achieved significant and measurable transformational change in the previous calendar year.  Nominations for the following sample of organizations are encouraged:

•​ Emerging/Hyper-Growth Companies – $5M to $49M in revenue​

• Mid-Size Companies – $50M to $999M in revenue​

• Enterprise Companies – over $1B in revenue​

• Non-Profit Organizations​

• Public Sector Agencies – municipal, county, and state agencies​

• Higher Education – public or private institutions​

• K-12 Education – public or private institutions​

Qualified nominees show the traits and character of a transformational leader. Nominated organizations should be in operation for three years or more, headquartered or have significant operations in Arizona, and have achieved measurable transformative outcomes in the previous calendar year.​


10 Traits of a Transformation Leader

We take the process of selecting recipients of the Transformation Leader of the Year awards seriously. In addition to the criteria described above, there are 10 key traits all award winners exemplify.

Business Woman Smiling


Transformational leaders put the best interests of their team and organization above their own.


These leaders base actions on organizational priorities and hold themselves accountable for the outcomes of their choices.

Risk Takers

True leaders take smart risks, evaluating choices based on the organization’s vision, capabilities, and perceived obstacles.

Decision Makers

Transformational leaders don’t shy away from making difficult, decisions that move their organizations toward change.


Share in Organizational Consciousness

Real leaders are tapped into the feelings of employees, are in tune with the collective consciousness of the organization, and create a shared vision that employees are invested in.


These leaders are motivating and inspiring, capable of identifying what motivates employees to help facilitate organizational transformation.


Transformational leaders take a proactive approach to identify any issues early and turn challenges into opportunities for innovation.


Transformational leaders are more willing to undergo change and see new possibilities where others may see only a problem.


Transformational leaders take a proactive approach to identify any issues early and turn challenges into opportunities for innovation.


Real leaders create an inspiring but realistic vision for the organization and can mobilize teams to create necessary change.

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Learn more about MSSBTA and the Transformation Leader of the Year awards in this video.

Past Winners of the Transformation Leader of the Year Award

2021 Recipient


Howard Stewart

Howard Stewart is the President and CEO of AGM Container Controls in Tucson, Arizona. Howard tirelessly champions the concept that businesses should provide College Tuition Reimbursement (CTR) to their entire workforce. He encourages his employees, family, and friends to pursue the mind-opening experience of higher education, and regularly delivers presentations in both Metro Tucson and Metro Phoenix on the importance of businesses providing such CTR.

2021 Nominees

Dr. Cara Christ | Executive Director,

AZ Dept of Health

Lev Gonick | CIO, Arizona State University

Lloyd Hayes | Founder and Executive Director, Million Dollar Teacher Project

Carrie Kelly | Executive Director, Arizona Association for Economic Development

Dr. Jim Ratcliff | President and CEO,

Rowpar Pharmaceuticals

Douglas Sylvester | Dean,

O'Connor College of Law at ASU

Amy Walters | Assistant VP of Technology Operations, Cancer Treatment Centers of America

2020 Recipient


Dr. Elizabeth "Betsy" Cantwell

Dr. Elizabeth “Betsy” Cantwell leads the University of Arizona’s Office for Research, Innovation and Impact. She is responsible for expanding the university’s capacity for knowledge creation and discovery; integrating efforts by faculty, students, staff and executive leaders to move inventions and technologies to the marketplace; increasing the university’s connectivity with external collaborators; spearheading industry and public partnerships; and increasing total research funding.

2020 Nominees

Joan MacMaster | CEO, Desert Angels

Tim Roemer | CISO, State of Arizona

2019 Recipient


Paul Green

With more than 20 years of IT experience, Paul Green‘s technology-infused leadership adds exciting dimension to his role as Chief Development Officer. Paul joined Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance as CIO in 2014 to strengthen the company’s IT capability in support of its continued growth. With a focus on the patient experience, Paul’s innovative influence is evident in everything from the company’s workflow to its online presence. In 2018, Paul was named the Chief Development Officer to lead the company’s technology and business development initiatives.

2019 Nominees

Kathryn Chandler | Executive Director,

West Valley Connect

Tim Grein | CEO, Walbar Engine Components

Dr. Robert Trenschel | CEO, Yuma Regional Medical Center


Transformational Leader of the Year Award FAQs

What is the Transformation Leader of the Year award?

It is MSS Business Transformation Advisory’s (MSSBTA) way to recognize Arizona leaders and teams who are driving successful transformation initiatives and give them a platform to promote their organizations and be recognized as innovators and change-makers.

When are the Transformation Leader of the Year award nominations open?

We are accepting nominations from mid-February to early-August. Finalists will be recognized by late-August and winners will be announced on October 13, 2021.

What are the Transformation Leader of the Year award categories?

It is MSSBTA’s annual recognition of transformational leaders. Organizations nominate their leaders and a winner from each of the seven categories is selected:

  • Emerging or Hyper-growth companies – $5M to $49M in revenue
  • Mid-market companies – $50M to $999M in revenue
  • Enterprise companies – over $1B in revenue
  • Public Sector agencies – municipal, county, and state agencies
  • Non-profit organizations – of any size
  • Higher Education – public or private institutions
  • K-12 Education – public or private institutions

How are the Transformation Leaders recognized?

Transformation Leaders are recognized a few ways: One, through quarterly virtual panels with fellow nominees and local business leaders. Two, winners are recognized at the Governor’s Celebration of Innovation gala event. This is a high-profile event sponsored by Arizona Technology Council, Arizona Commerce Authority, and Avnet.

What does the judging committee look for in a nomination?

Without giving too much away, the committee is always impressed by measurable metrics and quantifiable results. Specifics are important. Examples of how your leader successfully guided the company/agency/department/district through a major transformation or change in how it operates are expected. Organization size doesn’t matter, the success story does.

Who can submit a nomination?

Just about anyone. This is your opportunity to recognize people from within your department, agency, company, etc. Don’t be shy, put your own hat in the ring if you want to share how you successfully navigated your company through a challenging and trying 2020.

Is it for Arizona-based organizations only?

Yes, the Transformation Leader of the Year award is open to all organizations throughout the state of Arizona.

Is there a cost to nominate?


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