True enough; the holidays put us in the mood for giving and for most that means wrapping gifts aplenty.
However for some people, the holiday tradition of giving and sharing is simply an extension of what they do throughout the year. Sara Dial is such a person.
No, she doesn’t reside at the North Pole; rather she lives just around the block and performs her rendition of “Jolly Old St. Nick” through her tireless community service.
“My mom was my role model growing up and she was an incredible woman,” says Dial with unbridled adoration. “She would always tell us to pay attention to opportunities that come our way as you never know where they will lead.”
Sara obviously took that advice to heart as her personal and professional life has been full of exploration, achievements and contributions.
After graduating from Stanford University with a degree in international relations, she moved to Phoenix in 1986 and started her career in investment banking.
“The desert was so very different from Puget Sound where I grew up, so I suppose that’s why I fell in love with the lushness of Arcadia.” She and her husband, Patrick, raised their three children — Tyler, Wyatt and Tatum — in the neighborhood and have no plans of leaving.
In 1991, Dial took her finance expertise to the Arizona Department of Commerce and two short years later she was appointed director of the agency by Governor Fife Symington. Thereafter, she started her own economic development consulting firm and for the past 22 years has represented clients such as Google, Facebook, GoDaddy and Avnet.
“Starting my consulting business was a conscious decision to allow me to be both a mother and a working professional. And for all that I may have accomplished in my career, my proudest achievement is my three children,” she says with conviction.
That’s saying a lot, as Dial has achieved a great deal in her career and has given back to the community in generous proportions. She has served in leadership roles on dozens of non-profit and for-profit boards and has been lauded with numerous awards and recognition, including being chosen “Top Ten Most Influential Women” by the Phoenix Business Journal.
“My personal mission is to serve others. I want to lend my abilities to make things better,” said Dial, crediting her give-back philosophy to her upbringing and faith.
When asked if politics might be in her future, she hesitates and then admits, “I think I’d be good at it. Then again, you have to have a certain fire in your belly. I’d rather get things done by working through others.”
She says she most enjoys pursuing “big ideas” and predicts “I have another really big thing left in me to accomplish.”
One can only imagine what a gift that will be.