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My View: Robin Reed touched many lives in Arizona and beyond

AZ Inno

What goes through your mind when you hear news of a friend’s passing?

When it comes to Robin Reed, I remember our trip six years ago that took us and others to explore trade opportunities in Tijuana, at the time Mexico’s fifth-largest city whose growth was tied to its concentration of advanced manufacturing clusters in aerospace and electronics. As fellow presidents and CEOs of our respective groups—Robin of the Black Chamber of Arizona—it was fitting for us to explore opportunities for our members.

Anyone who knew Robin realized his business sense was valuable and his enthusiasm infectious. Our hosts in this international commerce hub saw this, too. This was one of the many reasons that four years later I recommended the Arizona Technology Council board support his becoming one of our directors.

Besides, who else can say one of their friends and business colleagues was the voice of a character in the 1973 television special “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”? (Robin voiced Franklin)

A life that touched many. That was Robin’s. And a lot of people he touched live in Arizona and beyond.

Robin was a great leader and communicator. Besides his role at the Black Chamber, he was co-founder and principal at EmFluent, a corporate coaching and consulting company focused on leadership strategy, talent optimization and sales arbitrage. Add to that Robin’s service as president of Occam Sustainability Partners, an international sustainability solution consulting firm that provides energy-saving strategies.

He also was recognized as a professional speaker, having addressed national and international audiences on business development, strategy execution, talent optimization, sales arbitrage, and mergers and acquisition. Earlier, Robin was a financial advisor specializing in restricted and estate stock transactions.

If that wasn’t enough, he also was a huge contributor of time and energy in our community. His roster of positions on boards and committees included the Blue Business Council (advisory board to the Phoenix chief of police); Phoenix College President’s Advisory Board; 1MISSION; Treasure House; Valley of the Sun United Way; Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry; and the steering committee of AZNext at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business.

Most recently, Robin was part of Social Television Network’s web series “The Community Collaborative” created to highlight diversity and inclusion initiatives in Arizona. He joined Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce CEO Monica Villalobos as a series producer to lead virtual discussions for local chamber leaders and their corporate partners to present community challenges and actionable solutions. I have and continue to participate in the series.

All in all, he was the kind of person who lived a full life dedicated to exploring how he could help others.

But Robin likely wouldn’t want anyone to mourn. As someone who was at his best when bringing people together, the community will do just that at a celebration of his life planned for 5 to 8 p.m. on March 25 at the Desert Botanical Garden. In lieu of flowers, consider a donation to the Robin S. Reed Memorial Fundto help continue supporting some of the initiatives that benefited from his efforts.

I will greatly miss Robin but am comforted by knowing our world is a better place because of his time with us.

Steven Zylstra is president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council.

Register for the Council’s upcoming Phoenix and Tucson tech events and Optics Valley optics + photonics events.


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