We are extremely happy to welcome Erika Mitnik-White to the Local First Arizona Team as Tucson Membership Coordinator! Here's a little bit about her to introduce her to the LFA community:
An Arizona resident since the age of five, Erika Mitnik-White moved from Tempe to Tucson to attend the University of Arizona. “I stepped off the Greyhound bus on Congress Street and fell in love with Tucson," says Erika. "I was really enamored of Tucson’s urban core and have always lived within five miles of the spot I first landed.”
Over the years, Erika became involved with many of the issues surrounding urban development in Tucson. As a board member with the Iron Horse Neighborhood Association, Erika helped plan the implementation of over one million dollars in Back to Basics grants. “Those grants were an amazing opportunity. In addition to providing us with financial resources to make major infrastructure changes, the process taught us how to form a strong coalition," said Erika. "Iron Horse is extraordinary in that it is both a recognized historic neighborhood and a successful mixed use environment where houses and businesses co-exist side by side. We’ve always considered the businesses as neighbors.” Over the years, Erika has worked as part of the IHNA board to secure private funding for further improvements such as a community garden, public artwork and most recently the refurbishment of vintage neon signs.
Professionally, Erika has worked as a marketing analyst for both Communicus and VMS/Voicetrak before coming to Local First AZ. “I love the marketing and advertising industry. Getting the message out effectively about what makes your business valuable is both an art and a science," said Erika. "The clients I worked for were Fortune 500 companies, but the lessons apply just as well to smaller companies too.” Making the decision to leave the marketing industry to work for Local First AZ felt like a natural progression for Erika, as she said “Our local businesses are the ones I am the most passionate about. When they succeed, Tucson succeeds. The work that the former Tucson directors, Lisette DeMars and Deanna Chevas, have done here is extraordinary. They have created such a strong base of support for Local First AZ in our community. I’m humbled and honored to follow in their footsteps.”
Erika will be reaching out to local business owners and working to identify needs and opportunities for LFA to become more involved and expand its programming. She is especially interested in furthering the discussion of community financial resources by reaching out to Southern Arizona’s local banks and credit unions. If you are a locally owned business in Southern Arizona and wish to find our more information or want to provide feedback about your needs in the region, please contact Erika at [email protected].