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"Lisa absolutely loved the program and it inspired her to work to make Scottsdale Leadership even better, and to give back to her community by helping other non-profits."

Lisa Nolan, Class 22
Scottsdale Servant Leader

Lisa was born in East Lansing, Michigan. She has one older sister and two younger sisters. Her father was a doctor and her mom was a stay-at-home mom. Lisa told us that her parents instilled in them the value of education and to study hard and get good grades which Lisa did. Her father was also a pilot in the Army Air Core in World War II. He inspired Lisa to becomea pilot in her own right. She has a love of flying to this day. When it was time for college she knew she wanted to study business. Even back then she had a good eye for presentations and promotions. She started college at nearby Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan. When her best friend from high school tried to convinced her to come down to Arizona and attend Arizona State University (ASU), Lisa decided to join her. But soon after when her friend’s program of study shut down unexpectedly at ASU, she was not going to leave Lisa in the lurch. So, she called her uncle to pick up Lisa at the airport and make sure she got settled in. Well her uncle was not just an ordinary Sun Devil supporter, he was legendary ASU football coach Frank Kush.


So yes, ASU was going to work for Lisa. She also met her husband of 46 years Pat Nolan at ASU. Their partnership in coordinating their careers is like a musical symphony where they each were in harmony with the other. When she graduated from ASU in 1975 her first job here in town was at the DeWall & Associates advertising agency. She told us a great story about her agency handling The Arizona Bank as a client, which included a campaign introducing a strange new invention called the Automated Teller Machine (ATM). This was the first rollout of an ATM system in the nation and Lisa was part of the team showing people how to use this crazy new gadget.


After three years with DeWall, she received a great offer from the local NBC television station, Channel 12 as the Assistant Promotion Director. She has great memories of that job like promoting a brand-new event called the Fiesta Bowl. One of the things she remembers on that project was working with the NBC stars they brought in to be part of the event. In a funny story, she remembers driving Lee Major’s wife, also an actress, Connie Sellecca, and her mom to the airport in her tiny Fiat Spider convertible. Though being offered a limo, Ms. Sellecca insisted she wanted Lisa to drive them because she had been so great to them. We all laughed at her painting a picture of both ladies and their luggage crammed into this tiny convertible.


Three years seems to be the pattern is Lisa’s progression with these different gigs. After her three years at Channel 12 she got an amazing offer to be the Director of Promotion at KLAS-TV,  the CBS affiliate and leading station in Las Vegas. The job was a wonderful opportunity, so in the first of many movements in the symphony of their lives, she accepted the job and literally commuted to Las Vegas every week while coming home on the weekends. In the meantime, her husband Pat was working his way up the corporate ladder at Intel Corporation in their Human Resources department which entailed doing alot of international travel for them.


Las Vegas was full of adventure and fun but it wasn’t home, and really was never going to be, so she made the move to return back to Scottsdale. She began a job working for an exciting software company - International Anasazi who pioneered electronic funds transfer in the banking industry, and geographically-dispersed reservation systems in the hotel and airline industries. Well, as she always does, Lisa put her heart and soul into this company and their mission. The company was so successful it was aquired by one of their clients, the credit card company VISA International. Lisa commuted to San Fransisco for a time, and soon after welcomed their first child, Brendan, to their family.  She left the company when Pat was offered a position with Intel in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  


So, in the second stanza of their life symphony Pat, Lisa and their son moved to New Mexico. They were only supposed to stay for a couple of years but they ended up staying 12 years because Lisa had launched her own marketing firm there called Nolan Maddox Marketing. We had another laugh when Lisa told us that somehow during this mad time when they were both working like crazy they found time to welcome their second child into the family, a girl named Kelly.


Returning to Scottsdale had always been on their minds, even then. When they had a chance to both be back in the Valley for business, they decided to make it a mini-vacation. During that trip they came across a new development called DC Ranch. They absolutely fell in love with the area and bought a lot that very day. The house they live in today is on that lot.


As Pat was advancing at Intel, they wanted him to do an international stint for the company. So, in perhaps the crescendo of their symphony of movements, they accepted an offer and moved to Penang, Malaysia. But once again we just marveled at the things her talents lead her to accomplish, even in a place half-way around the world. As part of a large expatriate (expat) community there, Lisa volunteered for, a magazine that catered to this market. It wasn’t long before she was not only editing but was also writing a column and producing the publication. During this time abroad, Brendan was in college back in Arizona while Kelly went to an international school in Malaysia. In 2006 they were able to move back to Scottsdale and to their house in DC Ranch. While settling back into Scottsdale, Lisa found out about Scottsdale Leadership from her flight instructor and Scottsdale City Councilman, Bob Littlefield. Lisa joined Tried and True Class 22 and graduated with her class in 2008. She absolutely loved the program and it inspired her to work to make Scottsdale Leadership even better, and to give back to her community by helping other non-profits.


Finally, we got the impression they were able to take a breath after all they had been though. Pat retired from being a Vice President at Intel and is now doing consulting work and executive coaching. Lisa is very generous with her time and expertise with many of our local arts related nonprofits. She still does some things under the auspices of her advertising agency

Nolan Maddox but mostly she just helps these great causes become better. After a time away from Scottsdale Leadership, Lisa met our current Executive Director, Lee Ann Witt, and they hit it off instantly. She has become a great resource for both Lee Ann and Dana Close in the Scottsdale Leadership office. Our organization is very fortunate to be able to call on her expertise when needed.


These days, Lisa does have more time for her three hobby related passions which are flying, snow skiing and scuba diving. She also spends time at their lake house in South Carolina. When they are able to kick up their feet up and relax, they certainly have a lot to look back on. The way they worked together to enhance each other’s career can be model for all of us. But the biggest takeaway from our time with Lisa is that she is rightly proud that she put her heart and soul into everything she has done, wherever that happened to be in the world.  That realization put a smile on all our faces.

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