Prescott has a long history of strong and influential women. Whether in politics, conservation efforts, ranching, or the non-profit community, the women of Prescott and the surrounding areas wield influence with confidence and big personalities.

The legacies of Sharlot Hall, Elisabeth Ruffner and Billi Orr, for example, began and continued a tradition of confident women and helped pave the way for all those to follow.

Earlier this month, Breeyana Hinkle, publisher of Prescott Women Magazine, hosted the first “Prescott Women Awards” at the newly renovated Federal Building, the former U.S. Post Office on the corner of Goodwin and Cortez streets.

During a festive reception, a new group of women leaders, entrepreneurs, adventurers and creatives were lauded for their commitment to community and their vocations.

Over the past 25 years, I’ve had the good fortune to interact with many prominent Prescott women through a variety of avenues. Most recently, since writing this column, I’ve had the opportunity to learn and be inspired by strong, independent women who are making a difference in our community and beyond.

These include Allison Lenocker, executive director of CCJ which is spearheading ending homelessness, not just in Yavapai County, but the organization is becoming a model for other communities.

Amberlee Neese, an inspirational author and speaker as well as Christian Comedian; Molly Beverly, local chef and food activist; Jessica Haggerty, bakery owner and entrepreneur; Abby Brill, potter and social activist; Patricia Berlowe, director of OLLI at Yavapai College; and Patricia Waples, fencing coach and inspirational personality, and many more.

Influence and making a difference doesn’t always come from a position of power or title. But rather, influence and making a difference in another’s life comes about through personality, commitment, and creativity.

My most recent interview was with a true local personality, who whether through print advertising, her weekly newspaper column or radio show — always presents a positive message.

When Sandy Griffis enters a room, you know she is there. She is fun, colorful, exuberant, and yet very serious and supportive of the membership of the YCCA, and the industry they represent.<br />

During her tenure as executive director of Yavapai County Contractors Association, Sandy has grown the organization to more than 300 members and has become the face and symbol of YCCA.

Prior to Prescott, Sandy worked in the contracting biz in Southern Florida, running and working in an industry largely dominated by male counterparts. If you have met Sandi, or seen one of her positive ads, she is anything but masculine, and her marketing campaign runs counter to the assumed impression of the industry, making them truly unique and memorable.

Both print and media ads present the association with unique and feel-good messages about being grateful, building community, and looking out for your neighbors. All followed by and paired with the message: “Don’t start without us.”

Sandy also brings the services of YCCA to the public through her weekly radio program, “Hammer Time,” Saturday and Sunday mornings at 7. On KQNA 1130 AM, 99.9 FM and 99.5 FM. On air, Sandy and her variety of guests discuss trends in the industry and offer helpful information to homeowners and consumers.<br />

Got a home improvement question or looking for a quality service provider? Sandy personally takes your calls at 928-778-0040 putting you in touch with a licensed professional to guide you through your project.

Or, check out their website at for a list of member contractors, services and more.

Through her weekly newspaper column, “Ask the Contractor,” in The Daily Courier on Fridays, Sandy answers questions on a variety of topics relating to home construction projects such as building green, hot tub installations, weed eradication, fireplace and chimney maintenance and, well, whatever question you wanna ask a contractor.

YCCA began over 50 years ago, when a small group of local contractors contributed $25 each to start a trades group to ensure quality standards in their industry.

Since accepting the position as YCCA’s executive director, Sandy has grown the association benefiting not just the members, but also consumers and the community by providing referrals and a guarantee of quality by using licensed contractors.

Sandy also arranges workshops and educational opportunities that address a variety of concerns. And for the consumer, public events such as the recent Home Show at Findlay Toyota Center in Prescott Valley and personal referrals that put you in contact with a member service provider.

If you’re in need of a contractor, or have a building question, check out, or call Sandy direct at 928-778-0040.

A positive step toward your next project.

Barry Barbe owns the El Gato Azul and Torme restaurants in Prescott, and is the energy and insight behind the Prescott Palette. His radio show, the Prescott Palette, is on KQNA 1130 AM, Saturdays at noon. Email:

Use our search bar to find listings of businesses near you.

Looking for a local event near you? We got you!

Discover Events in Prescott

We're here to help you book an event, buy ticket online or make a reservation.