2017 FINAL FIVE NOMINEES

Staci Nauman

I moved to Reno on a whim.  The retail company I was with asked if I’d be willing to move - to open, run and manage a new location they were building in northern Nevada.  I wasn’t sure about the area at the time, but said, “why not?”  After selling the house, packing up and preparing for the move, the retail company decided to postpone the opening of this location.   My husband and I looked and each other and decided to go for it anyway.   Why not?  Thinking – what’s the worst that can happen?  We don’t like it and we move back?  So, we went for it.  We moved to Reno in 1994 not knowing a single soul, not having any jobs lined up and not even having a place to live.  And it stuck!  That was 23 years ago and I couldn’t imagine calling any other place home.

Since that time, I have been in some sort of sales position.  Early on I sold up and coming technology such as wireless and video conferencing to local and national businesses.  While in this industry I earned my degree in Information Technology.  Even though this field wasn’t my lifelong dream job, it is where I learned about building relationships and maintaining those relationships throughout my working career.  I eventually moved into the non-profit world, helping KNPB Channel 5 build their corporate sponsorships.  Again, proving that relationships are the key to successful sales.  Two years ago, I made the move to Real Estate.  This move has allowed me to build on what I’d already learned.  In business, you often hear “It’s not personal, it’s business.”    But what is it, if it’s not personal?  Whatever it is, it ought to begin by being personal.  This philosophy has allowed me to not only grow my business, but to develop countless friendships along the way.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Outside of work my family is my pride and joy.  I am married with three children and the reason I do what I do.  I’ve been blessed to have a career that lets me prioritize my family first.  In my spare time, I enjoy golf, scrapbooking, crafts and hanging out with friends and family.  If I could offer one piece of advice to other Professional Saleswomen, it would be to “Believe in yourself and don’t let anything stop you.  Your success is your choice and amazing things await!”



Shari Pheasant

Our life is what we make of it!  And my life has given me opportunities to influence and impact the things I value the most, children, women, business and the western lifestyle.  My family is at the core of everything I chose to be involved and those that know me understand it is always family 1st in my world.  In business and life I have been called a transformational catalyst because where I go, change follows. I embrace this legacy with open arms.

Changing the world one step at a time has been a theme for me since early in my twenties.  My blessings and opportunities as a woman have included belonging to and thriving in male dominated organizations, industries and teams.  I work well with others and have a reputation as an intelligent, driven, independent, professional leader. 

In 1996 when the opportunity presented itself to have an impact on our children’s safety, as a mother of two, there was no question I was in FULL TILT!  I organized the first ever non-profit organization addressing bullying. Parent Patrol, a 501c3 dedicated to student safety and bully prevention that was formed in Washoe County in 1998.  Because our organization had successfully impacted our entire school district, Frankie Sue Del Pappa and Jack McLaughlin formed the first Bully Free Task Force in our nation.  This work continues as our nation addresses building kinder, supporting relationships, which connects to my purpose filled life of impact.

Eleanor Roosevelt, a role model and woman of merit, quotes: “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear, for newer and richer experiences.” Following this path always leads me to new adventures; like joining the Reno Rodeo and serving to influence change for this organization in marketing, community connections, small business sponsorships and committee structure and activities. In Fernley, as a director of their rodeo I was instrumental for years in establishing and expanding their rodeo ambassador program, which still exists today.

I am an owner of a local, award winning automotive maintenance and repair shop, A Master Mechanic.  We promote life long relations & provide convenience and support for every client.  Our community involvement with children’s sports, and local non-profits has been a corner stone of our business model since opening in 2004.  The success I experienced with my husband, Jeff in this business led to my current role as business consultant and executive coach in the industry.  My consulting/leadership/engagement company, Horse Power Strategies builds people first, so people can build businesses.  We often guide owners, managers and executives towards life changes in their roles so they may better inspire today’s workforce and gain greater success in business. Currently, I am the only female owned consulting company in the automotive industry and we are now expanding into our local market to work with other businesses.

I chose to use my Bio to invite you to know more about me from the inside out.  Much like our company, HPS, I believe in building business relations by being genuine, authentic and direct with people first.  If I have sparked your interest, meet me on Linkedin and let’s change the world together.




Jill Rutherford

As a Partner/Vice President of OCG Creative and mom of two, active kids, I know first-hand what it means to cultivate and foster long-lasting relationships, both in business and life. One of my favorite sayings is, “It is a rare person who can take care of business while taking care of hearts,” and that is exactly how I live my life. I truly believe that the more enriching your relationships, the more successful your business.

For me, success has always been about embracing change and taking the road less travelled. After graduating from Chico State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations, I spent the next few years travelling the world.

Travel opened my eyes to creativity and an entire world of possibility. It inspired me to go on to manage my own advertising agency for 15 years. With offices in Reno and Elko, I loved working with rural clients and coordinating special events and advertising campaigns.

After a successful run in advertising, it was time to expand my horizons. In 2008, I merged my agency to create OCG Creative, and fully immersed myself into the fast-paced digital landscape. Today, we are a full-service Marketing Agency that specializes in web design, SEO, branding and print solutions. I spend most of my days juggling projects, working with clients and strategizing with our team. I’m the office peacekeeper and cheerleader. If there’s a problem, I’ll solve it. A sticky situation, I’ll diffuse it. A party, I’ll plan it.

I love what I do, so any chance I get to orient, educate, assist, set up, tear down, or coordinate on a client’s behalf, I do so. I have volunteered for the Reno Rodeo Association for 23 years, donated design time, collateral and banners to the annual Down Syndrome Buddy Walk, coached youth soccer and volleyball and annually I dial for dollars at the Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation Know the Gold fundraising campaign. I also coordinate the NNCCF event marketing and help update the website.

Family remains at the center of my life. Their sense of shared responsibility and support makes my very demanding schedule quite manageable and enjoyable. At the end of the day, business for me has never been about the bottom-line. Life is rich and full of opportunity if you just take the time to enjoy it.

Robyn Nichols

Raised in Southern California, Robyn followed her family to Reno in the late 70's.  She began her career in hospitality at the newly opened MGM Reno in 1978.  It was as close to working at Disneyland that a So Cal gal could get outside of LA.  Her father was an aircraft executive for Lear in Stead which explains her attraction to the North Valleys, where she enjoys the great outdoors.

Robyn was employed at the hotel through the MGM years, Bally years and the Reno Hilton years.  During that time she was a waitress in the coffee shop, (Not yet old enough to be in the casino.) Then, quickly realized that the hotel industry could offer enormous opportunities for growth and development of a long term career. Through her years at the hotel, she was a Room Reservationist, a Relief Supervisor and eventually moved into Hotel Credit.  As Hotel Credit Manager, responsible for all  convention business accounts, she became closely acquainted with a number of the convention clients and formed great relationships. Relationships that allowed her to do what needed to be done for the hotel, but also for the client - keeping their needs, wants and satisfaction as a part of the process.  In late 1999, she felt the need for continued growth and asked the Hotel President if he would consider moving her to the Sales Department.  He gave his .blessing and said that with her skills and personality she would do well in Sales.  I think he was right!  She enjoyed 5 years in the Hotel Sales Office but realized that there was a greater good that could be done for the destination, not just one property. So she joined the RSCVA.

Through the years at the hotel and with the RSCVA, one of her favorite things has been the ability to raise up other women and men around her. To help them learn and grow in the Hotel-Casino industry.  Robyn takes tremendous pride in their advancing careers and always appreciates it when they come back to her to say thank you.

One of her best assets is her longevity in the destination which plays well for her clients as she has a tremendous amount of "product knowledge" and knows who can get what done when needed.  She takes great pride in her position within our destination, which allows her to make a direct impact on Reno/Sparks' economic growth.  Additionally, Robyn does not give up.  She has several clients that will tell you it may have taken her 10 years to book them in Reno but She never gave up and they appreciate her tenacity.

On the personal side, Robyn is a weekend warrior who loves our incredible outdoor destination.  From horses to ATV's, camping, boating, and time spent with family, you can always find her outdoors enjoying this diverse enchanting area.  She's been lucky enough to find the perfect man to fit her life. Her "Sweet Man",, as she calls him, is a Massachusetts transplant.  Please do not tell him he has an accent, he will explain that we have the accent since he is from one of the original 13 colonies.......Understanding the importance of her family to how it is tangled with her clients and friends, he is always willing to be a part of whatever she asks of him

Robyn will tell you that her children, John and Jennifer Nichols, are her greatest accomplishments!  They are two very strong, intelligent, hard working, career building treasures.  They are both in the mortgage industry, competing companies....now that's fun!  They are heavily involved in their companies, charities and our community.  Yet, the whole family  makes time to spend time together and always enjoy some great adventures.  Lionel's two highly accomplished children have given them three, almost four granddaughters.  Harlow, Vivienne, Adelaide and soon Everly are the most amazing little women and their is nothing better to Robyn than when they yell "Nana!!!". 

One of her favorite quotes was shared by a client/friend that she lost several years ago.   "As we know, it is often in the trial of adversity that we learn those most critical lessons that form our character and shape our destiny." Deiter Uchtdorf via The Incredible Sam Bass.  

Robyn will tell you that she plays hard, works harder, enjoys people and adore her family and friends!


Kimberly Wade


Kimberly Wade is the Communications Director for Nevada Humane Society. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism from Florida State University. She has been involved in the communications field from a young age, with an additional background in performing arts. Her career extends to real estate, restaurant management and customer service. Kimberly’s passion for animals began as a child, when she cared for neighborhood cats in a small town in Maine. Her family later moved to Florida and at age 20, she adopted her first shelter pet, a tiny Calico kitten, from a shelter in Orlando. It was there she began learning about the plight of homeless pets. When Kimberly moved to Reno in 2007 she began volunteering at Nevada Humane Society. In 2010 she was hired as the Foster Coordinator, only to move into a management role within a few months. From there, she grew into her current role as Communications Director, which includes overseeing all events and everything within the scope of communications. She can proudly say that not only those close to her are animal lovers, but those who hadn’t thought about adoption now make that their first choice. Her job is not without a whirlwind of emotion but Kimberly has more passion for pets than anything else. Her simple reasoning is that animals do not have a voice, therefore, she is there to be their voice! Kimberly lives with her husband, also an animal lover, their 3 cats, Newton, Maisey and Saia, and 3 dogs, Tito, Gilda and Barley. She also has two office cats at Nevada Humane Society, Charlie Brown and Peppermint Pati, who assist with phone calls and emails on a daily basis to enhance the lives of shelter pets everywhere. 


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