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Phoenix Forward

The secret to her success

Kathy Gamboa

Kathy Gamboa discusses why she was named as one of the most powerful women in Nevada

What's it like to be a powerful woman? Just ask Kathy Gamboa, territory vice president for the University of Phoenix West/Central Region — she was named one of the most powerful women in the state by Nevada Business magazine in December. Nominated for helping to shape the state and improve its communities, she was in good company, as other nominees included Caroline Goodman, mayor of Las Vegas; and Susan Martinovitch, state transportation director.

Gamboa is being recognized because of her leadership work at University of Phoenix (where she also teaches online courses in the undergraduate business program and the MBA program) and with the Education Collaborative of Southern Nevada, a state collective of higher education institutions.

Economic realities have pushed educators to reevaluate how they do business within the state, and every industry is affected, Gamboa says. "The collaborative has come together to focus on answering key questions in higher education infrastructure needs and the need to diversify business in the State of Nevada."

In her role as territory vice president, Gamboa supports campuses in Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming. She also acts as campus director for Las Vegas, overseeing four campuses there.

We have 'Mustache Mondays' where everyone wears a fake mustache. You can't take yourself too seriously.

Gamboa joined University of Phoenix after spending 10 years in telecom and receiving her MBA from the University of Phoenix Northern Nevada Campus. Several years later, she became a faculty member and area chair, eventually becoming campus director before moving into her current role. On top of all of that, she's currently studying for her doctorate in Business Administration.

Robert Larkin, DBA, campus director at the Northern Nevada Campus and Gamboa's former MBA instructor, says Gamboa has brought new concepts to the University and is an expert at engaging people. Her playful management style includes dress-up days and in-office activities. "We have 'Mustache Mondays' where everyone wears a fake mustache," she says, noting that she readily participates. "You can't take yourself too seriously."

According to Larkin, this is part of the secret to her success.

"She exudes energy and is passionate about drawing that out of others," he says. "To me, that is a 'power woman.'"

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