Honors and Awards: “Woman of the Year” Award given by “Women of Scottsdale,” a social-civic-networking organization (2004); Scottsdale Healthcare’s first recipient of the “Spirit of Women” Award, representing Arizona at the Scottsdale Healthcare’s National Award Dinner in Washington, D.C. in 1999; winner of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Business Owner of the Year Award; a 1999 Nominee for the Athena Award of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce; and an Honoree of the Impact for Enterprising Women at its 1999 “Celebration of Success” Awards.
She was a U.S. delegate to the International Women’s Leadership forum in Crete, Greece; was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce as a delegate to the Industry Sector Advisory Committee (ISAC) and appointed by Senator John McCain as a delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business.
New Orleans’ loss is undeniably Scottsdale’s gain. Wink Blair is a dynamic business professional with a prominent southern accent that has brought true southern hospitality to the greater Phoenix market. She is a veteran publicist with more than 20 years of experience promoting businesses, professionals and entrepreneurs.
Her clients have included small business start ups, self employed professionals, resorts, art and cultural organizations, restaurants, tourist firms, media tours and numerous nonprofit organizations. Part of Wink’s prior experience included a stint as a freelance writer and photographer. She also served as an administrative aid to a U.S. Congressman, as a production assistant in Hollywood for an independent motion picture producer and as a staff member of a U.S. State Department overseas Embassy.
Wink has served on the board of the Phoenix Press Club, was a member of the Phoenix Sister Cities Commission, the McDowell Sonora Preserve Commission, the Scottsdale Historical Preservation Commission, the boards of Contemporary Forum at Phoenix Art Museum and the Scottsdale Center for the Arts Advisory Council, the Scottsdale Chamber’s Downtown Advisory Council, its Business Awards and Marketing Committees and the Advisory Board for the Center for New Directions, an organization in support of women in transition. For three years, she served as the Executive Director of the Phoenix Arts Council.
Wink currently remains active in The Arizona Council for International Visitors (formerly World Affairs Council), Women of Scottsdale, Impact for Enterprising Women and several other cultural and historic organizations. Wink, known for her dedication and support of women's groups, is also known for her kind-spirited, positive nature and her inability to say “no”.
Her passion to help women succeed in the workplace has motivated her to be involved as a founding member of the Arizona chapters of groups such as the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE); the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO); Women in the Senate and the House (WISH); Women of Scottsdale (co-founder); and Women in Communication.
Wink has also made a major impact in the community by helping to establish many cultural and tourist-oriented events in Arizona. They include: the Governor’s Arts Awards; the Scottsdale Culinary Festival; the Thursday Night Art Walks featuring over 100 art galleries and the Chamber’s “Salute to Downtown” walk-abouts in the 1990s. She is a member of the Concerned Citizens for the Kerr Cultural Center committee. Wink is an astonishing role model who is always striving to better her community.
Wink has just written a book called "Conversations with my Grandfather". Using her maiden name of Wink Dameron, she has just authored a Civil War memoir honoring her distinguished grandfather, Judge L.B. Claiborne, descendant of the Governor of the Louisiana Territory, as well as the first Governor of the State of Louisiana. The book includes stories dictated to her when she was only 9 years old and her grandfather was 92! Doggedly holding on to this valuable manuscript through the years, she realized that 2012 would be the perfect year to finally publish this biography, since it marks the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War as well as the 200th Anniversary of Louisiana's statehood!
The memoir contains many true-life experiences of her prominent grandfather, involving his visits as a young man to the White House as guest of the President, his being part of the military guard at the official visit to Washington, D. C. of the first group of Japanese diplomats ever assigned to the U.S., as well as being present for the first visit of the Prince of Wales to the White House, his attendance at Lincoln's famous Gettysburg Address, and his many encounters in dangerous wartime battles, as well as accounts of his many distinguished post war accomplishments.
Included in the book is a brief genealogy section in which Wink briefly describes the original Claiborne families of England, the 12 succeeding American generations, concluding with stories of some of the family's current prominent citizens, all having benefitted from examples set by their talented ancestors.
The book is available at Scottsdale's Guidon Book Store, and through the internet's Amazon, Barnes & Noble, as well as bookstores, libraries and museums throughout the country.
Q & A:
Who is the most influential person in your life? Two people, both “Steel Magnolias.” First, my mother, Ethel Claiborne Dameron, one of the South’s first “liberated” women – a dynamic mixture of charm, wisdom and gentleness—coupled with the tireless energy of a community activist. Founder of libraries and museums, she was a master at prying preservation funds out of tight-fisted State Legislatures, once standing her ground in front of the lovely aging Old State Capital, seeing to it that it would be destroyed only “over her dead body.”
The other Southerner: my cousin, Lindy Boggs (mother of the popular TV journalist Cokie Roberts), who, after serving 17 action-packed years in the U.S. Congress, was named the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican. Despite multiple family tragedies, Lindy’s intelligence, common sense and sparkling good humor remain a constant source of inspiration for me. Exerting her typical diplomacy and determination, she was responsible for seeing that the words “sex or marital status” be included in the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974, preventing discrimination bases of race, age and status as a veteran.
What was your most significant learning experience? Realizing the power of a positive mental attitude that propelled me, at a critical juncture in my life, to start an independent entrepreneurial venture, which has prospered.
What are your favorite hobbies? Reading, the arts, dancing, physical fitness, and being a news junkie.
What is something surprising about you that others may not know? In 1803 my ancestor, William C. Claiborne, was appointed by Thomas Jefferson to oversee the Louisiana Purchase. He later became its territorial governor. When Louisiana became a state, he was then elected its first governor.
What was your first job? High School sports reporter for the city newspaper, and at the time I knew zero about sports, which naturally required that I become a fast study.
What is your most treasured possession? At age 5, an exquisite blue bonnet I wore DAILY for months. Today, I treasure my husband, my friends and my reputation.
What is the best advice you ever received? From my former college roommate: Just say ‘Yes’ to life, Wink – just say ‘Yes’ – You can do it ALL!”
What is your motto? Keep moving! Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here, we might as well keep on dancing.