Erica Cardenas

Development services manager built career early

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Cindy Navarrete-Stotler

For Phoenix native Cindy Navarrete-Stotler, reaching her professional peak has taken time, but has proven to be well worth the wait.

Now currently the Management Services Administrator for the City of Phoenix’s Development Services Department,
Navarrete oversees labor relations for more than 500 employees and a budget of $54 million.

And for Navarrete, that climb to the top began in 1989 after graduating from Northern Arizona University, where she began her career with the city of Phoenix as a tax audit intern. This position would eventually earn her three promotions within five years.

“My tenure with the city began right out of college,” says Navarrete. “I saw so much growth opportunity and I’ve now been with the city for 17½ years.”

That growth took Navarrete through the city’s budget department where she worked for four years, and then the police department, where she served as a budget supervisor for another five years.

It was in March 2002 that Navarrete entered the development services department as a manager. Her role is a demanding and significant one.

“This department is very instrumental with the growth of our city,” she says. “We work with all developers and see every building project planned. The growth alone within our department has been tremendous.”

Responsible for issuing all permits and building codes, the development services department oversees projects ranging from a home remodel to the new Convention Center.

With the department experiencing rapid expansion within the past five years, Navarrete says that trying to support such growth can be a challenge. However, it also provides departmental opportunities.

“We are very proud of our Human Resource functions, which have allowed us to provide on-the-job training. This provides the opportunity to hire a more diverse group of people.”

Navarrete is proud of another program the department offers, one that she was instrumental in creating.

Known as Maximizing Potential in Women (MPW), this program offers six lunch-hour roundtable sessions, which provides women with an opportunity to network as well as hear of success stories from women who work for the city of Phoenix. The program is now in its second year.

Aside from her many professional responsibilities, Navarrete is also a proud wife and mother of a 2-year-old daughter. And when it comes to juggling the demands of her career with parental duties, she lives by a specific philosophy.

“Sometimes one thing has to take priority over the other…sometimes work, sometimes family,” she says. “It takes organization and planning ahead…and it’s great to have a supportive husband. He’s helped make it work for us.”

But Navarrete says her success also stems from her education, an achievement that makes her proud.

A graduate of Creighton Elementary and Shadow Mountain High School, she pursued higher education at Northern Arizona University, where she earned a degree in accounting.

She offers some advice for young professionals.

“Education is key…don’t be afraid to try jobs that sound ‘boring’,” she says. “I consider myself to be a civil servant. Keep all your options open and maintain your enthusiasm.”

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