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Thunderbird alum named one of Most Influential Women in Arizona Business for 2023

Sara Gordon serves as managing director and senior lending specialist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank

Group of women who were named among the Most Influential Women in Arizona Business for 2023.

The Most Influential Women in Arizona Business for 2023. Photo by Amber Legler; photo editing by Bruce Andersen

August 18, 2023

Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University alumna Sara Gordon has been recognized for her outstanding achievements by being named on the Most Influential Women in Arizona Business for 2023 list by AZ Business Magazine. The award, which is only given to a woman once in her lifetime, recognizes her fearlessness, leadership and innovative contributions to Arizona's business landscape.

As managing director and senior lending specialist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank, Gordon brings with her over four decades of invaluable experience in the financial industry. Leveraging the vast resources of J.P. Morgan, she assists clients in simplifying and enhancing their lives with personalized banking products and services. Her remarkable ability to understand each client's unique goals and priorities empowers her to craft tailored solutions that effectively address their financial needs.

Gordon's early life was enriched with diverse experiences, as she lived in various cities across the globe, including Washington, D.C., New York City, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, before finally settling in Phoenix at the age of 12. Her parents, Shoshana Tancer and the late Bob Tancer, both esteemed professors at Thunderbird, served as her inspiration to pursue an academic path at the school, culminating in her graduation with a master's degree in international management in 1989.

Reflecting on her time as a T-bird, Gordon credits her education at Thunderbird for equipping her with the skills to "understand different cultural perspectives and champion diverse ways of thinking, writing and speaking."

"The opportunity to work on group projects was a truly valuable experience as I carry those lessons with me to this day. I was fortunate to work with a diverse group of students back in 1989 before teamwork was a concept in U.S. business circles and diversity was a priority," Gordon said. "Embracing contrarian viewpoints has been a tremendous skill I learned and carried me throughout my career. I am thankful for learning this during my college years and entering the workforce being open to other viewpoints to find the best solutions."

Her journey into the banking industry began shortly after college, where she secured her first job with a prominent wholesale bank. Her dedication and passion for finance have since guided her through an illustrious and fulfilling four-decade career. Commencing her professional journey with Union Bank of California in 1978 and later joining Valley National Bank of Arizona in 1984 (now JPMorgan Chase & Co.), she reached a pivotal moment in 2010 when she became a lending specialist within J.P. Morgan Private Bank. Throughout her trajectory, Gordon's commitment to her craft propels her continued success.

"I've had the privilege to co-found a de-novo bank, work with multinationals, originate SBA loans, manage a team of commercial bankers and work with very affluent clients in the private bank," Gordon said. "I've stayed in this industry because banking combines my passion for people, relationships, analytics and problem-solving. All these years later, I'm still thrilled to be working in the industry and learning new things on a daily basis."

The Most Influential Women in Arizona Business are chosen from a group of over 1,900 exceptional women and selected by an editorial board comprised of 12 past Most Influential Women.

In celebration of the 12th anniversary of the Most Influential Women program, AZ Big Media is dedicating a profile to one of this year's honorees each day leading up to the prestigious Most Influential Women of 2023 dinner and reception. The event will take place on Thursday, Aug. 17, at the Chateau Luxe in Phoenix. For more information, visit

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