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4 New Mexicans to know, and change your mind sometimes

Posted by admin on June 2, 2021
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By Rachel Sams  –  Editor-in-Chief, Albuquerque Business First

No way, I said to my boss.

She had just told me about a new weekly Page 1 pitch meeting. Everyone in our newsroom would take a turn pitching a story they were working on for the week’s front page.

I told her it was a terrible idea. That our collegial newsroom would become a cutthroat den of backstabbery as reporters elbowed each other for the front page.

We’re trying it, my boss told me. If it doesn’t work, we can stop.

I walked into our first Page 1 meeting with dread.

You see where this is going, right?

The meeting I had resisted became a highlight of my week. My colleagues cheered on my stories, which felt great. Even better: hearing the incredible stories they were working on, and cheering for them.

In case you couldn’t tell from this story, I am stubborn. Sometimes I struggle to let go of a view or approach even when it no longer fits. So a story we published last week, about an entrepreneur who changed her opinion on a major business issue, really caught my eye. Then came a story about two entrepreneurs who went from running an independent startup to striking an acquisition deal with another local player. And another entrepreneur who embraced technology in a new way.

That’s why there are four New Mexicans to know this week, instead of our usual three.

Kim Sanchez Rael, president and CEO, Azuca — Venture capitalist Sanchez Rael went from opposing cannabis to becoming what she calls “the accidental cannabis entrepreneur.” Though she was skeptical, Rael did thorough research on cannabis, she told ABF Data Reporter Megan Martin. That journey eventually took Sanchez Rael to the top of Azuca, a cannabis edibles brand that recently relocated its hemp factory from Colorado to New Mexico.

Angelica Bruhnke and Stefany Goradia, RS21 — Business First has reported on Bruhnke and Goradia’s journey building Versatile MED Analytics, which designs platforms for monitoring the drivers of health care costs and performance. Albuquerque data analysis firm RS21 will acquire Versatile MED, ABF tech reporter Collin Krabbe wrote last week. Bruhnke and Goradia will join RS21 as, respectively, the president and vice president of analytics for Health Lab. RS21, which officials said has about $15 million in revenue booked for this year, expects revenue to grow 25% as a result of the deal.

Clayton King, founder, King Capital Commercial Real Estate — King Capital recently added QR codes, which you might have seen as a substitute for physical menus at restaurants, to listing posters for its properties in Albuquerque. People interested in the properties can immediately access information digitally on the closest intersection, vehicle traffic per day, lease rates and more. “People want information instantaneously and they don’t always want to talk to an individual to get that information,” King said.

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