March 21, 2021

Long-time Tucson business development leader, Ellen Kirton, dies | Business News

Ellen Kirton helped Tucson entrepreneurs start and expand their businesses. She’s shown with one of…



Ellen Kirton helped Tucson entrepreneurs start and expand their businesses. She’s shown with one of her clients, Ray Montoya of Engineering and Environmental Consultants, in 2015.




Ellen Kirton, longtime director of the Pima Community College Small Business Development Center, died Sunday after complications from an illness.

After a long career in banking, Kirton became director of the Pima County SBDC in 2012.

The SBDC joined Pima Community College’s Workforce Development Division in 2016.

“Through her work assisting and inspiring entrepreneurs in starting, growing and expanding their small businesses, Ellen created a lasting economic impact for future generations,” Pima Community College Chancellor Lee Lambert and other Pima officials said in a news release.

Kirton’s family will schedule a memorial event to celebrate here life later this spring, the college said.

Kirton’s 35-year career in banking included a decade as a vice president for Arizona business banking at Chase Bank.

After leaving Chase in 2004, Kirton ran a business consultancy and in 2008 founded EffortlessHR, which offers an internet-based human resources management program.

She a wrote a self-help book, “Cinderella is Still Dancing: 8 Choices That Can Improve Your Life,” which was published in 2009.

Kirton volunteered on the boards of several local nonprofits, including the Better Business Bureau, Make-A-Wish Foundation, New Beginnings for Women and Children, and the breast-cancer charity Susan G. Komen.