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The Power List
Upward Projects CEO Lauren Bailey

Upward Projects CEO Lauren Bailey addresses inclusion and supports workers through pandemic

Meet the innovative, inclusive and industry changing leaders of the 2021 NRN Power List

As CEO and co-founder of Upward Projects and its five concepts, Lauren Bailey has kept her finger on the pulse of the communities where her company operates.

The Phoenix, Ariz.-based company is expanding its five brands — Postino WineCafe, Joyride Taco House, Windsor, Churn Ice Cream and Federal Pizza — into new communities as well. The company plans to open Postino Deep Ellum, its first entry into the Dallas market, later this year.

Upward Projects places an emphasis on adapting and reusing historically relevant buildings that are an integral part of the neighborhoods its restaurants serve.

With dual degrees in communication and fine arts, Bailey approaches her role with a honed sense of place.


During the tumultuous 2020, Upward Projects approached the year’s thorniest issues without fear. The company addressed racial tensions, marked by the Black Lives Matter movement, by closing all its restaurants for a day in the wake of George Floyd's death. And the company, on its Instagram account, offered what steps it was taking and suggested readings for others.

The company also partnered with Fox Restaurant Concepts to launch #takeoutforteams, a program that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for their out-of-work teams during the takeout-only stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Upward Projects has grown with a November 2017 significant investment from private-equity firm Brentwood Associates.

Giving back to her local community, Bailey was recently named to the Arizona State University Foundation’s board and serves on the Grand Canyon University Colangelo College of Business Advisory Board.

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