Lauren Bailey is the CEO & co-founder of Upward Projects, a group of locally focused restaurateurs creating inspired restaurants that are connected to the communities they serve. Recently named to the Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing companies, Upward Projects places an emphasis on preparing high-quality food and adapting and reusing historically relevant buildings that are an integral part of local neighborhoods. To uphold this philosophy, Lauren focuses primarily on conceptualization, design and operations for seven industrial wine cafes - Postino Arcadia, Postino Central, Postino East, Postino Annex, Postino LoHi (Denver, CO), Postino Kierland, Postino Highland; Windsor, a pub-style neighborhood hangout; Churn, the adjoining nostalgic ice cream shop; Federal Pizza, an artisan pizza restaurant; and two Joyride Taco House’s, a scratch-kitchen Mexican concept. Collectively, Lauren is responsible for growth and vision of the existing concepts as well as future projects.
Lauren recently completed a five-year term as a board member of Local First Arizona, an organization determined to protect, strengthen and foster local business. She is also a Steering Committee Member for Devour Phoenix, a city-wide, non-profit coalition of independent restaurants that maintain a forum for sharing ideas, increasing Arizona’s visibility as a culinary destination, stressing the importance of sustainability and hosting culinary driven events. She is also a board member of the Entrepreneurs Organization, a group comprised of 12,000 entrepreneurs from all around the globe, plus sits on the Grand Canyon University Colangelo College of Business Advisory Board, the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Corporate Advisory Board, the Tyrann Mathieu Foundation Board, and is also a proud “big sister” with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona. In 2013, Lauren was recognized by the Arizona Republic as “35 Entrepreneurs Under 35,” while in 2014, she was inducted into the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame as Restaurateur of the Year, honored as the 2014 Food Pioneer by the Arizona Restaurant Association, and selected by the Phoenix Business Journal as “40 Under 40 – Class of 2014.” In 2015, the Phoenix Business Journal selected Lauren as the 2015 Outstanding Women in Business honoree.
Lauren was raised in the state of Indiana and has inhabited a fair amount of cities up and down the East Coast, including New York City and Nantucket. She attended Arizona State University, graduating in 2002 with dual degrees in Communication and Fine Art. In 2006, Lauren married her husband and business partner, Wyatt Bailey, in Vernazza, Italy. In her spare time Lauren travels the world, hunts for vintage treasures, creates art, cooks up amazing flavors, and spends time with the most important people in her life.