Arts Day 2019: We are all artists

Marsh, N. Headshot Written by Natalie Marsh of Scottsdale Arts

Full disclosure: This blog post is full of bias and opinion. I am a product of the arts. I am a supporter of, an advocate for, employed by, and a contributor to the arts. While the below attempts to capture a story of Scottsdale Leadership Arts Day 2019, if you wanted a non-biased debrief of the day, a different person should have written the post.

How many of you are guilty of saying one of the following sayings: “I’m not an artist”, “I can’t draw”, or “I’m not the creative one, that’s so-and-so”?

But how many of you have had tested a hypothesis in a lab setting, designed home décor or landscaping, maybe you remodeled your home, or have your own website?  All of those tasks use creative thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills. The same skills that are used by artists daily.


We are all artists. Art has been an integral part of humanity long before the industrialized, concrete world we live in today pushed it into performance halls and museums. Art is what brings together a community and fosters innovative ideas. The arts make us whole.

That’s what arts day was about. It looked at how the arts have shaped individuals in our community, how the arts contribute to our community’s identity, and how the arts impact our community’s economy. Our day presented us with amazing music, theater and visual arts programming from local, national and international artists. The panels were comprised of local and state experts in the arts that provided thought-provoking discussions about the value and impact of the arts.

We are lucky to live in a community that has one of the earliest models of public art programs that is funded through public and private development. We are proud to host world-class arts organizations that present the best of visual and performing arts. We are fueled by a robust creative economy that represents $4.9 billion and boasts 90,000 employees.

While the day was more passive in artistic understanding, I hope that we are all left with a feeling of empowerment and action. John Sather, managing partner for Swabeck pllc. said it best, “Scottsdale is based on big ideas.” Those big ideas came from creative, visionary minds whether they were in the arts or not. They came from leaders that had a passion to build a community that is vibrant, healthy, and innovative. You don’t have to be a virtuoso in an artistic trade to be an artist. All you need is a drive to make our community better through innovation, discovery, and building a sense of place. Now go forth and be an artist for our community.


A special thanks to our sponsors and partners of the day including day chairs, Taylor Buttrey, Robert Leger, and Diana Smith; FirstBank, Wells Fargo, Eur Haus Food Truck; Scottsdale Arts; and our many speakers and panelists.


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Protecting Strangers

Emily Hinchman, Scottsdale Adult Medicineby Emily Hinchman

“Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.”  Robert Kennedy

November, the month for giving Thanks, was the perfect time for Scottsdale Leadership Class 33 to participate in Safe Communities Day. After spending 8 ½ hours with Scottsdale Police and Fire, I couldn’t be more grateful.

Chief of Police Alan Rodbell started us off describing Scottsdale’s Community Policing philosophy and the department’s pledge of Excellence, Initiative, and Integrity. Kind-spoken, the Chief showed a great sense of humor and even greater sense of humanity.

IMG_0763We split into groups to observe the K-9 unit, the MILO simulator training, and SWAT. Watching the trained dogs and their masters/officers, was a surreal experience. The dogs were hyper-alert and showed complete devotion to their handler. The officers and their dogs spend 24-7 with each other and the mutual respect and love for one another does not go unnoticed. The MILO sim training was eye-opening and cemented my choice of profession as healer, not protector. I not only missed the suspect by several feet, but also may have killed the poor cow grazing way out in the pasture. This lesson taught us about the decision-making process of an officer and how even the smallest decisions can have catastrophic consequences. Lastly, we met with members of the SWAT team. This seemed to be quite the popular experience…Listening to their specific duties within the unit, from breacher to sniper, I focused in on their armored vests. A small patch showing their blood type was stitched to a pocket located just above the heart, a symbol of their heroism and mortality. Wrapping up the morning, I regretted not saying thank you to each one of them as I wished for their continued safety.

With lunch digesting, we moved onto the Fire Department where Fire Chief Tom Shannon spoke about Scottsdale being the second largest fire system in the U.S., second only to FDNY. Scottsdale FD participates in a “shared system” meaning that from wherever you live in the valley, you are covered. Most cities in Arizona participate in this system and respond when needed to any area putting out the call.

Our fire experience began with a sprinkler demonstration that proved the importance of having updated, working sprinklers in your home and workplace. Two identical rooms were wheeled out on a platform. The room without sprinklers became engulfed in fire within 3 minutes, destroying everything in its wake, while the other room, with sprinklers, had only a small amount of fire damage to one stuffed animal. As one firefighter said, all items in the room are replaceable, but we are not. Next, we suited up into very heavy, very hot gear and stepped into a smoke-filled building using only thermal cameras to find our way out. The smoke destroyed any visibility and, with our masks fogged, we relied on tactile and voice-driven direction. Had it not been for my trust in partners Shelley and Erin, I’m not sure I would’ve remained calm for much longer. Close to my breaking point, I could make out the bright light from the sun streaming through the open back door. The three of us made it out as a team, encouraging and supporting each other to the end—a sign of not only leadership, but of friendship as well. Our last two stations were the ladder truck and managing a fire extinguisher. Standing in the bucket almost 9 stories high, overlooking Tempe, I was exhausted and ready to be home.


With each Leadership week, I find that we have moved from being strangers to friends in a short period of time. We trust each other, learn from each other, and help one another, all necessary skills for a successful team, and how Police and Fire crews survive. As I look out over the pristine desert preserve of my backyard to the twinkling lights of Tempe in the distance, I send my heartfelt thanks to the men and women of Scottsdale Fire and Police who risk their lives every day to protect our community, and in essence, to protect strangers.

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Imagining Scottsdale’s Future by Examining its Past

Shelley Slick-Hummon, Scottsdale Unified School DistrictBy: Shelley Hummon, Class 33
Scottsdale Unified School District

The members of class thirty-three were invited to imagine what Scottsdale would be like twenty-three years from now…

Why twenty-three?

Our amazing ‘wealth of knowledge’ day chair, historian, author, and Scottsdale Leadership alumnus Joan Fudala, a member of class nine, reflected on what the city of Scottsdale was like during her time in Scottsdale Leadership (twenty-three years ago) as compared to what the city looks like today.

Joan invited us to imagine the same when she opened the day with this powerful statement as an introduction to Scottsdale History Day, “This is your moment and you will be the next chapter in Scottsdale History.”

Imagine when the members of class thirty-three join the members of fifty-six (in the year 2041), twenty-three years from now… what will our class say about “the good old days” in Scottsdale when we were in Scottsdale Leadership way back in 2018/2019?

As a Scottsdale native, I believed I was pretty well versed in the history of our fine city but during this day, I learned some interesting and surprising facts that were previously unknown to me.

Did you know?

  • The bedrock surrounding our city has been found by scientists to be in existence for 1.8 billion years.
  • Camp McDowell was our first “modern shelter.”
  • The first person to file a homestead document was Chaplain Major Winfield Scott and his wife, Helen.
  • Chaplain Major Scott failed at two initiatives he wanted to see in our city…1. Bringing a streetcar to Scottsdale and 2. Making Scottsdale a “dry town.” (Can you imagine how the ‘nightlife’ of old town would be if we were a dry town?)
  • In 1920, Scottsdale’s population was no more than 500. Today our population is estimated to be over 246,000 (making Scottsdale the 92nd largest city in the USA for population).
  • The first “luxury” place to stay was the Ingleside Inn.
  • Malcolm White is credited with dubbing our fine city, “The West’s most western town.”
  • The Rancho Vista Bonita Inn (another ‘luxury option’) provided a cottage, a horse, and three meals a day for a cost of $12.50 per day.

Thank you to Alice Giedraitis and Kira Peters, who along with Joan Fudala, were amazing hostesses during our jam-packed day of learning and fun.

The start of our day at Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, which sits just feet away from the site of one of our first elementary schools, gave us a hint of how much art defines what our city has become today.  Our tour of Cattle Track confirmed that an independent spirit and a drive to create are deeply woven into the fiber of our city.  As a side note…why not consider a quick ‘detour’ on your way to Fashion Square Mall for your holiday shopping by stopping at Cattle Track, where you will surely find a unique hand-made treasure; which will also support a local artist.

It was clear to see that one other strong theme of the day beside history, is the influence of art on our Scottsdale culture, in addition to the creativity and perseverance of some of the early influencers of our city. Both McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park and Taliesin West, also stops on our day tour, serve as remarkable examples of what can happen when a person has a dream along with the drive to see that dream come to fruition.

When I imagine myself, as a seventy-one-year-old woman by the way-yikes! Meeting the members of class fifty-six (twenty-three years from now)… I can barely imagine what Scottsdale will look like physically at that point. What I am certain of is that the city will retain its independent spirit steeped in art and culture, retaining its history of old west, and continuing to be a destination for entertainment and luxury for all to enjoy.  See you in 23 years!

Thank you to our transportation and food sponsors!


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Nov. 2, 2018: Diversity and Inclusion Day

natalie-marsh-scottsdale-arts.jpgBy Natalie Marsh
Scottsdale Arts

The Inclusion of individuals representing more than one national origin, color, religion, socioeconomic stratum, sexual orientation, etc.


Building Empathy

2I have been to my fair share of diversity and inclusion trainings. They are timely topics given the shifting demographics of our country and they are issues of which many companies and nonprofits are keenly aware. These workshops typically take an external approach. For example, how might an organization better engage or be more inclusive of a particular group be it other generations, cultures, etc.? The answers may include a shift in a hiring practice, the use of a different marketing tool, or a new project; merely pivots to external processes. However, this day most surprised me because we looked inwardly and approached diversity and inclusion from a personal perspective. It was not treated as a separate or external issue that can be solved through a process shift, but one where the solution resides in us; through dialogue, listening and respect.


Using discussions and activities led by an amazing group of day chairs, we examined our visible and invisible traits that make each of us unique. Uncovering these qualities and experiences held by those in our own group allowed us to understand through personal stories how people have been marginalized or discriminated against because of those traits.


But at the same time, those uniqunesses are not unique. The activities, conversations and self-reflections also allowed us to connect to each other, thereby bonding us even closer as a group and demonstrating dialogue leads to connections more often than isolation.

Needless to say, this day helped us all build empathy, which is key to developing diversity-focused and inclusively-minded leaders.

Heartfelt Gratitude

7A special thank you to our day chairs, Ernie Flores, Amir Dorn, L. Holley, MJ Hopper, Robert Houston and Bernadette Smith for leading us through tough conversations from gun rights to black lives matter, for taking us through a “privilege walk”, and guiding us through a day that will certainly shift how Class 33 grows together over the program.

Additional thanks to DC Ranch (link to for hosting us in their beautiful community center, our anonymous lunch donation, Jim Ford Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal Scottsdale Fire Department and board president of Community Celebrating Diversity (link to:, and Stacy Cline from GoDaddy.

I feel humbled and honored to recap a very powerful, emotional and enlightening Diversity and Inclusion Day. This was a difficult summary to write because I do not feel that the words can really describe the impact these experiences will have on the formation of our class and within us in the long-term.

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Love and Kindness are Never Wasted.

Theresa Monaco, MNI Targeted MediaBy Theresa Monaco

Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver. – Barbara De Angelis

Human Services Day kicked off at Vista Del Camino Services where our incredible Scottsdale Leadership Alumni, Raoul Zubia & Cindi Eberhardt, shared on the staggering need of the less fortunate in Scottsdale.

Our community has ten Title 1 schools (40% of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch program); that’s 6,470 hungry children. Tears well up as I think about my own kids and how their biggest lunch-problem is being allowed to only take one treat. (I know two little boys who will be helping with next year’s Back To School event.)

Our 4 goals for the day were:

  • Understand the human service needs within our community.
  • To learn about volunteer opportunities within our community.
  • Become familiar with the role of Scottsdale’s Human Services division and the programs offered.
  • To “Feel the Day” (and maybe shed a tear or two).

1Starting it off strong, was our first speaker, a 52-year resident of Scottsdale, Ignacio “Nacho” Sarabia. What an amazing man! Nacho, a Mexican immigrant, was not only instrumental in moving an entire community that had been uprooted within Scottsdale, but he also helped to develop the Yavapai School (a Title 1 program). But Nacho didn’t stop there. Armed with an army of seniors, he and his team continue to bring food to the less-fortunate residents within their community. Tears are forming. Kleenex is ready, but we don’t have overflow quite yet…awfully close though.

Next, we hopped on a charter bus, graciously donated by The Driver Provider, and headed to the Vista del Camino Warehouse. Here we DESTROYED class 32’s record and put together something like 350 bags of food for the needy. (It’s not a competition…but it really is.)


Back to the bus where we headed to Granite Reef Senior Center. Whoa! I think everyone was surprised at just how much there is to do here. Free to the public, Scottsdale’s first LEED Certified Green Building won the 2012 Pinnacle Award and is known to its members and staff as “The Greatest Senior Center on Earth.” It’s easy to see why. Donation-based lunches, free social services counselors, support groups, friendship groups, billiards, card-playing groups, baked goods Saturday, paid fitness classes, and on and on. This place has it all…including a SL alumni, Marc Blonstein, who has been religiously volunteering every Friday at the center for 8 years. #WeHeartMarc


After a fun lunch together, four long-time Granite Reef members got up on stage to share their experiences with us. While they were all wonderful, two of them really stole our hearts. Sandy, a beautiful, bubbly woman who proclaimed, “I am happy…so I am healthy!” Amazing.

Then there was Alice, a 100 yrs. young WWII Veteran. She and her husband met during the war and were married for 70 years. They were regulars at Granite Reef & had loads of friends there. After his passing, Alice continued to attend the center because, in her words, “I like to be around people that knew him.” Why hello tears. Where are my damn Kleenex?!

Our next stop was to the Family Advocacy Center, where I think it’s safe to say, we all struggled emotionally. There were a lot of teary eyes, which were a mixture of sadness and anger. Learning about human trafficking, sexual assaults, domestic violence, child predators, etc. within our community isn’t easy. However, knowing that we have a center embedded into the police department that serves to protect and comfort the victims of horrific crimes brings some peace.


We owe a huge thank you to the men and women who have the strength to help these victims day in and day out. It’s hard to even comprehend…yet they still managed to get us smiling and laughing.

Our last stop of the day would be at Scottsdale’s Adaptive Services Center. It was the burst of positive energy we needed. This program and its kids are incredible! Looking around the room, people were smiling ear to ear. There was a fun, playful vibe radiating all around. Claudia, a representative of STARS, shared how they help individuals with developmental and cognitive disabilities enter-into the workforce.


We played games together, visited the sensory room (a Scottsdale Leadership alumni PLIF project) and had ice cream from Leo’s Ice Cream Truck provided by Partners for Paiute.

All in all, Friday was an emotional, soul-filling day. Thank you to all the volunteers & speakers that gave up their time to help educate us about the needs within our community, the volunteer opportunities available, and the role that Scottsdale’s Human Services plays in it all.


I know without a doubt, you will be seeing some of our faces volunteering within the programs, financially contributing to the causes, and sharing our knowledge with those around us. You literally can’t go through this day without being changed…or carrying a wad of Kleenex.

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Healthcare Advancements Day

Austin Erwin, Nationwide InsuranceBy Austin Erwin
Nationwide Insurance

“It is for the younger people to meet the conditions of their generation in the way that appears to them to be wise and best.”   – William J. Mayo, 1929

Nearly a hundred years ago William J. Mayo said these words and today Scottsdale Leadership Class 33 were inspired by all we saw and learned during Healthcare Advancements Day.

A very appreciative thank you is extended from Class 33 to the leaders of Scottsdale HonorHealth and Mayo Clinic for hosting Class 33.  And special thanks to Todd Larson, Class 32 for his pivotal role with HonorHealth and making the day possible.

It was a full day. The mornings learning included training simulations, a tour of their trauma center and medical skills demonstration.  The afternoons learning included Mayo Clinic’s history and current focus, insight into the field of a Child Life Specialist and a talk on the use of Proton therapy in the treatment of cancer.

The day began with Gary Baker, Class 18 guiding our learning of HonorHealth’s commitment to the Scottsdale community as its largest employer and being a “Stand up to Cancer” champion with Major League Baseball.  We also learned that HonorHealth is known internationally for their pancreatic cancer research.

Our time with HonorHealth and Mayo Clinic staff provided a wealth of information and I will share a few notes that are only a fraction of the content that was covered but these elements impressed me most.


  1. Scottsdale HonorHealth’s Trauma Center Tour – Tina, HonorHealth

It was obvious to me that Tina loved her job. Her passion and humor elevated my experience beyond just the “facts” she was sharing. What also stood out is how fortunate the city of Scottsdale is to have HonorHealth’s Trauma center in the community. Some highlights of what I learned:

  • Only site in Arizona approved to be used by the POTUS should the need occur.
  • Is a Level 1 Trauma center – meaning the center can handle the worst of the worst scenarios
  • In the event of a code “Red” Trauma, 70 staffers are notified and are on call/notice
  • Center can treat 30 patients in 30 minutes
  • Center’s roof can accommodate three Apache helicopters


  1. Scottsdale Fire Department Training Simulation –  Rod & Steve, Scottsdale Fire Department

3.pngClass 33 was fortunate to hear from these two men from the Scottsdale Fire Department.  They conveyed real life scenarios in the field and demonstrated their knowledge. What was neat were the “life like” dummies that we got to practice on.  The 70’s TV show, Emergency came to mind. I’ve seen clearing an airway and inserting a breathing tube in the movies and on television, now I had the opportunity to practice on a simulated human.  Here were some highlights of what I learned:

  • Every fire truck has 2 EMT’s and 2 Paramedics on board
  • Protocol is for the SFD Paramedic and/or EMT to follow the injured through the whole event (from first encounter to hospital). The continuity of care minimizes errors in the transfer of vital information.
  • SFD is equipped to provide 30-45 minutes of the highest care possible (much like being in a hospital minus the large diagnostic equipment, e.g. MRI)
  • EMT training is a 7-hour course / Paramedic training requires 7 months or more and best do it while single!
  • New CPR best practices omits mouth to mouth. Chest compressions is paramount because if the blood isn’t circulating oxygenated blood is of no use.
  1. Simulation Lab – Scott, Lenore and Randy, HonorHealth

Wow. This was not what I expected.  The environment was made to simulate the elements of treating a soldier in battle conditions.  Everything from lighting and sound to the injuries the team were treating.  I’d compare it to a flight simulator where the Instructor throws curve balls at the pilot to hone their skill.  This was just like that, in this case Lenore was in the control booth adjusting the situation to test and train the team so when experienced for real they would be better equipped to handle the situation.  Here are some learnings:

  • HonorHealth has partnered with the US military and through the simulation lab environment has had positive and impactful consequences on the battlefield and they are receiving national attention for their approach
  • Simulation Lab started in 2010
  • Community reach has expanded greatly to Law Enforcement and other first responders
  • Lab hosts tours to many in the community. It was said last year there were over 3,000 encounters
  1. Mayo Clinic History & Future Plans –  Michelle Halvard, MD.

IMG_0366It was refreshing to hear from a medical professional when I wasn’t going through something with a friend or family member.  I appreciated Dr. Halyard’s candor as she shared some of the history of Mayo Clinic and their approach to medicine.  This was a great encounter and I came away with the following learnings:

  • The study and practice of medicine has changed remarkably in the last century with an increased use of technology and a team/collaborative approach
  • Mayo Clinic is committed to “patient care research” and the science of “health care delivery.’
  • Mayo Clinic received an $11 million grant for research in “patient care” and “health care delivery”
  • Approximately 100,000 patients are seen each year (close to 600 physicians employed) and Mayo Clinic is #11 in the nation and #1 in Arizona.
  • Medical School info as it pertains to Mayo Clinic
    • US News & World Reports ranks Mayo’s Medical School #6
    • Approximately 4,000 candidates apply to Mayo’s medical school and about 100 are accepted
    • Class size is kept small on purpose
    • Candidate credentials have never been more impressive – it is not like it used to be
  1. Mayo Partner Welcome – Rene Higgs, Class 31

Mayo Logo 2 (Color)Class 33 was given an overview of the Mayo Clinic and several fun facts about the organization from one of Scottsdale Leaderships own. A few takeaways I learned were:

  1. Child Life Specialist – Krystal Lamb, CCLS.

I had a lump in my throat as I listened to what Ms. Lamb had to share with the group. What she does for the children who are facing cancer treatment and their families is a blessing. If my child or friends’ child were facing cancer treatment, I would encourage them to seek the care of a Child Life Specialist.  This is not an easy job emotionally as you can imagine as outcomes are not always what we want. But if not for a Child Life Specialist to help, the experience a family who is facing these challenges would be much harder.  What I learned about the role is:

  • Role focuses on the Patient & Parent as each have different issues they face.
  • Adult needs: anxiety, retaining/understanding information, understanding side effects, past experiences, financial concerns, expected outcomes
  • Kiddo needs: acclimation of machines and tools, understanding information, identity, anxiety, past experiences, expectations.
  • Role is critical as they work to “normalize” the environment for kids who are encountering a very scary and uncertain series of events to bring about the best outcome of treatment (i.e. reduce a kiddos anxiety so they remain still and the treatment is successful)
  • Every kiddo receives a “Just Because Gift” on their last day of treatment
  • Lots of stifled tears in the room with this one
  1. Proton Therapy, Sameer Keole, MD.

Dr. Keole gets my vote for having a great bedside manner.  He had the class laughing and I do believe we learned something about the differences between a Proton and an X-ray. Read on if you forgot 🙂   Dr. Keole shared in a consumable way how cancer can be treated differently and how and why Proton therapy offers benefits that other forms of treatment do not have. Here is what I came away with:

  • Protons STOP, X-rays keep going (drop the mic . . .  the attendees will get this)
  • 1 in 3 will need radiation therapy
  • Linear accelerators deliver 99% of radiation whereas Proton therapy can focus doses thereby reducing collateral damage to healthy tissue and organs
  • Proton radiation approach reduces exposure 70% – 90%
  • Proton radiation therapy is useful 15% – 40% of the time
  • Oh, and Protons STOP, X-rays keep going… did I mention that?
  • Continued with good discussion on health care costs and contributing factors


  1. Project Lead it Forward – the “big reveal”

And before the day wrapped up there was the “big reveal.”  We all learned which PLIF team we were on.  And for the reminder of the day we performed a fun team building exercise and started thinking about what our teams wanted to do for their projects.  There was great energy in the room as we all started to gel and get to know one another better.

  1. Networking

And so, the day was nearly over. Deep breath.  It was after all a full day and thankfully it concluded with another form of team building at hotel Andaz.

I’ve lived in the area for nearly twenty-two years and never came across this resort in all my time.   Wow, it was a great setting for our 1st official networking event.

Kudos to Chad Arruda for finding this gem of a place, setting it up and treating to a glass.

It was a fantastic day and I am so appreciative of being in Scottsdale Leadership and having this experience/opportunity.

And once more, Class 33 thanks all who made the day possible!


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Scottsdale Leadership Welcomes Class 33!

Matthew White, MRA Associatesby Matthew White
MRA Associates

Wow, what a day! What a difference 12 hours makes.

I’ve been wondering about this day for a while; as I’m sure many of my classmates have been.  We’ve all been recommended by someone; a mentor, supervisor, or friend who thought enough of us to say, “You should take a leap and do this.” I got the sense as I walked about the Turquoise Room of Scottsdale Community College that we were all in a similar boat.  Everyone made polite conversation about the weather and the other typical fare of socially acceptable topics we all revert to with strangers.  All the while the thought in the back of everyone’s mind that danced on the edges of the conversations lingered: “Why are the alumni so jazzed about this program?”

IMG_2039President Haines of Scottsdale Community College (Shout out to the Artichokes for hosting us!) kicked us off with a discussion about what leadership looks like.  She revealed how the College is paving the way for education in the fast-changing world of technical skill development and workforce involvement.  Ernie Flores shared how Scottsdale Leadership changed his life and the friends that he has found in the organization.  Again, we’ve got another jazzed alumni up here so everyone’s looking around like “Ok – we’ll see how this goes.”

Gary Shapiro spoke to the group about the value of civil dialogue and the legacy of community leadership development programs.  It struck me as Gary spoke, how many leaders have gone before this generation and the benefits we enjoy from their legacy and sacrifice.  What sort of legacy will this group leave, I wondered?


Then it came time for our 90-Second-Commercials. . .

Everyone was nervous.  Even I got nervous, and I actually like public speaking.  Each time another name got called you could see on people’s faces half relief/half kicker-in-the-Superbowl-that-just-got-iced.

These were absolutely fantastic though.  Each class member did such a great job – with too many stand-out and thoughtful presentations to list or highlight just one.  All were powerful stories from so many different backgrounds: teachers, managers, entrepreneurs, dads, moms, volunteers, survivors.  There was also a suspiciously high concentration of people from Nebraska so more to come on that here on the blog.

Following our 90-second-commercials we dove into our EmerGenetics profiles and how we each function on a team based on our thinking preferences.  Dr. Merle Riepe did an incredible job of breaking down the various thinking preferences (analytical, conceptual, structural, social) and how they might approach situations differently.  One fun highlight of the afternoon was our travel planning in teams of different personality types.  Turns out the structured-thinking types didn’t consider drawing a picture and the conceptual types didn’t think to build a list.  But more profound than that he posed the following quote as part of his presentation:

“Thinkers think and doers do.  But until the thinkers do and the doers think, progress will be just another word in the already overburdened vocabulary by sense.” – Francois de La Rochefoucauld

I was dwelling on this quote through the afternoon and it occurred to me that the point isn’t for thinkers to do or visa-versa – our goal should be to partner across differences to accomplish something beyond any of our individual capabilities.  After listening to everyone’s stories in the 90-second commercials I thought “What better a group than this to build something with – leaning on all our diverse strengths?”

Pic 17

After lining everyone up across the various preference orders we broke for the evening and headed to the Welcome Reception at the Hotel Valley Ho (Love that place!!).  The evening was so well put together and well-attended by alumni and Scottsdale community leaders.  Mayor Jim Lane admonished the group on the impact to be had in Scottsdale and the shoes to fill of Scottsdale Leadership alumni which have made a lasting difference in the community.

There was a different vibe at the Welcome Reception.  People were more relaxed here – maybe it was the booze – actually, definitely the booze.  But I noticed something else here tonight – some sort of electricity – something dissimilar from this morning when we started out together.  People were enjoying their conversations; they were sharing their stories (the real stories not just what we occupy our days with), commiserating about 90-second-commercials, and laughing about shared experiences.  It was something you could get jazzed about – maybe even alumni-jazzed.

Looking around at this class it’s true that we’re all so different, but we have so much more in common than that which sets us apart.

Heading out towards the door I gave a stranger from this morning a hug.  As I turned for the exit I looked back up at them and saw a friend.

So look up Class 33.  Look up towards friendship.  Look up towards expectation.  Look up towards the future. . . and the future is very bright.

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Class 32 – Boom!

Erika Coombsby Erika Coombs

‘Twas the night before Graduation, when all through our houses,

Not a class member slept well with the excitement that sprouts,

PLIF projects and presentations were finalized with care,

In hopes Margaret, Lindsay, Michele, family and friends would be smiling as we share,

Music, pets, Arabian horses, PAL experiences and baseball fields,

Were parts of what we presented with our nerves concealed,

Class 32 created volunteer videos, welcoming areas, event experiences,

A museum exhibit, annual events while expanding networks and watching our cents,

Making the most of this year, class bonding and leadership in action,

All part of our impact while discovering many levels of satisfaction,

It was a labor of love as September through April flew by,

Adding 43 more graduates and with Class 32 now totaling 46 projects – oh my!

Cheers to the years to come and no sad feelings loom,

Because we are Class 32 – BOOM!


Project Lead it Forward – Class 32

Andrey’s Angels

Scottsdale Historical Society

Maricopa County Animal Shelter

PAL – Partners to Assist in Learning

Miracle League of Arizona

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Economic Vitality Day

C. Goodmanby Christine Goodman
Nationwide Insurance

Most of us have enjoyed Scottsdale Old Town tourist shops, waterfront restaurants, and breathtaking galleries. However, have you ever wondered how did this amazing town developed into a global tourist-seeking jewel in the desert? Scottsdale Leadership Class 32 got a unique opportunity to go behind the scenes and learn what drives Scottsdale’s economy and the key drivers that influence city development.


Our class met with an array of leaders to better understand economic development including the process, the people, policies and opportunities that must be in place for a city to succeed. Our day started with a tour of Old Town Scottsdale to learn new exciting development plans along the waterfront. We got a better understand of the city’s vision and the development projects underway near the downtown shops.

We later heard from several strategic development consultants about specific challenges the downtown and greater Scottsdale faces. There was no surprise that parking was one of the items on their list of challenges. One area we learned about is a new parking mobile app pilot underway to help locales and tourist find parking around the downtown area. That’s exciting and very much needed!


Later in the day, we learned about the national marketing efforts the city of Scottsdale implements to attract tourist and new permanent residency. Did you know there are colossal poster boards of Scottsdale placed in New York, Chicago, and a handful of other city’s? The effort Scottsdale makes to ensure planful economic growth is remarkable.

Economic Vitality Day was a complete success and Class 32 left feeling truly inspired and informed about our city’s development strategy.

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Arts Day Did Not Disappoint!

A. Diax-Mountford

By Alison Diaz-Mountford
State Farm Insurance

Arts Day did not disappoint!!!  We were introduced to a variety of artistic performances and exhibits and all learned about new ways to participate and support the arts in our community.  The objectives of the day were to:

  1. Gain knowledge and understanding of the diverse arts, culture, and resources Scottsdale has to offer
  2. Experience professional live performances
  3. Gain insight into how your involvement can contribute to the future of the arts in Scottsdale

Mission accomplished!   We began by getting some hands on experience by creating some art of our own that represented community.  The exercise really got the creative juices flowing!


The vocal performances by Marion, Shannon, and Tina (all alumni of Scottsdale Leadership) blew me away!  They were all wonderful and I was especially moved by Tina’s gospel solo.  So beautiful.  And, we all know Matt Healey can draw, but he shocked us all again when he revealed a surprise caricature of our very own Amir.

We were all invited to watch a performance from the cast of “In the Heights” that will be opening later this month.  It was really something to watch the actors transform on stage into the characters they play in the musical.


Listening to musicians play their instruments is such a wonderful way to experience art.  The performance by Ocotillo was wonderful and I know the crowd enjoyed hearing some familiar soundtracks.  I know it got me excited about the return of Game of Thrones!


We finished the day with a visit to SMOCA and discussing the business of the arts.  Who knew Scottsdale has so much to offer!


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