Discovering Your Sense of Place

Marita Ralston, Class 21
Advertising & Marketing Manager, Arizona Lottery

This blog is the second of a series exploring how and why history is important to contemporary leadership. Fudula is a class 9 graduate and a recipient of the 2002 Frank W. Hodges Alumni Achievement Award.

“Knowing what happened in the past, enables you to find a place for yourself here in the present.” – Joan Fudala

In a state full of people from other places, how do citizens find their “Sense of Place” and does that process differ from that of native residents?

Katherine Conrad, who has moved more than 20 times throughout her life, feels that everyone’s sense of place is influenced through their personal experiences. “I do not feel it is necessarily “roots driven” as much as it is experience driven.”

Conversely, Xavier Castro, a lifetime Arizona resident, says “The ‘native’ brings the history of the community into the equation. Sometimes the reasoning behind a decision or issue is not clear to those that are new to the community. This is where the ‘native’s’ tenure can help. It can also be a hindrance. The ‘native’ is not always open to new and fresh ideas.”

Myself, I’m a transplant. I grew up in Northern California and attended school in Southern California.  When I moved to Scottsdale after 9/11, I found it difficult to find a job and thus difficult to meet people.  After a few years, I’d settled into Arizona life, but still considered myself a Californian who just happened to live here.

Scottsdale Leadership changed all of that for me. I was lucky enough to be working for two Scottsdale Leadership graduates, Mark and Barb Stanton, who sponsored my attendance. The more I learned about the city, particularly its artistic history, a true love was born. FINALLY, I had found my place.

Whether a native or a transplant, how did you discover your sense of place?

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