I Heart Scottsdale

Katherine Yu

Katherine Yu, Class 25 Class Blogger
Sr. Scientist – Henkel Consumer Goods Inc.

The Class 25 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s seventeen core program days.  The program informs, inspires and empowers leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community.

Like many Arizonans, I am not a native of Arizona. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas, went to college in California, and reluctantly followed my husband here when he found a job in Phoenix. Adjusting to the culture shock of the Southwest was hard at first. I felt like I had left my heart in San Francisco. But over the years, we’ve become more comfortable here in the Valley as we have built our careers, friendships, and family. Then I experienced History and Bus Tour Day in the Scottsdale Leadership Program and had a revelation. I’m falling in love with Scottsdale!

We started at the breathtaking Skyline Rooftop at the Hotel Valley Ho. We took an expert tour of downtown and learned about the Little Red Schoolhouse, where so much of Scottsdale’s history is housed. Then we headed north to Taliesen West and were graced by the presence of prominent architect Vern Swaback, who was a former apprentice and Director of Planning for Frank Lloyd Wright. We toured the immaculate grounds of the Four Seasons Resort, and ate lunch at the iconic Greasewood Flats. We saw handsome Arabian horses housed in a citadel at Los Cedros. Who knew? We experienced raw desert beauty at the McDowell Mountain Preserve. And finally we toured Scottsdale Stadium and the new Salt River Fields, all in the course of ONE day.

Along the bus route and as part of our “homework”, the class members shared tidbits about Scottsdale’s history taken from Joan Fudala’s book Historic Scottsdale: A Life from the Land. It was intriguing to learn that many of my classmates have lived in Scottsdale their whole lives. All could remember Scottsdale’s humble beginnings and incredible growth over the past few decades. One even water skied behind a pickup truck along the canals. I even had my own piece of history to share. I recalled Dial’s Center for Innovation (DCI), where I worked before Henkel relocated two miles up the road. DCI’s building existed for 32 years, was demolished, and replaced with what is now the Scottsdale Quarter.

Scottsdale is sophisticated, but wild at heart. It can give you refined art and architecture, but also sports, entertainment, and unparalleled beauty. There are numerous exciting and incomparable experiences in Scottsdale making my love affair with our city stronger everyday.

Why do you love Scottsdale?



Filed under Class, Community, Leadership

6 responses to “I Heart Scottsdale

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention I Heart Scottsdale | The Scottsdale Leader -- Topsy.com

  2. Glad to hear you are falling in love with Scottsdale. Scottsdale has great opportunities, for both residents and entrepreneurs. I even wrote a guide to convince people to start a business in Scottsdale. Hopefully your message of Scottsdale love will spread — who knows maybe we’ll see I LOVE Scottsdale t-shirts at all the major airports like those NYC tshirts.

  3. Suzanne

    Katherine — I have to admit that my experience in moving “way out west” was similar to yours. The culture shock was indeed shocking, but as my relationship with people developed, so did my sense of belonging. And I have to credit Scottsdale Leadership with helping establish some of those bonds.

  4. I moved here five years ago. Born and raised a northerner. I had the benefit of living in the south for 13 years, 8 years in Houston, Texas. Arizona is different and Scottsdale is very different. Different can be very good and odd at times. You can not come to Scottsdale and expect it to be the North, South or Midwest. Its Scottsdale. As a Black woman I am asked a lot why I live here. I love it. When I moved here I felt a freedom and an openness that I had not experienced anywhere else.
    I learned with Scottsdale Leadership that Scottsdale is the fifth whitest city in American. Yes it shows, Scottsdale still has a long way to go regarding diversity. But even that’s different in Scottsdale.
    In Scottsdale its more whites dealing with stereotypes of Black people because we are so few of us here and the fact is there is very little interaction. You cannot use rap videos as your guide. We are not a monolith. We have all, no matter what your race or ethnicity or place of origin, walked a different path to get to this day.
    So give the person standing in front of you the benefit unless and until they show you different.
    I love Scottsdale, have every since I moved here. I even blog about it. Smile

  5. Suzanne Paetzer

    Just love your articles Katherine! The Scottsdale Leadership experience is like none other…and it keeps getting better after you graduate!

  6. John Thomas

    Great article Katherine! You seem so comfortable here that I thought you might have been a fellow native. Maybe those in our Class 25 that didn’t get to go on the SRP helicopter tour would be interested in signing up for the Salt River Pima canal and water ski tour behind my pickup.

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