Scottsdale certainly had a different feel in 1990, the year of my participation in Scottsdale Leadership Class IV. But having lived in this beautiful city since the late 50’s, I have seen every decade bring more residents, business challenges, expanded government, school district growth, environmental concerns, increased needs for health and human services and an ever blossoming arts and cultural awareness.
What better forum to dig deeper and learn more about all of these issues, than Scottsdale Leadership? I still remember the excitement I felt when I found that I had been chosen to be a class member. I had read an article about the organization in the Scottsdale Daily Progress (our long gone hometown newspaper) and filled out the application. At the time, my job at APS had nothing to do with being community minded and I feared that if I was selected that I would not be able to get the time off to participate as Scottsdale Leadership held class every other Friday. But, as they say, all of that is history.
I credit Scottsdale Leadership with the beginning of my career change; APS certainly did support my membership (and many other employees thereafter) and I went on to become the Community Relations Manager. I just retired after a 31 year career with APS. Scottsdale Leadership was the perfect training ground for my new job and for getting involved in the community. I soaked up as much information as I could from each class day but more importantly, I learned so much from my fellow class members.
After graduating from Scottsdale Leadership I served two terms on its Board of Directors and was privileged to attend many National Leadership conferences. I was so proud to note that Scottsdale Leadership was always one of the best examples of what a leadership organization should be. In the early 90’s we were one of the first nationally to move away from training a hierarchical style of leadership and began to model servant leadership. This approach, which includes self discovery and a desire to serve others, certainly enhanced my growth as a leader.
Servant leadership was also alive and well on the board of Community Celebrating Diversity (CCD), where I had the pleasure of serving from 1998 – 2008. We took what started as a breakfast attended by about 35 people to what is now one of the premier events in Scottsdale honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Nearly all of the board members of this organization are Scottsdale Leadership graduates and I always list this as a proud community leadership accomplishment.
Congratulations to all of my fellow graduates and to a remarkable organization on this 25th anniversary. I will be forever grateful for the difference Scottsdale Leadership made in my life and the lives of so many others.
Scottsdale Leadership is celebrating 25 years of developing community leaders. NFL all-star Kurt Warner will serve as keynote speaker at its 25th Anniversary celebration event on April 14. A $25,000 Gift to the Community will be split between Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services (STARS) and Best Buddies Program in Scottsdale. Tickets and information available by calling 480-627-6710 or online at scottsdaleleadership.org.