Why I Joined, What I Learned, and What I’ll Do with It!

Sandy Adler, Class 26
Realtor, Arizona Best Real Estate

The Class 26 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s core program. The program informs, inspires and empowers leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community.

I love to volunteer my time to help others and to encourage organizations and programs that are particular passions of mine.  I have never had a lot of time to volunteer…but I have always volunteered consistently with at least one organization at a time.  When you volunteer at the same place for any length of time, it seems a natural progression that you end up in a leadership position in that organization. Leadership is different than volunteering.  It involves helping others to reach their goals in supporting the organization and providing meaningful volunteer experiences for them that will also further the goals of the organization.

I also love Scottsdale. As a resident for 17 years (I am originally from Michigan) I have enjoyed all the wonderful things Scottsdale has to offer from the schools (my kids are all graduates of Chaparral High School) to the Preserve to the cultural life and much more. We live in a very special place and there is nowhere else I’d rather live.

The combination of these two loves led me to Scottsdale Leadership. It has proven to be a program where I have learned so much about our community and how it functions. I also learned how to improve my leadership skills so that I can be a guide to people who want to make our community even better.

Having lived here for such a long time, I thought I knew Scottsdale very well. I volunteered as a downtown Scottsdale Ambassador for a couple of years, so I certainly knew the downtown area well. I am a Realtor and I’ve heard so many of our city employees speak at meetings about the history of the city and issues such as transportation and development and zoning. But it turns out that I only knew a small slice of the challenges and opportunities that our citizens experience.

Scottsdale Leadership taught me about some incredible programs, many of them started by volunteers who saw a need and worked to fill it, that support our citizens who may need a leg up during difficult times. I learned about our city government and how it works: about the city council, the mayor and the commissions and staff that support them. I learned about the police and fire departments and what they do every day to protect us and keep us safe in our community. I will never look at their jobs the same again. A day at the state capital meeting our representatives was also a fantastic education.

I also learned in more detail about things that we just take for granted: The beautiful public art that is all around us and how it came to be; the cultural activities that are available year around to enhance our lives; the McDowell Sonoran Preserve that provides entertainment, beauty and education about our environment.

Through our Pay It Forward Project, I learned that an idea to better the community can be executed quickly and with great success by a dedicated team. Honestly, I was skeptical at first. But I saw not just my group but four other groups create and execute wonderful programs in just a few months that will continue to thrive in our community.

Mostly, learning about all these other things, I learned about what makes a good leader by being introduced to amazing leaders in our community, and through leadership classes that were built-in to the Scottsdale Leadership program. We heard the stories of these leaders and had opportunity to interact with them and ask questions. We were introduced to concepts about the responsibilities and expectations of leaders that have changed the way I think about my role as a leader in a non-profit organization.

So, the most difficult question to answer is: What will I do with this new knowledge? How will I use it to improve my community? I have renewed my commitment to the non-profit that has been my passion for a number of years by taking on some additional responsibilities. I am enthusiastic about supporting the Dream Fair project that our team created for at least the next year. I hope to continue to support Scottsdale Leadership in its goal to support and nurture more leaders.  I see clearly now that volunteers and visionaries make the lives of all those around them better and more meaningful.

What will you do with your knowledge and how will you use it to improve your community?

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Filed under Alumni, Leadership

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