Category Archives: Class

Beyond Recycling – Sustainability Day Opens Our Eyes and Minds

33 Nancy Neff Final.jpgBy Nancy Neff
Scottsdale Community College

As Scottsdale Leadership Class 31 filed into the Scottsdale Public Library auditorium to kickoff Sustainability Day, I would venture to guess we were all feeling pretty confident in our day-to-day sustainability efforts. After all, we recycle, right?

Well, it quickly became apparent that there is far more to sustainability than our own individual efforts to separate paper, glass and plastic into the proper recycling barrels.

Thanks to Charlie Popeck, Class 27, president of Green Ideas Building Science Consultants, we learned that sustainability is a continuum driven by awareness, education and systems thinking. We also learned, much to our delight, that Arizona and the City of Scottsdale, are leaders in sustainability. Arizona established a U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) chapter in Scottsdale in 2002 and, in 2005, Scottsdale committed that all new city buildings would be built to a LEED Gold Standard.

Charlie pointed out the importance of considering the up-front costs associated with designing high-performance buildings, but also the need to think over the long term in order to protect our environment and meet the needs of future generations. Up-front costs for sustainable, or LEED certified buildings, might be higher, but most of those costs are recouped through energy savings over time.

Dorie Morales, publisher of Green Living AZ Magazine, takes sustainability personally and her family’s efforts can teach us all a few things about saving our environment. She has literally rid her home of toxic chemicals by being purposeful in purchasing organic and natural products for household cleaning, décor, hair/skin care and cooking.

green-livingDid you know that just by pouring a bit of vinegar into your washer’s fabric softener receptacle that you can eliminate the need for toxic dryer sheets? Did you know you can use cedar chips as a natural way to rid your home of scorpions? Thanks to Dorie, now you know.

What simple solutions are you doing, or what can you do to help save our environment for future generations? Or, maybe it’s something you can stop doing…like overseeding your lawn in the winter and using our precious water supply in order to have a green lawn all year round.

Even companies and buildings that have been here for years can change for the benefit of future generations. The General Dynamics building on McDowell Road and Granite Reef was designed and built in the 1950s. A major feature of the building was the lush green lawn that took up a span of space the size of three football fields – just think about the cost of not only watering the lawn in the heat of an Arizona summer, but also over seeding and watering in winter to keep it green.

Fortunately, LEED building is also applicable to existing buildings and a major effort by the General Dynamics Facilities Department was undertaken to transform “the football field” to a natural desert xeriscape that significantly saves water, energy and, ultimately, revenue that can be invested back into the business.

As we think about the future, you can take pride that the City of Scottsdale, in developing its new vision for General Plan 2035, that continuing to expand and enhance sustainability is a key mission. In fact, adoption of the latest energy and green building codes is going before the City Council on Nov. 28.

ken-singhClass 31 ended its Sustainability Day with a visit to a new venture by Ken Singh, owner of Singh Farms. The Singh family has purchased the closed Rio Salado Golf Course – 70 acres of plush land – with plans to transform the space for family use to unwind, relax and enjoy nature in a non-toxic environment. We can’t wait to see how it all comes about and look forward to another visit to the space in the future.

As leaders, what is your personal vision and mission for taking sustainability to the next level and leaving the planet in better condition for our future generations?

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Leadership Emerging

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By Nicole Cundiff
Colleen’s Dream Foundation

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead

Last week we put a bow on our Scottsdale Leadership experience. Our last class was filled with an in-depth look into not just our nine-month journey, but more importantly, into our future.

We began our day with a series of questions that required quite a bit of self-reflection.  We had to fill in the blank of various “I am” questions: “I am most resilient, hopeful and strong when I am __________.” These are questions that I wouldn’t normally evaluate, but I enjoyed taking the time to discover how I feel when I am at my best. This incredible exercise offered a deep look into our core values and challenged us to make life choices that directly or indirectly result in feeling resilient, hopeful and strong on a daily basis. We then used these values to help create a vision for our future.  We were tasked with writing letters to ourselves describing who we will be and what we will accomplish in a year from now. I loved this exercise because I am a big believer a manifestation.

When we open our letters in a year, I am excited to see how my life aligns with the vision I created last week. As a busy mom of three kids, I am work, yet fail, every day to create balance. I don’t want to miss any of their special moments, yet I have big dreams of my own. How do I achieve both? Well, the answer lies with defining my core values, making decisions that directly align with those values and setting the intention to make a difference. Sounds pretty easy, right? Probably not for someone like me, but I am up to the task and will let you know whether I was able to find balance next year.

What I found to be most powerful about the day was the push to get involved in the community and/or Scottsdale Leadership. From learning about what it means to be on a nonprofit board to speed-dating ways to get involved with Scottsdale Leadership, we were challenged to recognize the various needs in our community and to have the confidence to make it better. We have been blessed with an amazing experience and now we need to do something with it. We can’t just sit around and wait for someone to act on our behalf, but we have to be the change we want to see.

To round out the day, we had an amazing speaker discuss his leadership role in fighting for the legalization of marijuana after seeing the significant medical impact it has made in his daughter’s life. We were all in tears with his story and inspired by the action he has taken on her behalf. This is exactly the type of leader our world needs more of. We need to be bold, take risks, and most importantly, act!

Scottsdale Leadership has been a phenomenal experience. I have meet amazing people and learned quite a bit about myself and all of the amazing gems and resources that Scottsdale has to offer. I am sad to say goodbye to this experience and all my new friends, but I am so excited to see what everyone chooses to do with their experience!

Thank you to Margaret, Emily, Lindsay and so many others for making this such a meaningful year. You are making a huge impact in our community through this program and I am excited to utilize the tools you so graciously bestowed upon us.

Farewell, friends!

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Our Time to Lead

Hafer_Kevin (2)By Kevin Hafer
Henkel Consumer Goods, Inc.

After nearly 9 months of learning about the issues facing Scottsdale and about the amazing organizations that work everyday to make a positive impact on the community, on April 15th, it was time for Class 30 to present the results of the hard work the 4 teams put into their Lead it Forward projects.

Over the 5 months since our project teams were formed, the four Lead it Forward teams have dedicated thousands of volunteer hours into executing our team projects and the results of that hard work were on full display at the Lead it Forward showcase.

Here are some highlights from the four Lead it Forward project teams:

WildAbtWildlife-36Team WildThings – Partnered with Liberty Wildlife to throw the Wild about Wildlife Fun Fair, with the goal of increasing their community education outreach, increase donations, and increase volunteer opportunities for Liberty Wildlife as they get ready to move into a new facility later this year.  The results speak for themselves – the event attendance was up 10-fold over last year, generated over $20k in donations, and they set the stakeholder up for success in the future by creating a playbook for making it even a bigger success next year.  The judges also agreed as they selected this project as the winning project for Class 30 Lead it Forward.

IMG_8540Painting with the STARS –This team partnered with STARS (Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services) to create an art show fundraiser to help drive exposure and donations to support the STARS “Drawn Together” arts program.   As part of the art show, art work that was created by STARS Drawn Together participants was auctioned off and a community art piece was created.  The event was a huge success with over $11k in donations(which will allow them to add ceramics to the curriculum and upgrade their photography equipment), had over 200 attendees, and reached over15,000 people with the STARS message.

GiGi's Go GettersGiGi’s Go Getters – This team partnered with GiGi’s Playhouse, which is an achievement center for individuals with Down syndrome to help increase literacy, math skills, and motor skills.  This project team worked to create an outreach and networking event called “Passport to the Playhouse”, with the goal of spreading awareness of GiGi’s in the broader community, but also to help create a network among their partner organizations from across the valley.  More than 20 organizations attended the event, and they definitely got the word out as they reached over 7,000 potential clients with the GiGi’s Playhouse message, had over 110,000 touches with #GenerationG hashtag, and earned 2 media spots on Channel 3 news and 250+ shares on Facebook

Team BeyondTeam Beyond – This team partnered with an organization called Beyond Autism to help create a new campus for their students.  Beyond Autism is a school for children that are experiencing autism, and focuses not only on teaching academics, but also sometimes overlooked critical social and life skills.  Team Beyond worked to secure over $50k in donations and volunteered over 2,000 hours to transform the run-down yard of their new campus into a safe, soothing, and fun space for the students of Beyond-Autism to swing, play, swim, garden, and learn life skills.

Two members of the class have committed to becoming board members at their Lead it Forward partner organization, others have committed to helping their events next year, and a team has signed on to help with the next phase of their stakeholder’s project because they were so impacted by the mission of the organizations.

Since one of the key benefits and goals of Scottsdale Leadership is to help it’s participants to find their passion and get involved, the ongoing commitment demonstrated by the members of Class 30 is a reflection of the success of the Scottsdale Leadership program and specifically, the Lead it Forward project.

As our classmate JheniferShipe said on the night of the Lead it Forward event, “While this was competition, we are all the true winners because we got to partner with these incredible organizations to make a true and lasting positive impact on the community”.  I couldn’t say it better myself and have heard the same sentiments from many of my classmates.  Knowing that we have given our all in the service of others is an amazing feeling and is just the start of the impact that Class 30 will make on the community in the future, because, quite simply… Class 30 Rocks!

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Will the Scottsdale Brand Continue to Adapt and Stay Relevant?

Piltz_Amanda Sue CropBy Amanda Sue Briggs
Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors

Class 30 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program. The views expressed here represent those of class members and not those of Scottsdale Leadership.

“Scottsdale would not be Scottsdale without the surrounding Valley.” That was the overwhelming theme of Beyond Scottsdale City Limits Day, held at the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. However, as became apparent throughout the panels and discussions, some aspects of the City of Scottsdale have historically been more accepting of that fact than others.

IMG_8366The Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, led by Rachel Sacco since 1987, is an agency that helps promote the Scottsdale area as a premier tourist destination. But it wasn’t always that way. In fact, the first time the CVB suggested that multiple hotels partner with the CVB to promote Scottsdale – the destination – rather than the Scottsdale hotels, it wasn’t immediately a popular idea. But, as Ms. Sacco pointed out, “they have to come to Scottsdale first before they can book a night in a Scottsdale hotel.” That was over 20 years ago. Since then, hoteliers and resorts in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley have gladly voted to tax themselves in order to fund the CVB and its mission to promote the Scottsdale area as a premier tourist destination.

Collaboration is how the Scottsdale CVB found success when differentiating the Scottsdale area from its competitors, such as Palm Springs and even Phoenix/Tempe. “There is nothing more competitive than convincing people to come to your destination,” explained Ms. Sacco. It’s all about the brand of the destination – and the Scottsdale brand is one of the best in the world. Scottsdale only became that premier brand by its collaboration first with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa and Fort McDowell Indian Communities, then Paradise Valley in 1987, followed by Fountain Hills in 2000.

IMG_8383The tourism industry knows that Scottsdale would not be what it is today without the surrounding communities. And other cities often admit that they owe Scottsdale for some of their success. Gilbert, for example, which has passed Scottsdale in population, says that their town became “cool” because it’s “next to Scottsdale.” John Lewis, Mayor of Gilbert, said Scottsdale helps “open the door” to other Valley communities, which is a great thing for our entire region, because each community offers something unique and different.

But Scottsdale has not historically reciprocated that sense of community with our neighbors. Representatives from other neighboring communities spoke of Scottsdale’s “snobbish-ness”. They cited multiple cases, such as Scottsdale’s decision to look down its nose at the idea of connecting to nearby communities via mass transit, the fact that Scottsdale was the only city to decline the Phoenix Planning and Zoning Commission’s invite to work together, and Scottsdale’s inability to be “flexible when it comes to ideas about the future”.

Scott Smith, Interim CEO of Valley Metro, made the best case for why Scottsdale should change, be more cooperative with the region, and be more forward-thinking. One of the things keeping Scottsdale from doing things like light rail and other changes is the argument that Scottsdale has a brand to protect. The Scottsdale brand and its importance is undeniable: as Rachel Sacco from the CVB said, “it’s all about the brand”. But is keeping Scottsdale where it is – and being rigid and unaccepting of change – all for the sake of protecting its brand really the right answer?

Mr. Smith gave the example of Kodak, a company that vehemently protected its outdated brand in the midst of a changing industry. We all know what happened in Kodak’s case. Other companies chose instead to adapt their brands to stay relevant. Amazon, for example, began by only selling books, but adapted its business model to include a variety of products and consumer goods to meet the needs of its current customers as well as cultivate new ones. The result is a successful brand that is loved by fiercely loyal fans.

The Scottsdale brand is undeniably a successful and powerful image. Whether or not the brand will continue to adapt and stay relevant, well, I guess we’ll find out…

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What is Authentic Leadership?

Baker_Brant CropBy Brant Baker

Class 30 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program. The views expressed here represent those of class members and not those of Scottsdale Leadership.

Okay, while it’s true that it was the project planning day, the real heart of the matter had to do with authentic leadership.

What is authentic leadership?  It is leadership that stems from knowing and acting out of one’s values.  It is genuine, honest, and self-aware.  And because these things are in place, it can therefore be leadership willing to take risk, and therefore, leadership that is ultimately more effective.

All of this takes some hutzpah.  To start, not everyone will be comfortable gazing at their navels.  This kind of soul-searching can be challenging at best, painful at worst.  And it’s not just a one and done deal: the authentic leader commits to a lifetime of self-evaluation and self-improvement.

But in the end this self-discipline will yield its own fruit.  When a leader knows his or her purpose, when there is a consistent practice of one’s core values, when we are able to lead with both our head and our heart, then and perhaps only then will all things align for truly effective leadership.

IMG_7913True, authentic leadership was very much on display during the 16th Annual Spirit of Community Leadership Awards Luncheon.  When over 400 leaders gather in one place, the air is heavy with a perfume of possibility.  Inspirational stories, dating all the way back to the founding of Scottsdale, bear witness to the marvelous legacy of the four original SL founders.  Any community that invests so heavily in creating great leadership is bound to reap a great reward for generations to come.

Sheryl Sandberg has said that “True leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed.”  The idea here seems to be that authenticity is more important than perfection.  Do you agree?

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Ethics and Technology: A Leadership Dilemma

Mendoza_Hannellie NEW

By Hannellie Mendoza
Insight Direct USA, Inc

Class 30 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program. The views expressed here represent those of class members and not those of Scottsdale Leadership.

Technology Day would not be complete without a discussion of the current landscape and emerging trends.   Mobile apps, drones, wearables, self-driving cars, cloud, cyber security and IoT (Internet of Things) top the list of the latest and greatest in the tech world today.   All of these are fueled by information, OUR IMG_7726information, to enable these tech devices to be as useful as we expect them to be.   Technology has always consumed information or data for the longest time, but today’s demand for real time information to deliver more personalized functionalities require massive amounts of data to be processed.  Hence, the birth of the term “big data”.  Data streams at unprecedented speed from both structured and unstructured sources, from humans and machines at different times of the hour, day, week or month depending on what’s trending in different parts of the country and the world.   Our lives today are so intertwined with technology that it is unthinkable for anyone to be without their cell phones  for even five minutes!

TechAs people revel  in what these cool technologies can do,  businesses grapple with staying abreast of new technological developments to be competitive.  However, to succeed in this environment, not only do businesses  have to be competitive, they also have to constantly innovate, be a step ahead, even disrupt what is tried and true in favor of new models that reflect changing consumer behavior.  Behavior that, in the first place, was influenced by these rapidly changing technologies.  Are we then in a virtuous circle or a vicious circle?  We’re in both.  All these great tech developments come with both good and bad consequences, and, uncontrolled, will send humanity hurtling towards its own Digital Darwinism.

This is where ethics in technology leadership comes in.  We all know that whoever has information has  power.  Big Data presents both opportunities for improving our way of life and temptations to use this information for personal or business gain.  The Leadership dilemma  lies in three areas:

  • Use of information : Should there be boundaries around the use of big data and what will ensure a fair distribution of risks and benefits?
  • Social responsibility: The United Nations’ Nov 2015 survey shows that 54% of global households do not have internet access. Will we exacerbate the digital divide with decisions for consumer products, health products, etc.  determined based on those who have internet access or own digital devices?  Will it foster discrimination based on a company knowing too much personal information about us?
  • The end game: Convenience vs. the loss of privacy and security?  What are the trade-offs?

As we encourage our young people to embark on careers in technology, let us not forget to equip them with the moral fiber to make the right decisions and the hard decisions on how to use technology.  As Intelligent Devices start proliferating and gathering information all around us, it is imperative that we encourage technology leaders and us, Scottsdale Leadership Class 30, as leaders in our respective fields, to create and uphold ethical business practices to harmonize market trust and business success.

 

 

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Save some for me!

Hafer_Kevin (2)By Kevin Hafer
Henkel Consumer Goods, Inc.

Class 30 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program. The views expressed here represent those of class members and not those of Scottsdale Leadership.

What do you think of when you hear the word “sustainability”?  Do you think of melting ice caps, super storms, or other effects of climate change?  How about political fights on Capitol Hill about pipelines, drilling, and carbon taxes?  Or maybe you think of hippies drinking vegan smoothies in a straw bale house with a composting toilet?  The truth is all of these are just tiny parts of the overall conversation on the broader topic of sustainability.

IMG_7587While there are countless definitions of the meaning of sustainability, the most widely accepted one is from the Brundtland Commission, which defined it as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”  For our sustainability day, Day Chairs Thomas Williams, Jeffery Maas, and Charlie Popeck were able to develop a highly informative and engaging program that demonstrated exceptional real-life examples of organizations and businesses in Scottsdale that are thriving by embracing sustainability as a core value.

Throughout the day, we heard from representatives of international architectural firms, transportation companies, Scottsdale’s water and waste departments, sustainability consultants, SRP, CAP and solar distributors.  Each presenter had excellent examples of how their businesses and the community are seeing tangible economic, social, and environmental impacts by focusing on sustainability.

One statistic on the benefits of sustainability really brought it home for me:  Every year, the state of Georgia estimates that it spends $100 million to dispose of $300 million worth of recyclable materials.  That means if they could get their residents to participate in recycling their waste, there would be a net windfall of $200 million to the state!  This is an excellent example of what is possible by embracing sustainability – there is not only the potential for a huge economic impact, but also an environmental one.

Sustainability is not only focused on conservation of resources and environmental impacts, but it is equally focused on economic and social impacts as well.  This is called the Triple-Bottom Line, and for the companies and communities that have been most successful at developing sustainability initiatives, all three of these areas have to be addressed.

IMG_7632While the entire day was captivating, the highlight was the tour to Singh Farms.  It was a real treat to be able to walk through the gardens and to talk with Ken Singh for a couple of hours.  I was blown away to find out that when he started the farm in 2003, there wasn’t a single tree and the entire plot was caliche.  With the help of his sons and his skills at nurturing the land, he was able to turn that desolate plot into some of the most verdant gardens in the valley.  Today, his farm serves as a shining example of sustainability in action – by embracing natural processes and avoiding chemical fertilizers and pesticides, he is able to produce extremely high quality, nutritious food without degrading the land.

While the title of this class was sustainability, in truth, everything we’ve experienced so far in our short time in Scottsdale Leadership has been about sustainability.  The theme of each class has been about sustaining Scottsdale as an excellent community and place to live.  As we continue on this journey in Scottsdale Leadership, we are all searching for ways to become better leaders in life and in the community, with the ultimate goal of making a difference and leaving as much as possible for the next generation, which is truly sustainability in action.

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