Category Archives: Leadership

Leadership Emerging

Cundiff_Nicole NEW

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

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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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Stewardship: Sharing Our Talents for the Common Good

Mendoza_Hannellie NEWBy 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.

For someone who is not a native of Scottsdale, our Community Stewardship & History Day proved to be particularly fascinating, especially since history was not my favorite subject. Joan Fudala’s passionate account of Scottsdale’s history left me in awe and inspired by the dedication, vision and commitment of the men and women who turned a small agricultural town into the booming and bustling “metropolis” that we live in today.

Stewardship is defined as an ethic that embodies the responsible planning and management of resources. Throughout its history, Scottsdale has been fortunate to have had leaders that have been good stewards of their own resources as well as the resources they saw around them and selfless in their pursuit of community development and progress. What was notable was how these leaders built upon each opportunity to lay the foundation for Scottsdale’s eminence in the arts, tourism and environmental preservation.

IMG_7445What better way to tell the story of our western spirit and heritage than in the dramatic works of art featured in Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. Located in the center of the famed Scottsdale Arts District, it gives credence to Scottsdale’s slogan “The West’s Most Western Town”.  Not to be outdone is the Cattle Track Art Compound, tucked away in the residential area of McDonald Drive where we saw artists at work on fabulous pieces.  Janie Ellis, General Manager, took us back to the 1930’s not only with a moving account of her family’s history but also with a tour of her charming abode filled with old, western items that she has managed to turn into beautiful collectibles. With so much talent in our midst, no wonder Scottsdale has become one of the country’s centers for the arts, attracting thousands of visitors every year.

IMG_7463The class also toured three other tourist attractions and historic landmarks: the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park and the Scottsdale Stadium. These places are all remarkably managed and operated by countless volunteers who are passionate about their mission of preserving these historical treasures for us and future generations.

Passion and dedication once again took center stage as the volunteers of STARS (Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services) introduced us to the various programs that provide special needs individuals with opportunities to enjoy activities and develop skills they need to live normal, happy and productive lives.

What stood out for all the volunteers that spoke to us on this day was that they are all extremely talented individuals who strongly manifest four common qualities: a sense of ownership, a sense of responsibility, a sense of accountability and a sense pride in sharing their talents for the common good.  This is what makes for true stewardship.

“In this period of crisis today, it is important not to turn in on ourselves, burying our own talent, our spiritual, intellectual, and material riches, everything that the Lord has given us; but, rather to open ourselves, to be supportive, to be attentive to others. Set your stakes on great ideals, the ideals that enlarge the heart, the ideals of service that make your talents fruitful. Life is not given to us to be jealously guarded for ourselves, but is given to us so that we may give it in turn.”  (Pope Francis, April 24, 2013)

Which of your talents can you share for the greater good?

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Our call is to have the courage to do what is necessary

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.

To talk of education is to talk of tensions and competing demands.  Educational philosophies, political agendas, and funding challenges, mixed with student development, teacher standards, and standardized tests.  Sprinkle in economic development and labor force development, add a dash of visionary notions about the enterprise of education, and it’s no wonder so many people are overwhelmed by the conversation!

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Panel discussion on Arizona’s educational competitiveness (left to right): Moderator Jeff Winkler, Dr. Eric Meyer, Dr. Jan Gehler, Don Budinger, Sen. David Bradley, Lisa Graham Keegan, and Dr. David Garcia.

Our Youth & Education Day Chairs did a great job of presenting these various issues in education, and framing a large and complex topic.  Presentations on school choice, school funding, and Arizona competitiveness were interwoven with a number of interactive and intriguing class exercises, including one that had us wrestle as school board members with real-world issues.  The speakers and presenters were excellent, and as seems to be the norm for Scottsdale Leadership, I left intellectually and emotionally exhausted!

There is no question that society has come to place a lot of expectation on school outcomes.   Schools are often expected to be on the front lines of treatment for psychological disorders, drug and alcohol education, and a host of other important developmental milestones.  This despite the fact that only 12% of a child’s time is actually spent in the classroom (one of the most surprising and impactful statistics of the day).

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Amazing snacks provided by our host Rancho Solano Preparatory School helped us handle the full and demanding day!

Of course, funding is a mitigating factor in meeting the freighted educational agenda.  While many of the day’s speakers suggested that educational excellence can be found in any school, and at any level of financial support, it seems clear that sufficient and equitable funding is needed.  The formula for school funding in Arizona was developed over 30 years ago.  It is worth noting that enrollment in Arizona schools keeps growing, and so funding plans are almost never up to date with current realities.  It is also worth noting that Arizona schools have the lowest administrative cost in all fifty states.  Ultimately, investing in education really comes down to “pay now or pay later.”  According to Dr. David Peterson, the Arizona corrections budget is up 10% since 1981, while the state education budget is down by 13%.  We need to do better.

This sentiment was echoed in the closing remarks made by Scottsdale Leadership co-founder Gary Shapiro.  “As leaders,” he said, “our call is not to find what is equal, equitable, or adequate.  Rather, our call is to have the courage to do what is necessary.  

At the very least, that will mean setting aside some agendas in favor of a larger vision of collaboration between parents, districts, boards, businesses, and political leaders.  More proactively, the solution is for all of us to be involved in some way.  We can make the necessary investments (of both time and money), and reap all of the benefits of a well- educated citizenry, or we can pay later in the form of unemployment, drug use, and crowded prisons.  Again, only 12% of a young person’s time is spent in schools.  It is the work of the whole community to create social stability through impactful relationships and helping with extra-curricular activities (music, the arts, sports, service clubs, faith communities, and so forth).

How could you get involved?

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A Social Service Seed Has Been Planted in Each of Us

Chavez_Claudia CropBy Claudia Chavez
STARS

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.

“I am doing this because it’s personal” –Ted Taylor, Executive Director, Family Promise of Greater Phoenix

IMG_7349On September 25, 2015, Class XXX witnessed the collective efforts of Scottsdale Social Service Superheroes in action.  Their goal: create more effective organizations, build stronger communities, and promote equity and opportunity.  Day Chairs Justin Boyd and Lisa Randall kicked off our first topic day with an introduction to our host site – the Paiute Neighborhood Center (PNC).  PNC is a  unique community  resource in that serves as a hub to numerous collaborating agencies including a charter school (Hirsch Academy), Boys & Girls Club branch, a bike apprenticeship program (Handlebar Helpers) and a family center (Scottsdale Prevention Institute), just to name a few.

IMG_7314Throughout the day, although the details shared by each storyteller varied, a recurring theme surfaced – these are individuals invested in what they do because it resonates on a personal note.  Danny Gallegos, Recreation Coordinator, originally focused on the management of Scottsdale parks.  One day, he was asked to help with the operations of the Vista Del Camino food bank, but was unsure if he was the right man for the job.  Today, he lends a helping hand to hundreds of individuals and families in need – individuals that could be your neighbor or co-worker.  Ted Taylor, Executive Director of Family Promise of Greater Phoenix, is a former business owner, consultant and social entrepreneur.  Driven by personal values of inspiration, simplicity and purpose, today he helps find shelter for over 100 families a year, including their pets! Commander Aaron Minor, Kelly Wills (Crisis Intervention Specialist), and Police Detective Robert McCabe shared their struggles and successes in keeping Scottsdale citizens safe from criminal activity while simultaneously serving as pillars of support for them during times of crisis and death, through the efforts of the Family Advocacy Center.

The stories heard on this day are too many to share in a single blog entry – the impact that they will have on the individuals lucky enough to hear them is yet to be determined.  Hopefully, a social service seed has been planted in each of us.  How personally that seed resonates may help determine the beauty of its bloom.

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Look out – Class 29 is Leaving a Legacy!

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By Audrey Menard
Rancho Solano Preparatory School

Class 29 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.

Our last day of class began with all of us feeling a tug in our heart.  Class 29 has really grown together over the last nine months.  It was a bitter-sweet day for us all.

We began by reviewing the Positive Leadership curriculum.  Through a leadership journey that takes us through the components of authenticity, purpose, advocacy, resilience, community building, reason and gratitude, we are equipped with the qualities needed to make a difference in our Scottsdale community.  For further development, the book, Thanks:  How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier by Robert Emmons, was highly recommended.

From there we closed our eyes and reflected on the past nine months.  We thought about our Leadership Compass point, our purpose statements, the core curriculum, and the great impact that Scottsdale Leadership had on our lives.  We journaled and we shared.  The room was full of gratitude.  There was clearly a commitment to continue our shared passion for our community and find the best way for each of us to plug into Scottsdale. Kim Hanna, Class 27, shared numerous opportunities to connect just within Scottsdale Leadership.  What mattered most to us all?  What mattered for us was finding some place where we can serve and commit.

IMG_1589We interacted with a wonderful panel that shared best practices regarding participating on a non-profit board. That was very eye-opening, even for those of us that have served on boards. Eileen Rogers, Class 2, suggested subscribing to BoardSource which is full of professional materials for board edification and best practices.  She shared the four basic duties of obedience:  the duty of care; the duty of financial oversight; the duty of loyalty; and the duty of transparency.  After Class 29 had the opportunity to ask questions, the discussion topics became very broad.  We could have spent the whole day on board engagement alone.

IMG_6995Our attention, then, turned to the riveting story of JP Holyoak, Class 18, and his rise to having a medical marijuana empire here in the Valley.  Marijuana has made a significant difference in his daughter’s health and wellbeing.  However, his message was really about the fact that being a leader can be difficult.  When you are blazing a new path, you can get all kids of attacks and people attempting to thwart your every effort.  Leaders keep going.

After a lot of inspiration and development of our own personal commitment and intention, it was time for the infamous talking stick circle.  As the tissue box followed the talking stick around the circle, we shared tremendous memories, heartfelt thanks, admiration, commitment to remaining connected, and appreciation for Emily, Margaret, and Scottsdale Leadership.  This program as left an indelible stamp on all of our hearts and we are all better people because of this leadership program.  Look out! We will live up to our class name:  Class 29 – Leaving a Legacy!IMG_6980

 

 

 

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Informed and Involved

Mamerow_Adam CropBy Adam Mamerow
Wells Fargo

Class 29 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.

Did you know that the Miranda Rights case was decided right here is Arizona?  It’s true, and you can even see the actual judicial bench where the case was heard when you visit the Arizona Capitol MuseumIMG_6705In addition to the history and architecture of the museum and the Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, Class 29’s State Government Day was a great opportunity to get the basics (and some real specific details) regarding the three branches of the Arizona government.

Our State Government Day was filled with interesting people and facts.  As a brief overview: Mike Braun explained the process of a bill becoming a law.  On average approx. 1,700 bills are drafted each session and this is whittled down to approx. 300 actual laws.  Richard Stavneak provided an overview of the recently passed State budget.  Chris Herstam threw open the curtain on the politics with topics ranging from independents’ lack of voice in government to dark money influencing elections / policy.  IMG_6610My personal favorite part of the day was Marshall Trimble, Arizona’s official State Historian.  I am impressed with all of the facts, stories, and anecdotes regarding Arizona’s history.  (If I may recommend, as Arizonans we should all know the story of how Phoenix became the capital of AZ – the legend of “Kissing Jenny” and the glass eye was very interesting.)   Representative Eric Meyer told the class how he became involved in local politics specifically regarding education issues and that evolved into his eventual election.  IMG_6698Class 29 even had the opportunity to meet two Arizona Supreme Court Justices.

From my point of view, the major topic for the day was to get informed and get involved.  Mr. Herstam shared his thoughts about the four typical kinds of legislators: 1) those in the job because they care and want to solve problems; 2) those who are ideologically driven – supported heavily by their respective base; 3) the political animals or political ‘climbers;’ and 4) those who cannot get a job elsewhere.  Do you know who currently represents you at the city or state level?  Do you know which category of legislator they fit in?  The fact of the matter is that your representatives are making decisions that affect all of us on a daily basis – are you satisfied with these decisions and corresponding outcomes?  If not, your best course of action is to become informed, speak to your representatives, work on campaigns that align with your way of thinking, and if that does not work – Run for Office!

 

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