Category Archives: News

Make a Run for it! City Government

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.

It was another fascinating day for Scottsdale Leadership Class XXVI as we learned about how the city government operates from those that are doing the operating!  From Mayor Jim Lane to City Manager David Richert to Councilmen McCullough, Littlefield and Robbins we were impressed with lots of little details about how our city runs and what makes it tick.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • In our council management form of government there are six charter officers who all work independently but all serve under the direction of the city council.
  • The city council sets the policy and the city manager implements that policy and oversees delivery of services. Along with that, the city manager proposes the budget and the city council reviews and approves it.
  • The state mandates that the city have a general plan that is updated every 10 years. The general plan involves concepts about the character of the community, land use and quality of life. It must be voter approved.

Personally, I most enjoyed our interaction with the councilmen. I was impressed with their knowledge of the issues and their opinions. There is a lot of time and work involved in being fully informed.  They mentioned that council meetings are seen by many more people now that they are available on television (channel 11) and they all get emails from people who want to be heard on certain issues.

They all seemed to feel that because of technology it is easier for residents to be heard by the council. Speaking of technology, seeing the traffic control center was another highlight of the day. It was especially interesting because the Waste Management Phoenix Open was in full swing and traffic in the area was robust. I never had any idea that there were people watching our roads using 60 cameras around town and monitored in a room filled with screens of various intersections.

Of course, we were all encouraged to get involved in city government on some level either by running for office, becoming a member of a commission or working on someone’s campaign. Running for office is a time consuming and expensive undertaking (estimated cost is about $50,000) and I think we were all impressed with the commitment that it requires. If nothing else, this day enhanced my understanding that there are ways I can participate in our city government that I never considered.

What do you do to participate in making our city the best possible place to live, work and play?

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Civil Discourse? Where is your line?

Braden Love
Director IT Business Consulting, Scottsdale Insurance Company

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.

January 20th found Scottsdale Leadership Class 26 trekking to the outlands of Scottsdale and enjoying the hospitality of the Desert Foothills Family YMCA. Did you know that the #1 YMCA in the valley, serving 21,000 folks, was tucked away way up in northwest Scottsdale on 80 acres of Paradise Valley Community College land? I’ve been by 100 times and did not know.

Leadership Academy was in session. So far, the curriculum has been very engaging and this session, on Civil Discourse, was no different. I was impressed with all of the speakers as they were very articulate about the issue of civil discourse and the approach that they presented the information fit right along with the topic of the day. I also appreciated the diversity of the speakers on building partnerships as they were a good illustration of the different constituencies involved in community partnerships and had great insight as to how they can work. Interesting how good citizenship is good business isn’t it?

We’ve been spending a lot of time on Civil Discourse and it seems to really hit a nerve with a lot of people. To some it may sound like the foundation for respectful, constructive dialog and to others it may sound like impedance to robust debate and passionate advocacy. I think leaders are expected to exercise passionate advocacy and that a diversity of positions along with tension and competition between ideas is what makes a society healthy. But there is a line where I feel that competition becomes un-sportsman like.  For me it is defined by respect. But my line and my measurement of respect is my own.

How do you define and measure your line when it comes to civil discourse?

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Help Recruit Scottsdale’s Future Leaders and Win a Prize!

Scottsdale Leadership in now accepting applications for Class XXVII! We know alumni are the best resource for recruiting and that alumni love to win contests!

Do you know individuals who have the drive to become great community leaders? If so, please talk to them about Scottsdale Leadership and email their name, address, email and phone number to

Contest: If you refer a potential applicant to Scottsdale Leadership Class XXVII and they apply to the program you will be entered into a contest to win a two night stay that includes breakfast at the Embassy Suites Biltmore.

The Applicant’s Reception will be held March 21 at 5:30 p.m. at the Phoenician. Tickets are $25; dues-paid alumni are free. Please register by March 15 online or by calling 480-627-6710.

Applications post online February 1:

Give back. Make a difference. Leave a legacy.

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FootPRINTs in the Sands of Arizona

Eileen Rogers, Class 2
Principle, Allegra Marketing & Print

Allegra Marketing & Print has awarded $15,000 in marketing and print services to twenty AZ nonprofit organizations through our FootPRINT fund! Designed to assist AZ nonprofits “leave a lasting footprint” in the community, Allegra’s FootPRINT fund supports local nonprofits by providing marketing strategy and materials. Click here for the full press release here and list of recipients.

The FootPRINT fund project has been a rich and rewarding experience for Team Allegra. We have met many new friends who work tirelessly to make the world a better place. We have also had some thoughtful discussions internally about how each of us can live a life of meaning while creating a legacy (FootPRINTS!) for the future.

One of the phrases that kept popping up was “footprints on the sands of time.” Curious about the origin of the phrase, we did a bit of research and would like to share our findings with you here. The line is actually part of the poem A Psalm of Life written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The poem is a strong call to live life to its fullest and in so doing find your own “inner hero.”
     Lives of great men remind us
     We can make our lives sublime,
     And, departing, leave behind us
     Footprints on the sands of time.
The next stanza speaks to the importance of creating a personal legacy as a means to help others:
     Footprints, that perhaps another,
     Sailing o’er life’s solemn main
     A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
     Seeing, shall take heart again.
And finally, Longfellow ends with a strong call to action:
      Let us then, be up and doing,
     With a heart for any fate;
     Still achieving, still pursuing,
     Learn to labor, and to wait.

That final call to action…to be up and doing…to be willing to work hard…to be persistent…to be patient for the results – truly resonates, does it not?  It also serves as a great message of inspiration as we work together for social profit in 2012.

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2011 in review

The stats helpers prepared a 2011  blog report for Scottsdale Leadership.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,300 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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What is in the special sauce?

Braden Love, Class 26
Director IT Business Consulting, Scottsdale Insurance

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.

Another great day at Scottsdale Leadership was spent at the Coronado High School learning about the Scottsdale Unified School district. The coordination to pack in the star-studded speaker roll and tons of information in a short time was impressive. It was great to hear from the talented administration and a couple of smart students but I would have preferred to directly hear from a teacher.

What is the special sauce that makes SUSD excel above others? We heard about how great the school system is performing in a very challenging environment. The environment sounded, well… broken. Funding challenges abound. Equalization, a finance system older than a lot of Coronado alumni, the inability to move funds from one budget bucket to another, stagnate salaries and budgets.  Surely the special sauce is not money, look how well the team performs with what they have.

What is in that special sauce? Listening to the discussion about accountability and seeing the school professionals’ challenges and perceptions of what looked to me like chaos diminished my confidence in our policy makers. Another seemingly broken, or at least faltering, system. Not only do we have three definitions of successful but those definitions are changing like the seasons in New England. How’d you like it if that were your performance evaluation environment for your job?

If money is not the silver bullet for education and our policies on standards and performance create challenges more than they enable, then what are the ingredients for that special sauce? It must be another part of the system… Perhaps it is the community? The Administration? The kids? The parents?  The teachers?

What do you think is written on that recipe card? Please respond and let me know.

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How Important Is Art?

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.

Members of class XXVI spent a wonderful day learning about art in Scottsdale. Highlights included a tour of public art and in-depth discussion about the value of art in Scottsdale. In an economy where many people are struggling financially, is it appropriate to designate limited funds to support the arts when people have other needs that are more basic such as food, clothing and shelter?

I would argue that arts are important in any economy. I loved Mike Seiden’s opening comments when he quoted Dreiser who said, “Art is the stored honey of the soul.”  Supporting arts in Scottsdale is good for our souls and also good for our business.

Art is an important expression of who we are as a city. Why?

  • The public art pieces all around the city create a special environment here that residents enjoy every day.
  • The art all around us in our city is uplifting and encourages us to see our world as a place of beauty even when times might be tough for us individually.
  • The art in Scottsdale goes beyond just the specific pieces created by working artists.

There have been studies showing that exposure to art (music, visual art, creative arts) creates more compassion in people and increases intellectual ability. Many class members could share examples of how participating in the arts has enriched their lives. The Vietnamese children’s art that we viewed in the Young at Art gallery at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts clearly illustrated how visual art can provide cathartic release for people and tell important stories.

In addition to the intangible benefits of supporting the arts, there are important economic reasons for supporting them in Scottsdale. The city has been marketed as a place to find world class art experiences. The Scottsdale Visitor and Convention Bureau markets Scottsdale as a place to visit and do business. We learned that arts are a critically important piece of what they do and the art scene in Scottsdale has been recognized around the world for many years. The municipal art collection in Scottsdale was started in 1967 and today is comprised of hundreds of pieces.

So, what do you think?  Is Scottsdale doing the right thing by supporting the arts?

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