Daniel McCrobie
Salt River Project (SRP)

Wow…What a great last day!  It had seemed as if we had just gotten started with the program and had so much more to do.  Then, it was over.  The last class.  Our final time together wondering what was going to happen that day.  Our last time wondering if our cell-phone was going to ring and having to face the dreaded Moolah Mob and the inevitable fine that accompanied such an infraction.  Our last opportunity to network with someone new who walks in a totally different sphere of life than we do.

Was it over or was this just a beginning?  We spent some time during the day digging deeper into what being a leader really means.  Jay Scherotter took us through the evolution of leadership development from the initial production mentality through empowerment, focus on ‘principles and ethics’, and how ‘vision and strategy’ is the current norm.  We learned how powerful community engagement can be.  Todd Hornback explained how becoming a happier person is a direct correlation to becoming a better leader and showed us the power of positivity.

Margret Leichtfuss then explained the power of intention and gave us all an opportunity to exercise our personal commitment muscles by showing us what needed to be done within Scottsdale Leadership and how we could best commit to improving both ourselves and the organization.  Typical of Scottsdale Leadership, they set up something completely unexpected – a speed dating session for us to hear about the various board positions and volunteer opportunities.


Speed Dating to introduce board positions? What a great idea! 

The culmination of the day was a sharing circle where classmates were encouraged to self-report on the program.  I heard from my classmates that they became passionate, committed, learned new ideas, became more tolerant of others, and  how Scottsdale Leadership unlocked new opportunities.  This has been truly a transformational program in that the entire class has committed to helping out in their community and with non-profits.


‘We came here to serve, not be served’ is the background on the Scottsdale Leadership Facebook page.  When we first saw that it looked like a nice saying, but after going through the class we can now say that we embody that sentiment.

Thanks for everything, Scottsdale Leadership!  While we will miss going to class every other Friday, I think we are all looking forward to continuing the journey of servant leadership in new ways – Just watch and see what we are up to!



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Class 31 Looks “Beyond Scottsdale”

34-sean-ohara-finalBy Sean J. O’Hara
Kercsmar & Feltus PLLC

On March 10, 2017, Scottsdale Leadership Class 31 was hosted by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, learning about Scottsdale’s relationship with its neighbors.

Class 31 first heard from Experience Scottsdale’s Rachel Sacco, a woman whose mission is to sell Scottsdale (and the Valley as a whole) to the outside world.  Fortunately, she’s very good at the job.  Ms. Sacco explained the benefits she’s observed from working together with our surrounding communities to promote Arizona tourism and economic development.

The next presentation looked to Scottsdale’s east: the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, or SRP-MIC.  Former mayor and Scottsdale Leadership co-founder Sam Campana detailed the emerging partnership between Scottsdale and SRP-MIC, from disappointingly recent discrimination to today’s much more productive and mutually beneficial efforts.  SRP-MIC President Delbert Ray and Marketing Manager (and Class 30 alumna) Blessing McAnlis-Vasquez discussed the community’s unique challenges and advantages created by their close proximity to Scottsdale.  SRP-MIC works tirelessly to balance economic development with preserving the cultural heritage of the two resident tribes: the Akimel O’Odham (Pima) and Xalychidom Piipaash (Maricopa).


Before being treated to a “contemporary traditional” Pima and Maricopa lunch of pitted beef, squash and cheese, beans, and tortillas, Don Henninger moderated a panel discussion with surrounding communities’ elected leaders.  Paradise Valley Council Member (and Class 17 alumnus) Mark Stanton, Phoenix Vice Mayor Kate Gallego, Fountain Hills Council Member Cecil Yates, and SRP-MIC Vice President Martin Harvier engaged Class 31 with their perspectives on how their communities interact with Scottsdale, and how best the Valley’s communities can work together in the future.  Because so many economic development opportunities are regional, all panel members agreed that recent collaboration has paid dividends and will continue to do so.  Beyond economic development the panel was eager for increased cooperation on transit and other planning issues, and challenged Class 31 to push Scottsdale’s elected leaders to engage with the surrounding communities on those issues.

Following lunch, former Mesa mayor and current Valley Metro CEO Scott Smith gave an entertaining presentation outlining the history of transit in the Valley, recent achievements, current challenges, and an uncertain future. Class 31 responded with ideas about how Scottsdale can play a bigger role in the transit discussion and possible transit solutions for Scottsdale’s unique challenges.  Lisa White concluded the day’s theme with a discussion of Scottsdale’s sister city program and the benefits of international connectivity.

The English poet John Donne famously wrote, “No man is an island.”  No city is an island either, even a city as special as Scottsdale.  In the modern global economy, that’s never been more true, and Class 31 is poised to ensure Scottsdale can continue to grow its global presence through communication and collaboration with its closest neighbors.

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State Government Day leaves Class 31 with a sense of pride

33-nancy-neff-finalby Nancy Neff
Scottsdale Community College

Given the current political climate in our country and in Arizona, it was a good time for State Government Day to remind us all of our civic responsibility.

Our day began in the Historical Supreme Court, where the 1966 Miranda vs. Arizona case was tried, giving all criminal suspects in the United States the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney – you can probably recite the Miranda rights verbatim, or come pretty close, if you’ve watched any crime-related television over the last 50 years.

We had the chance to meet several local political heavyweights, including elected officials, state legislative staff, lobbyists and policy advisers. To a person, each of our guest speakers was enthusiastic, open, honest and even entertaining. What struck me the most is how each one conveyed how much they truly love what they do and how loyal they are to the citizens of Arizona. It gave me, and my fellow classmates, hope.


You can’t have State Government Day without at least a short lesson in Civics, so here goes:

  • There are three branches of government – Executive, Legislative and Judicial.
  • There are 90 members of the State Legislature – 60 in the House and 30 in the Senate.
  • Legislative power in Arizona does not reside solely with the Legislature – Our state constitution says the people have independent power.
  • There are about 24,000 existing state statutes.
  • When new bills are introduced (about 1,700 per year), the Arizona Legislative Council’s role is to review each bill and provide analysis on how the bill fits under the existing constitution and whether there are any potential legal issues.

The citizens of Arizona have ample opportunity and are encouraged to track new bills being introduced to become educated and prepared to share their opinion for or against the bill(s) with their elected representatives. There is one critical action that you must take in order to be able to make your voice heard, and it requires an in-person visit to the State Capitol. There is a bank of computers available for citizens to establish a “Request to Speak” account. Once you’ve created your RTS account in person, all of your other bill-tracking and engagement can be done online from any computer.

IMG_0042.JPGAnother critical piece of advice conveyed by more than one speaker was for citizens to know who their state and local representatives are, and to get to know them if at all possible. It’s not only important to know who they are, but also which committees they serve on so you can weigh in at critical times in the review process.

Representative Heather Carter (R-15) was very open about how effective it is for legislators to hear from constituents. She said, “Get to know your local representatives and share with them, not only your opinion, but also your areas of expertise, so that you are a resource if they need input on pending legislation.” Carter said she reached out on many occasions to a local Optometry expert when legislation was introduced that would greatly impact that profession.

The advice to get involved and have a voice was reiterated by Political Consultant Stan Barnes, who said “No one is in charge – this is Arizona and we are really open in self-government. Don’t wait for anyone to invite you or tell you it’s your turn. In Arizona, 80 percent of winning a seat in the legislature is being on the ballot.” Barnes should know – he was elected to the State House with little political experience at the age of 27.

Our final stop for the day was at the Arizona Supreme Court and you would have thought our class was a group of school children let loose on a playground. Heads turned in awe as we took in the dignified courtroom, with its wood columns and tasteful décor perfectly framing the seven chairs assigned to our Supreme Court Justices.


Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick was kind enough to take time out of his day to meet Scottsdale Leadership Class 31 and ensure us that we did “save the best for last” on our state government tour. Bolick and his colleagues hear about three dozen cases per year, including all death penalty cases, which they burrow into and look at every single word and exhibit, he said.

Bolick said, “I love the courts here. There is a tremendous degree of integrity, and that is not true across the country. Collegiality is a feature of our court. We don’t share the same judicial policy or politics, but we put our minds together to the best job we can.”

And, really, that’s all we, as citizens, can ask for.

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Scottsdale Leadership Arts Day with Class 31

30-daniel-mccrobieDaniel McCrobie
Salt River Project (SRP)

Arts in Scottsdale is so big, that it needs two days to see everything.  The class started out Thursday night for a walk along the Riverwalk to discover the public art on display. It was a fantastic night, a little chilly by Scottsdale standards but a great atmosphere for a stroll down the river where we saw different types of art. It is much more dramatic at night too, with additional shadows and lighting that really make for a great experience.

The next day the class did about everything in art – from music to improvisation to comedy to Tai Chi in the park. Our day chairs, Randy Nussbaum, Robert Leger and Rachelle Pierce threw the entire arts scene at our class so that we could learn about the different styles of art and even understand what art means to us, personally.

Here is just a small sample of what we experienced.  I got a henna tattoo, while learning about the art of henna and our artists who work in that medium:


We had lunch with a dragon:


And we built a techno song in the Brazilian style:


We were also treated to a race to see who was the fastest with chopsticks.  Eight different types of beans and seeds were put in paper plates and the object was to pick up at least one of each. It was definitely more difficult than it looked:


Classmates agreed that this was one of the best Leadership sessions that we had.  Class 31 is all about the interactivity during classes and this one really allowed personal exploration of all the different art mediums.

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Technology is Intimately Interwoven into our Lives

21-nancy-howeby Nancy Howe
Strong Cancer Recovery, a 501(c)3

Technology is intimately interwoven into our lives. Because our lives are so very different, I am certain that everyone in Class 31 came away from Technology Day with different insights into their particular relationships with devices, applications, and change.

To describe what happened to me, let me take a slight detour into Michael Lewis’ new book, The Undoing Project, which describes Danny Kahneman’s role in creating a revolution in psychology. Lewis includes a story about Kahneman’s approach to training Israeli farmers in the 1960s who were constantly faced with technological upheaval.*

“Reforms always create winners and losers,” Kahneman said, “and the losers will always fight harder than the winners.” Kahneman was convinced that rather than bullying or trying to sell people on a particular change, you were better off identifying the reasons for their resistance, and addressing those. “Imagine a plank held in place by a spring on either side of it,” Kahneman said to his students.  How do you move it? You can increase the force on one side of the plank, or you can reduce the force on the other side. In one case the overall tension is reduced, and in the other it is increased. To Kahneman, reducing the tension seemed the obvious choice: “Make it easy to change.”

That was the key insight that I had on Friday, and it was Dr. Elva Lin’s discussion that prompted me to recognize it. My French friend, who rents 3 Paris apartments she owns, is losing her income because AirBnB renters don’t have to meet the same legal requirements that she must meet. My friends who are taxi drivers in France, and who have always earned a decent income for their families, are unable to make ends meet as Uber drivers significantly reduce their customer base. My husband, who retired from a career as a photo-journalist for all the major newspapers in Chicago, watched with dismay and disbelief as the Chicago Sun-Times laid off its entire 30-person photo department and gave their reporters Iphones. His paper, the Chicago Tribune, which rivaled the New York Times 20 years ago, has spiraled downward as it lost its readership to become a terrible newspaper in every respect. Dr. Lin helped me see how I allowed all of these personal experiences with companies who are unable to adapt to lead me to “identify with the losers.” I was embroiled in digital Darwinism.

But as Dr. Lin walked us through Web 2.0 to Web 5.0, and gave examples of the advantages and marvels of what lies ahead, she opened my imagination to the transformative and liberating aspects of future innovations that are floating just over the horizon. Who can deny that millions of people will receive better healthcare, improved education, and greater safety from the technological innovations that loom just ahead? Dr. Lin reminded me of how many ways my life is improved — in fact, saved, if you consider my recovery from cancer — through technological change.

img_9915I know that Scottsdale Police Detective Tanya Corder’s presentation about social
networking and the vulnerability of children gave many Class 31 members more than any parent wants to know, even as they were grateful to the warnings Detective Corder offered.  Earlier in the day, I heard many colleagues talking with enthusiasm about the news from Steve Zylstra, who described the significant employment opportunities that are coming as high-tech companies discover the advantages of relocating and expanding their operations in Scottsdale and the Valley.

Each of us had our own take-away from the day, but I think it is safe to report that Technology Day touched each of us with a sense of immediacy and urgency about how we understand the changes that are coming and the role those changes will play in our lives.

* The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed Our Minds,” by Michael Lewis, Norton and Company, New York. 2017. Page 138-139.

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My Two Major Takeaways from Safe Communities Day


By Rich Campana
Great Hearts Academies

On this characteristically warm day in December, I found myself fully engaged throughout the Safe Communities Day. Our day was chaired by Jim Ford, Deputy Chief of Scottsdale Fire Department and Eric Williams, Lieutenant of Scottsdale Police Department Training Unit, but we met Assistant Chief Popp (SPD), Scottsdale SWAT and Negotiation Teams, Fire Chief Tom Shannon, Bob Dawson (SFD Fire Investigator), and a slew of other Fire and Police officers who graciously gave their Friday to help educate Class 31.

After eight jam-packed hours and being physically and emotionally exhausted, I wanted to focus on a couple areas where I find myself contemplating these issues for days after Safe Communities Day.

  1. The MILO Range Simulator

Walking in to a darkened room with video-projected targets on the wall, I was anxious to try my hand. At first you think that this “game” is about target practice, but when the “real-life” situations begin to unfold, your heart is racing, you’re talking / yelling at fake actors and for a moment you lose yourself in that moment.

In the debrief, you begin to understand the drastic ramifications that your split decisions or actions or misfires or non-actions can cause. You realize that in that 20 second experience where you may have shot and “killed” the perpetrator, that this will be analyzed in a court of law and you could be deemed hero or villain, when you (the police officer) was just reacting to the intense unfolding situation.

It definitely gave me a much better appreciation of the necessary training and made me more apathetic to the story behind these sensationalized stories on the news.

  1. Residential Sprinkler

Watching a side-by-side comparison of a 50 square foot room go up in flames – one equipped with one standard residential sprinkler and the other not was life changing. We watched as the ill-equipped house, at first slowly, and then raging, fire engulfed this room with no hesitation. Within two minutes every inch was ablaze and smoke billowing out until our fireman extinguished the flame. The next room was much more anti-climactic. A small trashcan fire started and within thirty seconds the small, but growing fire in the corner of the room was 99% extinguished and 100% contained by the sprinkler.

All newly constructed, modified, or renovated homes and business must be equipped with proper sprinkler systems. These are life-saving initiatives that Scottsdale has had in place for decades.

I want to again thank off of the Police and Fire officers for spending so much time on this day opening our eyes and helping make our community safer.


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Spirit of Community Leadership Awards Inspire Class 31

34-sean-ohara-finalBy Sean J. O’Hara
Kercsmar & Feltus PLLC

On December 2, 2016, Scottsdale Leadership Class 31 spent the day at the Phoenician Resort and received tremendous exposure to the past, present, and future of this amazing community.

The day began with a presentation by Scottsdale Leadership co-founder Gary Shapiro. Mr. Shapiro told the inspiring story of how Scottsdale Leadership came to be, and challenged Class 31 to continue the legacy by making their own mark on the world.

As compelling as Mr. Shapiro was, the highlight of the day was clearly the 17th Annual Spirit of Community Leadership Awards Luncheon. Class 31 had the privilege of lending a hand to the event—welcoming and registering guests, selling raffle tickets, and collecting food for the Vista Del Camino food bank. When that work was done, the class settled in to their seats to hear about the compelling achievements of the day’s honorees.


The first award of the luncheon was the Jenkins Youth Leadership Award.  Jordyn Blew received this honor for best exemplifying the values of former Scottsdale mayor and high school teacher Bill Jenkins.  Though just a high school student, Ms. Blew has been doing amazing work with the Tranquility Trail Animal Sanctuary.  She’s already a credit to our community and promises to contribute for years to come.

Dennis Robbins, Class 7, was honored with the Hodges Alumni Achievement Award.  Frank Hodges is a Class 1 alumnus and Scottsdale Leadership legend for his commitment to Scottsdale. Consistent with Mr. Hodges’s legacy, Mr. Robbins has worked hard throughout his life in government, corporate, and non-profit sectors, constantly striving to improve the quality of life for Scottsdale’s residents.

The luncheon closed with Todd Sadvary receiving the Drinkwater Community Leadership Award, given in honor of “Mr. Scottsdale” himself, Herb Drinkwater. Sadvary is currently CEO of HonorHealth and for the past three decades, he has tirelessly worked to improve community health.  Perhaps most importantly, he raised Class 31 member Chris Sadvary.

After hearing all of the honorees’ achievements, Class 31 returned to the classroom for a conflict resolution workshop led by Lynne Brown before hitting Old Town for a holiday pub crawl.  Inspired by greatness and equipped for the challenges ahead, Class 31 is eager to positively impact Scottsdale in their own way.

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