We MUST take time to care for ourselves!

Cundiff_Nicole NEWBy Nicole Cundiff
Colleen’s Dream

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.

Thomas Edison said, “The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

Last Friday’s Health Care Day at the beautiful Shea Campus of HonorHealth was very interesting.  It was clear that the event Chairs put a lot of thought into our experience. Thank you, Lindsey, Alice and Maire!

Healthcare has become a polarizing issue in our country, so I will focus on the one thing that most of us can agree on: taking good care of our bodies results in not only a happier and healthier life, but, a thicker wallet!  No complaints here!

One of the primary messages of the day was how to improve our own health.  You would think a hospital would want us to get sick so they could treat us.  Wrong.  One of HonorHealth’s initiatives is to empower citizens to take better care of themselves!  In essence, they don’t want us to have to visit their hospital and the culture they are creating in this regard is pretty great.  Not only is the patient at the center of everything they do, but they want to decrease the amount of time a patient spends in their hospital.  Annual check ups with a primary care physician are a primary factor in realizing this goal.  To this end, HonorHealth is vertically integrating health care and creating a system where a patient’s care is covered on every end of the spectrum from the primary care physician to hospice.  They are not only increasing collaboration and improving communication, but also helping the patients to empower themselves.  In this spirit, HonorHealth offers a Body, Mind and Spirit Program to any patient who has been diagnosed with cancer, even if they haven’t been treated by the Virginia Piper Cancer Center.  This is the type of forward thinking that has helped HonorHealth to become a “top 100 large hospital in the USA.”

Throughout the day, we discussed everything from improving our nutrition to getting enough exercise. In order to live healthier lives, one of our speakers referred to the Blue Zones, which are places in the world where people are living longer than anyone else on the planet.  For example, “people on a tiny Aegean island live eight years longer than Americans do. They experience 20% less cancer, half the rate of heart disease, and almost no dementia.”  What are they doing differently?  According to my good friend, Wikipedia, people living in Blue Zones share the following characteristics:

  • Family – put ahead of other concerns
  • Less smoking
  • Semi-vegetarianism – except for the Sardinian diet, the majority of food consumed is derived from plants
  • Constant moderate physical activity – an inseparable part of life
  • Social engagement – people of all ages are socially active and integrated into their communities
  • Legumes – commonly consumed

IMG_8043For some reason, Americans seem to have a tough time with these.  Why do you think that is?  It seems so simple.  All I can think is that we are all too engaged in the hustle and bustle of moving up the corporate ladder while trying to also take care of our families, all with a smartphone in our hand.  Rarely do we take the time to disconnect and focus on the people sitting right in front of us.  The end result is not only hurting our relationships, but our bodies pay the ultimate price.  We do not take time to take care of ourselves.  Workouts are skipped, or non-existent, and running through the fast food drive thru to feed our family can become routine.  This has to stop!  It’s time to be kind and respectful to our bodies!  Our long-term health, and that of our spouses and children depend on it!

All in all, I think the messages we heard from the various speakers incorporated the Blue Zone characteristics in one way or another.  HonorHealth has metrics showing the longevity of remission for cancer survivors who participate in their support groups and services versus those who don’t.  Having a community of people to support you, in addition to eating well and engaging in physical activity, helps to reduce stress, which in turn reduces inflammation (a suspected precursor to cancer).

IMG_8047Speaking of cancer, the talk by Dr. Northfelt, a breast cancer oncologist from Mayo Clinic Arizona, really hit home for me.   I lost my mom to ovarian cancer and I have dedicated my life to finding an early detection tool (there isn’t one – know the signs, ladies!) so my ears really perked up during this segment.  I loved hearing about the Mayo Clinic’s and HonorHealth’s focus on finding an early detection tool for cancers that don’t have one.  The research in this realm is fascinating and we are fortunate to live in a place that houses institutions that are at the forefront of cancer research.  Many amazing discoveries have come from TGEN, Mayo Clinic, and HonorHealth.  Right now, these institutions are working hard to break down our cells (DNA/RNA) to a molecular level in an effort to detect cancer when it is most treatable.  There are so many molecules in the human body and they are sifting through them all in order to save lives!  In my opinion, the cancers that desperately need an early detection tool right now are pancreatic, lung and ovarian cancer.  These diseases are rarely caught early so the mortality rates are staggeringly high.  While there is a lot of work to be done to cure cancer in general, prevention and early detection are our best tools we have in the fight.

We are very blessed to live in a city that not only has such outstanding health care choices, but world class research happening.  As we move about our daily lives, I hope we take Friday’s key messages with us and make better decisions in our lives so that Scottsdale can add “Blue Zone” to its amazing list of health care accolades!

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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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Heroes Among Us

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.

On December 4th, Class 30 had the pleasure of participating in the Public Safety Day.  Class was held at the Police and Fire training facility, which is visible to the north of the 202.  I mention that because for years, I’ve seen the facility and always wondered what they did there.  I’m glad to report that it did not disappoint!

We started the day with a captivating department overview by Assistant Police Chief Walther on some of the unique challenges that the Scottsdale Police Department encounters.  For instance, did you know that every year, Scottsdale has 9.2 MILLION visitors?  Anyone who commutes on the 101 from January through April is probably not surprised to learn this… but the local police department is responsible for keeping that large amount of people safe with about 400 officers.  This challenge has turned the Scottsdale PD into the special event specialists for the entire southwest, which is something they take a lot of pride in, for good reason.

Throughout Assistant Chief Walther’s talk, you really got the sense of what the Scottsdale PD is all about – service and community engagement.  They truly pride themselves on providing excellent community service and are an organization that all Scottsdale residents can truly be proud of.

12316479_10153693597146772_477518471832770252_nNext up, we had the opportunity to meet Havoc, who is an explosives-sniffing K9, got to check out the SWAT team’s equipment and learn about their extremely gutsy role in the department, and finally got to experience the police MILO training simulator.  If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, you should figure out a way to experience this (or apply for Class 31…).  It puts you in the shoes of the police officers as you go through a very realistic game of “what would you do”, which definitely gets the blood flowing!  Being able to experience “real world” situations that our police officers encounter is really powerful and will definitely give you more of an appreciation for the job that our police officers do on a daily basis.

Not to be outdone by their rivals in the Police Department, the Fire Department was up next and had put together an exciting and engaging program themselves.  Although they have a friendly competition with their friends in the Police Department, the Fire Department also faces many of the same challenges as the PD.  As with the police, the Fire Department is also responsible for the safety of the residents of Scottsdale and the millions of visitors we receive every year.  One of the most powerful tools that they use to accomplish this is with an aggressive fire code on buildings.  Scottsdale was one of the first communities in the country to require all buildings to have fire sprinklers, which is a very powerful weapon for saving lives and reducing loss.  As with the Police Department, Scottsdale Fire is also very engaged with the community and puts customer service as a top priority.

12310642_10153699467801772_1230776208584767532_nFor our hands-on demonstrations, we got to put on the full firefighting gear, at which point we were very grateful that we were doing this in early December.  In full gear, we then had to find a baby in a blacked out room and take target practice with the fire hoses.  We also got to go up in the ladder to about 100ft, which was definitely challenging for those of us in the class with a fear of heights, but it was worth it to experience what that vehicle is capable of.

As with every class so far, we definitely came away with new learnings and new perspectives on our Scottsdale Police and Fire Departments and the issues they face.  We in the Scottsdale community are truly lucky to have such world-class organizations looking out for us.  The men and women of these departments are truly heroes among us.

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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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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!


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).

Education 2

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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