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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Scottsdale Arts Culture: More than Meets the Eye

Chernhoff_Betsy CropBy Betsy Chernoff

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.

If you were to have asked me before we started our Arts Day, “Does Scottsdale (or Arizona for that matter) have any artistic culture?” I would have easily responded with, “You mean, Wild West culture, right?” This is even coming from a Scottsdale native. So, sadly, I think this is often what most people think of when they hear “art, culture and Scottsdale,” all in the same sentence.IMG_3623

Scottsdale Leadership Class XXX got a rare opportunity to see just how diverse our arts culture truly is. To start our day, we were lucky enough to have Ocotillo (Cindy & Ro bert Leger) serenade us with everything from classical music to the Beatles.  They also took the time to answer any questions that we had, either about them or their musical aptitude. As they answered our questions, it was amazing to see just how passionate they were about music and how differently they developed that passion. Cindy came from a line of musical talent and she studied music. Robert was self-taught and came from a journalistic background. Regardless of their differences, both had a love for their music that was as easy to hear, as it was to see.

As we moved through our day, we got to listen to a panel speak about arts in Scottsdale and some of the debate that goes on. Our Moderator Robert Ledger led our panelists: Rusty Foley, Marcy Warner, Councilmember Kathy Littlefield and Lynn Trimble through difficult topics that our arts’ community is facing, like arts and their role in our children’s education.  It was clear, that every single person on this panel was fiercely dedicated to the arts and their role in our community.

Next we had the opportunity to see a live dance performance from Pilabolus. I must admit, dancing isn’t necessarily my favorite form of art, but this group immediately removed my apprehensions and made me an instant fan! Their dances got the entire crowd thinking, enjoying and feeling emotions, all from shaking their tale feathers. It was most certainly a site to enjoy and to watch.

IMG_3625Our final activity (and the one I most looked forward to) centered on Cosanti and the Poalo Soleri studio tour.  Seeing his artwork and understanding the man behind the ideas was a phenomenal treat for me. I’ve long been an admirer of his work, so this tour had a very special place in my heart. Getting the opportunity to learn about his residence and how he constructed the different, circular concrete structures, bells and other pieces of artwork were unbelievably fascinating. Getting the experience to see his work, his office and his personal swimming pool was also a unique experience that I will treasure. While I had some experience with Arcosanti before this visit, I quickly learned that Paolo had many unique ideas, and that Arcosanti was merely one of them. His belief in arcology (architecture and ecology) will continue to live on, thanks in part to Cosanti’s continuation of his bells.

Our day experiencing some of what Scottsdale has to offer us in art was educational, fun and beautiful. The opportunity to ask questions, dive further into the experiences and understand how our community plays a part in the continuation of arts in Scottsdale was something that the whole class seemed to take with them as the left for the day. It was truly something to be in awe of.

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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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