Tag Archives: Arizona Leadership Program

The Opportunity to Lead is a Gift

Arizona LeadershipGenia Kehayes, Class 27
VP of Finance and Administration, Scottsdale CVB

The Class 27 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. Scottsdale Leadership is an Arizona Leadership Program.

“Leadership is a Gift of Opportunity”

Of all of the wonderful quotes we heard or developed in our class about community stewardship, this one really resonated with me.  I had never before thought of volunteering one’s time or leading a project group as an opportunity.  We are constantly pulled in many directions between work, family, hobbies, etc. and I began to wonder how I could fit community service (or community stewardship, as we referred to it) into an already busy lifestyle.  Thinking of stewardship as an opportunity gives a whole different perspective to spending one’s time addressing an issue, or “noticing an opportunity”.

The quote I opened with came from Mary King, one of the board members of Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services (S.T.A.R.S.).  We were treated to a site visit to learn more about this wonderful facility, which provides services for developmentally disabled adults in our community.  Ms. King founded a similar organization in California and talked to us about how she did it.

I found her presentation to be inspiring and reassuring.  She emphasized that in finding an opportunity to lead, one didn’t necessarily need special skills or a large list of wealthy, influential friends.  She talked about “using what you have”:  finding people to help you and keeping your mind on the people you’re serving.

Another concept we discussed was that stewardship entailed leaving a legacy for the future.  During our day, we visited the McDowell Mountain Preserve Gateway.  I am familiar with the Gateway because when the weather is cooler I enjoy light hiking there and I know that creation of the Preserve has taken decades.   After having participated in our class, I am even more in awe of the vision of those who got the ball rolling in creating the Preserve.  Clearly, a number of people saw an opportunity to create a lasting legacy for future generations.

During the day, we heard from community members who volunteered their time on local, regional and national issues.  Their discussions did not focus on the specifics of their work but rather, what community stewardship meant to them, why they got involved in the issues they represented, and how they fit it into their otherwise busy lives.  It was gratifying to learn that there are so many ways to serve the community.  There are social services programs we all are familiar with, but there are also opportunities in small neighborhoods, politics, the arts, etc.

There were some great takeaways regarding Community Stewardship that they shared:

  • “What you’ve done to help others can’t ever diminish in value.”
  • “Stewardship is part of your life.” (Not something to fit in)
  • “If you don’t love what you’re doing and the cause you’re working for, find another one.  There is plenty of opportunity to make a difference.”

Today was overwhelmingly inspirational and made me think of leadership and volunteering in a whole new way.  Now I want to know… Where do you lead in our community and what does community stewardship mean to you?

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Can You Still See The Box?

Arizona LeadershipBy Kim Hanna, Class 27
Economic Vitality, City of Scottsdale

The Class 27 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. Scottsdale Leadership is an Arizona Leadership Program.

The only box I see is the one the cupcakes were delivered in.

It seems like weekly I hear the phrase to be creative and “think outside the box”. Last week at Scottsdale Leadership orientation day we were told to “get outside the box.” I thought—OK, I can do that.  But, then it was followed up with, “…and if you can still SEE the box you’re still way too close to the box!” That was my first AH-HA moment!

During the day, one of the speakers, Ian Percy, shared his view on leadership.  He asked us if we were sucking energy or adding energy in situations and said in life there are infinite possibilities—focus on those, don’t focus on the problems. Problem solvers are maintenance people but leaders create a world that no one else sees.  He said they see things other people can’t see. About that time it was all I could do to contain myself.  At first I thought the word choice was funny.  Then I thought a little bit more and suddenly got inspired.

I thought…can you even imagine having to get up and turn the channel with a knob on a TV?  Talking on a phone that has to be hooked in to a wall?  Having to light a candle to see in the dark?  Looking back, those practices were normal and accepted. Then I thought…can you even imagine what it was like to be the person who was thinking so far outside the box that they imagined a TV remote, cordless phone and electricity?

Suddenly, my mind became flooded with possibilities.  If it is true that you only use 5 percent of your brain to make conscious decisions, what the heck are we doing with the other 95 percent?  Is the subconscious really the best place for that 95percent–I think not!

Then the big question: “What’s inside of you that hasn’t seen the light of day yet?”

My answer: “Ouch!  What am I waiting for?”

I continued to ponder over the next few days.  I reflected on a diversity training course I experienced a few years earlier.  At the end of the multi-day class, the instructors gave all of the class participants candy suckers—all of them were green.  I immediately thought to myself…yuk…I hate lime.  Much to my surprise, the green sucker was not lime; instead it was one of my favorite flavors…watermelon.  OH MY!  Didn’t anything sink in during the last couple of days?  That exercise demonstrated I still had preconceived notions.  Hopefully, I have grown over the past few years.  Let’s see what today brings with my new adventure with Scottsdale Leadership.

Our orientation day was sponsored by and hosted at Scottsdale Community College where we were able to tour various programs, including the culinary program and yes, Cupcakes were included.   

Share this if the only box you see is the one the cupcakes were delivered in.

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Scottsdale Leader Recognition

Rachel Brockway, Class 23
Scottsdale Leadership Marketing and Resource Development Manager

Scottsdale Leadership is now accepting nominations for the 13 Annual Spirit of Community Leadership Awards.
Nominations are open for the following:
Frank W. Hodges Alumni Achievement Award
Presented by Prestige Cleaners, this award commemorates Class I graduate, Frank Hodges, by recognizing an alumnus of Scottsdale Leadership who has made a significant and notable contribution to the community. Nominations are due September 7. Click here for nomination form.

Drinkwater Community Leadership Award
Presented by Merrill Lynch, the Drinkwater award commemorates former Scottsdale Mayor Herb Drinkwater’s commitment to Scottsdale. Nominees for this award are not alumni of Scottsdale Leadership, but rather those who have demonstrated outstanding community leadership and service. Nominations are due September 7. Click here for nomination form.

Corporate Leadership Award
Presented by Henkel Consumer Goods, Inc. This award honors a company that supports a philosophy and process for involving employees in community service, honors humanitarian values, and positively impacts the community through leadership and financial support. Nominations are due September 7. Click here for nomination form.

Youth Leadership Award
Presented by Scottsdale Active 20-30 Club & Foundation, this award honors a youth leader in their junior or senior year of high school. Nominees are leaders in their school, family, community and extracurricular activities. Nominations are due September 14.   Click here for nomination form.

Award recipients will be honored at Scottsdale Leadership’s 13 Annual Spirit of Community Leadership Awards Luncheon, on Dec. 14. For more information, call 480-627-6710 or visit scottsdaleleadership.org .

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Why I Joined, What I Learned, and What I’ll Do with It!

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.

I love to volunteer my time to help others and to encourage organizations and programs that are particular passions of mine.  I have never had a lot of time to volunteer…but I have always volunteered consistently with at least one organization at a time.  When you volunteer at the same place for any length of time, it seems a natural progression that you end up in a leadership position in that organization. Leadership is different than volunteering.  It involves helping others to reach their goals in supporting the organization and providing meaningful volunteer experiences for them that will also further the goals of the organization.

I also love Scottsdale. As a resident for 17 years (I am originally from Michigan) I have enjoyed all the wonderful things Scottsdale has to offer from the schools (my kids are all graduates of Chaparral High School) to the Preserve to the cultural life and much more. We live in a very special place and there is nowhere else I’d rather live.

The combination of these two loves led me to Scottsdale Leadership. It has proven to be a program where I have learned so much about our community and how it functions. I also learned how to improve my leadership skills so that I can be a guide to people who want to make our community even better.

Having lived here for such a long time, I thought I knew Scottsdale very well. I volunteered as a downtown Scottsdale Ambassador for a couple of years, so I certainly knew the downtown area well. I am a Realtor and I’ve heard so many of our city employees speak at meetings about the history of the city and issues such as transportation and development and zoning. But it turns out that I only knew a small slice of the challenges and opportunities that our citizens experience.

Scottsdale Leadership taught me about some incredible programs, many of them started by volunteers who saw a need and worked to fill it, that support our citizens who may need a leg up during difficult times. I learned about our city government and how it works: about the city council, the mayor and the commissions and staff that support them. I learned about the police and fire departments and what they do every day to protect us and keep us safe in our community. I will never look at their jobs the same again. A day at the state capital meeting our representatives was also a fantastic education.

I also learned in more detail about things that we just take for granted: The beautiful public art that is all around us and how it came to be; the cultural activities that are available year around to enhance our lives; the McDowell Sonoran Preserve that provides entertainment, beauty and education about our environment.

Through our Pay It Forward Project, I learned that an idea to better the community can be executed quickly and with great success by a dedicated team. Honestly, I was skeptical at first. But I saw not just my group but four other groups create and execute wonderful programs in just a few months that will continue to thrive in our community.

Mostly, learning about all these other things, I learned about what makes a good leader by being introduced to amazing leaders in our community, and through leadership classes that were built-in to the Scottsdale Leadership program. We heard the stories of these leaders and had opportunity to interact with them and ask questions. We were introduced to concepts about the responsibilities and expectations of leaders that have changed the way I think about my role as a leader in a non-profit organization.

So, the most difficult question to answer is: What will I do with this new knowledge? How will I use it to improve my community? I have renewed my commitment to the non-profit that has been my passion for a number of years by taking on some additional responsibilities. I am enthusiastic about supporting the Dream Fair project that our team created for at least the next year. I hope to continue to support Scottsdale Leadership in its goal to support and nurture more leaders.  I see clearly now that volunteers and visionaries make the lives of all those around them better and more meaningful.

What will you do with your knowledge and how will you use it to improve your community?

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Can you see the STARS in Scottsdale?

Teshara Boston, MBA
Scottsdale Leadership, Class 26

This last April, I had the pleasure of volunteering at the 39th Annual Fiesta de las Madrinas hosted by STARS – Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services. Fiesta de las Madrinas means “Party of the God Mothers.”

Since 1973, STARS has provided services for individuals with developmental and cognitive disabilities from Scottsdale and throughout the metro-Phoenix area. They serve nearly 200 people EVERY single day and host community workshops and provide social events for the participants and their families. The organization serves a range of ages from teens 15+ all the way up to the age of 75 year old individuals. Recently STARS had funding cut by the government but is still being mandated by law to provide the same level of services despite funding decreases.

Picture of the Wine Glass Markers the STARS participants created to raise funds for their organization.

Fiesta de las Madrinas is necessary to raise funds so that STARS can maintain the level of service they have to provide.  At the event several featured items that earned big returns are the wine glass markers that the participant’s hand made! Since they have some form of disability, the wine markers provided a great way to use the skills they have learned to make a beautiful, personalized message that just because they are handicapped, they are still talented and capable of great things!

This organization is one of personal importance to me. My mother was a teacher of the severe and profoundly handicapped at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Norfolk, VA. Growing up, I would go with her to work and at a very young age I had a compassion and understanding of the physical challenges handicapped persons can face. My mother taught me that patience and positive reinforcement is the key to being a change maker in the lives of those faced with physical and mental disabilities. I also have a cousin that was injured in a terrible car accident. I have seen the care and rehabilitation he has received over the past 10+ years bring him back to functioning and thriving status.

It is a special mission to uplift and encourage those that are not in main stream society. STARS’ mission is to improve the lives of individuals with developmental and cognitive disabilities. They also provide employment services and participants receive assessment, training and employment opportunities throughout the community. STARS provide businesses with product assembly, labeling, sorting, collating, packaging, disassembly, and kitting. Day programs, Creative Arts, Photography Program, and Music Therapy are also provided by STARS to encourage and promote social skills and creative thinking for participants. This assists in communication skills and gaining self-esteem, independence, and self-expression.

It was my pleasure to serve my community at this worthwhile and wonderful event. I am honored to have the opportunity to help the STARS organization in their mission to serve the Scottsdale and Phoenix-metro area.

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