Tag Archives: arizona leadership programs

Social Services in Scottsdale

By Chris Rivera, Class 26
Project Manager, DMB Associates

The City of Scottsdale’s two senior centers, Granite Reef and Via Linda, are described on the city’s website as an “integrated system of services, resources and opportunities to help people improve their lives, neighborhoods and community through recreation, social services and health and wellness services.” I recently had the opportunity to volunteer at Granite Reef Senior Center and was amazed by the breadth of its services.

The Granite Reef Senior Center’s goal is to provide avenues of connection through the diverse services, groups, and activities they operate as an all‐inclusive conduit for senior adults in the south Scottsdale community. Judging by the variety of food programs available to seniors at the center or through ancillary social services programs, it is clear that the city is committed to providing nutritious meals to seniors in a setting that is most comfortable to them. The programs include bread distribution, home delivered meals, congregate meals, and the ability to pick‐up bagged groceries one day a week. I participated in the grocery bag program, called Scottsdale Brown Bag Gleaners, and in Granite Reef’s lunch time food program.

The Scottsdale Brown Bag Gleaners program runs every Thursday year‐round with the exception of July and August. I met up with other volunteers at the Via Linda Senior Center to pack brown bags full of groceries delivered by truck via St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix. The mix of volunteers ranged from young to mature, some of whom were volunteering so that they could receive a bag of groceries for their efforts. I was struck by how organized the process was and the anticipation of what type of food that would be delivered that day. I was told that on good days the bags will be overflowing with fresh vegetables, bread and canned goods. The day I was there the selection seemed to fall somewhere in the middle. As I packed groceries I imagined the seniors who would receive them and hoped that some of the goodies would bring a smile to their faces. When all of the bags were packed we drove over to the Granite Reef Center to unload and distribute the bags of groceries. It happened to be raining that morning and business was slow because many of the seniors at the center do not have cars. I thoroughly enjoyed my morning with the staff and the other volunteers. I met some interesting new people and hopefully contributed to making someone’s day a little bit better.

I also helped set‐up, serve, and clean‐up during the congregate meal at the Granite Reef Center. The Tempe Community Action Agency provides a hot nutritious meal at the Center Monday through Friday.  The lunch service was also very organized and several volunteers work during lunch every day. I chatted with some of the seniors about their day and their experiences at the center. I struck up a conversation with “June” who was looking at travel books while she was waiting for lunch to be served. I learned that she walks three miles to the center every day so that she can use the library, eat lunch, and catch‐up with her friends. This is especially significant considering that she had little use of one leg and required the use of a modified cane that looked a bit like a crutch. As the volunteers cleaned up the tables, June blushed when I came to her table because she was embarrassed about how much she was eating. Leftovers were available that day and she was taking full advantage of that. We both laughed and I could see that she was happy to be having a big meal. I enjoyed volunteering during the lunch service and hope to return and get to know some of the other regulars at the center.

I also spent some time talking to Tim Miluk, Human Services Manager at the Granite Reef Senior Center. Tim gave me a tour of the center and explained some of the programming available to the seniors. It was clear that there are many additional services Tim would like to offer if funds existed. Community leaders could make a big impact by offering pro‐bono professional services such as legal advice, estate planning/will preparation, technology consulting, etc. Some of these services are available at the center in a limited manner, but they could definitely benefit from additional resources.


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The Power of Seven

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.

What an exciting and proud day it was for Class XXVI as we presented our five projects to a panel of judges and visitors at Scottsdale Public Library. As I reflect on the day, I realize that the creation, execution and presentation of the projects embody all that Scottsdale Leadership strives to be. The projects are designed to be sustainable, long and evolving non-profit programs to strengthen our community.

The projects all started with this question: Where is there a need in our community that is not being addressed adequately? The teams researched the benefits of their projects to confirm that a need was really there and then divided responsibilities to complete their projects based on talents, experience and sharing. Team management was part of the learning experience for the participants. Working on the team created stronger bonds between team members and we got to know each other better and appreciate each other as individuals more.

The projects showed us that we could start with an idea and make something happen, even in a short span of time, that makes a difference in the lives of people.

They showed the community stakeholders a valuable side of Scottsdale Leadership. Scottsdale Leadership and its mission were at the forefront of the projects. The mission is to inform, inspire, and empower leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community. The projects were an opportunity for the class members to put into practice some of the things we were learning from our inspirational classes and speakers each week. They were a natural segue from listening to doing.

The presentations forced us to evaluate what we had done and make it understandable to others. I think we also all enjoyed seeing what each team had done. There was a feeling of pride in all of our accomplishments .

What do you think was a positive impact of your involvement in Project Pay It Forward?

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Civil Discourse? Where is your line?

Braden Love
Director IT Business Consulting, Scottsdale Insurance Company

The Class 26 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s core program. The program informs, inspires and empowers leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community.

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

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

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

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

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Interfaith Movement – Peace and Harmony as Everyday Thought

Major Gifts Officer, Mayo Clinic

While Arizona is known for our sunshine and golf, we are sadly not known as one of the first states to observe the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. As a longtime Arizona resident, I remember the arguments from both sides about whether we should observe this day in Rev. Dr. King’s honor, which is why it was an honor for me to attend the 25th Anniversary of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Interfaith Prayer Breakfast on March 11th and hear from the advocates for this holiday.

The most enlightening portion of the morning was the “Prayers for God’s People.” This set the tone for a morning advocating understanding, peace and love through communication and education. Dr. Paul Eppinger called on different religious leaders to say a prayer. We heard a beautiful Muslim prayer that sounds more like a song, Hindu and Christian prayers, a spiritual song for the people of Haiti. It’s amazing to me that while all the prayers that were said were about love and honoring a higher power we have a few extremists whose actions have caused religious wars throughout the years and through the lands.

Rev. Warren Stewart, senior pastor at First Institutional Baptist Church, presented a powerful message focused on justice and righteousness, inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr. In a world that seems determined to use violent force to make our opinions known, it is good to hear about impactful people, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., who centered their fight around love and non-violent resistance. He wanted the civil rights movement to be fought in the spiritual world and through prayer, as opposed to violence, anger and fear. Through his mission of “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” he proved himself to be a man who represents love and peace.

Dr. Stewart took us through Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Prayer and Action, which asks for prayer for God’s help and guidance, and racial and economic justice. Dr. Stewart asked that the members of the audience add to the list with a few more things that may be worthy of prayers and thoughts, such as praying for revolutionary love for all human beings, which has the greatest power to transform. He had us think about praying for peace and an end to violence. He assumed most of us would not shoot someone out of anger, but we do express or dwell on our hatred of that person, which also expels negativity into the universe. Lastly, he had us think about praying for just immigration reform, remembering that our ancestors were also immigrants.

While I’m not religious in a conventional way, I do consider myself spiritual. This may be why I think it is so wonderful we have Dr. Eppinger leading the Interfaith Movement. So much more can be accomplished by having a diverse group of people gather to create peace and understanding through education. This would be an event King Jr. would be proud to attach his name to.

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By Patti Counce
Scottsdale Leadership Class XVII

I am the mom of a young teen and I often wonder, worry and contemplate my son’s future; probably like most moms. I have moments when I think wow, he’s so awesome and is going to shake up the world! To OMG, what is going to happen to him? I am not talking about basic values, beliefs and purpose…those have been drilled into him since birth. I know he will always be a good person and he generally makes good choices when given the options. But what I wonder is how committed he will be to our community, helping others and making this world a better place?

Sure he’s in a great middle school, he’s in boy scout troop 616, involved in a stellar football organization, the Argonauts, and he’s in a Christian Youth group at St. Anthony. All of the above have amazing coaches and mentors that are teaching him about himself and about life. But what else can I do? See the following article, http://ianrnews.unl.edu/static/1003120.shtml, about a program that hits the mark for me… although it’s not exactly convenient to Scottsdale.

Let me know what you think or if we have something similar close to home that I need to check out.

I’ll take all the help I can get!

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Turtle Leadership

2009 Scottsdale Leadership Class Reporter

The Scottsdale Leadership Experience
This is the 10th of a 17 article series recapping Scottsdale Leadership’s nine-month Core Program. The program educates, connects and empowers citizens who are interested in community leadership.

Class 24 participated in another exciting Leadership Academy last Friday. The Leadership Academy’s mission is to illuminate ideas, provoke thought and stimulate dialogue to help class members cultivate their own leadership style. Class 24 focused on expanded leadership teamwork through a “turtle” exercise, led by Dr. Frances Mills-Yerger, Class 16, Workshops for Youth and Families. We were put into smaller teams and our assignment was to get our whole team across a massive flowing river using turtles (don’t worry, no turtles were harmed), and navigate leadership decisions to reach the other side.

To read the rest of Suzanne’s blog click here.

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Are you ready to lead Scottsdale?

Scottsdale Leadership Executive Director

One of the most impactful ways you can move our community forward is by serving on the City Council.  While the November 2010 election may seem far away, decisions to run for office in Scottsdale are being made now.  Serving on the Council is a huge commitment but commitment is a word that Scottsdale Leadership graduates know and do well.

Currently, one Scottsdale City Councilmember is a graduate of Scottsdale Leadership www.scottsdaleaz.gov/council/ron_mccullagh.asp. Many, many more of our alumni have the ability to serve in this role. Might you be one of them?

City council candidate packets can be picked up at the City Clerk’s Office and are available online: www.scottsdaleaz.gov/elections. The packet contains a checklist that identifies the documents and forms that must be filed with the City Clerk’s Office by 5 p.m. May 26, 2010.

Running for public office is a daunting task. But as John F. Kennedy said, “There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”

Is it time for you to take action?

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Leadership and Emotional Intelligence (EI)

Scottsdale Leadership Class XIX

This is the first of a multi-article series discussing the relationship of leadership and emotional intelligence.

Leadership and Emotional Intelligence (EI) Part One

Ever observe someone you considered an ineffective leader and wonder why they were in a leadership position?  They are intelligent and have the cognitive abilities to do the job, but do they have people skills—the interpersonal intelligence?  They may have a genius level IQ, but are clueless when it comes to dealing with people.  Here is where emotional intelligence (EI) can play a key role in determining the difference between an effective leader and an ineffective leader.  Defined by Daniel Goleman, EI is the noncognitive abilities that help people adapt to all aspects of life.  His research argued that these human competencies (interpersonal and intrapersonal competencies) play a larger role than cognitive intelligence in determining success in life and in the workplace, separating average from the first-rate performers.  While the findings are not sufficient to state “conclusively” that leaders with high levels of EI are better leaders, 25+ years of empirical studies done in the fields of IQ and EI show that there are clear connections between the higher ranges of EI and the possession of skills and abilities associated with leadership excellence. Gaining an understanding of those connections provide individuals in leadership positions ammunition in their efforts to enhance leadership performance.

While leadership performance has always been considered important, events in the last several years like 9/11 and the Enron and WorldCom scandals have brought to the forefront the amount of power and influence a leader can have over his or her followers.  When organizations stop and consider significant questions such as what motivates a leader to choose a certain course of action, what causes people to follow someone they perceive as a leader and when does leadership become detrimental or ineffective, they may need to reexamine the methods and approaches in which they recruit, hire, develop and promote leaders in the workplace.

Organizations promoting individuals based solely on their business expertise and ignoring their emotional intelligence competencies could lead to poor individual performance as a leader, employee attrition and potential organization failure in the areas of internal recruiting and hiring practices and organizational succession planning.  Studies reveal that “when selection, training, and succession planning are based on the emotional intelligence models, organizational as well as individual effectiveness improves” (Bar-on, Handley & Fund). Weisinger, in his book Emotional Intelligence at Work, asserts that “the lack of emotional intelligence undermines both an individual’s and a company’s growth and success.”

One approach to studying and analyzing leadership behavior is to delve into the implications that emotional intelligence contributes to effective performance.  My MBA thesis was an “Exploratory Study of the Significant Contribution That Emotional Intelligence Competencies Can Have on the Successful Transition of an Employee from Individual Contributor to That of a People Leader”.  In conducting my research, I was surprised at how many organizations did not include EI in their hiring, training and promotion programs.

Please share your thoughts and experience on this subject. 


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Courageous Conversations Before Lunch!

2009 Scottsdale Leadership Class Reporter

The Scottsdale Leadership Experience
This is the seventh of a 17 article series recapping Scottsdale Leadership’s nine-month Core Program. The program educates, connects and empowers citizens who are interested in community leadership.

On December 4, Scottsdale Leadership class day was a bit different than normal. Instead of covering one topic the day consisted of three elements. Class 24 started with a Leadership Academy, continued on to Scottsdale Leadership’s 10th Annual Spirit of Community Leadership Awards Luncheon and then the class spent the afternoon working in on our Pay it Forward team projects.

How fierce is Scottsdale Leadership’s Class 24?
Not in terms of demeanor, but in how we approach conversation. Having a robust, intense, powerful conversation isn’t easy. In fact, 85% of the population feels public speaking is easier than resolving an intense situation, and we all know how much we love public speaking!

To read the rest of Suzanne’s blog click here.

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Beep Beep…Tour de Scottsdale!

2009 Scottsdale Leadership Class Reporter

The Scottsdale Leadership Experience

This is the sixth of a 17 article series recapping Scottsdale Leadership’s nine-month Core Program. The program educates, connects and empowers citizens who are interested in community leadership.

Is it possible to see all of Scottsdale in a day? No. But class 24 members were up for the challenge to strengthen our historical and geographical perspective on History and Bus Tour Day held on November 20, 2009.

Scottsdale, The West’s Most Western, town incorporated as a city on June 25, 1951. Scottsdale’s downtown was only one square mile radius! We have Winfield Scott to thank for finding this oasis in the west in 1888. The first mayor, Malcolm White had plenty to do with a population of about 2,000.

To read the rest of Suzanne’s blog click here.

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