Tag Archives: Arizona Leadership

Principles for Civil Dialogue

Cynthia Wenström, Class 25
Chairman, Principles for Civil Dialogue
Vice-Chairman  Resource Development Committee

It has been the better part of a year since the last blog posting regarding Scottsdale Leadership’s Principles for Civil Dialogue (PCD) initiative. Since that time the PCD Committee has shared the Principles with civic organizations and city commissions; answered many questions; gained support from adopting and endorsing organizations; and refined its focus and timeline for future progress.

As you may remember, this initiative started by a discussion on a Class 25 topic day. From there, a committee was formed to generate a grass root effort to have the PCD in use throughout Scottsdale.  When we present to an organization, the history and details regarding are shared, and we also explain the meaning of adopting or endorsing the Principles.

An organization adopts the Principles when it is prepared to make the Principles part of its own culture (or if the Principles are already part of its culture).  Normally, an important commitment to the organization’s culture would be reflected in how it describes itself, such as its values, core beliefs and so on. An organization endorses the Principles when it supports them, but is not prepared to make a representation to the public about whether its own culture aligns with the Principles.

In each instance, by adopting or endorsing, the organization is acknowledging the Principles for Civil Dialogue are important to our community and resonate with their organization. They also agree to allow Scottsdale Leadership to publicize the organization’s adoption or endorsement of the Principles.

To date Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce, S.T.A.R.S., Scottsdale/PV YMCA, the Scottsdale Library Board and the Human Relations Commission have adopted the Principles. Friends of the (Scottsdale) Library have endorsed the Principles and Arizona Foundation for Burns & Trauma uses our PCD as a guide for its staff. Conservatively, this initiative is part and parcel of organizations totaling over 2,000 members.

Additionally, five civic organizations and city commissions have PCD on their agendas and we look forward to hearing updates on their actions in the next 30 days or so. At one commission presentation a commissioner stated he would take this to his son’s Little League organization and since Mayor Lane honored Scottsdale Leadership with a Proclamation on November 1, 2011, the Principles have been referred to during a number of City Council meetings. That’s the whole idea! Keep civil dialogue foremost in peoples’ minds.

Chris Irish and/or I have met with several people from the Mayor to City staff about the future of Scottsdale Leadership’s first initiative of this sort. Support abounds, and while civil dialogue is part of the wording of the current General Plan, it is not easily located, so not often referenced. The PCD initiative has brought civil dialogue/civil discourse to the forefront, which is exactly the goal.

What can you expect to see in the future regarding the Principles for Civil Dialogue initiative?

  • A community forum on civil dialogue organized by the Scottsdale Library and Human Relations Commission on Monday, October 15th at the Civic Center Library (6-8pm)
  • a My Turn article in the Scottsdale section of the Republic
  • more adoptions and endorsements by civic organizations and city commissions
  • and visibility of the PCD in the City Hall Kiva

If you know of an organization that may be interested in a presentation about the Principles for Civil Dialogue, please contact Chris Irish, Scottsdale Leadership Executive Director at (480) 627-6717.

As a member of the Scottsdale community,
I will genuinely listen; speak respectfully;
and be accountable for my words and actions.


1 Comment

Filed under Community, Leadership

Words To Live By

Nick Molinari, Class 26
City of Scottsdale

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.

Be brave, laugh a lot, do the right thing and make a new friend.

When I leave for work every day, these are my parting words with my two boys, Leo and Mario.  Honestly, I can’t take credit for coming up with these simple nuggets of wisdom. My dear friend Tim Miluk (who is also my boss) has been saying this to his two beautiful daughters for years. We spend a lot of time together and I guess after hearing it for so long, it just sunk in. As a parent, this simple direction really captures the hopes I have for my two little guys. If they can be brave enough to try new things and step out of their comfort zone, if they have an opportunity to be goofy and laugh with their friends, if they make the right choices throughout the day and if they take the time to embrace people they don’t know, what more could you ask for?  As I reflected on my experience as part of Scottsdale Leadership’s Class 26, I realized that this daily mantra really aligns with the mission of the program.

Be Brave
We had to be brave right off the bat, starting with our 90-second commercials on orientation day.  The personal ads were a bit nerve racking to prepare for, not really knowing what was expected of us, who would be watching and what our other classmates would come up with.   They certainly kicked off our experience on a high note though.

Personally, I really had to “be brave” to hop on that SRP helicopter ride in February. I am terrified of heights and can get queasy on an airplane. Seriously though, when would I have another chance to ride in a helicopter?  I chose “being brave,” and capitalized on a great experience that I will never forget.

Our projects required our class, in many regards, to take a leap of faith. What united our group was an eagerness to stake new territory and I think each of Class 26’s Project Pay it Forward Projects exemplified that.  Scottsdale Leadership graduates don’t accept things the way they are. There are examples of this all over our city. From pushing the initiative of civil dialogue to nurturing a world-class art community, Scottsdale Leadership graduates have had to step out of their comfort zones and “be brave” to make Scottsdale a better place.

Laugh A Lot
Honestly, I didn’t expect the program to be as much fun as it was. The networking after class (aka “happy hour”) was great and gave the class an opportunity to get to know each other on a different level. One thing I can say about the organization – the SL staff, the day chairs, the volunteers – they all love what they do. You can see it in their work and it makes a difference.

Do The Right Thing
This is what the program and the process was really all about – how can our class apply our strengths, resources and time to “do the right thing” in our community. Obviously, that means different things to each of the 40 participants, but from community stewardship to education to economic development, the core program gave us tools to get out there, “do the right thing” and lead through the choices we make and the actions we take.

Make A New Friend
Prior to starting Scottsdale Leadership, friends and co-workers who had gone through the program had told me how much they connected with their classmates and that they had developed friendships that they still have today. In all honesty, this is not my greatest skill. I am a bit introverted and have had the same collection of friends since elementary school. With that said, I was eager to meet a bunch of people who love Scottsdale as much as I do.  The new friends and great connections I made were the most significant take away for me.  I have an expanded group of Scottsdale ambassadors I can call on to help make a difference in our city.

One of the best things to come out of my experience with Scottsdale Leadership is that it reinforced how the simple things – friendship, courage and stewardship – are a formula for success anywhere.

What words do you live by?


Filed under Alumni, Leadership