Tag Archives: chris irish

Keep Scottsdale Beautiful

By Chris Irish
Scottsdale Leadership Executive Director

Several months ago, Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp asked Scottsdale Leadership to help form Keep Scottsdale Beautiful (KSB), a new 501 (c)3 organization.  Keep Scottsdale Beautiful, an organization dedicated to engaging individuals to take greater responsibility for preserving and enhancing Scottsdale’s community environment, is seeking citizens interested in becoming founding board members.  The goal is to become an organization that enhances community revitalization, conservation and economic vitality.

“Keep Scottsdale Beautiful aims to uphold the same ideals as Scottsdale Pride and expand upon its legacy,” says board member, John Day. “We’re looking for a dynamic group of Board Members interested in growing the tradition of education and collective action to sustain a better quality of life for all.”

A public meeting to seek community input on programs and to recruit founding board members will be held on November 10 at 5:30 p.m. at the Mustang Library.

For more information click here or contact John Day at (480) 264-2570


1 Comment

Filed under Community, Events

Shift your spending to support Arizona businesses

By Chris Irish
Scottsdale Leadership Executive Director

If you’ve never met Kimber Lanning, you should.  She’s a small woman in her mid-thirties with lots of passion.  At a recent Scottsdale Leadership alumni event and in several articles in the Arizona Republic, Lanning talked about her grass-roots organization, Local First Arizona.

Did you know that out of every 1 dollar you spend in a nationally owned business only 13 cents stays in Arizona?  Or, that if you spent that same dollar in a locally owned business 45 cents would stay in our state.  That is a 288% increase, huge in these tough economic times.

Small businesses are the backbone of Arizona’s economy.  And while I think most of us agree that we’d like to support locally owned businesses, it isn’t always part of our spending thought-process.

Kimber Lanning and Local First Arizona are working to change that thought-process, one person at a time.  Their latest campaign, Shift Arizona, encourages consumers to shift 10% of their spending from nationally to locally owned businesses.  A study in Michigan found that if 600,000 people shifted just 10% of their spending to locally-owned business, it would generate $130 million dollars into the local economy!

With the holiday shopping season fast approaching, it’s a great time to take this challenge to heart. I’m willing to shift, are you?

Leave a comment

Filed under Alumni, News, Uncategorized

Scottsdale Loses Leader

Scottsdale Leadership Executive Director

Tall, lanky and dressed in western wear, Councilman Tony Nelssen made an impression every time he entered a room.  His slow smile and wry sense of humor complimented his look.  Yesterday, Nelssen lost his battle to cancer and Scottsdale lost a strong leader.

Nelssen’s first term on the city council began in 2006. He was running for re-election this year.   Nelssen’s love for the equestrian lifestyle and view of Scottsdale as “The West’s Most Western Town” provided much of his motivation to lead.

A native of Arizona, Nelssen was a smart man who paved his path to political office by actively participating in community affairs.  His stewardship included service on both the planning and the parks and recreation commissions.  He was a vocal advocate for preserving our desert.

I worked with Councilman Nelssen in two capacities. The first is in my role as executive director of Scottsdale Leadership and second, as a member of the Scottsdale Public Art Advisory Board.  In all instances, I experienced Nelssen as a respectful, approachable and honest person.  Nelssen enjoyed sharing his knowledge and views with Scottsdale Leadership class members who were eager to begin making their own mark on the community.  He was proud and supportive of the accomplishments and highly-respected reputation of the Scottsdale Public Art program.

Nelssen’s leadership required huge personal sacrifice. He gave countless hours preparing for council meetings, talking with citizens and attending events throughout Scottsdale.

His death leads me to ask, how can each of us do more?

1 Comment

Filed under Community, Leadership, News

Countdown to Graduation

Scottsdale Leadership Executive Director

This is the time of year that I always get a little melancholy.  Class 24 graduates tonight! I know I’ll miss the time we spend together on Scottsdale Leadership Fridays.  I have thoroughly enjoyed learning alongside them, gaining an understanding of their perspectives and seeing the “lights come on” when a topic or cause ignites their interest.  It’s been rewarding for me to be part of the journey that has helped them identify how they can best give back to the community.

So yes, I’m sad; but I’m also proud.  The members of ‘Class 24 – 24 Karat Gold’ have made good use of the last nine months.  They connected with the theory of “the cycle of poverty”.  They debated the effectiveness of the AIMS test.  They discussed how personal responsibility must be part of healthcare. They relished the opportunity to talk one-on-one with elected officials and slowly digested the personal sacrifices it takes to be a true community steward.

On Public Safety Day, Class 24 literally put out a fire.  On Quality of Life Day they hiked the preserve.  And perhaps most impressive, Class 24 planned and implemented six community service projects that will benefit thousands.

Funny, I’m not feeling sad anymore!  Scottsdale Leadership Class 24 is a success story that is going to get more interesting as time progresses. I look forward to each and every class member increasing their impact on the community by taking the lead… they are ready, willing and able!

Congratulation to the newest graduates of Scottsdale Leadership!

Zack Barna, GuideLight Marketing
Marc Blonstein, Berens, Kozub & Kloberdanz, PLC
Deanne Boynton Grupp, Scottsdale CVB
Jacky Burke, Body Definitions
Johnny Cervantes, Scottsdale Police Department
Jennifer Clark, DC Ranch Community Council
Kevin Classen, FirstBank of Arizona
Ted Collins, retired
Nicole Corning, MetLife Home Loans
Kathy Coster, Scottsdale Public Library
Chauna Cox
Stacey D’Abate, Henkel Consumer Goods, Inc.
John Damiris, UMB Bank Arizona
Dr. Mia Darling
Patrick Eichen, U of A – Eller College of Mgmt.
Michelle Evard, Evard Financial Advisors, PLLC
Suzette Gibson, SRP
Kathleen Glenn, TBA Global
Mary Holman, Enterprise Bank and Trust
Jeff Jameson, Jameson Associates
Branch Johnson, Vault Financial, LLC
Sona Koltookian, Monster.com
Joe Laux, Northwestern Mutual Financial Network
Ken Levine, Scottsdale Insurance Company
Laurie McCammon, self-employed piano teacher
Sylvia McDowell, RE/MAX Fine Properties
Brent Mekosh, Mekosh Financial Services of Raymond James
David Nelson, Scottsdale Insurance Company
Juliana Norvell, Arizona Capitol Times
Suzanne Paetzer, TriAra Consulting, LLC,
Jose Penalosa, Jr., Penalosa & Associates, P.C.
Paige Perry, Mayo Clinic
Jay Pizarro, Foodies Like Us
Charles Popeck, Green Ideas
Sheri Rayes, Arizona Dept. of Economic Security
Bridget Schwartz-Manock, Central Arizona Project
Mike Seiden, retired president of Western International University
Elizabeth Teitel, Gebert Contemporary Art Gallery
David Valencia, EJM Development Co.
Craig Whitten, UBS Financial Services
Julius Williams, retired
John Zicarelli, CAME, LLC

1 Comment

Filed under Alumni, Class

Make Your Voice Heard

Scottsdale Leadership Executive Director

In the recently published report, The Arizona We Want, only 10% of those surveyed believed that elected official represented their interests.  While this low number alarms me, I can’t help but think that each of us hold some responsibility for this.  When was the last time you spoke to your elected state officials?

In Arizona, political decisions are often based on input from a small percentage of people.  On Scottsdale Leadership’s State Government Day, we heard legislators say that they often receive less than 30 emails about a particular issue.

Start NOW… Senate Bill 1070, described by some as the toughest illegal-immigration legislation in the country, is now on Governor Brewer’s desk.  The Governor has three days to sign it, veto it or do nothing and it automatically becomes law.  Speak up. What do you want for Arizona?

If our governor and legislators heard from thousands of citizens instead of thirty, perhaps they would vote differently.

It only takes a few minutes to send an email to Governor Brewerhttp://www.azgovernor.gov.  Keep it short and sweet.  Give her the opportunity to consider your viewpoint as she decides how to proceed.   Then, save this link in your favorites.  If we want our elected officials to represent our interests, we have to take responsibility for communicating with them.  If we do it in a concise, respectful manner, I’m optimistic they will listen.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A chance to Meet Harvey Mackay

Scottsdale Leadership Executive Director

For many, Harvey Mackay is THE leadership guru.  I’ve always enjoyed reading his books and articles.  He’s smart and realistic, two qualities that I admire.  While his leadership advice is generally geared to a business environment, many of his concepts can also be applied to community leadership.

Mackay will be in town this weekend signing his new book “Use Your Head to get your Foot in the Door”.  All royalties will go to the Fresh Start Women’s Foundation – proof that Mackay is himself a good community steward!  You can meet Mackay on Saturday, 2/27 from noon – 6 p.m., Borders at the Biltmore, 2402 E. Camelback.

Maybe I’ll see you there!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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?

Leave a comment

Filed under Leadership

Good Advice for Leaders

Scottsdale Leadership Executive Director

Throughout my life I have been blessed to have many caring and strategic mentors. Some of these relationships were planned. Others were nurtured by friends and colleagues that were kind enough to answer my many phone calls seeking their advice and counsel. I’d like to share some of their wisdom…

No matter how you feel – get up, dress up, and show up
When in doubt, take a deep breath and the next small step forward
Ask for advice, it is usually free
Ask for help, it makes you stronger
Make peace with your mistakes or you will repeat them
Share what you know and you’ll learn so much more
You can’t lead unless others chose to follow
No matter if a situation is good or bad, the situation will change
Always observe leadership – the good, the bad and the ugly
Life is too short to waste time being angry
Attitude is everything
Believe in yourself and others will too
The best is yet to come

If you’d like to share some advice – I’m interested.

If you want to read more on this topic, here’s a good article: Best Advice for Leaders: Stop, Look, Listen by Albert Vicere

1 Comment

Filed under Leadership

Goals for your Community Service

Scottsdale Leadership Executive Director

Happy New Year!  The start of the year is the perfect time to set goals for that year, the decade and possibly even your lifetime.  I’m not referring to career or personal goals; I’d like to challenge you to set goals for your community service.

Most people don’t set goals for their community service, but we should.  Goals motivate and inspire us; they make our achievements more meaningful.  While the process for setting these goals will be similar to how you establish your career goals, it can be much more impactful!

First, make yourself FEEL…what are you passionate about, what tugs on your heart strings? Is it hunger, homelessness, illiteracy, or racism?  Obesity, addiction, or domestic violence?  Perhaps your interests deal more with improving the quality of life for the community as a whole.  Are you concerned about … transportation, blight, preservation, arts & culture?

Second, BRAINSTORM… most likely there is already an organization, commission or other entity working to address your issue.  Talk with their key leaders about how you could effectively expand or improve their efforts.  If you are already involved with this issue, get clear about what role you need to play to make a bigger impact.

Finally, SET GOALS for your community service.  Clearly identify the steps you will take to meet these goals.  Set specific tasks to be completed.  Be realistic in what can be achieved.

Community service gives meaning to our life.  Having goals will keep you on track, increase your achievements and enable you to celebrate your accomplishments! Get started today.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized