Tag Archives: city of scottsdale

Let’s Celebrate!

Macfarland_Wendy BlogBy Wendy Macfarland
Scottsdale Insurance Company

Class 29 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.

Our City Government day taught us there’s a lot to celebrate about living in Scottsdale.  Held in the impressive Kiva, we gained a lot of insights into running the city, and even experienced a mock city council meeting.

IMG_6372Our day kicked into high gear with the introduction of new Scottsdale Leadership Executive Director Margaret Leichtfuss, and what’s not to appreciate about Margaret besides the extensive experience and background she brings to her role? Anyone who loves shoes and red wine gets an AAA rating in my book!

We were lucky enough to have time with Mayor Jim Lane who talked about the intricate balance between residents, businesses, and tourism that make his job both challenging and rewarding. Interestingly, while our resident Scottsdale population is about 225,000, during a season the number can swell to 3 or 4 times that and we host about 9 million visitors in a year. Big numbers! Clearly there are many who wish to experience the quality of life that our residents give a 98% favorable rating to.

Our city covers 183 square miles; 31 miles long and 11 miles wide, ranging in elevation from 1151 ft to over 4800ft. This is notable for the impact it has on water delivery; residents in the higher elevations must have water pumped uphill to them as the canals are at lower elevation and use gravity to deliver water to the valley. We have the 95th largest city in the US with a $1.2B budget. Based on what we learned in the break out sessions on budget and services, we get a great deal with over 50% of our property taxes going to the school district, and services that keep our neighborhoods clean, provide our visitors with a positive experience, and providing our residents with the facts and information they need to live, work and obtain support in the community.

And what if we want to become an elected official? I found it interesting that it takes raising an average of $29K (average raised for the last election was $58K), and if you plan to run in a presidential/mayoral election year the voter participation will be significantly higher (84%) vs a non presidential/mayoral election year (57%). For those with interest, we learned about various boards and commissions that work with the city council and how to take the first steps to becoming involved.

IMG_1461Our afternoon was spent on prepping for and participating in a mock city council meeting. As a member of the team that drafted the City’s General Plan 2035, I was interested to learn of the work that went into preparing the draft, the community involvement, the level of commitment and effort required to bring it to the council. As an observer of the council meeting it was also interesting to hear the varying opinions and perspectives, not only of the council members but also the community residents who attended and shard their feelings on the plan. For me the plan shows the intent of the city to continue on the current path of controlled growth, focus on services, and positive environment for residents, businesses and visitors alike.

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Do You Have a Voice? City Government is Listening …

Davis_Mike

By Mike Davis, Class 28
DMB Associates, Inc.

Class 28 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 City Government Day, I certainly did not expect to find myself entertained while learning how Scottsdale’s city government works – but that is just what happened.  With each Scottsdale Leadership class, I start the day thinking I have a good idea of how the day will unfold, yet in each class I continue to be pleasantly surprised… and City Government Day was no different.

To start the day, we were fortunate to have an intimate conversation with Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane, and learn how important reforms and government transparency are to him in his term as Mayor.  This was followed by a presentation from City Manager, Fritz Behring who explained how Scottsdale’s particular form of government works.

Now it is one thing to listen to a lecture on how city government works, but it is another thing entirely to experience it.  After our overview of Scottsdale’s city government structure, we went to small presentations that focused on code enforcement, city financials and boards and commissions.  These presentations tied city government to tangible scenarios, such as enforcing noise ordinances or settling residential disputes.

IMG_4194Next, the class witnessed a panel discussion with the Scottsdale City Council, answering various questions.  Our panelists included Councilmembers Robert Littlefield, Virginia Korte, Dennis Robbins, and was moderated by Councilmember Linda Milhaven.   Each councilmember participated in the discussion and answered questions based on their view of how the City Council is supposed to work.  We learned that members of the council often do not agree, and can have very spirited debates about topics that have a significant impact on the City of Scottsdale. 

IMG_4213One such topic is the General Plan, which the class staged a mock vote.  The class was divided into supporters, opponents, decision makers, and drafters.  The culmination of the exercise was the mock City Council vote on the Scottsdale General Plan – but only after hearing from people in favor of and opposed to the Plan.  This exercise was both humorous and valuable in that it demonstrated how a City Council meeting is run and how Scottsdale citizens can make their voice heard.

If this class day inspired you to get involved, whether it is simply to let your opinion be heard before a City Council meeting, or to run for a position within city government, then the class accomplished more than its objectives.

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Eureka! There’s Help in Them Thar Libraries!

LloydBy Stacy Lloyd, Class 28
Lloyd Media Group

Class 28 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. 
 

I wasn’t expecting to evoke the California Gold Rush when writing my blog about Scottsdale Leadership’s Economic Development Day.

After all, economic development is the process of building strong, adaptive economies not searching for gold. In fact, Danielle Casey, Economic Development Director for the City of Scottsdale, defines it as, “the process of creating wealth through the mobilization of human, financial, capital, physical and natural resources to generate marketable goods and services.”

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Class 28 was exposed to many economic concepts that day – from an economic update to economic trends shaping our community; all things you would expect during a crash course on Economic Development. But I was surprised when Casey had a spot in her presentation for Carol Damaso, Scottsdale’s Public Library Director, to talk about the Eureka Loft.

The Eureka Loft, located at the Civic Center Library, is a co-working space. It’s part of a new initiative between the Scottsdale Public Library and ASU Venture Catalyst, the startup unit of Arizona State University. This joint effort is designed to help entrepreneurs, inventors and small businesses.

(Full disclosure: the Eureka Loft is actually named after the famous “Eureka” moment of Greek astronomer, inventor, mathematician and physicist Archimedes. It has nothing to do with finding gold. But hey, I understand the concept of panning for gold much more than I do Archimedes’ principle.)

The Eureka Loft combines elements of collaboration spaces with expert library fact-finding services and ASU startup resources all in one place. On top of that, they can get advice and access to some pracademic classes both online and in the library. (Pracademic is the mixture of academic and practitioner.)

Michael Beck, Class 28 classmate and Adult Services Coordinator at Scottsdale Public Library, runs the Eureka Loft program and says its benefits are numerous.

“Anybody can come into the library and get free one-on-one assistance with mentorship, access to library databases, business databases, mentorship with ASU and business community leaders”, said Beck. “They can also receive help with their filings for limited liability corporations.”

Members of the Scottsdale library staff have become champions of the program. Each library champion has gone through ASU’s Rapid Startup School which is an introduction to entrepreneurship.

The long term goal of Eureka Loft is to support Scottsdale’s entrepreneurs, inventors, small businesses and the like that need help to advance their ideas. The collaboration spaces allow these people to gather to connect, network and share ideas. They are free and open to the public during normal library hours.

Here’s what I like best about the Eureka Loft… economic vitality shouldn’t just be on the backs of Scottsdale’s high powered movers and shakers. Thanks to the Eureka Loft, we can all take part.

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Your Time To Act—Participate in the Scottsdale Visioning Town Hall

City of Scottsdale

Kit Weiss
Neighborhood Services Manager, City of Scottsdale

You have an opportunity to shape the future of your community by participating in the Scottsdale Visioning Town Hall. Participants will craft a draft vision statement for Scottsdale’s General Plan 2014 process. It’s a key first step in the community’s efforts to guide how the city matures over the next 20 years.

The Town Hall will take place over three half-day sessions on Feb 6, 7 and 11, at the Monterra special events center at WestWorld. The application is available online through Jan. 11, at www.ScottsdaleGP.com.  The Arizona Town Hall organization is overseeing the Visioning Town Hall, including selecting the participants and facilitating the discussion. The nonprofit organization will pick about 100 participants who represent a broad, cross-section of the community.

The community visioning effort also will include a Future Leaders Town Hall from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan 24, at the SkySong Innovation Center, 1475 N. Scottsdale Road. It’s open to the first 100 registrants, ages 16-22. Scottsdale’s young community members will share their hopes for the future of Scottsdale during this special event. Registration for this event is open through Jan. 18, at www.scottsdaleGP.com.

For additional information contact (480) 312-3111 or email generalplan@scottsdaleaz.gov

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Scottsdale Leadership Opportunity

Carol Damaso

Carol Damaso, Class 21
Library Director, Scottsdale Public Library

Are you looking for the next way to contribute to the community?  Do you want to volunteer in a leadership capacity?  When was the last time you were actively engaged with Scottsdale Leadership?  This could be the opportunity you are looking for!

We are currently recruiting for a Vice Chair for each of the committees listed below. The Chair and Vice Chair of each committee is a member of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is made up of a diverse group of classes. To qualify, you must be a Scottsdale Leadership dues-paid alumni. It is recommended that alumni interested in serving on the Board start by volunteering on a committee.

The Alumni Engagement Committee ensures alumni stay active, involved, and informed about Scottsdale Leadership. They organize the annual alumni dues drive.

The Alumni Events Committee organizes educational events to continually engage alumni in community issues. These events create opportunities for current class members and alumni to meet, interact, and learn.

The Community Events Committee creates opportunities to involve the community-at-large with the organization. They plan the Annual Spirit of Community Leadership Awards Luncheon in December and the Community Forum each spring.

The Marketing and P.R. Committee develops and implements marketing and communications strategies for Scottsdale Leadership. They write blogs, press releases and news articles.

The Outreach & Recruitment Committee identifies speaking opportunities in the community and recruits applicants for the next Scottsdale Leadership class. They attend community events to promote interest in Scottsdale Leadership.

The Resource Development Committee ensures the financial stability of Scottsdale Leadership. They identify, recruit and maintain relationships with corporate sponsors and community partners.

Please notify Carol Damaso, SL President Elect and Board Development Chair, at cdamaso@scottsdaleaz.gov if you would like to be considered for a position on the Scottsdale Leadership Board of Directors or serve on one of its committees.

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Helping Hands?

Scottsdale LeadershipAndy Jacobs, Class 27
Associate, Policy Development Group, Inc.

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.

As busy professionals, sometimes it’s hard reflecting on the community outside of our day-to-day lives and those we care about.  But those of us in Scottsdale Leadership Class 27 have bonded quickly, and we seem to be a collection of open-minded and empathetic individuals. That’s why Social Services Day proved to be a rewarding experience and why I believe our class is destined for great things.

Social Services Day was eye-opening and encouraging

As Class 27 discussed issues of poverty and elderly care together at Vista Del Camino, it quickly became apparent that the recession had hit almost all of us in one way or another. It confirmed what we learned about the difference between the stereotype of homelessness and the fact that sometimes we all need help in our lives. And that the sign of a true community is its willingness to play a role in love and support.

Ted Taylor, Executive Director of homeless advocacy group Family Promise, explained that since the recession, many middle-to-upper-income families in Scottsdale are now dealing with problems like homelessness and suicide, just like other communities. Scottsdale has had a much harder time dealing with these types of financial problems because until now they haven’t experienced it.

A visit to the Granite Reef Senior Center showed that despite the physical and emotional support that our elderly need on a day-to-day basis, they are an integral part of our community. The seniors we got to know are active, fun and bring immense value to our city for their contributions. Scottsdale is to be commended for its leadership in assisting with elder and poverty issues. Vista Del Camino and Granite Reef are top-notch operations and private sector leadership from leaders such as Taylor and others contribute to Scottsdale’s compassionate outlook.

Leaders from the City of Scottsdale’s Human Services Department work hard every day to ensure its struggling residents are not overlooked. The Community Assistance Office works with a citizens’ committee to make important decisions on how to allocate funding to charitable organizations collaborating with the city to take care of the less fortunate.

Of course, we can always do more, and that’s what I and others from Class 27 took away from Scottsdale Leadership’s Social Services Day. As we learn how to incorporate community leadership into our already-busy daily lives, there is no doubt we recognize the importance of lending a helping hand to those who are often overlooked.

How can you lend a helping hand?

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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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