Tag Archives: Community Celebrating Diversity

Trust and Inclusion

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.

Inclusion day has to be one of the most personal and engaging classes we’ve had during Class 26.  The topics reached everyone in the class, the dialog was free flowing and the class expressed an amazing amount of trust and respect for each other as we spoke frankly about our beliefs and ourselves.

Thank you, Marion Kelly, Class 17 and Doreen Reinke, Class 17 for designing, hosting and delivering such a compelling course.  They started the day by framing a mindset of inclusion.  Inclusion is an action you take to respect and make positive outcomes of diversity.  We all learned that everyone profiles in some way during the profiling exercise.  Sometimes that is OK, sometimes it is not.  We also learned about the diversity in our class.  I listened to my classmates share who they are.  From a too-white Hispanic to an agnostic Jew some of my subconscious preconceptions of those neat little society-defined categories were broken down.  Diversity showed it is a continuum of nuances created by our culture, our experiences and our beliefs – not a discrete set of check boxes on the census form.

It was a special treat to have Terri Trent facilitate a lesson on inclusive leadership.  She helped us focus on our emotional intellect or EQ.  Leaders who are self and socially aware, that can use that insight to manage themselves and associate well with others tend to be more successful.  Perhaps Mike Miller said it more plainly; ‘leadership = influence’.  Applying your emotional intellect will affect your influence.  The iceberg analogy  also came up and was used a couple times during the day to illustrate what defines us and our most influential characteristics are those that are unseen and under the waterline.

After lunch we learned about the great work our sponsor of the day does with the Community Celebrating Diversity organization.  Thank you for sponsoring and thank you for contributing to our community in such a positive way.

Next Jeff Jameson helped us all gain perspective as we circled around the random representative ‘minority’ class members.  Being one of the minorities in the middle of the room surrounded by the majority both staring at and ignoring me, I felt it.  And it did not feel comfortable.  How did it feel to be in the ‘majority’?  Did you get see it any differently on the outside looking in?

The late afternoon sessions were an outright hit with the class.  We did not want them to end.  I’ve never felt the class so engaged before.  We each stood up in front of the class and expressed what diversity we embodied – handsome glasses wearers, east town dwellers, married, not married, young, and other personal identities.  I felt closer to my class and more enlightened by the time we reluctantly ended the exercise.

Then we explored some of the darker side of diversity in the ‘hate, fear and profiling’ exercise.  We looked at headlines and discussed current and past events that are best described more exclusive than inclusive.  I was especially struck by Don Logan’s story about being letter bombed.  I think it was the statement that we were watching a video of his presentation because we wanted to leave him alone right now amid the tensions around the Zimmerman/Martin shooting that made it all feel very real, here and now to me.

This blog does not do justice to the lessons we learned that day.  But I wanted to be sure to share with everyone a flavor for the day and appreciation for the day chairs, sponsors and speakers.  I leave you with a summary of the lessons I learned.

  • Diversity is a noun.  It is important that we use nouns to recognize and describe. Inclusion is a verb.  It is taking action with diversity and progressing.
  • Leadership equals influence; anybody can be a leader in any organization.  Being aware of yourself and others then using that awareness to guide your behaviors and respectfully interact with others can further your influence.
  • Diversity and inclusion creates tension.  We aspire to be inclusive yet, at the same time strive to maintain a unique identity of a culture or group.  It can be a Catch 22.  It is not simple.
  • The problem is here, now and you may contribute to the problem or the solution.  Evidence abounds in letter bombings and profiling stories.  We shared how we felt an “out rage of affiliation” with how some of our leaders address diversity.  We recognized a trend of erosion of respect in politics and society.  We thought there must be a “silence of people with good will”.
  • The leader’s responsibility to the solution is to cast a shadow and cascade an inclusive perspective.  Use those teachable moments with other people to let them know some behaviors are not OK. Walk the talk.  Light a candle as an individual to create a more inclusive society.

What does inclusion mean to you?

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Taking pride in Community Leadership

Cindy SlickCindy Slick, Class 4
Retired, APS

Scottsdale certainly had a different feel in 1990, the year of my participation in Scottsdale Leadership Class IV.  But having lived in this beautiful city since the late 50’s, I have seen every decade bring more residents, business challenges, expanded government, school district growth, environmental concerns, increased needs for health and human services and an ever blossoming arts and cultural awareness.

What better forum to dig deeper and learn more about all of these issues, than Scottsdale Leadership?  I still remember the excitement I felt when I found that I had been chosen to be a class member.  I had read an article about the organization in the Scottsdale Daily Progress (our long gone hometown newspaper) and filled out the application.  At the time, my job at APS had nothing to do with being community minded and I feared that if I was selected that I would not be able to get the time off to participate as Scottsdale Leadership held class every other Friday.  But, as they say, all of that is history.

I credit Scottsdale Leadership with the beginning of my career change; APS certainly did support my membership (and many other employees thereafter) and I went on to become the Community Relations Manager.  I just retired after a 31 year career with APS.  Scottsdale Leadership was the perfect training ground for my new job and for getting involved in the community.  I soaked up as much information as I could from each class day but more importantly, I learned so much from my fellow class members.

After graduating from Scottsdale Leadership I served two terms on its Board of Directors and was privileged to attend many National Leadership conferences.  I was so proud to note that Scottsdale Leadership was always one of the best examples of what a leadership organization should be.  In the early 90’s we were one of the first nationally to move away from training a hierarchical style of leadership and began to model servant leadership.  This approach, which includes self discovery and a desire to serve others, certainly enhanced my growth as a leader.

It enabled me give back to many organizations over the years – Scottsdale/Paradise Valley YMCA, ASU Sun Angel Foundation, Fiesta Bowl committee and the Paradise Valley Hospital.

Servant leadership was also alive and well on the board of Community Celebrating Diversity (CCD), where I had the pleasure of serving from 1998 – 2008. We took what started as a breakfast attended by about 35 people to what is now one of the premier events in Scottsdale honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Nearly all of the board members of this organization are Scottsdale Leadership graduates and I always list this as a proud community leadership accomplishment.

Congratulations to all of my fellow graduates and to a remarkable organization on this 25th anniversary.  I will be forever grateful for the difference Scottsdale Leadership made in my life and the lives of so many others.

*****

Scottsdale Leadership is celebrating 25 years of developing community leaders. NFL all-star Kurt Warner will serve as keynote speaker at its 25th Anniversary celebration event on April 14. A $25,000 Gift to the Community will be split between Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services (STARS) and Best Buddies Program in Scottsdale. Tickets and information available by calling 480-627-6710 or online at scottsdaleleadership.org.

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Filed under Alumni, Community, Leadership