Tag Archives: community stewardship

Right Here, In Our Own Backyard!

Griffiths_Gina HeadshotBy Gina Griffiths
STARS

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.

Class 29 embarked on our first full day of the Core Program with a little bit of uncertainty and a lot of enthusiasm. Our focus for Day One was Community Stewardship and Sustainability. This was a fantastic way to start the program year!  We were able to learn from community leaders and see examples of what can be done, often with only will and determination in the beginning. Who knew all of this was right here?

IMG_5354We began our adventure exploring the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. I had no idea this hidden gem was right in ourbackyard!  Mike Nolan (Class 27), Executive Director, shared the history of the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy (MSC); a group of dedicated citizens knew that Scottsdale had to protect this beautiful asset to the community. They rallied the greater community to come together and support this initiative. They have worked tirelessly for over 2 decades and MSC currently protects well over 30,000 acres. This is one of the largest urban preserves in the country! They utilize almost 600 volunteers and have identified 743 different plants and animals!  Without the forward thinking of the founders, this amazing area would not be available for urban visitors to connect with nature.

IMG_5394Next, we visited an exceptional nonprofit, Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services or STARS (I have to admit, I’m a little biased about STARS because I’m fortunate enough to be their Program Director).  We heard from the esteemed Mary King; Mary founded STARS, along with a committed group of parents, by identifying a need for services for adult children with special needs in Scottsdale. Mary has been an active community advocate all of her life and is the epitome of how to find resources and get things done. For over 41 years, STARS has been improving the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities through day programs, vocational programs and a transitions program.  On any given day, we serve over 200 teens and adults on our two campuses and in the community. And throughout the visit, I heard several long-time Scottsdale residents say “I had no idea this was here!”

Community stewardship sounds rather big and intimidating, but we learned that fine examples of community stewardship are thriving all around us.  The common theme to finding success is people.  When any one of us identifies a need, we can rally the troops and make sustainable change.  It’s not easy, but with effort and determination, we really can change the world, starting in our own backyard.  At the end of the day, I felt grateful to be a part of a community that has a strong foundation built that will help foster it into the future.

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Economic Development… a Blood Sport?

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.

I’m no expert, but I would guess that economic development is challenging work.  The economy is on shaky ground and there’s enormous competition from every direction for business and tax dollars.  Is economic development really a “blood sport”, as Dick Bowers, Scottsdale’s longest tenured former City Manager, recently told Scottsdale Leadership’s Class 26?  You might be surprised.  I sure was.  I mean, those economic vitality folks I’ve met working for the City of Scottsdale over the years didn’t wear gladiator outfits or look vicious in any way.

As I’ve talked to my fellow classmates over the last week, I think there’s general consensus that Economic Development Day put some things into perspective for us.  We’ve had some inspiring moments already, indeed.  Community stewardship, social services, education, youth issues, the arts… they’re all important – critical to the character of our city.  But when it comes right down to it, everything starts with economic development.  Schools, city services, streets, infrastructure, support for those in need… it all rests on our city’s ability to create sustained economic drivers to support the system.

So, what does it take to get the job done in the bloody arena of economic development?  A few things stood out!

  • Economic development demands risk
  • Economic development requires a “get it done attitude”
  • Economic development is not a set of rules, but instead an idea and a vision

Scottsdale has some distinct advantages over other communities.  It isn’t difficult to tout our quality of life to prospective industries.  Our proximity to ASU and world class healthcare systems like Mayo Clinic and Scottsdale Healthcare make us a prime destination for a multitude of businesses. But, Scottsdale is a premier city because we take risks.  The Indian Bend Wash could have been a concrete drainage system, but instead is considered “an engineering wonder of the world” that defines our great city. To remain a leading destination for investment, we must continue to take those calculated risks in areas like the McDowell Road Corridor.  We must continue to be proactive and not reactive.

So, here are a couple of New Year’s resolutions for 2012 that I’ll be working on.

  • INFECT OTHERS!  Be advocates for our community, on any level you can. An advocate for Scottsdale as a destination – a destination for tourism, investment and growth.
  • GET INVOLVED!  If you think bold ideas will help mold our community to be better positioned for the future, let your voice be heard.  We certainly know what many think about a broad range of issues.  More power to them!  They go to City Council meetings, write articles to the newspaper and ensure their opinions are heard.  If you have ideas about bold initiatives, don’t stand on the sidelines.
  • SHOP SCOTTSDALE!  Sound easy breezy?  It should be, but actually it takes just a bit of thought.  If you live in south Scottsdale or the Downtown area, it’s pretty easy to drift into the Pavillions or Tempe Marketplace to shop.  If you are more of a northern bird, Kierland can be enticing.  While some of these areas may have a Scottsdale mailing address, none are actually in our city.  Scottsdale depends on that revenue to maintain the unique character of our city.  This is one thing you can do today that will have an immediate impact on our community.

To sum up his presentation, Mr. Bowers fittingly quoted Mary Kay Ash.  “There are three kinds of organizations.  Those that make things happen, those that watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.”  Scottsdale must continue to be a community that makes things happen!

What are your New Year’s resolutions to make the City of Scottsdale a more sustained economic destination?

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Scottsdale’s Got Stewardship!

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.

Last Friday morning, as I walked into Scottsdale Leadership’s Community Stewardship Day, I thought I had things pretty much figured out. I have grown up in Scottsdale and I love living here. Being a City of Scottsdale employee I have been fortunate to be part of many projects and be exposed to many areas, programs and people in our city. I thought that my varied experiences in Scottsdale were enough to adequately prepare me to comprehend and articulate what Community Stewardship is all about. Boy was I wrong! I learned a lot on this day from some very impressive folks.

Class 26 was privileged to have some dynamic community leaders to help guide us through our journey…Virginia Korte, Melinda Gulick, Coucilwomen Linda Milhaven, Tim Gray and Rick Kidder to name a few. They are all phenomenal examples of strength, guts and perseverance that have a hand in molding our great city into one of the finest in the world. So what would they teach our class of young leaders about being good community stewards?

First, what is Community Stewardship?  Our class had some varying thoughts, but we came up with a basic consensus. Community stewards care for the resources that make Scottsdale special and how we choose to spend our time and allocate our resources must align with the values and vision of our community. More importantly these leaders actually fight the battles and do things to make this a reality.

The presenters also provided us with historical accounts of how and why Scottsdale has become such a phenomenal city. There have been so many dedicated community members over the years that were integral in making Scottsdale a success and they didn’t want to simply settle for good or okay. They wanted better and best and to protect, preserve and enhance all of the beautiful assets that make Scottsdale a special community. These folks demonstrated ownership, passion and dedication.  It certainly made a difference.

Things became even clearer after listening to Mary King, founder of Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services (STARS), talk about making Scottsdale a better place for individuals with disabilities. Mary’s story was inspiring. For me personally I realized that STARS is a model of what partnerships can do for a community. The City of Scottsdale, Jaycees, Scottsdale Unified School District and countless other organizations were integral in the development of STARS.  Finding other partners or organizations that also truly believe in and live community stewardship is evidenced in STARS success and the continued impact that it is having on so many individuals in Scottsdale.

Mary had another message for our class that really hit home for me – “use what you have.” As the wife of a city councilman and later as a Scottsdale employee, Mary had a great deal of contacts to draw upon during her grassroots effort to develop services for those with disabilities.

I love the impact of the quote and it gives me a more clear perspective on viewing challenges, projects and partnerships and using the connections, relationships and experiences that I have. Secondly, her tenacity and follow through were quite inspirational. She stated that she just kept “stepping through the door” which not only gives a great visual, but provides a philosophy when you are on a quest, project or mission by embracing the opportunities that arrive before you.

After listening to these leaders and community stewards, I ask you the following:

  • How will the relationships you make today impact our community tomorrow?
  • How will each of us “use what we have” to make Scottsdale a better community?
  • When opportunities become available to you, and how will you “step through the door?”

 

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Super Stewards at the Helm!

By SUZANNE PAETZER
2009 Scottsdale Leadership Class Reporter

The Scottsdale Leadership Experience

This is the eighth 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.

What is community stewardship and courageous leadership all about?

On December 18, 2009, Scottsdale Leadership Class 24 explored the role of courageous leadership in community stewardship. Community stewards are the people that help our community to evolve by making tough decisions often with intense public opposition. Sometimes their decisions are very unpopular. They balance the individual needs of a neighborhood or business group with the needs of the entire community. Community stewards remain committed in stressful situations with an eye on future community development and sustainability…………why?

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

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