Tag Archives: Jenifer Dymek

Defining Sustainability

Jenifer Dymek, Class 26
Executive Analyst, SRP

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.

What is sustainability? That is the question that we discussed in our March 16th Scottsdale Leadership class. What we learned is that sustainability is everywhere, and with so many options, each person can do a lot at home or at work to improve the future of our valley.

Many people might think that to increase sustainability you have to decrease in your own comfort or “give things up.” Not true! As we learned from General Dynamics, changing something like a front lawn (or football field in their case) can have a dramatic impact on the amount of water consumed, not to mention all of the other factors and costs associated with maintaining it. In addition, the cost savings can be staggering, giving a whole new meaning to going “green.”

As many of us who have spent time in the valley know, it’s changed a lot over the last few decades. We live in a beautiful place and that has attracted many new residents and businesses. Growth is wonderful, but with it comes more golf courses, businesses and homes. Sometimes we forget that we still live in a desert and that water isn’t as abundant as we may think. Several members of our class were able to take a helicopter tour of the SRP water system and during class we all learned about the Central Arizona Project system. Water is our most precious resource, and a lot of people are working on how to keep it readily available. Because, without water, there is no Valley of the Sun.

So, what is sustainability? In my opinion, I think that’s up to each person to decide. Whether you’ve never recycled and you start, or you have your home assessed for ways to make it more efficient, or you look for options within your business to lower your water or energy consumption, or you build a new home or office using the best known practices. Creating a sustainable future is all around us, and now we have the tools and knowledge to see what works for us!

What does sustainability mean to you?


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Vista del Camino Volunteer Project

Jenifer Dymek, Class 26
Executive Analyst, SRP

My normal day: wake up, get ready for work, get my daughter ready for school, remind my husband where he left his keys (and sunglasses), drop off my daughter, go to work, anticipate what today is going to take to keep everything running smoothly, leave work, pick up my daughter, make dinner, bike ride?, do dishes (and any other household chores), bath time, pajamas, story time, bedtime, collapse on the couch and breathe. As you can tell, I am busy. I am so busy that there is no way I could ever find time to volunteer. At least that’s what I told myself.

But then an amazing thing happened. I made time. I made time to volunteer at the Food Bank at Vista del Camino. Vista’s mission is to provide a variety of social services to residents of Scottsdale. This includes services to prevent homelessness, meet the basic needs of individuals or families in crisis, relieve economic and emotional stress and assist individuals so they can remain self-sufficient.

I learned that the Food Bank is staffed almost totally by volunteers. Men and woman who consistently give their time to make sure that someone is there to receive donations and to sort through each item and prepare boxes and bags to be distributed to those who need it. The ladies I worked with show up every week, many for years, to ensure that the Food Bank continues to run and provide the needed services. They work one or a couple days a week for two to four hours, whatever time they have available. They do it because they want to help, and they do a great job. The pantry was perfectly organized by food with lists placed strategically to remind each person what goes in a box or a bag, and a tracking system for how many boxes are created. Once all the sorting and boxing was completed, we even dusted the tops of the cans!

I shared with my co-volunteers that until I went through Scottsdale Leadership, I had no idea that Scottsdale had a food bank. Or that I’d ridden my bike past it a million times while utilizing the greenbelt bike paths. I was surprised (and somewhat pacified) to know that until many of them started to volunteer, they weren’t aware of Vista’s existence either. Vista del Camino does a fantastic job, and their volunteers are amazing. But how much greater could it be if leaders used their connections and leadership skills within the community to let others know that it exists? They could also focus on ensuring consistent food streams. How many other food bank collection boxes do we see throughout Scottsdale? What if even a portion of those donations were directed towards Vista del Camino?

Community leaders can do a lot of good. They can lead, fundraise and spread the word about organizations like Vista. But sometimes, one of the best things they can do is to make time to volunteer. Meet people bringing bags at the door; thank them for their donation, sort and place items in boxes for those who need it. And yes, even dust cans.

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Welcome to Class 26

Jenifer Dymek
Sr. Advertising Strategist, Salt River Project

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.

The first day of Scottsdale Leadership’s Class 26 was like the first day of school. Maybe it was the excitement of being on a school campus (our first class was held at Scottsdale Community College), or maybe just the chance to meet other people ready to embark on an adventure. A new place where we’ll all be pushed to be better, and stretch a little higher. The hum of the room and the excitement touched everyone, from members of the class to the alumni and staff.

So what makes up this class of leaders? In the amazing 90-second commercials, we found out that we have poets and football fanatics. A crockpot chef and a police chief named Jeff. An amazing baker, a nail polish fanatic, a ringside announcer and animal lover. Still remember what makes Nick tick? Lawyers and CPA’s and realtors, oh my! A marathon runner and rock and roll singer, this class is loaded with leadership ringers!

There are so many to name, and so many new faces to get to know. This class is filled with amazing and interesting people and we’ve only seen the very tip of the iceberg.

But what is a leader? Former Scottsdale city manager Dick Bowers shared his experience and inspirational thoughts:

  • There is nobility in public service
  • You can make change happen despite your surrounding situation
  • Discuss the un-discussables
  • Create tension
  • Controversy is a seed to grow
  • The relationship with the person directly below you is less important than the one with the person several layers below you
  • Keep your vision within people’s grasp

In the words of our Scottsdale Leadership president Brian Bednar, it’s our time to be present and take advantage of this amazing opportunity.

Good luck to all!


Filed under Class, Leadership