Tag Archives: melissa rzeppa

Calling all Scottsdale Leadership alumni, supporters and friends!

Melissa RzeppaBy MELISSA RZEPPA, Class 23
Partner & PR Director – Serendipit Consulting

Hopefully by now you are well aware that this year is a BIG year for Scottsdale Leadership – 2011 marks the 25th anniversary of developing community leaders in Scottsdale. Scottsdale Leadership and its passionate graduates have worked for 25 years to help make Scottsdale and the surrounding Phoenix metropolitan area better every day. In true Scottsdale Leadership spirit in conjunction with the Kurt Warner First Things First Foundation, the organization plans to give a $25,000 community gift back to the community to commence the organization’s 25th year.

This sizable gift will be presented at the 25th Anniversary Celebration on April 14, 2011 at the Hyatt Gainey Ranch, and will also feature a keynote from Kurt Warner.

In part, the $25,000 donation will support the Best Buddies program through the Scottsdale Unified School District, and Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services (STARS). The Best Buddies program  creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services (STARS) provides opportunities for individuals with developmental and cognitive disabilities to achieve their highest levels of personal, social and economic independence.

We hope that you will come and support Scottsdale Leadership at the 25th Anniversary Celebration! The event sponsors are Hyatt Gainey Ranch and APS and starts at 6 p.m. on April 14, features a delicious dinner, wine from ONEHOPE Wines, raffle and featured keynote from Kurt Warner. Tickets are $150; $125 for dues-paid alumni. VIP tickets are available for $500 each and include a special reception with Kurt Warner and preferred seating. Purchase your tickets online at scottsdaleleadership.org or by calling 480-627-6710.

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Effective Leadership Means Learning to Say No

By MELISSA RZEPPA, Class 23
Partner & PR Director – Serendipit Consulting

I recently received an e-mail from a friend who works for a non-profit. The subject line of her read “Potential Committee Member.” I immediately started hyperventilating. I opened the e-mail and the first line said, “Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask YOU to be on the committee, I was hoping one of your employees could?”

Yikes. My friends could see that I was over-committed before I even recognized it!

I may be a people-pleaser, but I really want to be an effective leader. The problem is that you can’t possibly give 100% to 500 different things, or even 25 different things for that matter. You can probably slide by and give a little here and there for those 25 different things, but are you really doing that organization or that commitment justice?

As a leader, when you say “YES” to something, whether it’s to serve on a board, organize an event, write an article, volunteer to walk dogs or solicit donations, you are expected to be as much of a leader for that new commitment as the last one. When your knack for organizing, motivating and delivering results becomes exposed and you are pegged as someone with leadership abilities, your world opens up to many new possibilities and opportunities to use those skills. The challenge is in learning to understand your boundaries so that you don’t get burnt out and, more importantly, so that you can honor the commitments you’ve already made to serve as a leader.

It’s certainly not easy to be a leader, that’s probably why you always see the same people taking on the majority of the work within the organizations that you’re involved. But, if you always say yes, especially when you already have plenty of commitments, you’re taking away someone else’s opportunity to lead – someone who may have the time and energy to give 100% instead of 5%.

So I’ve recently had to ask myself: would I rather give 100% to five different things, or do all 25 and be known as unreliable? For me, I’m finally realizing that choosing five is the better option.

One article I found from a leadership development company suggested that you ask yourself a few questions before saying yes to a new commitment:

1. Am I really the best person for this?
2. What can I realistically delegate if I take this on?
3. Do I have current commitments that are ending soon?
4. Can I really commit to this?

How have you learned to best manage your commitments as a leader?

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The Primaries are on August 24: Republicans, Democrats and Independents, it’s Your Turn to Have Your Voice Heard

By MELISSA RZEPPA, Class 23
Partner & PR Director – Serendipit Consulting

My fellow Class 23 classmate, Mike Cassidy, wrote a great blog earlier this week that left everyone with the message of the only wrong vote is the one not cast.

I of course, could not agree more. What’s really important to understand is that your vote doesn’t only matter in the general election, but it matters just as much (if not more) in the primary election, when parties will choose the candidates to represent them in the general elections. On August 24, you will have your chance to go out and vote in the primary election.

A recent article in the Arizona Republic from Bill Hart, a senior policy analyst at the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at ASU, stated that most Arizonans “seem oblivious to the primaries.” Typically, only about 25 percent of registered voters turn up to vote.

According to the Hart article, as of June 1, Republicans made up 36 percent of registered voters, Democrats had 33 percent and Independents 31 percent. That means that the number of Independent voters is on the rise and Independent voters have a huge, unrecognized opportunity to really influence the vote.

Yet, Hart points out that typically, primary election voter turnout from Independent voters is significantly lower than both major parties. He believes that this is because most Independent voters simply don’t know that they can vote in the primary election. The fact is: they can. Independents who wish to vote in any Republic or Democratic primaries (excluding only Arizona’s presidential preference-election) can request the appropriate ballot at their place of polling; their status as a registered independent is not affected. In a separate article by Robert Leger in the Scottsdale Republic, Leger states “the primary election is the election that matters. If you skip it and wait until November, someone else has already made the decision for you.”

Harts other reason for Arizona being “oblivious” to the primaries, is that Arizonans are lazy voters. Let’s prove him wrong! We have the opportunity, no matter what party we stand for, to choose the candidates that will be on the ballot for the general election in November.

Mark August 24 on your calendar, see you at the polls!

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Who was Frances Young?

By MELISSA RZEPPA, Class 23
Partner & PR Director – Serendipit Consulting

For nearly a half century, Scottsdale resident Frances Young mentored, advised, assisted and championed numerous local organizations and causes – simply for the good of the community. Among her admirers she was fondly known as “the mayor of South Scottsdale”.

Young epitomized warmth, caring and concern for people of diverse backgrounds. She embraced all people and advocated for their quality of life, whether Yaqui, Hispanic, Asian, Black or White. Her notable contributions include the establishment of an English as a Second Language program in the schools, the beginning of Indian Education, Head Start and Title I programs, and the establishment of the Vista del Camino Community Center.

During her tenure serving on the Human Services Commission, Young worked with other members to find funds for various social services. Young summed up her life by saying, “I’ve gained far more than I ever gave. That’s what I want everyone to know.”

Nominations are currently being accepted for the Frances Young Community Heroes award sponsored by General Dynamics. Nominees must be ages 14 or older whose volunteer services directly benefit Scottsdale citizens and/or Scottsdale organizations. They may not have previously received public recognition for their volunteer efforts. Nominations must be submitted by Friday, September 3.

Do you know someone who is a community hero and who deserves to be recognized? Now is your chance to say “thanks” for all they do!

For more information and to download the nomination form visit www.gdc4s.com/about/community.

Nominate a hero today!

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Class 24 Helps Scottsdale Public Library Set the Green Standard

By MELISSA RZEPPA, Class 23
Partner & PR Director – Serendipit Consulting

Scottsdale Leadership Class 25 is certainly going to have a LOT to live up to with all of the buzz that Class 24 has been getting for their Pay it Forward projects! Most recently, this article was published on the American Libraries website, recognizing the Scottsdale Public Libraries for its “Meet Green” program that was instituted earlier this year.

With the help of Class 24, the Scottsdale Public Library system now asks patrons who want to use the library’s meeting rooms to follow a simple, eco-friendly set of guidelines, including:

– refrain from handing out paper unless absolutely necessary
– use refillable water bottles instead of plastic water bottles
– use recycled materials when serving food
– use appropriate recycling containers
– turn off all lights and equipment used at the end of the meeting

How great would it be if all public meeting spaces asked these same rules of all patrons?

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Using Social Media to Speak Out

By MELISSA RZEPPA, Class 23
Partner & PR Director – Serendipit Consulting

When you saw that Scottsdale Leadership started a blog, joined Facebook and started tweeting, did you ever stop to think why it was necessary? Perhaps your initial conclusion was that “everyone else is doing it” so we should, too.

Well, yes, everyone else is doing it, but importantly, Scottsdale Leadership is engaging through social media to speak out.

Like never before, people are using social media to have their voices heard. Millions of brands, organizations and municipalities are devoting full-time staff to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and many other outlets.  Thousands of groups right here in Scottsdale are engaging in social media every day. Whether it’s the Chamber, the City, a non-profit, a multi-million dollar business or a mom-and-pop shop; you have instant access to each of them and they are listening to you.

So, how can you use social media to affect change in Scottsdale?

1.    Be a grassroots activist.
Share your opinions about local issues, whether they are pertaining to education, development, tourism, politics… you name it. If you have an opinion, let it be heard! You could also support someone else’s opinion. Spread your message and share the facts so that others can educate themselves about the issue (you can do this by sharing links to websites or blogs with key information).

2.    Promote events and meet people.
Social media is a perfect opportunity to share community events that you’re planning or attending. It might help you sell tickets, raise funds, or meet attendance goals. You may also generate media attention by promoting your events creatively through social media. Plus, when you share the events that are happening in Scottsdale, you’re helping to promote our amazing city to the world!

3.    Say “thanks” to leaders who rock.
In Scottsdale Leadership, we learned the value of a simple thank you note (and of course, we shouldn’t forget that). But, you can also say “thanks” to leaders that you believe are doing a great job through social media. This is great because it’s not private and personal, it’s a public acknowledgment that you think someone has stepped up to lead our community.

Do you already use social media to speak out in Scottsdale? If so, how?

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