Tag Archives: Nick Molinari

Words To Live By

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.

Be brave, laugh a lot, do the right thing and make a new friend.

When I leave for work every day, these are my parting words with my two boys, Leo and Mario.  Honestly, I can’t take credit for coming up with these simple nuggets of wisdom. My dear friend Tim Miluk (who is also my boss) has been saying this to his two beautiful daughters for years. We spend a lot of time together and I guess after hearing it for so long, it just sunk in. As a parent, this simple direction really captures the hopes I have for my two little guys. If they can be brave enough to try new things and step out of their comfort zone, if they have an opportunity to be goofy and laugh with their friends, if they make the right choices throughout the day and if they take the time to embrace people they don’t know, what more could you ask for?  As I reflected on my experience as part of Scottsdale Leadership’s Class 26, I realized that this daily mantra really aligns with the mission of the program.

Be Brave
We had to be brave right off the bat, starting with our 90-second commercials on orientation day.  The personal ads were a bit nerve racking to prepare for, not really knowing what was expected of us, who would be watching and what our other classmates would come up with.   They certainly kicked off our experience on a high note though.

Personally, I really had to “be brave” to hop on that SRP helicopter ride in February. I am terrified of heights and can get queasy on an airplane. Seriously though, when would I have another chance to ride in a helicopter?  I chose “being brave,” and capitalized on a great experience that I will never forget.

Our projects required our class, in many regards, to take a leap of faith. What united our group was an eagerness to stake new territory and I think each of Class 26’s Project Pay it Forward Projects exemplified that.  Scottsdale Leadership graduates don’t accept things the way they are. There are examples of this all over our city. From pushing the initiative of civil dialogue to nurturing a world-class art community, Scottsdale Leadership graduates have had to step out of their comfort zones and “be brave” to make Scottsdale a better place.

Laugh A Lot
Honestly, I didn’t expect the program to be as much fun as it was. The networking after class (aka “happy hour”) was great and gave the class an opportunity to get to know each other on a different level. One thing I can say about the organization – the SL staff, the day chairs, the volunteers – they all love what they do. You can see it in their work and it makes a difference.

Do The Right Thing
This is what the program and the process was really all about – how can our class apply our strengths, resources and time to “do the right thing” in our community. Obviously, that means different things to each of the 40 participants, but from community stewardship to education to economic development, the core program gave us tools to get out there, “do the right thing” and lead through the choices we make and the actions we take.

Make A New Friend
Prior to starting Scottsdale Leadership, friends and co-workers who had gone through the program had told me how much they connected with their classmates and that they had developed friendships that they still have today. In all honesty, this is not my greatest skill. I am a bit introverted and have had the same collection of friends since elementary school. With that said, I was eager to meet a bunch of people who love Scottsdale as much as I do.  The new friends and great connections I made were the most significant take away for me.  I have an expanded group of Scottsdale ambassadors I can call on to help make a difference in our city.

One of the best things to come out of my experience with Scottsdale Leadership is that it reinforced how the simple things – friendship, courage and stewardship – are a formula for success anywhere.

What words do you live by?

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Leadership Emerging Toolkit

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.

On May 4, Scottsdale Leadership’s Class 26 capped off a nine-month journey that had a dramatic impact on all of us. The goal of Leadership Emerging Day, which was the last class in the program, was to reflect on the Scottsdale Leadership experience, evaluate our “toolkits” and develop strategies for future community involvement. It is admittedly a bit hard for me to articulate the experience of the class as I got so much more out of it than  expected.

The program days were interesting and packed with information, inspiring stories and tools for successful community stewardship. The leadership academy days addressed critical development areas and our projects were great examples of how small groups of people can have a dramatic impact.

So what were the takeaways?  What each of us learned about Scottsdale – the unique pieces that make our puzzle such a dynamic one – is almost immeasurable.  We have a better understanding of the elements that make our city tick. Each of us has a “lifetime toolkit” that we can draw upon to make a difference in our community. But we all got so much more out of Scottsdale Leadership than that.

The soul of any program is in its people.  While we all learned a great deal about our city, what we got from each other far outweighed anything else. It’s the relationships, friendships and mentors that I gained that will last a lifetime. Hopefully, some of those connections will be the root of change in Scottsdale.

As we look to the future and think about how Class 26 will use our toolkits, here are some things I will keep in the back of my mind:

  • Know yourself:  During our class day Eileen Rogers said, “To be a good steward, you need to know yourself. Your passions and values need to align with your actions.”  These are words to live by, indeed. To be successful leaders, we need to know what is important to us. We need to understand what strengths we bring to the table and how we can apply those skills to make a difference to things that matter to us.
  • Have passion:  If you are going to be of significance, you have to have passion for what you’re doing.  My classmate Ted Taylor exemplifies many of these takeaways.  He definitely knows himself and man is he passionate. Each time I listened to Ted talk about the things that inspired him, I was moved.  Whether he talked about the homeless or immigration or his family, he spoke with such deep conviction that I couldn’t help but be motivated.
  • Enjoy the ride:  You have to enjoy what you’re doing. It shows. Choose purposefully where you spend your time and engage yourself with things and people that make you happy.  We will definitely have a more significant long-term impact if we’re having a good time on the ride.

With that, we draw things to a close. It was a great ride and I’ll miss seeing all my new connections every other Friday. Nevertheless, I anticipate getting many kicks with Class 26 for quite a long time!

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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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