Tag Archives: Pay It Forward Project

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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Leadership Academy is the Cherry on the Top of Scottsdale Leadership

Sandy Adler, Class 26
Realtor, Arizona Best Real Estate

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.

Our Scottsdale Leadership Day on December 9 was an inspirational change up to what we had been doing for the previous five meeting days and I found it really exhilarating. While the three portions of the day, Leadership Academy, Scottsdale Leadership Awards Luncheon, and Pay It Forward Project group time were all great, I found the Leadership Academy to be the most exciting.

The topic for the Leadership Academy was Non-Profit Board Responsibilities and Fundraising. Four panelists with extensive non-profit experience as staff and/or volunteers answered questions from the moderator (and the class) about the role of non-profit board members.

Here are some of my favorite pieces of advice from this group:

  • Passion for the organization is essential. Only participate on the board of an organization that you truly care about.
  • Study and be prepared for meetings. Be ready to ask questions. Know what the organization needs.
  • Raising money for the organization is a must. Be prepared to know what the give or get is for that board and be prepared to follow through with the expectation.
  • If you are considering joining a board, sit down with the CEO of the organization and ask pointed questions about the organization and the expectations for board members. The best organizations have board packets for potential board members with this information.
  • “Fundraising is teaching the gentle art of giving.” Fundraising is people supporting people. It’s about building relationships.
  • Leadership is about courage. There must be honest conversation when there is conflict on the board so that you don’t end up with nineteen other unhappy board members because of one difficult person.
  • Transparency is crucial, particularly when there is a problem in the organization.
  • It is the responsibility of the board chair and the CEO of the organization to make sure that the board member has a positive experience on the board.
  • And, my favorite, board membership should be fun.

While we are learning about a multitude of organizations in our community that can benefit from our service as volunteers, it is also crucial that we understand what those commitments entail. I’ve served on several non-profit boards over the years, and I found this conversation both affirming and enlightening. The discussion inspired me to be a better board member. It also served as a warning to be careful about the commitments I make as I move forward with acting on what I am learning through the Scottsdale Leadership program.

I’d love to hear more about experiences that others have had on various non-profit boards, both positive and negative. What did you enjoy about board membership? What did you dislike?

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