Tag Archives: Scottsdale Insurance Company

Trust and Inclusion

Braden Love
Director IT Business Consulting, Scottsdale Insurance Company

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.

Inclusion day has to be one of the most personal and engaging classes we’ve had during Class 26.  The topics reached everyone in the class, the dialog was free flowing and the class expressed an amazing amount of trust and respect for each other as we spoke frankly about our beliefs and ourselves.

Thank you, Marion Kelly, Class 17 and Doreen Reinke, Class 17 for designing, hosting and delivering such a compelling course.  They started the day by framing a mindset of inclusion.  Inclusion is an action you take to respect and make positive outcomes of diversity.  We all learned that everyone profiles in some way during the profiling exercise.  Sometimes that is OK, sometimes it is not.  We also learned about the diversity in our class.  I listened to my classmates share who they are.  From a too-white Hispanic to an agnostic Jew some of my subconscious preconceptions of those neat little society-defined categories were broken down.  Diversity showed it is a continuum of nuances created by our culture, our experiences and our beliefs – not a discrete set of check boxes on the census form.

It was a special treat to have Terri Trent facilitate a lesson on inclusive leadership.  She helped us focus on our emotional intellect or EQ.  Leaders who are self and socially aware, that can use that insight to manage themselves and associate well with others tend to be more successful.  Perhaps Mike Miller said it more plainly; ‘leadership = influence’.  Applying your emotional intellect will affect your influence.  The iceberg analogy  also came up and was used a couple times during the day to illustrate what defines us and our most influential characteristics are those that are unseen and under the waterline.

After lunch we learned about the great work our sponsor of the day does with the Community Celebrating Diversity organization.  Thank you for sponsoring and thank you for contributing to our community in such a positive way.

Next Jeff Jameson helped us all gain perspective as we circled around the random representative ‘minority’ class members.  Being one of the minorities in the middle of the room surrounded by the majority both staring at and ignoring me, I felt it.  And it did not feel comfortable.  How did it feel to be in the ‘majority’?  Did you get see it any differently on the outside looking in?

The late afternoon sessions were an outright hit with the class.  We did not want them to end.  I’ve never felt the class so engaged before.  We each stood up in front of the class and expressed what diversity we embodied – handsome glasses wearers, east town dwellers, married, not married, young, and other personal identities.  I felt closer to my class and more enlightened by the time we reluctantly ended the exercise.

Then we explored some of the darker side of diversity in the ‘hate, fear and profiling’ exercise.  We looked at headlines and discussed current and past events that are best described more exclusive than inclusive.  I was especially struck by Don Logan’s story about being letter bombed.  I think it was the statement that we were watching a video of his presentation because we wanted to leave him alone right now amid the tensions around the Zimmerman/Martin shooting that made it all feel very real, here and now to me.

This blog does not do justice to the lessons we learned that day.  But I wanted to be sure to share with everyone a flavor for the day and appreciation for the day chairs, sponsors and speakers.  I leave you with a summary of the lessons I learned.

  • Diversity is a noun.  It is important that we use nouns to recognize and describe. Inclusion is a verb.  It is taking action with diversity and progressing.
  • Leadership equals influence; anybody can be a leader in any organization.  Being aware of yourself and others then using that awareness to guide your behaviors and respectfully interact with others can further your influence.
  • Diversity and inclusion creates tension.  We aspire to be inclusive yet, at the same time strive to maintain a unique identity of a culture or group.  It can be a Catch 22.  It is not simple.
  • The problem is here, now and you may contribute to the problem or the solution.  Evidence abounds in letter bombings and profiling stories.  We shared how we felt an “out rage of affiliation” with how some of our leaders address diversity.  We recognized a trend of erosion of respect in politics and society.  We thought there must be a “silence of people with good will”.
  • The leader’s responsibility to the solution is to cast a shadow and cascade an inclusive perspective.  Use those teachable moments with other people to let them know some behaviors are not OK. Walk the talk.  Light a candle as an individual to create a more inclusive society.

What does inclusion mean to you?

Leave a comment

Filed under Class, Leadership

The Scottsdale story

Braden Love
Director IT Business Consulting, Scottsdale Insurance Company

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.

This is the toughest blog assignment I’ve had for Class 26.  The sheer volume of content we were exposed to during the day alone makes for a tough summarization job.  But it was more than going to a bunch of cool places and meeting interesting people, there was a thread of the Scottsdale story throughout the day.  I’ll see if I can do it justice and try to tell that story.

The much hyped Buss Tour Day lived up to its billing.  Hats off to David Valencia and Kelly Tope for putting together an action packed day that told a great story of the history of Scottsdale and who we are now.

Starting the day on top of the Waterfront Tower we listened to Joan Fudula, Scottsdale historian, telling us the early history of Scottsdale while we drank in a sweeping view bathed in the early day sun.  While we were a little bit windblown and chilled – it was a perfect way to frame the day.  Seeing the vision of modern Scottsdale while hearing about the vision of our early Scottsdalians wrote the first and last chapters of the day’s story.  The rest of the story was written as we toured Old Town, the Talking Stick Resort, Liberty Wildlife, West World, DC Ranch, Los Cedros, Taliesin West, and Yelp.  (Yes, we did this all in one day and on schedule – are you impressed with Kelly and David now?)

As we walked around Old Town and to the Little Red School House the roots of our city emerged literally below our feet.  Agriculture was the foundation of Scottsdale starting with the Hohokam inhabitance of the valley and later Winfield Scott establishing an agricultural community.  When visiting the Talking Stick resort I was struck at the juxtaposition of a gorgeous resort overlooking the desert and farm fields where a lone tractor working the field left a trail of dust lingering in the air.  It perfectly symbolized how Native Americans once pushed inside arbitrary boundaries and hired as hands are now thriving by driving the tourism economy and sustaining the area’s appetite for luxury.

We saw modern Scottsdale foreshadowed in the stories about those who first created the city.  Winfield Scott not only worked a ranch and recruited people to come live in Scottsdale; he also started a tradition of tourism by hosting people on his property so they could rejuvenate.  Fast forward to today and you see that tradition sustained from early guest ranches, through mid century hotels such as the Hotel Valley Ho and Safari, then on to the resorts we all enjoy so much today. During the mid century Scottsdale’s personality of arts and fashion emerges.  We saw pictures of a mid century fashion show put on in the dusty streets and heard about the early craft studio that is now surrounded by the Arts District.

Our visit to Taliesin West provided another reminder of how ingrained the arts are in our city’s personality.  It was a privilege to learn from Arnold Roy, a man who may well have literally walked in the shoes of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Scottsdale’s identity is formed by just being “out West” and among the Sonoran desert.  We saw how that thread of being the west’s most western town continues to drive our economy and form our personality at West World and Los Cedros.  Of course our signature horse show is nothing short of the romantic and exclusive Arabian horse.  And Los Cedros houses those horses alongside an accurate reproduction of a Moroccan throne room with imported tapestries, rugs, furnishings and architectural features fit for a king. How Scottsdale.

Today we value our Sonoran desert and nurture that resource.  Liberty Wildlife exemplifies that passion.  It provides an outlet for people to care for injured wildlife and helps out our feathered neighbors in this great place.   I imagine there are a lot of Scottsdalians in the volunteer pool there.  We heard too how DC Ranch supports the McDowell Sonoran Preserve knowing that it provides their version of beachfront property and that DC residents value their unique geography.

Somewhere in this whirlwind several people from the class shared their personal histories and ties to Scottsdale.  What a nice treat to learn more about your friends while learning about the area.

Finally our last stop – the Yelp office. You could feel the energy in the office.  The office was all about sales and the Yelp IPO was earlier that day. I was trying to figure out how that fits into our story.  Then as we were sitting listening to the old-timer director of the office who has five years in with the company, which is almost as long as the company has been around, I got it.  This is Scottsdale in the new economy.  Scottsdale is supporting a thriving business with an entrepreneurial spirit, independence and rapid growth I’m sure Winfield Scott would have recognized.

There was so much more to this story and the bus tour day.  But I hope you can see what we did.  We saw a vibrant, modern city that is still in touch with its roots.

1 Comment

Filed under Class, Community, News

Civil Discourse? Where is your line?

Braden Love
Director IT Business Consulting, Scottsdale Insurance Company

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.

January 20th found Scottsdale Leadership Class 26 trekking to the outlands of Scottsdale and enjoying the hospitality of the Desert Foothills Family YMCA. Did you know that the #1 YMCA in the valley, serving 21,000 folks, was tucked away way up in northwest Scottsdale on 80 acres of Paradise Valley Community College land? I’ve been by 100 times and did not know.

Leadership Academy was in session. So far, the curriculum has been very engaging and this session, on Civil Discourse, was no different. I was impressed with all of the speakers as they were very articulate about the issue of civil discourse and the approach that they presented the information fit right along with the topic of the day. I also appreciated the diversity of the speakers on building partnerships as they were a good illustration of the different constituencies involved in community partnerships and had great insight as to how they can work. Interesting how good citizenship is good business isn’t it?

We’ve been spending a lot of time on Civil Discourse and it seems to really hit a nerve with a lot of people. To some it may sound like the foundation for respectful, constructive dialog and to others it may sound like impedance to robust debate and passionate advocacy. I think leaders are expected to exercise passionate advocacy and that a diversity of positions along with tension and competition between ideas is what makes a society healthy. But there is a line where I feel that competition becomes un-sportsman like.  For me it is defined by respect. But my line and my measurement of respect is my own.

How do you define and measure your line when it comes to civil discourse?

Leave a comment

Filed under Class, Community, News

What is in the special sauce?

Braden Love, Class 26
Director IT Business Consulting, Scottsdale Insurance

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.

Another great day at Scottsdale Leadership was spent at the Coronado High School learning about the Scottsdale Unified School district. The coordination to pack in the star-studded speaker roll and tons of information in a short time was impressive. It was great to hear from the talented administration and a couple of smart students but I would have preferred to directly hear from a teacher.

What is the special sauce that makes SUSD excel above others? We heard about how great the school system is performing in a very challenging environment. The environment sounded, well… broken. Funding challenges abound. Equalization, a finance system older than a lot of Coronado alumni, the inability to move funds from one budget bucket to another, stagnate salaries and budgets.  Surely the special sauce is not money, look how well the team performs with what they have.

What is in that special sauce? Listening to the discussion about accountability and seeing the school professionals’ challenges and perceptions of what looked to me like chaos diminished my confidence in our policy makers. Another seemingly broken, or at least faltering, system. Not only do we have three definitions of successful but those definitions are changing like the seasons in New England. How’d you like it if that were your performance evaluation environment for your job?

If money is not the silver bullet for education and our policies on standards and performance create challenges more than they enable, then what are the ingredients for that special sauce? It must be another part of the system… Perhaps it is the community? The Administration? The kids? The parents?  The teachers?

What do you think is written on that recipe card? Please respond and let me know.

1 Comment

Filed under Class, Community, News

Why Leadership is Important in our Community

Braden Love
Director IT Business Consulting, Scottsdale Insurance

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 am excited to be selected for the 26th Scottsdale Leadership class. So, when filling out the initial paper work for the class I felt compelled to volunteer for something when the first opportunity arose. Of the several options provided I chose contributing to the blog since I felt like it would deepen my engagement and help to create indelible memories like the journals I wrote during my travels before I settled down. Our first assignment – or is it a culling of the weak?- provide a short blog answering the question “Why Leadership is important in our Community”

Nothing conjures up writers block like an ambiguous question on your first test of a class you really want to ace. So like any difficult problem I broke it down and looked outward for inspiration. It was surprising how inspiring Wikipedia was in this case as the story of Scottsdale is peppered with leadership. Breaking it down, my first question; what is leadership in our community? My second question; what has it done for us already?  My third question I’ll save for you later.

Defining leadership is a bit more of an exercise than a blog entry as many books and careers have been made on the subject. I’m not that ambitious here but let’s admit that leadership takes many forms. It could be a formal leadership role like the mayor, it could be driving innovation, it could be having the courage to act, or it could be helping your neighbor. Here are some examples of leadership in Scottsdale’s past and the results.

  • The Hohokam had the vision and ambition to build an extensive network of irrigation canals over a thousand years ago.  They built their community and society around the canals, and in turn, Scottsdale and many other Valley of the Sun communities were founded.
  • Winfield and George Washington Scott were two brothers who came to the area, bought up 640 acres, and started farming.  They were known to have encouraged others to create a desert farming community in the region.  The town they lived in changed its name from Orangedale to Scottsdale in 1894.
  • In 1912 the Ingleside Inn at Indian School Road and 64th Street was the region’s first resort.  That was 40 years before air conditioning was widely available and four years after the first Model T was produced.  Today, Scottsdale is known as a resort destination and tourism brings in millions of visitors and billions of dollars to our community.
  • Indian Bend Wash experienced flooding problems in the 1960’s.  The Federal Government was motivated to solve the problem for both the well being of the residents and the financial impact to the government from the insurance laws at the time.  The Army Corp of Engineers wanted to create concrete canals but some residents wanted to try the then emerging approach of greenways.  The community voted and in a controversial move decided to install the Scottsdale Greenbelt.

While these examples are large scale (or Wikipedia-worthy events) they do illustrate what leadership has done for our community in the past.  Leadership comes from many people and groups at different scales and in many forms.  We’ve seen some examples of what it is and has done for our community.

My last question I’ll pose to you:  “What are some examples of what leadership could do for our community now?”  Please respond and let me know your ideas or share an example of current leadership that has inspired you.

Leave a comment

Filed under Class, Leadership

2010 Spirit of Community Leadership Award Recipients

Scottsdale Leadership, Inc., a nonprofit organization serving Scottsdale and the surrounding community, recently announced the recipients of the 2010 Spirit of Community Leadership Awards.

The recipients and the awards for which they are being honored are:

Award recipients will be honored at the Scottsdale Leadership 11th Annual Spirit of Community Leadership Awards Luncheon, sponsored by APS and Scottsdale Insurance Company, on Friday, Dec. 10, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The event is open to the public and will be held at Scottsdale Resort & Conference Center, located at 7700 E. McCormick Pkwy.

Tickets are available at www.scottsdaleleadership.org.

Please contact Rachel Brockway at (480) 627-6710 or rbrockway@scottsdaleleadership.org if you would like more information.

1 Comment

Filed under Community, Events, Leadership, News

Airing the laundry with Class 25…

Doreen Reinke, Class 17 Member, President of Board Scottsdale Leadership
Vice President, Operations, Scottsdale Insurance Company

I had the pleasure of “airing the laundry” with Class 25 and getting to know our new class members last Friday at their orientation day and evening reception. What a great class to represent Scottsdale Leadership’s 25th anniversary year.

Each class member gave a 90 second commercial and shared their personal stories. Early on in the commercials it was apparent this is a class with a lot of originality, diversity and international experiences.

One creative class member decided to “air his laundry” and share his story presenting a laundry basket full of shirts representing the important people and events of his life. As I listened to each commercial I took away so much about our class members both individually and collectively.

Let me introduce to you Scottsdale Leadership’s Class 25.  They are:

Hikers
Golfers
A soccer mom
A marathon runner
A guitar player
A singer
A reality show addict
A Disneyland junkie
Four Attorneys
A professional tennis coach
And a spouse who lost a bet and married his wife

We have class members who were born and raised in Paris, Australia and Germany. We have other class members who traveled and or worked throughout the world bringing to us a global perspective of community leadership.

Collectively, Class 25 has 53 children and 40 dogs!

They share passions around education, healing and helping others, innovation, diversity, family, friends and their community.

The local leader they would most like to meet is Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane who they all met on September 3 at their Welcome Reception at the Hotel Valley Ho.

They are husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, good friends and Scottsdale Leadership’s Class 25.

I encourage you to take the time to get to know Class 25 on your own throughout the core program.

Let’s all welcome and congratulate Class 25.

3 Comments

Filed under Community, Leadership