Tag Archives: Scottsdale Leadership Class 26

Caps Off to the 2nd Annual Title I Dream Fair!

Mary Ellertson
Scottsdale Unified School District

Dream FairClose to three hundred Scottsdale family members participated in the 2nd Annual Scottsdale Unified School District’s Title I Dream Fair, held in November at Coronado High School.  Developed by Scottsdale Leadership Class 26 in support of SUSD students and families, the Dream Fair’s overwhelming success for two years in a row has earned it a permanent spot on the school calendar, guaranteeing the event to be one that parents, students, and local community members can look forward to each year.

Mary Ellertson, Title I Coordinator for SUSD, played a vital role in making this a sustainable event.  Coining the slogan, “From Cradle to Career,” Ellertson was passionate about spreading the message that it is never too early to prepare for college.

Dream FairThe goal of the Dream Fair was to level the playing field so that all children have the opportunity to be prepared for college or a career.  Many students in local Scottsdale communities will be the first generation to apply to college and need guidance on how this process works.  Title I funds, which are designed to help close the achievement gap between disadvantaged minority students and their peers, combined with the donations of local businesses and community members, will help keep the Dream Fair a SUSD tradition.

This year’s Dream Fair hosted two motivating Keynote Speakers, former NFL player, Dr. Ray Otis Perkins, a strong advocate of education who shared his message “not just to survive but to strive,” and Gary Trujillo, a graduate of Harvard Business School and co-founder of Southwest Harvard Group Venture Capital.

Health Occupation Students of AmericanStudent performances in music and dance, booths with information about careers and strong study habits, food, and discussions about how dreams can come true were a few of the many exciting offerings of the Dream Fair.  As stated by one attending parent, “We really did not know what to expect when coming but this was an amazing event!  Both of my children learned so much… we hope you continue the Dream Fair!”

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Reflections of a Scottsdale Leadership Graduate

Arizona Leadership ProgramKiem Ho, Class 26
Director of Business Development & Innovation, Laundry Care, Henkel Consumer Goods, Inc.

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.

Do you remember those end of the year High School days where you and your friends would get together reminiscing on their year prior to the summer and the next school year?  Perhaps you exchanged yearbooks where friends often write to one another with the best of intentions of staying connected ending with the hopeful invitation of keeping in touch (KIT):

Having you in my 5th period Biology class was a blast this year.  Mrs/Mr “substitute a High School teacher’s name here” was a drag so thanks for getting me through.  Hope to have you in a class next year and have a great summer… KIT.

Or perhaps it was after a graduation, where friends would write wistful phrases wishing all the best to classmates who would soon be embarking on the next stage of life experiences believing they could tackle the world:

Can’t believe we graduated!? Can’t believe 4 years went by so quickly.  It was a blast having you in classes this year and I’m so sad we are not going to the same “XYZ College”.  You will do great at “XYZ college” so I expect you to remember me when you are rich and famous and remember…to KIT!

At the risk of seeming potentially sappy, becoming a Scottsdale Leadership Class 26 graduate reminded me a little about my High School days.  Instead of a yearbook reflection, our Class 26 went through reflection exercises with music softly playing in the background.  “The Power of Reflection and Self-Awareness” exercise preceded “The Power of Intention: Your Personal Commitment” where we reflected on our nine months of discovery of the Scottsdale Community and ourselves.  At our graduation at Talking Stick, a fine event I might add, conversations would often meander into the topics of our desires to stay in touch and what we would do next after graduation.

What would WE do next?  Will one of us run for public office after the informative city and state government days?  Will one of us help provide leadership for one of the human services that are in such great need in our community?  Maybe someone will take on helping the many art-centric organizations that make up a vital part of Scottsdale.  Education day opened up my eyes about how we as a community can help our schools succeed if only we actively engage to help support.  I could go on and on about the merits of each class day but would be remiss if I were not to mention the Pay it Forward (PPIF) projects which were the capstone of our class involvement.  The PPIF projects demonstrated how each of us as leaders, informed, inspired, and empowered were able to champion and I believe strengthen the interests of the community through our specific projects that included music, gardens, dance, food and dreams.  Without even knowing the specifics about these projects one can imagine how these beautiful things could enhance our community.

Well, I am towards the end of my blog…500 word limit 🙂 Nevertheless, I didn’t really hold to that too well during the class year so I’ll close by referring back to those High School days in saying, I hope that our Scottsdale Class 26 and any past class for that matter has not only better intentions but better commitment than we did back in our High School years.  Knowing the caliber of the graduates I’ve been honored to get to know from mine and other classes, I believe we will stay engaged.  Scottsdale Leadership graduates have gone on and done amazing things and I would not expect anything less from my class and future ones as well.

The question is what will we do with this wealth of information?  I can’t wait to hear from others what they are doing or plan on doing and I almost forgot…  It was a blast having you all in class this year, have a great rest of your summer and please don’t forget to KIT…I mean it!

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Collect $200 for passing “GO”

Kiem Ho, Class 26
Director of Business Development & Innovation, Laundry Care, Henkel Consumer Goods, Inc.

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.

State government day at the capitol building was carefully planned to give our class a better understanding of the legislative process including an opportunity to meet some of the legislators to better understand their priorities. At the risk of not providing a comprehensive overview of the day, I want to focus solely on the very informative overview the Secretary of State Ken Bennett provided on the Arizona annual budget.

Secretary of State Ken Bennett carefully used pre-mocked up Kleenex boxes which represented $500M or $1B increments to recreate Arizona’s yearly budget.  Out of the estimated $10.5B total, the majority of the spending was allocated to K-12 education.  Other important budget items included Health, Prisons, Higher Education, Health and Wellness and Transportation.  I was surprised to find out how much of the support is allocated to education given the low rankings one always hear about Arizona’s low 49th ranking for money received to support education.  What is even more shocking is the fact that we have run a deficit because of past legislative actions.

Granted, no one could have predicted the significant toll the economy has had on the state budget but, doesn’t it seem a simple principle to not spend more money than one has?

I wonder if those in the State government truly feel the reality of the dollars they spend.  Perhaps the sum is so large that it feels more like spending Monopoly money where if you run out, you can always collect $200 for passing “GO”.  Secretary of State Bennett related a story that during the year where there was a small surplus, the legislators presented so many proposals on how to spend the money that it heavily outweighed the surplus by many factors.

At the end of the day, let’s spend no more than we have or even save money if possible.  Almost sounds like a truism, but there seems to be a disconnect of understanding about the “sweat” that goes into earn those funds.  In my line of work, going over a budget even in one year is not acceptable.  It is that simple.

I want to know what are your thoughts on the state budget?

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Play it Forward project wins the prize!

By CHRIS IRISH
Scottsdale Leadership Executive Director

Class 26’s Project Pay It Forward Day presentations were inspiring. Five teams made huge impacts by developing projects that addressed needs in our community. Held at the Civic Center Library and sponsored by the Scottsdale Charros, a panel of judges selected Play it Forward as the winning project.

Play it Forward is a new program developed to benefit Ear Candy Charity. Team members are Jeff Miller, Linda Walton, Tyler Butler, Jerry Scheirer, Terri Blau, Joe Holmes, and Todd Miller; Team advisor Denise Pruitt.

“Two things really stood out about this project”, said Vice-Mayor Linda Milhaven and member of the judging panel. “The fact that they engaged teenagers to help younger children and the thoroughness of the how-to-manual they wrote.”

The goal of the project is to get instruments out of people’s closets and into the hands of aspiring young musicians.  The project consisted of two components, a pilot musical instrument drive and developing a manual, ‘You Can’t Mess This Up’ Guide to Musical Instrument Drives, that provides marketing materials, guidelines and the support needed for any group to run a successful drive.

The pilot drive was held in conjunction with Arcadia High School’s Contemporary Music and Sound program (CMAS). With the project team’s assistance, CMAS students collected 34 instruments and raised $1000 to fund instrument clean-up and repairs prior to placing them in schools.

The manual provides any group, corporations, civic groups, high schools, etc., with the tools to run their own successful musical instrument drives, to benefit their local elementary and middle schools.

The team collaborated with Ear Candy to enhance their online donation system, to give future groups the ability to create and host their own Play it Forward page through the Ear Candy website.  This enables any group to direct potential donors to their specific drive and track their results in real time.  Teachers can request specific instruments so they are placed in classrooms where they are needed most.  Each instrument placed in a school provides immediate access for low-income children, impacting up to 10 children per year.  Instruments remain in the classroom, benefiting the following year’s students as well, compounding the impact.

Ear Candy is a local organization and intends to use Play it Forward to expand their reach and benefit music students across the country.  In honor of the project win, Ear Candy receives a $2000 donation from Scottsdale Leadership.

For more information on Ear Candy Charity and Play it Forward: www.EarCandyCharity.org

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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.

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Scottsdale Public Safety

Kiem Ho, Class 26
Director of Business Development & Innovation, Laundry Care, Henkel Consumer Goods, Inc.

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.

There is no one marketing tactic that delivers 100% loyalty! In my 15 years of Brand Marketing, I’ve come to understand that no matter how good or even perfect my product may be, there will always be those that don’t care, that don’t like it or even hate it.  100% loyalty may be impossible but what is ultimately important is whether those that care for your brand outweigh those that detract.

During Public Safety Day, I could not help but take away the need for increased Public Safety brand loyalty.  Elements of this need can be found in the language of the day’s objectives:

  • Identify the major divisions of public safety in Scottsdale
  • Identify three critical issues (public needs and resources) facing each major division
  • Participate in training exercises to build empathy for public safety providers
  • Identify personal role in, and make personal commitment to, develop safe communities
  • Engage in an effective conversation regarding implications of the public safety trends for leadership in Scottsdale

Chief of Police Alan Rodbell, Class 19 and Fire Chief Garret Olson shared how both of their departments have been able to maintain and even increase the quality of their services in spite of the declining economy and consequent budgets cuts.  Specifically, technology and award winning strategic planning has enabled the police department to efficiently allocate officers to calls.

Similarly, the fire department has been able to increase staffing and add more stations over the past 3 years resulting in an overall response time of 4min 17s while at the same time reducing costs by 16.9%.   These figures are astounding when one considers that the fire department is the 1st respondent for all out of hospital paramedic care.

In addition to awareness, we had a small taste of the dangers our men and women in uniform potentially face every day when we participated in the Firearms Training Simulator where split decisions determine life or death.  We also practiced fire extinguishing and search and rescue, decked out in full gear including heavy oxygen tanks.  Given the adrenaline induced trembling that several of us experienced, it is safe to say that we all gained a deeper appreciation for those that work so hard to protect us.

Despite the increased understanding we took away from Public Safety day, I realized that the majority of the work that our Public Safety departments accomplish goes and even is meant to go unnoticed.  It is in the quietness of anonymity that the men and women of the Scottsdale Police and Fire Department toil on our behalf.   American Jewish Author Cynthia Ozick penned, “When something does not insist on being noticed, when we aren’t grabbed by the collar or struck on the skull by a presence or an event, we take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”

As a community, we enjoy a very high level of care from our Police and Fire Departments.  Despite this high level of quality service, there will always be those that nay say and complain oftentimes without all the facts.  Nevertheless, brand loyalty is ultimately determined about caring.  Chief Garret Olson put it best stating the mission of the Fire Department, “We Care For You”.

Do we as informed community leaders also have an obligation to return that “Care” for those that serve us so well? If we fail to demonstrate and even advocate loyalty for the care that we receive, will we risk  eventually losing the care we take for granted?

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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?

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