Tag Archives: the scottsdale leader

Leadership Emerging

Cundiff_Nicole NEW

By Nicole Cundiff
Colleen’s Dream Foundation

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead

Last week we put a bow on our Scottsdale Leadership experience. Our last class was filled with an in-depth look into not just our nine-month journey, but more importantly, into our future.

We began our day with a series of questions that required quite a bit of self-reflection.  We had to fill in the blank of various “I am” questions: “I am most resilient, hopeful and strong when I am __________.” These are questions that I wouldn’t normally evaluate, but I enjoyed taking the time to discover how I feel when I am at my best. This incredible exercise offered a deep look into our core values and challenged us to make life choices that directly or indirectly result in feeling resilient, hopeful and strong on a daily basis. We then used these values to help create a vision for our future.  We were tasked with writing letters to ourselves describing who we will be and what we will accomplish in a year from now. I loved this exercise because I am a big believer a manifestation.

When we open our letters in a year, I am excited to see how my life aligns with the vision I created last week. As a busy mom of three kids, I am work, yet fail, every day to create balance. I don’t want to miss any of their special moments, yet I have big dreams of my own. How do I achieve both? Well, the answer lies with defining my core values, making decisions that directly align with those values and setting the intention to make a difference. Sounds pretty easy, right? Probably not for someone like me, but I am up to the task and will let you know whether I was able to find balance next year.

What I found to be most powerful about the day was the push to get involved in the community and/or Scottsdale Leadership. From learning about what it means to be on a nonprofit board to speed-dating ways to get involved with Scottsdale Leadership, we were challenged to recognize the various needs in our community and to have the confidence to make it better. We have been blessed with an amazing experience and now we need to do something with it. We can’t just sit around and wait for someone to act on our behalf, but we have to be the change we want to see.

To round out the day, we had an amazing speaker discuss his leadership role in fighting for the legalization of marijuana after seeing the significant medical impact it has made in his daughter’s life. We were all in tears with his story and inspired by the action he has taken on her behalf. This is exactly the type of leader our world needs more of. We need to be bold, take risks, and most importantly, act!

Scottsdale Leadership has been a phenomenal experience. I have meet amazing people and learned quite a bit about myself and all of the amazing gems and resources that Scottsdale has to offer. I am sad to say goodbye to this experience and all my new friends, but I am so excited to see what everyone chooses to do with their experience!

Thank you to Margaret, Emily, Lindsay and so many others for making this such a meaningful year. You are making a huge impact in our community through this program and I am excited to utilize the tools you so graciously bestowed upon us.

Farewell, friends!

Leave a comment

Filed under Class, Community, Leadership, Uncategorized

If a Vote is Cast in the Desert Does it Make a Sound?

By Michael Cassidy,  Class 23
Senior Executive Director at Valley of the Sun YMCA

“People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote – a very different thing.” -Walter H. Judd

Family gatherings, golf outings, weddings, speaking or training gigs, any location that serves adult beverages and on my blog – there are two subjects that are absolutely off-limits: politics and religion.  As this is a guest blog, I will brush against one of those subjects.

“I may not have had 2 cents, but I always had my vote,” my grandfather once said.  Those Depression Era kids are always good for some priceless pearls of wisdom.

In this age of technology we are deluged with information, 24/7, 365.  There is so much information that a channel exists dedicated to just “headlines” – dig deeper on your own time if you’re so inclined.  The NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL have their respective seasons, even elections have their seasons, however politics has become seasonless – they are always on.

Millions of dollars are invested in our “education” as voters.  According to a recent article in the Arizona Republic, apparently it takes significant funding to over-inform us of what is actually important to us.  Would the truly bipartisan move be to have all candidates agree to simply write a check to the state coffers and everyone is provided 10 minutes on the eve of the election?

Photo: Reuse of campaign signs to create shade structure (An Arid Zone Shade Structure Jason Griffiths, ASU)

Every election we apply our noise filters (values, background, experiences, goals, opinions, industry, profession, life stage, etc.) sift through all the rhetoric and cast our vote.  Asking someone how they voted is akin to asking what they weigh – a dangerous proposition.

Despite what the seasonless political soothsayers have proscribed, I’ve yet to see the chaos of Armageddon when the nice volunteer hands me my “I voted” sticker.

There is no such thing as an “informed vote”, there is only your vote.  It is yours to cast after doing the diligence you determine is necessary.  There is no shortage of those telling us what to do with our votes, as always we will do what we determine is right for us, our family, and our community.

One voice, one vote, be sure to use it, otherwise you will not be heard.  The only wrong vote is the one not cast.

Guest post by Mike Cassidy, a non-profit Senior Executive Director specializing in membership development, engagement and retention. His ramblings can be found at www.membershipjedi.com

1 Comment

Filed under Community, Leadership

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Community, Leadership

Finding my Passion and Making a Difference!

By Stefanie Lerner, Class 23
Director of Sales & Marketing at Encore Creative

I began the Scottsdale Leadership program with what I thought was an open mind.  I knew I wanted to get deeper involved in my community and thought Scottsdale Leadership would offer exposure to a host of opportunities, that it did.  I assumed with my professional background and areas of interest I would connect to the arts community or something of that nature. Little did I know that my heart would be grabbed by Phoenix Youth at Risk’s New Pathway’s mentoring program for freshmen at Scottsdale’s Coronado High School.

Fast forward to me signing up, being selected as a mentor, and being paired with Cheyenne for our 10 month journey.  I know that this program, and my involvement in it, is helping to change the trajectory of a young person’s life.  When I met Cheyenne (14 years old) she was prone to gang involvement, drug/alcohol use and self abuse as ways of dealing with life.

After 10 months in this program and with its amazing self empowerment curriculum and community building, Cheyenne found she has a talent and love of writing poetry.  Together we found some poetry open mic readings at Mama Java’s Coffee House and I brought her to hear other poets read.  She got up on that very first day (poems in her pocket…  I didn’t even know about) and read publicly.  She’s since been “publishing” her poetry on Facebook and even signed up to read her poetry at the New Pathways Talent Show….and was awarded …Best Overall Talent. There is no greater pride than seeing her proud of herself, proud of her accomplishments, and making positive choices.

Phoenix Youth at Risk is always looking for new mentors and they run several programs. While I’m just one person, volunteering a small amount of time, I know I am doing something extremely important.  I am making a difference.

For more information on Phoenix Youth at Risk please visit: http://www.phoenixyouthatrisk.org/

2 Comments

Filed under Community, Leadership

Are you ready to save my life?

By Rachel Brockway, Class 23
Scottsdale Leadership Marketing and Resource Development Manager

As leaders in our community, we continually attend events and activities where many people are in attendance. Would you know how to respond if one of these people goes into cardiac arrest? Could you save them? New CRP methods have a much higher success rate and are hands only which means it is  not mouth to mouth. The Scottsdale Fire department, celebrating its fifth anniversary on July 1st will be offering 13 free hands only CPR presentations delivering rapid chest compressions.

When I attended Public Safety day as part of Scottsdale Leadership the main thing I remember is not to worry about hurting a person when you do CPR; because you can’t hurt someone who is dead! A person in cardiac arrest is already clinically dead. ..but you can change that!

Advance registration for these classes will be required, as space is limited. To view the dates and times for the CPR classes and to sign up, visit www.scottsdaleaz.gov/fire/HandsOnlyCPR or call (480) 312-8000.

Remember you can save a life!

Leave a comment

Filed under Community, Events

A Fond Farewell to Carolyn Allen

By JEFF WINKLER, Class 22
Member, Scottsdale Leadership Board of Directors

On the occasion of the retirement of Senator Carolyn Allen, a graduate of Scottsdale Leadership Class I, I would like to offer some reflections on her service to Scottsdale and the state.

Senator Allen is, if nothing else, a person of strong convictions; and, an equally strong commitment to honoring those convictions with her vote and her leadership on the issues of the day. At a time when politics in Arizona and nationally is becoming increasingly rancorous and partisan, Senator Allen stands as an example of a political leader who is willing to work across the aisle and let the merits of an issue determine her support.

Throughout her long career, Senator Allen was a leader on many issues, including; healthcare, economic development, support for public education, the arts and state trust land reform. Her style of leadership never varied; get the facts, assemble a coalition and stick to your guns. As she is fond of saying about her adversaries over the years, “They might not like me, but they respect me.” This leadership style served the citizens of Scottsdale well.  In my periodic conversations with her over these last years, Senator Allen never failed to draw the conversation on any issue back to what her constituents thought on the issue. Senator Allen took the constituent outreach and service part of her job very seriously. She always had her finger on the pulse of what was happening in Scottsdale. This allowed her to be an effective advocate for those that she served.

As Senator Allen departs the political stage, one can only hope that there will be others who step up and put partisanship aside to work for what’s best for all Arizonans. The problems that we are facing as a state are huge and don’t lend themselves to a highly political and partisan solution. We will need leaders from all sides of the debate to work together for the benefit of all. Those that step up to lead next would be well served to emulate the career of Senator Allen as we face the challenges of tomorrow together.

7 Comments

Filed under Alumni, Leadership, News

Teamwork, great projects make us want to dance

By ROBERT LEGER, Class 21
Opinions editor of the Scottsdale Republic and Phoenix Republic

The tune was current, one all the elementary school children recognized as they ate lunch. They started dancing. A few minutes later, the youngsters were joined by silver-haired women who quickly learned the shuffle.

It was one of those “aha moments.” No one had planned this. It just happened, giving the people who put together this day of sharing between young and old all the affirmation they needed. Two generations connected.

Feel-good movies tell us one person can make a difference. But what can happen when seven talented, motivated people get behind an idea? Scottsdale Leadership has an answer, and it is amazing.

To read the rest of Robert’s blog on the Arizona Republic’s website click here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized