Tag Archives: Valley of the Sun United Way

Congratulations to Scottsdale Leadership for 25 Years of Nurturing Leaders!

Maire SimingtonMaire Simington, PhD, Class 12
Director, Care Management Services, Banner Health

I knew Scottsdale Leadership was a special organization right from the outset.  I had sent in my application at the suggestion of my friend Katherine Cecala who thought it would be interesting if we went through the program together.  We were both working at Mayo Clinic at the time and submitted our applications. I had to miss my in-person interview because my mother passed away.  Sherri Statt, then president, called me afterward and we had a pleasant conversation at the end of which she said that the board had decided to save a seat for me. It was a very difficult time in my life and I was so touched by this kindness.

Katherine and I became classmates, making new friends along the way. One of my friends then with whom I still have contact with is Judy Register.  Over the years, both Judy and Katherine have inspired me.

Katherine is the epitome of community service.  Even though she had a demanding job at Mayo Clinic, she managed to take on community leadership roles and be an advocate for blind children, people suffering with HIV/AIDS, girls who needed good role models and mentors, and much more.  While I had always been involved in the community – primarily with arts and civic organizations, Katherine’s stewardship was extraordinary. Katherine has since moved on to a new position that exemplifies service to the community.  She is the COO of Valley of the Sun United Way.

My other friend, Judy, suggested that I become part of the board for Friends of the Scottsdale Public Library, a role which I enjoyed. Judy also suggested the Arizona Humanities Council which she had chaired.  I was interviewed and selected for the board and have happily served with this organization since 2005.

During my year in Scottsdale Leadership, I learned much about the community’s needs. From social services and education to law enforcement and the needs of the elderly, I examined my own leadership style and thought about how I could best continue to make a difference.

It was during that time that I worked with a physician at Mayo Clinic to nurture the development of the Transplant House at Brusally Ranch.  We recruited volunteers, cleaned the house and worked at getting donations.  The house filled a significant need for transplant patients and the house north of Shea Blvd. grew and thrived.  Today it has evolved to become the casitas at Mayo Clinic Hospital.  It was thrilling to be able to mobilize people behind a vision.

Scottsdale Leadership really focused my thinking on the enduring value of volunteering and the significant difference volunteer leaders make in the community.

It was a tremendous experience!

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Alumni Leadership Spotlight – Eve Bilotas, Class XXIII

Eve Bilotas

Eve Bilotas

Current place of employment, titleValley of the Sun United Way, VP, Constituent Development

Community InvolvementDesert Botanical Garden, Member of Monarch Society Leadership Team, Big Brothers Big Sisters – Big Sister

How has Scottsdale Leadership enhanced your community involvement? The experience made me much more aware of the key issues facing our community and it inspired me to take action, whether at work or through my personal and professional networks.

What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned and how did you learn it? Leadership is about credibility and relationships. For example, when a project is successful, it is important for the leader to recognize the team’s “win” and not take sole credit but when there is opportunity for improvement the leader should own that publicly and privately coach members towards success.

What do you consider the keys to effective leadership? Be kind, inclusive, honest, forward thinking, have a vision and act with integrity.

If you were interviewing different community leaders, what one question would you ask to gain insight into how they lead? What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned and how did you learn it?

If you could solve any community issue or need, what would it be? There are so many important issues facing our community but if I had to pick one it would be education. I wish every student in our community, state, and country had access to diverse educational resources such as art and music as well as the opportunity to be taught by passionate and well-trained teachers.

What is your as-good-as-it-gets moment in volunteering? I’ve had many, but the most memorable have been those that allowed me to establish long-term relationships with the youth that I’ve mentored through Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Free Arts 20 Week Mentor Program.

What is your favorite gadget? I don’t use a lot if gadgets but I am addicted to my BlackBerry.

What do you do to recharge your batteries? Hiking, practicing yoga and spending time with friends.

Scottsdale Leadership Safe Communities Day

Safe Communities Day! Pictured from left to right Sanam Nassirpour, Eve Bilotas, Laurel Lawton, Kim Cofer & James Labar

What was your most memorable Scottsdale Leadership Class day and why? Safe Communities Day: Taser demonstrations, wearing turnouts, crawling through a smoke filled building, putting out fires, going 50+ feet up in the ladder -need I say more? Not only was it a fun and exciting day but it also gave me a deeper appreciation of the risks that our fire and police personnel make every day to protect our community.

What advice can you give Class XXV? Go into each Class day with an open mind and really get to know your classmates.


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