Tag Archives: vision

Leadership in Our Community

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.

Leadership is defined as the act of leading a group of people or an organization.  This sounds so simple, but does not take into effect that there are various levels of leadership. So I am going to suggest that the question is really “Why is GREAT Leadership Important in Our Community?”

Strong leaders have skills that they have developed over time though study and experience. They know how to use communication and organizational skills to elicit ideas, buy-in, and participation from the people they lead.

The best leaders are not “in charge.” They are facilitating a group toward higher and more advanced goals and thought. The best leaders want to lead to reach the goals not to be kings. They lead because they have a vision they hope to accomplish, and they want to find others to help create the reality of that vision or they want to evaluate and enhance the vision thorough the eyes and input of other people. They understand that it takes a village to create change, not just one bull headed person.

Which brings me to why leadership is important in OUR community. We live in a wonderful place with lots of sunshine, intellectual opportunities, culture, and friendly people. During these tough economic times, we have had to make many decisions about how to maximize our dwindling financial resources. We would have a stronger community if more people who live here participated in activities and programs that enriched their lives.  As their lives are enriched, the community benefits. Involved community members generate new ideas and lead to even more participants. Strong leadership can provide the basis for tackling the difficult questions that face us as a community, and for cultivating an enfranchised population who participate and care about what happens in the community.

So, as a leader, I want to know: How do you captivate people to join in and participate?


Leave a comment

Filed under Class, Leadership

Developing vision like a tango, but it takes more than two

By ROBERT LEGER,  Class 21
Opinions editor of the Scottsdale Republic and Phoenix Republic and an assistant editorial page editor of the Arizona Republic.

The first question answered itself:

“Does Scottsdale have a vision for its future?” the audience member asked a panel that had spent nearly an hour discussing vision and how a community develops one.

The city hasn’t been through a formal visioning exercise in nearly two decades. City staffers have sought residents’ thoughts about specific areas, such as the Airpark or downtown, but not for the city as a whole. No one has updated the vision adopted in the early 1990s that, among other things, called for creating a large Sonoran mountain preserve.

Does the city have a map to its future?

“Yes,” replied former City Manager Dick Bowers, who moderated the discussion. “Whether it’s in concert with the views of citizens is a question you have to answer.”

If he was tempted to leave it at that, the temptation didn’t last long.

“Vision is not something that seven people sit in a room and create. It’s not only the loudest voice,” Bowers said. “Vision comes only from conversation with the entire body that will carry it out. In my view, no, there is not a clear vision. It’s up to you to determine what it should be.”

Many in the crowd at the Scottsdale Leadership community forum left ready to do that. Board members said they will bring up the idea of promoting a vision process at their next meeting. Scottsdale Community College President Jan Gehler offered her campus as “neutral ground for difficult conversations.”

Here’s hoping the passions of the morning don’t fade away. Every community needs to regularly re-examine its goals. Scottsdale is due.

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


Filed under Community, Events

20/20 Perfect Vision: It’s Possible!

President- TriAra Consulting, LLC

20/20 Vision: Our Citizen’s Prescription for the Future – Scottsdale Leadership’s annual community forum sponsored by Scottsdale Republic/The Arizona Republic, APS and Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors.

Your vision is a primary sensory source – taking in your surroundings and making key decisions.  Quickly your eyes note the meaning of facial expressions in a conversation.  Colors and textures in nature are discerned. Vast publications of knowledge are absorbed. BlackBerry’s and TV’s send us countless images that influence our lives.

Your vision is not something to take for granted. It creates wholeness in your world and isn’t seeing 20/20 the ultimate goal?

On Thursday, April 29th a distinguished group of community leaders challenged the audience at Scottsdale Leadership’s  7th Annual Community Forum to create a vision for Scottsdale.  Scottsdale hasn’t set sight on defining a citizen-driven vision for more than 20 years. What do our citizens want for the future?

The panel, facilitated by Dick Bowers, former Scottsdale city manager, consisted of: Jane Rau, co-founder of the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, sharing an activist’s vision; Charlie Smith, former Scottsdale council member, providing a hindsight perspective; Peter Kasperski, owner of Cowboy Ciao and Kazimierz, lending a future perspective; and Trevor Barger, founder Espiritu Loci, highlighting the key components of vision.

What is Vision?
I view the path of vision like a tree.  At the very root of vision is just one idea.  Then vision takes on an element of natural growth developing one branch.  As ideas are nurtured, more branches of new ideas stem from conversations that feed the knowledge tree.  Eventually, one idea has grown and taken shape and now becomes a solid foundation upon which more growth occurs.  Sometimes the final vision is very different than the very first idea that planted the seed of thought for growth.  Vision grows naturally and can’t be forced.

Trevor Barger resonated with my tree vision when he talked about a community vision and its premise of starting with a believable idea created by looking in the present with passion to the future.  We must see the potential of an idea but not merely change an existing issue.  We need to be bold about the vision of future potential of an idea.  You know when a vision has taken hold when it culminates by influencing and inspiring people to take action because the vision touches their soul.  Just like the deep roots of a magnificent tree firmly planted, vision inspires and takes hold on solid footing and branches out and grows naturally.

It’s Time Scottsdale
There is no citizens-driven vision for Scottsdale.  We need to know where we want to go or we will never get there. A small group of seven, who in the past decided to increase the size of Scottsdale’s original one square mile, made a difference!

There are countless examples of people from the past who said, “Why not _______?” Fill the blank in with build a stadium, create an Old Towne, preserve the desert, etc.  You can make a difference.  We must gather as citizens of Scottsdale and explore the vision we want.

The Challenge to Scottsdale Leadership, Class 24
As a member of the soon-to-graduate Class 24, I propose a challenge to my esteemed classmates.

We talked about the need for a vision in Scottsdale during one of our classes.  It was even proposed by Mike Seiden, Core Program Vice-Chair for Class 25, we abandon our six community projects and all focus on creating the groundswell for Scottsdale’s vision.  Well, we all participated in six amazing and impactful projects that touched the community in so many ways.  Thank you Scottsdale Leadership for having the foresight to not heed our plea, for our projects changed our lives and impacted many others.

So, now that we are a united force of 42 with community presence, I challenge my classmates to join in the offer from Dr. Jan L. Gehler, President of Scottsdale Community College, to meet at her college and start the dialogue and groundswell for our community vision.

We can make a difference even if it is only a small group of seven.  We may not know “how” it will turn out or even “what” the vision is but isn’t that exciting?  What we do know is that it will be revealed to us as we share ideas and perspectives, conduct difficult conversations and envelope it in courageous leadership.  The time is now.  And, it’s up to us.  What better way to serve our community than to help create its future!

If you’re in, let me know.  I’m willing to take the first step to get it started with you.  Let us take our time, talents, passion, pride and leadership and create a legacy for Scottsdale.  If we don’t, who will?

“Never look down to test the ground before taking your next step; only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find the right road.”
Dag Hammarskjold (1905-1961, Statesman and Secretary-General of the United Nations).


Filed under Alumni, Leadership

Scottsdale Leadership and a Vision for Scottsdale

Scottsdale Leadership Class 24

The City of Scottsdale is viewed differently by various people.  There are those who view it as the “Beverly Hills” of Arizona. Others relish in the old established neighborhoods that flourished under the “Western Town” image of the 50’s through the 70’s.  Hikers enjoy walking through the beauty of the desert in the McDowell Mountain Preserve while the partiers love the weekend action at the Waterfront.  Scottsdale is the venue for exciting events such as the Barrett Jackson Auto Auction, the Arabian Horse Show and the Open at the TPC.  It is the home of world class resorts, an active local airport, a budding bio-tech incubator and one of the most successful shopping centers in the country, as well as a number of massage parlors and strip clubs.  It is considered the “fifth whitest city in the U.S.” but has led the way in promoting diversity.

This is Scottsdale today but what will the City be like tomorrow?  What is our vision for the future?  Scottsdale Leadership provides the city’s future leaders with a comprehensive view of most aspects of our city; the services that are provided to our citizens, the venues used for the exciting events that provide some of the revenue for those services, the historical locations that have served as foundations for the present, the inner workings of our government.  By putting together an understanding of how all of these pieces come together, we can work with the current leadership of Scottsdale to build a vision of the future.  That vision takes the city’s core values and defines what Scottsdale will look like five or ten years from now.

While learning about the city and developing their leadership skills, members of Scottsdale Leadership Class XXIV can contribute to Scottsdale’s future by addressing the following questions:

  • What are Scottsdale’s core values?
  • If we adhere to those core values now and into the future, what will Scottsdale look like five and ten years from now?
  • What specific things can we do as committed citizens to make that vision come about?

Visions become reality through dialogue and discussion.  What better place to have this dialogue and discussion than through Scottsdale Leadership?  This dialogue is open not only to members of Class XXIV but to alumni, as well.  It’s almost a certainty that there will be diverse views and not everyone will agree.  However, by submitting your ideas to this blog, we will have a compilation of how a group of creative and committed leaders view the future of their city.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized