By George A. Martinez, Executive Director, Scottsdale Leadership Inc.
Leadership. We hear that word a lot. Do we really know it when we see it? And where is the leadership that can make positive impacts in ways that matter the most?
At Scottsdale Leadership Inc. we relentlessly act on our belief that leadership can be developed and honed, then put into practice wherever passions lead. We’re passionate about helping people reach their potential to do great things not only for themselves, their businesses and their families, but for the community as well. In fact, our organization’s No. 1 strategic goal is to “attract the passionate and committed.” Our core values include engagement, connection and my favorite: courage.
The unique experiences, relationships, knowledge and skills we offer through our nationally acclaimed Core Program have helped 922 Scottsdale Leadership alumni since 1986 reach their goals. Our alumni are heroes. They are decision makers in elected and appointed government positions, rule from the judicial bench, run small businesses and large corporations, treat patients and conduct research, educate at every level, and serve on dozens of boards for worthwhile causes and charities.
Our Core Program is known for rigor, depth, networking, and hands-on community service. Class days delve deep into topics such as diversity, economic development, education, government, healthcare, youth issues and more.
One class day, “Beyond Scottsdale City Limits,” offers Valley-wide perspectives that integrate learning across major topics. Participants’ hands-on experiences include putting out fires (literally!) on the wildly popular public safety day, bus tours of the city’s historic points of pride, immersion in the arts, and role-playing in real-life scenarios that face city government.
‘The Best Thing’
As I’ve gotten to know our amazing alumni since starting as executive director last year, I’ve been motivated and moved by their stories. Some have told me that Scottsdale Leadership was “the best thing” they ever did for their business, while others cite lifelong friendships that began in class. Others talk about the year their “Lead it Forward” project group (part of the overall Core Program experience) spearheaded free dental screenings for children, built a community garden, or raised awareness of homelessness with pets—all advancing creative solutions to authentic community needs.
Notably, employers in the community have shared with me a common theme: that the Scottsdale Leadership Core Program helps them retain their most talented employees—that deepened knowledge about the community results in deepened commitment to community and employer. Our many corporate partners routinely testify to this reality, and we cannot thank them enough for their generous ongoing support.
The diversity of our impact is reflected in this year’s class of 44 (Class 28), who include corporate executives, small-business owners, nonprofit visionaries, entrepreneurs, a former NFL player, a paramedic, musicians and many more. Their common bond is passion for new knowledge that can be applied. And they learn much from each other.
We’re now recruiting another 45 stellar individuals who will be in Class 29, begining in September 2014 and running through May 2015. The selection process is competitive yet easily navigable.
But what’s new in the Scottsdale Leadership Core Program? Here are highlights of what Class 29 participants can expect: a day devoted to technology, ranging from personal and corporate data privacy to forecasting the future of social media; greater flexibility in scheduling through bonus days; continuation of a popular leadership development curriculum; many fun networking opportunities; and multiple points of view on any given topic. These program changes are in direct response to community needs and alumni input.
Will you be among the 45 members of Class 29? It’s easy to apply. For more information and to access the Class 29 application, go to www.scottsdaleleadership.org.
Deadline for online applications is May 16, 2014. I invite anyone with questions or ideas about Scottsdale Leadership to contact me directly at gmartinez@scottsdale
leadership.org or 480-627-6717.