Scottsdale Leadership – The Doug and Siena Story

Scottsdale Leadership – The Doug and Siena Story

A father, a daughter and a community leadership organization

As told to Kim Hanna

Parents teach their kids many lessons throughout life. It’s relatively common to teach table manners, respect for others, being polite and the educational basics of reading, writing and arithmetic.

Community stewardship and engagement lessons are a bit more unique, and that is just what Doug Sydnor accomplished when he persuaded his daughter, Siena, to apply to Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program.

Turning Down the Mayor

As a longtime Valley resident, Doug experienced Scottsdale Leadership as a member of Class 2 in 1988. One of his classmates was Jamie Drinkwater Buchanan, the daughter of Mayor Herb Drinkwater.

One day Mayor Drinkwater called Doug and asked him to serve on the City’s Development Review Board. Doug refused the opportunity.

“I actually said ‘no’ three times as my civic involvement plate was full at the time,” Doug says. “I said I would get back to him soon. I did learn that three board positions were expiring in a few months, which did free up the calendar for the DRB…and so the call was returned and I said ‘yes.’ It was not possible to say ‘no’ to Mayor Drinkwater.”

His commitment to making Scottsdale a better place has never ended. He served the community as a commissioner, president or chairman on over 30 boards and commissions. He credits some of that to the Scottsdale Leadership organization. “Scottsdale Leadership makes you so much more aware of the wide array of resources, personalities, opportunities and challenges within Scottsdale,” Doug says. “It also motivates you to step up and try to make a high-impact difference in our community.”

The Legacy Continues

Doug knew Siena would benefit from a similar course, so he encouraged her to apply to the Scottsdale Leadership Core Program.

“Over recent years she was always focused exclusively on her work with its long hours; and Scottsdale Leadership would give her an opportunity to get to know the community she grew up in while meeting many other involved young professionals,” Doug says.

Siena said yes to her father’s recommendation. “Having a father that was so involved and invested in the community has really ingrained in me there is always more to learn and exponential ways to give,” Siena says. “You have to continue to seek out experiences that will help develop your talents and increase your knowledge so your skills can benefit others. Knowing where your passions lie and what you are best at is extremely important in engaging with and serving the community,” she says.

In 2013 Siena became a graduate of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program and a prominent community leader representing Class 27. “I intend to continue to seek out opportunities in the community where I may be of an impact…serving on a board, chairing a day in future classes,” Siena says. “I realized by being involved I am passionate about economic development, keeping the arts alive and ensuring this is a place where future generations want to continue to live/work/play.”

Siena currently serves on the Scottsdale Leadership Board of Directors and is the chairwoman of the Scottsdale Leadership Alumni Engagement Committee. She is leading the charge to develop Scottsdale Leadership events highlighting Arizona Restaurant Week, behind-the-scenes tours of major facilities, special events and more.

It’s Contagious

With such a positive experience under her belt, Siena offers advice to future Core Program potential candidates. “You will get far more out of the program than you give,” Siena says. “Be prepared to be present, interactive, passionate and open to a diverse set of people and ideas.”

When asked if she would recommend Scottsdale Leadership to her children, Siena says, “Yes…when I have them! The more invested and involved you are in your community makes it a place you want to stay and improve. It is a family effort.”

No one knows when Siena will become a mother but she did recently share the dance floor with her father as he ushered her off to her next stage of growing up. From being his precious little girl to his beautiful married daughter and community leader, Doug has much to be proud of in his daughter, Siena.

Scottsdale Leadership’s Class 30 began its rigorous nine-month Core Program in September, joining 1,010 alumni who have gone through the program.

For more information on Scottsdale Leadership Inc., visit