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Diversity Day and
Sustainability Day

Diversity Day


Diversity Day began at Venue 8600 with Todd Larson’s (Class 32) amazing course “What You Do Matters: Lessons from the Holocaust.” This presentation, offered regularly to Arizona law enforcement leaders, offers a powerful curriculum to ensure that core values of democracy are upheld. With a chilling presentation about the legal and political framework of Nazi Germany, Todd engaged the class in a dialogue about the role of law enforcement in today’s communities and the importance of ensuring integrity in community leaders.


After learning about how to respectfully and meaningfully engage with diverse perspectives, we enjoyed a panel discussion led by Kris Cano (Class 33). With immense vulnerability, panel members demonstrated the importance of reaching across the aisle to educate ourselves about our own biases and how boldly speaking our own truths can help others do the same.

The day’s agenda ended with Kris Cano’s speech about her personal journey with diversity, “When the Shoe Fits, and When it Doesn’t.” This humble blog writer cannot attempt to summarize the wisdom and strength Kris Cano embodied for the class. She provided a perfect end for the day that will leave future Diversity Day Chairs with awfully big shoes to fill.


Over cocktails at the Vig, class members discussed how this was unlike any DE&I training they had ever experienced. It was agreed – Scottsdale Leadership once again leads the way in everything it does. A big thank you from Class 38 to our Day Chairs, Day Sponsors, speakers, Scottsdale Leadership staff, and to everyone who made this day possible!


~ Written by Betty Hancock, Class 38

Sustainability Day


Class 38’s Sustainability Day took place at the Community Design Studio. Class members engaged in sessions that promoted forward thinking, vision and persistence, community stewardship, as well as advocacy and call to action to lead change within the local community. The day chairs that led this great session were Natalie Chrisman Lazarr (Class 30), Laurie LaPat-Polasko (Class 32), and Kristen Parrish (Class 37). 


The day began with a  presentation by the gifted, Dr. Laurie LaPat-Polasko, about Antarctica's unique characteristics as a desert and how these characteristics compare to the terrain of our community. Lisa McNeilly, Scottsdale Sustainability Director, led a presentation on sustainability in Scottsdale and  then led an activity for the cohort to apply their learning by completing a challenge in groups to present a call to action to community members. This activity allowed the Scottsdale Leadership cohort to collaborate with their peers to create an action plan that was thoughtful of the diversity of our community members, mindful of potential pushback, and practical in application. Gretchen Bumgardner, Water Policy Manager for the City of Scottsdale, presented a water report on Scottsdale which included a robust breakdown of current and long term efforts to ensure water in Scottsdale. 


After lunch, we took a bus over to Scottsdale’s Gateway Trailhead of the McDowell Mountain Sonoran Preserve and learned about the great effort the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Commission put into ensuring the longevity and preservation of our great desert land. After the presentation, preserve pioneers lead tours of the Bajada Accessible and Interpretable Trails. 


Takeaways for the day included a greater understanding of the vast efforts and dedication that has gone into not only preserving our land and resources but also ensuring innovation and long-term thinking to be prepared for the future. As current and emerging leaders, there was a lot of reflective dialogue on what our next steps are individually to ensure we are getting involved in local efforts of sustainability by not only modeling sustainable efforts but also joining forces with local movements and efforts for change. 


~ Written by: Sara Johnson, Class 38

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