Though we were the first class to start Scottsdale Leadership with a two-day retreat,
Class 38 of Scottsdale Leadership officially came into the fold on September 15, 2023 for Welcome Day!
Held at the Vanguard Scottsdale campus, it was a day of Scottsdale Leadership history as well as a day of
understanding ourselves and our styles of leadership to develop a solid foundation for ourselves in the
program going forward.
Many thanks to the founders of Scottsdale Leadership, especially to Gary Shapiro who spoke to us in the
morning, to the family of the late Art DeCabooter, who’s son (and grandson, little Art!) presented the
Scottsdale Leadership scholarship to Class 38’s ShaRon Rea in Dr. DeCabooter’s name, and to the
Honorable Sam Campana, former Scottsdale Mayor, who spoke to us in the afternoon. That they remain
so involved in Scottsdale Leadership is a testament to their true dedication to what they started.
In a Welcome Day tradition, all of the members of Class 38 prepared a “90-second Commercial” to
introduce ourselves to one another. From costumes to humor, from facts to entertainment, we all got to
know just a bit more about our classmates and had quite a few laughs along the way. Special shout out
to Kristi Gagnon and her “Fresh Prince” rap – no doubt that will continue to be talked about well into
For our afternoon, Dr. Merle Riepe of Class 30 led a review of the program “Emergenetics,” and helped
us to interpret and understand each of our results. The program, through a series of questions, showed
each of us both our thinking patterns and also our behavioral tendencies – in the workplace, in our
personal lives, and even our interactions within Class 38! Through a number of exercises, Dr. Riepe
ensured that we not only got to learn how we can utilize our own way of being, but also how our way
interacts with other patterns to better understand those around us. Leadership is an intentional choice,
and we learned that it not only includes how we think and behave, but also the way we work with how
others think and behave. The idea of Stephen Covey that we, “seek first to understand, then to be
understood” was driven home in this activity.
Overall, Welcome Day was a great day of learning, of connection, and of understanding of ourselves and
others. Special thanks to Dana Close and Lee Ann Witt for all they did to put together the day and to
ensure that it went smoothly – although most of us were not entirely happy with how quickly that 90-
second timer went off! We are appreciative of them and all Scottsdale Leadership staff, the founders of
Scottsdale Leadership, and to our Welcome Day presenters! Special thanks too, to Vanguard and Jason
Glenn of Class 37, for opening their doors and hosting us for the day – the venue was wonderful!
Ryan Sheade on behalf of Class 38