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Our 2022-2023 Project Lead It Forward Advisors

Craig Miller, Class 7
Kathie May, Class 25
Sara Salem, Class 36
Ann Porter, Class 36
Diane Stouffer, Class 36
Alley Yerger, Class 36

The six PLIF projects successfully completed by the newly graduated Class 37 brings the Scottsdale Leadership total number of completed PLIF projects to a grand total of 69 since the inception of the program in 2010.  That equates to a staggering 23,000 hours of volunteer time in just 13 years.  So not only are class members learning all about the City of Scottsdale, they are leaving their mark on it as well, with projects big and small all throughout our community.  Not to mention the dozens of happy beneficiaries of their efforts.  It is truly inspiring.  


To dive into what the experience was like for our six intrepid advisors, we sent out a brief questionnaire to each of them and got back some very interesting and honest responses.


Here they are: 


Question #1.). What do you like about being a PLIF Advisor?


The common themes we heard back were that they loved the chance to interact with their cool classmates in Class 37, and how they really enjoyed overcoming problems as they went along.   We were also fascinated to learn that many of them just wanted to stay involved in Scottsdale Leadership, and also learn about a nonprofit they might not have known that much about.


Question #2.). What were some of your personal challenges working with the PLIF Teams to help them achieve their goals?


The most common answer was that they had to hold back the urge to just dive in and get to work.  They needed to let the team members do the planning, communicating, and of course the actual work on the project.  We were also reminded that the advisors are busy people too. As the project rolled on it was a challenge to find the right balance of their own life priorities, and the needs of their team.


Question #3.). What suggestions do you have for next year's PLIF Advisors?


As you might imagine each of the advisors put themselves in the role of the team members as they answered this.  Most of the advisors had common-sense idea of giving the class members even more chance to succeed in their efforts by starting the projects earlier in the class year. They suggested giving them more examples of previous projects' best practices, and pitfalls to avoid as they start their group experience. Having an even more robust communication with the benefactors of the project was also a common response.


Question #4.). What did you learn about yourself as a PLIF Advisor?


Once again we were fascinated by the responses because we would think that these accomplished Scottsdale Leadership graduates would have their lives, and their abilities ready to share on a moment’s notice, and perhaps be set to their individual ways.  But in reality, they are good-hearted people who want to help, but have the same time, energy and focus challenges as the rest of us.  The common theme of their responses was that they realized they could do the job in whatever way worked for their team.  If bending their typical outlook and methods of doing things a bit to help the class members get the job done - was what was called for, then they did it. 


There you have it - the insightful summary of these Advisors' experiences from our pouring over the survey results!  But, there is a method to our madness!  Great people like Sue Gifford, Lee Ann Witt and Dana Close are all over this process and always eager for great feedback to find ways to make this process better,

A surprising number of our alumni are not familiar with the Project Lead it Forward program.  If that might be you, we encourage you to get involved and find out more about it.  Everyone knows a great nonprofit organization that could use a helping hand on a project for their cause.  While the projects are carefully vetted, it never hurts to offer a suggestion.  And what better group of people to call on to tackle a challenge like that than members of the current Scottsdale Leadership class?  Class 38’s PLIF Program will be beginning soon.  If you want to get involved and join the effort, you would be most welcome.  


Scottsdale Leadership is not just a leadership program that also teaches about our great city. It is a life journey.  The PLIF program has proven itself to be a major part of that ongoing experience.  We are engaged in its future, and we hope you will be also.

Craig Miller, Class 7 

Franny Mills-Yerger, Class 16

"No matter how much I try to improve processes and experiences for others, there are so many outside factors that play a part. I am reminded that I need to embrace “what-is”, stay positive, and learn through it all. Leadership is not so much about perceived success, it is more about being kind, supportive, understanding, listening, giving everyone a chance to share, being coachable, communicating well, and lifting one another up. I am grateful to Scottsdale Leadership for offering me the opportunity to keep learning!”

Sue Gifford, Senior Advisor, Class 33

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