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May 2024

Assistant Director's Corner

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Dana Close

Assistant Director

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Congratulations Class 38, Best in State!

Set in the beautiful surroundings of the Franciscan Renewal Center, Class 38 presented four outstanding Project Lead It Forward presentations, then graduated and celebrated it all by dancing the night away.

I would like to take this opportunity to share a very sincere and heartfelt thank you to this year’s Day Chairs. The reason that our class days are so interesting and robust is because these people give of their time, talent, and resources to give back to Scottsdale Leadership. We can’t thank them enough. They are:

        Two Day Retreat:  Kristi Staab

         Welcome Day:  Dr. Merle Reipe

         History Day:  Joan Fudala, Jona Davis, Stephanie Tippett

         City Government Day:  Robert Fisher, Owen Ellington, Linda Milhaven

         Diversity Day:  Todd Larson, Kris Cano

         Sustainability Day:  Laurie LaPat-Polasko, Natalie Chrisman Lazarr, Kristen Parrish

         Technology Day:  Kevin Maxwell

         Education Day:  Shelley Hummon, Bronwyn Maxwell

         Economic Development Day:  Brian Bednar, Ryan Rybarczyk, Sam Campana

         Public Safety-Fire:  Adam Hoster, Brian Joseph, Kristi Gagnon

         Public Safety-Police:  Chris Coffee, Nick Alamshaw, Jill Boehm

         Arts Day:  Natalie Marsh, David Itzkowitz, Cece Cole, Erin Krivanek

         Healthcare Day:  Liz Kaplan, Kara Greene, Roxanne Flynn

         Human Services Day:  Cindi Eberhardt, Raoul Zubia

         Leadership Emerging Day:  Marie Reed, Kelly Laipply

Together we shared those, 'I had no idea that was even there'  moments, and learned about the unique leadership skills and dedication that it took to build our community, and learned more about ourselves.  



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Class 38 Representative
Dan Newhart

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The Class Representative Crown has officially been passed on. You wear it well, Dan! 

Class 38
Project Lead It Forward

As is part of the Scottsdale Leadership Program class curriculum each year, Class 38 members were divided into four PLIF teams with each team was challenged to use their leadership skills and community connections to create something special for four uniquely deserving nonprofit organizations. This year all four project teams worked on issues facing those who are unsheltered.


These are Class 38's PLIF Projects:

Save the Family

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Team Save the Family: Quita Remick, Thomesa Lydon, ShaRon Rea, John Campbell, Sarah Beloshapka, Gina Zoulek, Lindsay Vanegas, Steve Kelly, Dale Shafer, Angelica Backalukas, Austin Grizzell, Chris Brown 

Team Save the Family focused on revitalizing an existing computer lab, including replacing the outdated computers, obtaining a new printer, and upgrading furniture. They also repainted the facility, giving it a bright and fresh new look as well as a new printer and games and places for kids to play and read.


Computer Room

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After: Revitalized Computer Room !

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After: Beautiful Reading and Children's Area !

Community House

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Team Community House: Christian Sanft, Anthony Washington, Melanie White, Albert Johnson, Stacey Gross, Eric Leshinskie, Steve Johnson, Donna Tew, Bryce Buchanan, Rachel Tarman, Jill Boehm

The goal for Team Community House was to provide a strategic plan to help Community House with their direction and goals for the future. They put in a tremendous effort to repurpose a room for supplies and salon services making this room user friendly for volunteers.  They also conducted a fundraiser event to help provide additional needed supplies for the Community House.


Storage Room


After: Organization Galore!



Area for

Future Salon

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Family Promise

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Team Family Promise: Kristi Gagnon, Teresa Milner, Mike Snyder, Sara Johnson, Dan Newhart, Kelly Adams, Lauren Dessis, Dave Masters, Anna Oliver, Kelsey Lamper, Aaron Howard

Team Family Promise transformed an underused outdoor area into a vibrant social lounge for families supported by Family Promise. Through excavation, installation of sport court flooring and artificial turf, as well as the addition of seating and yard games, the space now fosters community engagement and fellowship for families and children of all ages, providing a welcoming environment for shared experiences.



area for future play

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Area for future


with shade trees


After: A family gathering area with a sport court, games, bikes, seating areas,

shade trees, landscaping and basketball!


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Team UMOM: Jordan Woods, Michelle Myers, Scott Beilke, Rachel Jensen, Ryan Sheade, Betty Hancock, Kristy Visconti, Kelly Kunst, Dan Ishac, Anthony Caracciolo, not pictured: Kimberley Valentine

Team UMOM set out to overhaul the current warehouse inventory management by implementing an electronic inventory management system along with significant reorganization and culling of existing warehouse goods. Additionally, they took the original “clothing closet” and made it more functional and appealing for UMOM clients. This involved evaluating additional spaces, determining construction requirements and redesigning the retail experience.


Clothing closet with

no organization, old wiring, leaking ceiling, and rotten floor

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12,000 sq. ft. warehouse with no inventory system and items spilling out of the isles

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After: Beautiful clothing closet with pleasant shopping experience, new paint & flooring

After: Completely restructured 12,000 sq. ft. warehouse with state-of-the-art inventory system

Thank You, PLIF Team Advisors!


Shout Out to These Five PLIF Advisors

Sue Gifford led the way in the roll of senior advisor. She has been the recipient of one of our projects, she worked on a project while in Class 33 and then became an advisor to several teams. Sue reminds us that we need to, “appreciate what went well, and think of what could be even better if…” Thank you, Sue!

This year our advisors were: Roxanne Flynn, Class 37, helping the Family Promise team to the finish line; Jenn Stockhill, Class 37, was on the UMOM team, Mike Vreeland, Class 37, worked with Community House; and Sara Solem, Class 36, was there for Save the Family.

All of that hard work added up to:

3,195 Combined Volunteer Hours

$72,990 Dollars Raised

$23,890 In-Kind Donations of Goods and Services


Class 38
Graduation Party! 

"Celebrate Good Times...
Come On...  It's a Celebration! 

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3rd Annual Handlebar J's
Happy Hour Event 

What a great turn out of alumni to welcome Class 38 into the alumni family!


A very special
Thank You 

to Austin Bloom of Class 35 and

The Austin Bloom Real Estate Group 

for sponsoring our graduation party! 


The New LeaderSHOP is Here! 

We have great new merchandise in our LeaderSHOP! Check it out. You can even pick items that can be customized with your class number. AND, if you take a photo of yourself in your new swag and send it to Dana Close you can be in our new promotional video! 

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Not To Be Outdone....

by any professional models, our very own Albert Johnson, Class 38 takes the runway modeling some of the stylin' LeaderSHOP SL fashion.  Looking good Albert!!!

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This month's edition of Branching Out is brought to you thanks to our community partner 


Thank you for investing in Scottsdale Leadership!

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