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May 2023 Newsletter

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Program Manager's Corner

Congratulations to Class 37 ~
Now Officially Part of the
Scottsdale Leadership Alumni Family !

Class 37 members graduated “Oscar style” in their star-studded gowns and tuxedos on May 12th. Completion of the Leadership Program over nine months included 15 in-person class days, 120 hours of education, 35+ locations / sites / tours, 130 speakers and a collective 3,000 hours of community service,

42 Legendary Class members … and 15 happy hours.  

Job well done, everybody! 


A very sincere and heartfelt thank you to this year’s Day Chairs who made each class day interesting and robust!  They graciously gave of their time, talent, and resources as their way of paying it forward for the next class.  Together we shared those 'I had no idea' moments, got to know one another, and learned more about the leaders who built our city, and how we can grab the baton and carry on their work. 


Project Lead It Forward (PLIF) teams were given their projects and group advisors in December.  Over the next five months, they learned about their own leadership style, gained confidence in using their voice to lead, while some honed in on their “listening skills”.   As a result, six outstanding, impactful projects were developed and completed for our community.  


The Class 37 PLIF Projects and Teams are:


Vista del Camino: Team Building Resilience

This team worked to create three pillars for Vista del Camino: Career Center Awareness, Day Relief Center Assistance, and a landscape refresh to make Vista del Camino an even MORE Welcoming city amenity. 


Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale: Team Chill Deck

This team was tasked with creating a cool hang out for the teens of the Piper Branch of the Boys and Girls Club. The team created a new sport court, brought in shade trees, BBQ grill, picnic tables, bistro lights and some cool hang out chairs. They even topped it off with a super cool mural by Laura Thurbon. 


Saguaro High School: Team Living Lab Legends

This project enhances an existing partnership between Saguaro High School, Scottsdale Community College, the Parsons Field Institute, and the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy by creating a living lab on the Saguaro High campus. The living lab comprises an indoor vertical garden with biocrust, an outdoor nurse garden for saguaro cacti, and multiple outdoor planters with biodiverse native plants. The students will continue to learn about our biodiversity for years to come!


STARS: Team Reach for the STARS

STARS stands for Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services. Their mission is to improve the lives of individuals with developmental and cognitive disabilities. The Reach for the STARS team worked together to produce a marketing package that could be shared with potential new business partners who will potentially provide work for Stars’ clients. The team created a marketing package, a detailed Public Relations plan, and a Search Engine Optimization plan.


​​Scottsdale Artists’ School: Team SAS

The Scottsdale Artists’ School is dedicated to the artistic enrichment of the community and is located in a beautiful historic building in Scottsdale’s Arts District. The objective of the Scottsdale Artist School team was to breathe new life to the planters in the front of the building by reimagining gardens that had seen better days. With the revival of this area it is the hope of the team that artists and community members take the time to enjoy and be inspired by the gardens.


Arizona Cancer Foundation for Children: Team Ava’s Treehouse 

The project for Team Ava’s Treehouse Family Room was to create a clean and safe play area for children diagnosed with pediatric cancer, and their siblings. They did this by providing a comfortable and cheerful area for parents to decompress from the stressors of managing a pediatric cancer diagnosis, while receiving resources from the foundation. In short: Ava’s Treehouse is a place where kids with cancer can be kids.

Check out the 2022-2023 Class 37 PLIF Photo  Page HERE!


This is that time of year when it is so hard to say goodbye to friendships made, and to process the idea that we will no longer be spending every other Friday together. However, just knowing that so many are going to stay involved with the Scottsdale Leadership Alumni Family makes it easier to bid these outstanding Class 37 members farewell.


So, with that, I’ll see you ALL at the Welcome Reception for Class 38 in August! 

Dana Close, Program Manager



Thank You

to Our A-Team of Day Chairs!


Welcome Day

Dr. Merle Reipe 


History Day

Joan Fudala, Jona Davis, Stephanie Tippett



Blessing Mcanlis-Vasquez, Maureen Aldrich


City Government Day

Robert Fisher, Owen Ellington, Ann Porter, Linda Milhaven


Sustainability Day

Laurie LaPat-Polasko, Natalie Chrisman Lazarr, Olivia Brancati


Diversity Day

Sarah Kearney, G’Kyshia Hughes, Lexi DeLash


Human Services Day

Cindi Eberhardt, Raoul Zubia


Education Day

Shelley Hummon, Bronwyn Maxwell


Economic Development Day

Brian Bednar, Ryan Rybarczyk, Sam Campana


Public Safety-Fire Day

Adam Hoster


Public Safety-Police Day

Chris Coffee, Nick Alamshaw


Healthcare Day

Liz Kaplan, Kara Greene, Roxanne Flynn


Arts Day

Natalie Marsh, David Itzkowitz


Leadership Emerging Day

Erin Gerace, Anne Gwin


Lee Ann Witt, Executive Director, Gary Shapiro, one of Scottsdale

Leadership's original

Co-Founders, and

Dana Close, Program Manager ~celebrate with Class 37 Graduates at the 'Oscar Gala" celebration

Leadership Legends

Share their stories on Emerging Leadership Day

Scottsdale Leadership Legends Jim Bruner, Bill Walton, Viginia Korte and Charlie Smith are joined by Scottsdale Historian Joan Fudala, and Scottsdale Leaderhip Co-Founder Gary Shapiro..  

LEFT TO RIGHT:  Joan Fudala, Jim Bruner, Bill Walton, Virginia Korte, Charlie Smith, Gary Shapiro

Meet Our 2022-2023 PLIF Project Advisors

They are invaluable to the success of our PLIF Program !

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary... 


An advisor is "someone who gives advice to others."  That definition only begins to convey what Scottsdale Leadership Class 25 graduate Kathie May, Class 7 graduate Craig Miller, and Class 36 graduates Sara Solem, Ann Porter, Diane Stouffer and Alley Yerger just did for their Class 37 Project Lead it Forward (PLIF) teams and their outstanding community projects.  These six alumni advisors, along with all the advisors who have served before them, have brought so much more to the table than just 'advice'! 


In fact, they, along with many others, such as Sue Gifford of Class 33, and Lee Ann Witt and Dana Close of the Scottsdale Leadership staff, lend assistance to every phase - from start to finish - of these varied and often extensive projects. Their help, along with the hard work of the PLIF team members, make these projects successful, and of such great benefit to our community.


Continue reading to learn how the PLIF Advisors responded to our survey !

Class 37 Reports on
May Class Days


Memories of an inspiring and interactive day from
Emily Wininger, Class 37

"We learned how Scottsdale has 197 works of public art that we have been collecting for over 50 years and that we have over $200 million in our collection. We learned about Canal Convergence, an event that one day could be Scottsdale’s own SXSW Festival.... Looking ahead we will welcome a new mainstage in Civic Center Live and Stage 2 at the Center for the Performing Arts. While one will open and connect Old Town through art, the other will continue to serve as a place for education. And beyond that, Dr. Wuestmann shared the hope for a 10-acre campus with 3,000 seats for a wide variety of performances in North Scottsdale." 

This is just a quote from Emily's in-depth and expansive write-up on an incredible learning day that enlightened Class 37 members about the Scottsdale arts scene including in-person visits and tours of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Artists' School, Civic Center Live, Scottsdale Museum of the West and much more!

Read more about it and see her gallery of photos!

Class 37 members and guests are treated to a very special after-class-day Happy Hour tour and presentation at the Mountain Shadows Resort Gallery curated by Class 37's very own Cece Cole

Board Member Traditions

Jason Glenn, Class 37 and Larry Hewitt, Class 36

Class 36 Class Representative, Larry Hewitt passes the coveted Class Rep 'Crown' to newly designated Class 37 Class Representative, Jason Glenn



Congratulations Shelley Hummon, Class 33 !

Shelley thought she was leading a tour of her campus when really she was being surprised with the 2023

National Association of Elementary School Principals National Distinguished Principal Award. Well done, Shelley and Congratulations.

Read more here

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Way To Go Sarah Kearney Class 30, Board President !

Sarah Blue Zones.png

Congratulations to Sarah Kearney for being named the Executive Director of Blue Zones Scottsdale! Lead the way, Sarah!

Learn more about

Blue Zones here


Congratulations Marion Kelly, Class 17!


to  Marion Kelly,

recently given the


honor of being

inducted into the

Scottsdale History

Hall of Fame !

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Congratulations to Class 37 Graduates
and our newest Scottsdale Leadership Alumni !

Scottsdale Leadership Class of 2022-2023 graduates are 42 incredible class members that make up “Legendary Class 37”! 


They are passionate, involved, and ready to make their impact on Scottsdale with three members already serving on various commissions and many others serving on non-profit boards.  Our mission of “developing community leaders” continues.  


Graduation was a magical evening with our “stars” lined up past the red carpet and dressed in black-tie garb to celebrate their nine-month journey with attending family and friends.  Our Oscar themed evening was the perfect sparkling affair for this celebration of accomplishment and was a smashing success!

See our list of Class 37 Graduates here.

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