By Judy Register, Class 12
I was the library director for Scottsdale when I was selected for Class 12 of Scottsdale Leadership. It was such a pleasure to meet and interact with working adults outside of municipal government and it gave me additional insights into the business and non-profit sectors. It really helped me understand issues from a variety of perspectives.
Almost everyone remembers the bus tour during the Core Program. I think all City of Scottsdale employees should do the bus tour so they see various aspects of the city and not just their department where the view might be more limited.
What the Scottsdale Leadership experience did for me was to spark an interest to become more involved with issues that were close to my heart. It also strengthened my desire to “give back” to the community.
I was already on the board of Arizona Humanities when I was going through the Core Program and eventually went on to chair that organization. Scottsdale Leadership gave me the confidence and validation that being involved with non-profits was a responsibility I needed to accept. As everyone knows, volunteering takes time and to do it well, requires commitment and dedication of time.
One of the first organizations I became involved with was Valley of the Sun United Way, sitting on an Impact panel. While I did not know much about these panels, I was intrigued because it involved social services. While participating on the panel took a great deal of time, I learned so much about community needs.
As I think back, Scottsdale Leadership gave me a network of contacts that helped me make a difference in the community. It really gave me the impetus to do more. I subsequently became involved with Soroptimists International and also went on the Board of the National Advocacy and Training Network. This organization advocates for women who have been physically and emotionally abused but because they have either been incarcerated or were previously on drugs, do not qualify for transitional housing from organizations that deal with helping abused women. They are literally turned away. The National Advocacy and Training Network provides housing for them, a job training program and legal advice, especially for those mothers who have lost custody of their children.
Another organization that is near to my heart is Helping Hands for Single Moms. Being a single mom myself I know what a struggle it can be. While I already had two degrees by the time I became single again, it is much harder for those without a college degree. Through this organization we help those single moms get through school by providing them a stipend to help with their routine bills, as well as a number of other supportive services throughout their educational pursuits. I’m proud to say that the graduation rate for the single moms in our program is twice as high as the graduation rate for Arizona State University! We provide a “safety net” for these moms and that is the key to them staying committed to their goal.
I also chaired the Arizona Women’s Heritage Trail committee, an organization I had been involved with for seven years. I’m especially proud of this work because it recognizes women throughout the state who have made significant contributions but may have been overlooked simply because they were women. Though it started out as a virtual trail, it has become a physical trail related to cultural tourism – and tied to Arizona Humanities, bringing some of my work in the community full circle.
For some time after coming to Scottsdale in 1981, I wanted to apply for Scottsdale Leadership, but I had to wait about 12 years until I was in a position with the city to apply. Looking back, SL was the jumping off point for me to become so much more involved in the community here than I would have become without it.