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Mission and History

The mission of Scottsdale Leadership is to inform, inspire and empower leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community

Core Values

Engagement   – Inclusion – Connection – Courage – Stewardship

What is Scottsdale Leadership?

Through powerful, transformative experiences during its leadership development programs, Scottsdale Leadership enhances the ability of leaders and creates engaged citizens who ensure a sustainable future for our community.

Drawing from a diverse and inclusive group of individuals from the private and public sectors, Scottsdale Leadership creates lifelong, sustained partnerships and connections, delivering a strong net of prominent leaders who regularly influence our communities.

In 1986, Dr. Art DeCabooter, former President of Scottsdale Community College; Don Ruff, former Valley Bank Executive; Gary Shapiro, REALTOR®, and former Mayor Sam Campagna shared a vision to establish  a program that motivated individuals to step up as leaders who would help shape Scottsdale and surrounding communities. Their vision was realized with the graduation of Class 1, made up of 21 individuals.

Scottsdale Leadership operated under the direction of the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce until 1996, when it became an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Thirty years later, Scottsdale Leadership has graduated more than 1,045 alumni, made up corporate, nonprofit and small business executives as well as civic and community leaders. Eight alumni have served as city council members, legislative representatives and one has become a senator. Hundreds others have held positions on city boards and commissions or nonprofit boards of directors.

Thought Leaders

Scottsdale Leadership and its alumni are consistently sought out to engage in grassroots initiatives and community conversations regarding the future and growth of our City. Their collaborative efforts help to move issues forward from an apolitical stance. Alumni have had a significant impact on not only the City of Scottsdale, but the Valley and throughout the state, influencing the preservation of open space; improving the quality of youth programs and our education system; championing public art; and, sitting on boards and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for nonprofit organizations.

Principles for Civil Dialogue

“As a member of the Scottsdale community, I will genuinely listen; speak respectfully; and be accountable for my words and actions.”

We believe in educating and informing community members through an apolitical, agnostic and ethical lens, which invites individuals and organizations from all sides of an issue or conversation to express their views. We recognize that civil discourse has dissipated, especially over this past year of national political campaigning, and that negativity is capturing the attention of individuals.

We know our children are watching, and the trickle down effect of divisive rhetoric is influencing local and community dialogue where fear tactics or negative communication is used to stop progress toward the greater good of our community. Leaders are proud of saying “no” or stopping progress instead of moving a solution forward. Civil discourse is key to formulating the best approach to a solution.

Scottsdale Leadership has been driving its Principles for Civil Dialogue initiative, garnering community support from the City of Scottsdale, its commissions and boards, and the Scottsdale Unified School District. More than 20 civic and community organizations have adopted or endorsed this initiative. Civil dialogue advances the public interests.  It creates a safe environment in which different points of view may be expressed and evaluated.