Verde Valley Leadership Class XI had the exceptional opportunity to exercise with Brandon Lorato author of the book “Mind Karate”, and Managing Partner of Cottonwood’s own Cross fit CAN-DO. Brandon Lurato graciously presented at the latest Verde Valley Leadership Issue Day Event held on January 20, 2017. He opened by leading the class with some exercises which unquestionably commanded attention from all. Consistent with the Community Leadership agenda of the event his exceptional presentation endorsed many notable Communication skills and tactics, Social and Emotional learning all valued by effective leaders. Mr. Lurato’s dynamic approach and extensive experience added prominence to his Motivational Leadership Presentation.
The day also included Camp Verde Town Manager Russ Martin who cordially took valuable time from his busy schedule to address the Class. The helpful leadership strategies he proposed were well received by all. He conveyed lessons portrayed from his personal experiences highlighting the importance of cooperative alliances. Mr. Martin described the progress that the Town of Camp Verde has made and the positive expectations for the future, especially regarding the Route 260 construction project.
Verde Valley Leadership Class XI would like to acknowledge The Cottonwood Police Department for the use of their multipurpose room to accommodate the day’s event. In line with that, the day finalized with Cottonwood Police Chief Stephen Gesell and his stimulating presentation. Often using his keen sense of humor Chief Gesell extracted from the experiences of his distinguished career. He provided several useful examples of good leadership qualities and characteristics. He expressed an emphasis on integrity and maintaining good values especially during difficult times. Chief Gesell described the Cottonwood Police Departments Neighborhood Officer Program and other recently introduced proactive initiatives. He ended with a success story regarding a citizen who had been down on his luck on the streets of Cottonwood. That individual with the assistance of a Multi-Agency Discipline approach by the Cottonwood Police department is now a productive member of the community.
Verde Valley Leadership Class XI would like to thank everyone involved who added to the success of our Issue Day. Class XI would also encourage all those interested in becoming a member of Verde Valley Leadership Class XII to submit an application that are now available at vvleadership.org.
(Cottonwood, AZ)- On Friday December 16, 2016, Verde Valley Leadership (VVL) Class XI spent the day focusing on education and youth for their Issue Day. Their theme was #fromheadlinestohope with emphasis on the challenges of schools within the Verde Valley struggling to educate youth with continuous budget cuts. VVL was privileged to have the following guest speakers who shared their passion and expertise: Jennifer Chilton, Principal Mingus Union High School; Kirk Waddle, Business Manager at Mingus Union High School; Brandi Bateman also from Mingus Union High School; Jessica Vocca, Principal at Cottonwood Elementary School; Karyl Goldsmith, teacher at Red Rock High School and Susan Turner, Executive Director of Yavapai Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
This particular issue day brought to light the everyday struggles schools, administrators and teachers are faced with to educate youth with an ever diminishing budget. However, it was very refreshing and inspiring to see the love, dedication, experience and commitment the speakers have in their respective positions. The speakers discussed issues such as budget cuts and the challenges faced because of those budget cuts, Leading with Less/First Year as a Principal and Teaching with Less. Some alarming statistics are 8 out of 10 kids live in homes that are right around poverty level. Students of low income families are 7 times more likely to drop out of school, the transient rate of students (not having an established place to live) is right around 30% and growing and 40% are not prepared for primary schooling. However, with programs like Every Student Succeeds Act, Capturing Kids’ Hearts and Kids at Hope local schools are helping turn those statistics around. For example, “when you have a child’s heart, you have their minds” is the nexus behind Capturing Kids’ Hearts. This approach is taught at the elementary and middle school levels. Kids at Hope is primarily taught at Mingus Union High School but applies to children of any age. Their three prong approach is, “we believe” – children succeed when they are surrounded by adults who believe they can succeed. Secondly, “we connect” – children succeed when they have meaningful, sustainable relationships with caring adults. Thirdly, “we time travel” – children succeed when they can articulate their future. Ultimately, every child can succeed, they just need to be shown they can.
One class member stated about the day, “I walked away with mixed emotions. I’m very concerned about the ongoing budget cuts our education system continues to face. Our educational systems cannot sustain any more budget cuts. However, I also feel overwhelming pride and confidence in the caliber of teachers and administrators we have in the Verde Valley. Their love and dedication to our children is obvious and they’re not going to throw in the towel and give up due to the continued financial restraints. Instead, they’re going to become creative and continue to tackle the challenges because the youth of the Verde Valley mean too much to them to give up.”
For more information about Verde Valley Leadership, please visit www.vvleadership.org.
Cottonwood, AZ- Class XI of Verde Valley Leadership (VVL) have had a quick immersion into the program, attending community events, meeting local leaders shaping the Verde Valley, and getting a glimpse of where they can make a difference. Class XI is a group of leaders focused on the future of their communities and how to solve the regional issues facing everyone. In October, Class XI took a look into the economic future attending the Verde Valley Regional Economic Organization (VVREO) Annual Speaker Series, The Verde Valley – Success In Action, Economic State of the Region. The Valley’s economic development directors, economic experts, and local businesses and civic groups attended the event. The presentation was also an opportunity to network with leaders addressing the regional concerns of class members.
At their first issue day, Class XI explored community topics including: youth, economic development, art, and concerns over drugs in the community. In addressing the concerns Class XI was given the opportunity to participate in a question and answer session with the economic development directors for the community, and presentations by MATForce, Kids at Hope, and Verde Valley Artist, Joan Bourque.
In addition to issue days, members of VVL attend field trips throughout Arizona. In November Class XI enjoyed a kayak trip on the Verde River, moderated by Clarkdale Mayor, Doug Von Gausig, also of the Verde River Institute. This is not the average kayak trip. The Mayor talks about the fragile eco system of the river, explains its history and its value to Arizonans as the only flowing perennial river left in Arizona. Another field trip attended by members of the class was the “Toast to Tourism” held at the Blaz’n M Ranch in Cottonwood. Presentations by the Arizona Office of Tourism and Global Sustainable Tourism Council expressed the value of the Verde Valley and how it has become “the” place to create experiences. With its rich history, the Verde River, beautiful red rock formations, and successful wine industry, the Verde Valley has become an ideal vacation destination. Visit www.VerdeValleyNatGeo.com and find out how partnering with National Geographic has introduced the whole world to the Verde Valley.
VVL offers class members “Toolbox Training” such as presentation skills. Al Filardo, of the Filardo Group, Inc. conducted the year’s training on how to give a professional presentation. The class participated in activities designed to make class members more comfortable presenting in front of a group. As stated by Filardo, “the majority of people would rather die than give a presentation.” The training culminated with a ten minute presentation prepared by each class member, and critiqued by Filardo and the VVL Board of Directors.
Experiences through the Verde Valley Leadership Program are endless. Those interested in learning more about the community and getting in on the valuable opportunities, please contact President-Elect, Tammy Yoakum at VVLPresidentelect@gmail.com.
This past weekend at the Mescal Canyon Retreat in Clarkdale, Verde Valley Leadership (VVL) kicked off their 11th year of community leadership development with their annual two-day program. Ten participants from throughout the Verde Valley aspiring to take their leadership skills to new heights attended and were guided through an intensive program developed and delivered by the Filardo Group and supported by the Verde Valley Leadership Board.
Monica Kuhlt, Sergeant, City of Cottonwood Police Department and Class XI member stated, “I didn’t want it to end. Al and Jodie have left me wanting more. I was inspired by the way Al would challenge me to dig deeper within to not only identify my strengths but rather my weaknesses and push me to turn them into strengths and opportunities. I was intrigued by Jodie and Al’s ability to create an environment of self- awareness, and then, how to use that self-awareness to improve upon our leadership - not only in our professional, but personal lives as well. It was sad to say goodbye to the weekend experience, but I am excited for what the rest of the year has to offer.”
Class XI member Jill Clark, General Manager of Mi Amo at the Enchantment Resort in Sedona shared, “I have attended many leadership workshops and other leadership programs throughout my 30 year career, and I was worried that VVL was going to be the ‘same old, same old’. This is absolutely not the case. VVL is an amazing program and is so much more than I could have imagined. I am so glad to be a part of this class and I am very excited about the year ahead.”
Two of the six Founders of VVL, Al and Jodie Filardo of the Filardo Group are educated, experienced and certified in their fields of organizational development, coaching and economic development and have practiced and applied their leadership skills both in public and private entities in multiple cultures around the globe. Their degrees are from Stanford University, ASU, Webster University, and the University of San Francisco.
Through the remainder of the program year, the class members complete a Presentation Skills Course, field trips, shadowing days, and issue days organized by the participants to explore community issues such as education, economic development, criminal justice, and other regional issues. Headed by member Mike Spitz of the Yavapai County Assessor’s Office, Class XI will be working on a ‘Day of Service’. “This year we have added more emphasis on this component of the VVL Program,” stated Board President Ellen Yates. In past years, one non-profit was chosen to receive a day of service from the Class and choosing the recipient was always a very hard decision. This year, Class XI will put their leadership skills to work to organize a full ‘day of service’ to their community.”
“The impact VVL has had on all of us who have gone through the program can be seen by our continued involvement and support” says Past President, Kathy Wombacher. “The bonds created are pretty special. VVL graduates are always there to help each other out in both our professional and personal lives. If you need assistance with a project or you are looking for board members to join your cause, VVL graduates are there for you, and that is what VVL is all about.”
Anyone interested in enrolling in applying for the next class of the Verde Valley Leadership Program, may contact Tammy Yoakum, Graduate of Class IX and President Elect of VVL at VVLPresidentelect@gmail.com for more information.
On July 15th, Class X graduated from Verde Valley Leadership joining over 100 leaders who have completed the program over the ten-year life of the organization. Celebrated by over 50 community leaders, family and friends at the ceremony held at the Senior Center in Cottonwood, the graduation was the culmination of a year of studying the Verde Valley community, personal and community leadership styles and skills, and opportunities to give back throughout our community. Class X graduates are as follows: Laurel Abdelnour, Debbie Breitkreutz, Wendy Edwards, Trish Gomez, Norela Harrington, Jennifer Hernandez, Carrie King, and Tricia Winters.
One highlight of the evening was a video presentation created by Tammy Yoakum and her team featuring VVL graduate interviews, memories and various good works performed by VVL throughout the Verde Valley. Another featured auctions of art donated by artist Susan Remer of Rainbow Acres and individual centerpieces created by Made In Clarkdale artists Elizabeth Gerstner and Emily Miller plus the raffling of goods and services graciously donated by local area businesses. All auction proceeds are directed toward VVL scholarships and program operations.
In addition, VVL recognized two outstanding high school students with scholarships for their leadership in Verde Valley communities: Brandi Ferguson, Camp Verde and Grant Williams, Cottonwood. This Youth Leadership Legacy project initiated by Class VIII honors exceptional community leadership. When listening to the highlights of the work performed by these two students, the future certainly looks bright.
This celebration also marks the final responsibility for the 2015-16 Board of Directors who gave selflessly throughout this past year: Kathy Wombacher, President; Ellen Yates, President Elect; Greg Feltmann, Past President; Kirsten Lennon, Treasurer; Tammy Yoakum, Secretary; Krishan Ginige, Recruitment Committee Chair; and Directors Laure Tompson, Janie Randall, Elizabeth Gerstner, and Patty May.
The ceremonial gold baton was passed to the 2016-17 Board as they were welcomed into service: Ellen Yates, President; Tammy Yoakum, President Elect; Kathy Wombacher, Past President; Kirsten Lennon, Treasurer; Kyla Allen, Secretary; Krishan Ginige, Recruitment Committee Chair; and Directors Janie Randall, Patty May, Elizabeth Gerstner, Debbie Breitkreutz, Jennifer Hernandez, Marlayne Hatler, and Dane Wombacher.
To get involved in this vital local leadership program, please visit www.vvleadership.org or contact President Ellen Yates at Ellen.Yates@Clarkdale.AZ.gov. Class XI starts on August 20th with a brand new crop of community leaders in development.
Considering applying for Class XI? The deadline has been extended to April 30! Apply now by clicking here.
Are you aspiring to become a leader in the Verde Valley or are you new here and seeking to expand your community networks? Then the Verde Valley Leadership Program is for you.
Presently, VVL is accepting applications for Class XI from individuals aspiring to become leaders or those just starting their leadership careers. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Verde Valley Leadership Program (VVL) was built by professionals from various businesses and disciplines throughout the area. With over 100 program graduates, VVL provides skills to an array of valuable contributors in private, public and non-profit organizations throughout our community. Participants come from many walks of life, from CEO’s to administrative personnel and those seeking to advance their careers.
The Filardo Group, for the 11th year in a row, will be conducting the leadership retreat taking place September 9th and 10th, 2016. Al and Jodie Filardo, two of six Founders of VVL are educated, trained and certified in their fields of organizational development, coaching and economic development and have practiced and applied their leadership skills both in public and private entities in multiple cultures around the globe. Their degrees are from Stanford, ASU, and the University of San Francisco.
With leadership skills taught by the Filardo Group, our graduates are propelled to realize and reach their personal and professional goals. VVL opens doors by helping participants discover hidden talents inspiring servant leadership, their desires to give back to their community, and to make a difference or to leave their mark. Verde Valley Leadership has made a difference in the professional status of graduates, teaching skills they need to succeed in leadership.
Along with the Filardos’ teachings, class members also benefit from toolbox training days on topics such as Presentations Skills and Mental Health First Aid. Learning is further enhanced by attending field trips throughout the Verde Valley, with an insider’s look into organizations in our community. Participants also have the opportunity to shadow a professional whose leadership quality and style they admire. In organizing “issue days”, class members create a day of learning to inspire their classmates while introducing them to leaders in our communities. Issue days also explore an array of important community issues such as education, economic development, criminal justice, and other regional issues to which class members may not be exposed in their everyday worlds.
In addition, the Verde Valley Leadership Program was founded by local leaders who stay involved and connected. Board members guiding the program development are graduates of the program who care about their community and believe in the vision of the organization: “Inspiring Individuals to Action”.
If you are interested in joining Verde Valley Leadership, Class XI, or have business associates you believe may benefit from this leadership program, please contact Krishan Ginige, Recruitment Committee Chairperson, for applications and more information. Krishan may be reached at Krishan@sec-landmgt.com or (928) 202-6310. You can also visit the website at VVleadership.org. The deadline to apply has been extended to April 30, 2016.
Flying high at The Mescal Canyon Retreat in Clarkdale, the Verde Valley Leadership (VVL) celebrated its 10th anniversary and launched its 10th class with its customary two-day kickoff retreat.
VVL Board President Kathy Wombacher says, “We are excited to begin the year-long journey with this new VVL class. Our participants comes from many walks of life, from CEOs to attorneys, individuals aspiring to become leaders or those just starting their leadership careers. We’ve also trained people with their doctoral degrees in the sciences who were given leadership responsibilities without any previous leadership background. All communities in the Verde Valley have representatives in the pool of VVL graduates. Current and future leaders from throughout the region are welcome to apply.” Ms. Wombacher, Graduate, Class IV is leading the group this year.
The Filardo Group, for the 10th year in a row is conducting the leadership retreat. Al and Jodie Filardo, two of six Founders of VVL are educated, trained and certified in their fields of organizational development, coaching and economic development and have practiced and applied their leadership skills both in public and private entities in multiple cultures around the globe. Their degrees are from Stanford, ASU, and The University of San Francisco.
“This is not a ‘sit-and-listen’ program,” says Jodie Filardo. “During the kickoff retreat, the class members actively participate. We all have a lot of fun! It is a ‘learn-and-apply’ environment. We use actual cases encountered in the field to reinforce learning. The participants work with one another to analyze cases relevant to topics they are studying and then present their findings back to the rest of the class.”
Upon completion of the two day retreat, the rest of the program consists of a Presentation Skills Course, field trips, shadowing days, and issue days organized by the participants to explore community issues such as education, economic development, criminal justice, and other regional issues. Per Lana Tolleson, President and CEO of the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce, “As a graduate of Class V, I’ve had a chance to reflect on the benefits of Verde Valley Leadership. Not only did I learn leadership skills, but I also joined a network of engaged community leaders. I would highly recommend Verde Valley Leadership to anyone wanting to get more involved in our wonderful community and meet some really awesome people.”
Two of this year’s participants illustrate the wide spectrum and diverse backgrounds of those who attend the Verde Valley Leadership Program. On one hand you have an experienced entrepreneur and company president who is looking to learn more, and on the other is a young, motivated professional aspiring to be a future leader.