Youth Center gets major upgrades thanks to Verde Valley Leadership

Verde Valley Leadership Class XIII completed the program’s Day of Service last month.

The Day of Service experience serves as a unique, inventive and meaningful opportunity for class members to exercise servant leadership skills by directly giving back to the community, while fulfilling an element of their program commitment. (Photo from the Verde Independent)

Read to whole article in the Verde Independent...

Cottonwood, Arizona March 15th, 2019:

Verde Valley Leadership, Class XIII had a full day in Cottonwood, Arizona this past Friday, engaging with local and state leaders as part of the Business and Economic Development Leadership Day. The morning kicked off with a visit from Evelyn Casuga, Director for Community & Economic Prosperity at the Center for the Future of Arizona who discussed the importance of economic development to communities. She emphasized the need for diversity within any economy, specifically in rural Arizona.

Her presentation was followed by Sharon Tewksbury-Bloom, the owner of Do Good Be Good based in Flagstaff. Sharon is a leading facilitator and speaker in northern Arizona who discussed how personal relationships with clients and being more conscious of using Arizona-based businesses has strengthened her business. Sharon hosts a podcast where she interviews entrepreneurs and business owners who are doing “good,” working toward positive community impact

Class XIII also heard from Scott Hathcock, President and CEO of Moonshot at NACET, formerly Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology. He discussed his organization’s recent rebrand, their programs, and about the companies they help to scale through an intensive incubator program.

Class XIII watched the newest Verde Valley tourism video put out by the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce and discussed its production with local videographer and producer Larry Pittman of Clear Production Services, LLC. Pittman detailed the importance of digital media in economic development and how technology has changed the way businesses can connect with their clients.

Business and Economic Development Leadership Day ended with a tour of The Vineyards B & B in Page Springs with owners Tambrala and Bruce Shurman. Recipients of a Verde Valley Regional Economic Organization (VVREO) micro loan which assisted them in expanding their business, the Shurman’s are now in their 5th year hosting people from across the globe to enjoy the amazing beauty and the growing wine industry in the Verde Valley. Robyn Prud’homme Bauer, VVREO Chair, explained the significance of the micro loan program, and its powerful impact on growing the local economy. The program provides access to capital to businesses that may not qualify for traditional loans. VVREO works with community banks to create access to capital across the Verde Valley

Rural communities face many unique challnge3 in the realm of business and economic development. This week’s Verde Valley Leadership Day showed the incredible resources available in the region and the many groups and organizations working toward more sustainable, thriving communities.

Verde Valley Leadership, Class XIII continue to gather every third Friday through July 2019 engaging around leadership and becoming more informed about supportive resources as well as the many challenging issues facing the Verde Valley.

Verde Valley Leadership is now in the process of accepting applications for the XIV class. For more information on the program, how to engage with this growing group of leaders, or to join the next class, explore this site or connect with them on FaceBook.

Verde Valley Leadership, Class XIII explores Arts and Culture while touring some of Jerome’s best studios as part of their Leadership Development Day, Friday, December 14th.

Verde Valley Leadership, Class XIII had a full day in Jerome, Arizona this past Friday, engaging with local and state leaders and touring some of Jerome’s best studios as part of their Arts and Culture Leadership Day. The day kicked off with some historical perspective from Marybeth Barr, a board member of the Jerome Historical Society and community advocate, who led the group on a tour through the Jerome Mine Museum. This was followed up with presentations from Jay Kinsella, former Mayor of Jerome, and Donna Chesler, Co-Founder of the Jerome Art Walk and Vice President of the Jerome Chamber of Commerce. Both spoke to their leadership experience and the impact of Arts and Culture on the community.

The day also included a visit from the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Brad DeBiase who serves the Commission as the Programs and Grants Coordinator was accompanied by Ricky Araiza, Senior Coordinator for the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University and who works with the AZ Creative Communities Institute. They shared more about the work of the Commission and the importance of arts and culture to thriving places. They also led Class XIII in a focus group exercise, a tool they use across the state, to emphasize the importance of diversity and collaborative problem solving.

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Arts and Culture Leadership Development Day ended with a round of studio tours and demonstrations with some of Jerome’s nationally and internationally known artists. The group visited with ceramicist and glass blower Tracy Weisel, who has been in Jerome for 40 years. Weisel gave an inside look of his glass blowing studio, La Victoria, and his process of creating colorful and functional glass pieces made with equipment that he mostly made himself. He uses plain wet newspaper cupped in his hand to shape the glass. As a result you may see little dark spots in each piece.

Class XIII then shuttled to the Old Jerome High School to meet and tour the studios of two sculpture and installation artists. Novie Trump works in ceramic, mixed media and sound and shared her love of reliquaries and porcelain. Trump resonated with many in Class XIII, emphasizing the need for patience in leadership. Trump commented, “As we throw pebbles into the stream, sometimes the ripples are not seen for a long time.”

In a neighboring studio, Alan Bur Johnson creates sculptures, installations and two-dimensional pieces which often create shadows on the surfaces to which they are bound. Johnson works with transparent photographic imagery and intricately cut metal forms in addition to other materials from nature. Both artists regularly participate in Jerome Art Walk, each first Saturday of the month.

A common message throughout the day from both leaders and artists is the need to include young voices in decision making and in community development. “Youth have an incredible amount to share with us,” said Ricky Araiza. “They just struggle sometimes to articulate themselves, and we need to do a better job of giving them the space to participate and to encourage their involvement.”

As part of Verde Valley Leadership, Class XIII will be gathering every third Friday through July 2019 engaging around leadership and becoming more informed about the challenging issues of the Verde Valley.



Community Leadership Development Day

Class XIII of Verde Valley Leadership held the third of nine Leadership Development Days on Friday, January 18, 2019 at the Cottonwood Recreation Center. With presentations and discussion from five different guest speakers comprised of leaders from prominent organizations in our community such as the City of Cottonwood, Cottonwood Oak Creek School District, Manzanita Outreach and the State Farm office of Jennifer Griffin. With a focus on Community Leadership the group got to explore the “Then, Now, and Future” of where our community has been and where it is going through the eyes of leaders who have played an integral role in the direction of our community. Throughout the discussion and field trips, ideas and questions were generated to address what they as leaders can do to ensure that our community continues to move forward with one cohesive vison and a team of leaders who believe in making a positive impact.  

Class XIII of Verde Valley Leaderships meets monthly and will be presenting their next Leadership Development Day on Friday, February 15, 2019


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