In February of this year, 21 residents joined together on a journey to more deeply connect to one another and the greater community though Eastmark Leadership, a 10-month program designed to establish a strong foundation and tradition for resident leadership now and into the future. On Nov. 19, the class completed the program with a graduation ceremony and celebration.
During the program kick-off, the class had the privilege of meeting and hearing from former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith who shared his perspective on leadership. While he offered many inspirational thoughts, the most poignant was: “Leadership happens everywhere. At home, at work, at church, in your community. It’s not about a title. Everyone can be a leader.”
Yet, most of us think of “leadership” as this big, audacious thing to aspire to – that some are capable of leading while others are merely followers. The truth is, leadership is about the real-time actions we take every day to move an idea forward, improve the state of someone’s life, or simply find a solution to a problem. Residents have opportunities to model leadership qualities every day. Eastmark Leadership has simply provided the tools and inspiration to make it second nature.
The content of the program began with hyper-local content on Eastmark – the vision, master-plan, governance – then moved to Mesa-centric and regional topics. Nothing stands alone. The whole framework is needed to understand our place in the community, in the region, in the state. The class even had a few opportunities to look inward to better understand themselves.
During their 10 months together, Eastmark Leadership participants met more than 20 leadership and subject-matter experts, including Mesa District 6 Councilmember Kevin Thompson; development and land planning experts from DMB; and economic development leaders from Mesa, Gilbert, and Queen Creek.
In addition, the class participated in tours of the Mesa Arts Center and Verrado, Eastmark’s sister community in Buckeye, as well as a family hike at Lost Dutchman State Park. The most influential impact Class I will have on the community is their class project, Honor Park at Anitole Square. Here they will install a flag pole and memorial bricks that will be available for purchase in honor of a loved one or in celebration of a special milestone. This iconic installation will stand as a lasting legacy of Class I while serving as the backdrop for patriotic celebrations and community gatherings of all kinds.
Beyond the program content, it’s the depth of relationships among the class members that is truly at the heart of Eastmark Leadership. Some knew each other going into the program, but that certainly isn’t the case with everyone. The personal growth and discoveries between these special people are icing on the cake.
Although the core program experience has concluded for Class I, their journey as community leaders is just beginning. The significance of this inaugural class can’t be underestimated because of the impact these graduates will make during their time at Eastmark. Whether they take on formal roles on committees or boards, or spearhead projects, the deep sense of pride and love they feel for the community in itself inspires them to be good neighbors, help those in need, and be a force for good.
Congratulations Class I. Your leadership journey has just begun.
If you are interested in learning more about Eastmark Leadership and how to apply for Class II, please contact Community Engagement Manager Kimberly Crowther Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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