I was thrilled to be one of the 30 participants selected out of over 100 applicants for the year-long Leadership Park City program in 2012. The program has left a lasting profound impact on my life in countless ways. I connected with many wonderful human beings and developed a strong community network leading to deeper community involvement. I greatly increased my leadership skills. I learned about issues faced in a growing community. I developed skills in working within a team during our class project process. I learned about planning and development during a five day tour of downtown Las Vegas. While in Las Vegas, I toured the Zappos facility and an in depth look at their sought after working culture model.
The goal of the class selection process is to organize a diverse group of individuals with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences to create the best learning and supportive environment possible. My class consisted of individuals from Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain Resort, People’s Health Clinic, Park City Hospital, National Ability Center and The Peace House. There was a designer, a real estate agent, an architect, a hotel owner, the fire chief and others.
The first sessions of our program were all about getting to know each other. Through intense moments of tears, laughter and even anger, relationships were formed. I connected with several of my classmates who I became very close to throughout the year. The friendships and business relationships that were formed created a lasting network in our community for me to engage with, to contribute to and to draw from.
I found the greatest benefit was the community networking that came out of the program. After the program ended, I became substantially more involved in our community. The small town in which I live and work became even smaller with my new connections with others actively involved in the community.
I have sat on the Board of Directors for the Kimball Junction Business Association for seven years becoming a leader as the vice-president and president for the past four years. I was able to bring my leadership skills to KJBA to help achieve the goals set out by the board.
I was asked by the fire chief to be part of the hiring committee for new fire fighter recruits. Being part of this process was invaluable in bringing back knowledge to my place of work not only about the rigor of this hiring process, but ideas to follow in my own hiring practices for my job.
Other organizations I have had involvement with as a result of my Leadership Experience were Park City Lodging Association, Park City Business Network, Park City Chamber of Commerce/Convention & Visitor Bureau and Park City Education Foundation.
One of the goals of the Park City Leadership Program is to cultivate individuals to be prepared to take on leadership roles in the community. Not only did I gain training for this through the program, but also grew leadership skills that benefited my career, as well. Seeing how our county and city officials handled current matters was useful when it came to my community involvement as a leader and as a leader in my work. I use the leadership tools that were learned throughout the program on a regular basis.
After we became acquainted with one another at the start of the program, we did work on getting to know ourselves. I learned things about my personality type, learning styles, relationships, career choices, interests, strengths and weaknesses through self-analysis exercises and reflection with others. Really understanding myself has made me a stronger person, a better manager, and a more involved community member.
We spent time during our sessions to focus on good leadership skills and tools. I have always believed in the power of positivity, but learned even more about the importance of it and how to incorporate it into my daily work environment. It remains a key focus of mine in my professional and personal life. Other important elements we concentrated on were integrity, communication, passion, vision and clarity. The take away from these lessons has been invaluable.
Issues Faced in a Growing Community
We looked at issues being faced in growing communities through studying our own rapidly growing town of Park City, Utah. We identified the main challenges, discussed ways to address them and looked at other similar towns facing like challenges. This gave me great perspective and insight that I was able to later utilize in my own community and work endeavors.
I have sat on a committee to discuss Park City’s solid waste issues. I became acutely aware of our disposal and recycling options, what that meant to the environment and was able to help in the beginnings of a plan to address the problem.
Transportation is another common concern in growing cities. I was able to coordinate a transportation plan with Summit County and Park City (the city) to help get public transportation patrons from a transit center in the Kimball Junction area of Park City to Utah Olympic Park and allocate the funding for it.
Park City faces a challenge of affordable living causing an outflow of young adults resulting in a lack of upcoming community leaders. Understanding this and getting involved in affordable housing initiatives is of personal intrest to me since my own children are growing up and not able to afford to buy a home in Park City. Grown children, like my own, are getting involved and learning about other communities leaving a void for a younger demographic to become involved and educated about Park City.
Other problems we discussed were lack of workforce available locally, traffic, diversity/inclusiveness, education system and economic development; all of which impact our lives professionally and personally.
Our class became a close knit team after a couple of months of meeting together. We chose a class project six months into the program. The project we chose was to produce and distribute a map of the Park City area in Spanish. This map was to include locations and directions to places such as the hospital, health clinics, schools, churches, stores and other places of need and interest to serve our Spanish speaking only Hispanic population.
We went through all the stages of team development including forming, norming, storming and performing. The members naturally took on a role within the team. Some were stronger leaders than others and took on an automatic lead position. Others were doers and jumped right in to accomplishing whatever tasks needed. I learned so much about team dynamics which I was able to apply immediately in my job as a manager. The impact of working with my Leadership team directly transcended to my career and has helped me on numerous occasions. I am able to remember back to lessons learned during our team project that help me in working within my team today.
Planning and Development
In the fall of 2013, our year-long Leadership program culminated in a five day trip to Las Vegas where we met with city officials to get an in-depth look at the Downtown Project that started in 2012. 350 million dollars were allocated to contribute to the revitalization of Downtown Las Vegas to help make it a place of upward mobility embracing creativity, innovation and inspiration drawing small businesses, startup businesses, real estate development, arts, culture, and education.
We toured for several days with former Mayor Oscar Goodman and the current Mayor Carolyn Goodman, who were at the heart of creating an urban environment with a vision of a vibrant place to live, work or play. We stayed right at the Golden Nugget hotel which had been recently renovated as part of the project. The hotel opened right up onto the Freemont Street Experience. I gained a new appreciation for Las Vegas.
Learning about the issues and challenges faced by the downtown area was interesting and although Las Vegas is so much bigger than Park City, the matters of a growing community were similar to our own. The focus on sustainable living, community connectedness, co-learning and embracing adventure paralleled that of Park City. Studying everything on a large scale had great influence on how I view our own community growth as well as other areas.
Something that stuck with me about visiting downtown Las Vegas was the new community living idea. It was the first I had heard about “living small” and the concept of a very small home with shared communal spaces and items. One master planned community had a number of small homes with very small spaces in them. There were larger spaces that were shared like club houses with larger kitchens and storage spaces that had items that could be shared like lawn mowers, gardening tools and kitchen appliances that would only be used on occasion. The carbon footprint with this type of communal arrangement proved to be substantially smaller than that of traditional living. The neighbors had to work much more closely together than in a traditional neighborhood, so there was an added element of the importance of relationships in addition to the use of effective and efficient space.
The highlight of the Las Vegas trip to me was the tour we did of Zappos, the online shoe and clothing retailer. The number one priority for Zappos is the company culture. Founder, Tony Hsieh, started a company and successfully created a culture that is now a model for other organizations to follow. The company holds close to their core values which are:
1. Deliver WOW through service.
2. Embrace and Drive Change.
3. Create Fun and a Little Weirdness.
4. Be Adventurous, Creative and Open-Minded.
5. Pursue Growth and Learning.
6. Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication.
7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit.
8. Do More with Less.
9. Be Passionate and Determined.
10. Be Humble
Seeing the daily operations and learning the values of Zappos, gave me great insight into developing a culture at my own place of work. The experience at Zappos left a lasting influence on how I approach my own team where I encourage an environment of trust and openness so we can flourish.
Leadership Park City was by far one of the most impactful learning experiences of my life. Now years later, I continue to draw from the knowledge gained, skills acquired, many lessons learned and networks created.
To learn more about the program, click here.