by Mila Besich, Mayor, Town of Superior
As I prepared to write this column, my thoughts immediately went to the leaders who have helped to shape my worldview and to those who have inspired and encouraged me along the journey of my professional development. Most importantly, thinking about leadership underscored the invaluable role mentorship plays in cultivating future leaders. Leader mentors certainly made an indelible impact on my professional growth.
Everyone has an opportunity to lead. Whether in our workplace, within our families, in clubs and organizations, everyone will at some point in their lives need to lead. I am fortunate to be a Flinn Brown Fellow, which has greatly advanced my knowledge base and helped to hone my leadership skills.
Some will lead with empathy and compassion, helping others through difficult times. Some are more decisive and analytical, and those decisions often provide clarity when solutions may not be readily apparent. Some will lead by taking huge risks, and because they did so our world is a different place – and for the better.
It takes all kinds of leaders to serve our communities, our state and our nation. Honest, effective and transparent leadership requires an enormous amount of communication, the highest level of ethical behavior and a deep and abiding commitment to the cause.
From a young age, I have been honored to serve as a leader in my community and feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to do so. Reflecting on those experiences, I realize those early years of student council and yearbook and Youth Coalition were the foundation builders that shaped my desire to be a community leader. I can recount when adult leaders and mentors provided me with the tools, as well as their support to lead initiatives, but also allowed my peers and me to make decisions independently. Those were important skills I learned at an early age, and they continue to influence me today.
Leading Superior through this period of great transformation indeed is exciting. The path is not without challenges. Our success in Superior is derived from a cohesive team effort. Government cannot do it alone, business cannot do it alone nor can the civic community do it alone.
To make great things happen, it takes teamwork – all of these sectors aligned with one another striving for the same overarching goal. Each member of our Town Council, our department heads and community leaders at the Superior Chamber of Commerce and other local organizations lead with the desire to see Superior truly become a superior community in Arizona.
Perhaps I am most proud of our Superior Youth Council because that is where our future leaders are learning about what it means to lead.
Our youth council was selected to participate in the Center for the Future of Arizona’s DemocraSeed program, which is teaching them critical thinking and entrepreneurial approaches to identifying and solving community challenges. Their efforts in our community include organizing such programs as community cleanups, youth activities and supporting community events. I am excited to see what new ideas they will bring back to Superior when they complete this prestigious program.
As the Executive Director of the Copper Corridor Economic Development Coalition, one of the programs we support is the Valle del Sol Hispanic Leadership Institute-Copper Corridor. The CCEDC partnered with Valle del Sol in 2014 to help inspire current leaders and cultivate new leaders.
To date, we have graduated more than 50 leaders from this program, many of whom have gone on to run for office or take on new leadership roles within important community organizations such as local Little Leagues and other community service groups. I am proud to have been a member of the first HLI-Copper Corridor alumni group in 2014; it has been a wonderful asset to our region in helping to grow a strong network of leaders helping to shape the Copper Corridor region and fostering regional collaboration.