Diverse business team giving high five showing unity, top view

Think you know the West Valley? Well, think again.

Phoenix, Scottsdale and the East Valley are widely known as distinct destinations, but now the West Valley has come of age and we have our own persona. According to WESTMARC, the West Valley is made up of 15 unique communities utilizing one voice to collaborate and advocate for its residents who live and work here. They include: Avondale, Buckeye, El Mirage, Gila Bend, Glendale, Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Peoria, Phoenix, Sun City, Sun City West, Surprise, Tolleson, Wickenburg and Youngtown. 

Did you know? 

•1.6 million people live in the West Valley.

• 40% of Phoenix residents live west of Interstate 17.

• $62,775 is the average annual income for households in the West Valley.

• 62% of the West Valley population is workforce age.

• The population is slated to grow by over 380,000 in the next 10 years. 

So what does all this mean? From my vantage point, what the West Valley will need in the coming years is leadership. As the executive director of Leadership West, we are geared to engage, inform and inspire leaders in business, nonprofits and government to leverage their time, talents and leadership capital to enhance the quality of life in the West Valley and throughout Arizona. 

According to my estimation, the West Valley is in need of over 600 leaders that have a greater understanding of how to leverage the education Leadership West offers, with the proven result of a civic mindset. We need this in order to secure our place as a premier destination for our workforce, schools, recreation and entertainment, and much more. We will need leaders to serve on the national, state and local levels. Our graduates have started at every level of their careers with community service and become involved where they feel the most needed and connected to causes that resonate with them. 

Companies have invested in Leadership West by encouraging their employees to experience the benefits of the organization, and in turn they realize the return on the investment. It is this ROI that has materialized through the personal and professional development that aligns with their goals and takes their companies to the next level of engagement and success. 

As the West Valley expands, we must now take action to get involved to make a difference for our communities. With 27 years of leadership success under its belt, Leadership West is the toolkit that emerging leaders need. Who is the typical profile of a Leadership West candidate? The class members are as diversified as the communities they represent. From seasoned professionals to emerging leaders, they all have one thing in common: the drive and desire to make a difference in their communities and connect with others who see potential in the future. 

Shelby Duplessis aptly shared, “Volunteering can bring fulfillment and inspiration and give a sense of connecting with community. From investing my time and energy in important causes, this has been a way for me to give back. As a class member and board chair of Leadership West, I had the opportunity to learn about my community, to network and to meet my best friends and mentors.”

According to the EF Academy Blog, “Volunteering your time to support a cause you are passionate about is something you will never regret. It will enrich your life, familiarize you with your community and connect you to people and ideas that will positively impact your perspective for the rest of your life. Helping your community is an opportunity for you to grow as a person and to better understand how you fit into the world around you.”

During these uncertain times, what we know to be true is the significance of connections and community service. Leadership West will provide the opportunities for you to embed those by joining us in our quest to create and support leaders in the West Valley.  Please take time to visit our website and join our Leadership West Class 27 at leadershipwest.org.