Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego Speaks with Creighton district middle schoolers about service and leadership.

Phoenix mayor speaks at ASU workshop for junior high students on leadership, service

By

Kelley Karnes

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego faced a room of middle schoolers from Phoenix’s Creighton School District as she shared a few candid stories about when things didn’t go exactly as she planned in her life, and how she turned those defeats into learning opportunities. 

“I did run for student government, but I didn’t win. Though look where I ended up,” said Gallego, now mayor of the nation’s fifth largest city. “Sometimes things don’t go the way we planned, but that is a test for our strength. It’s important to keep pursuing our goals.” 

Gallego was a guest speaker at a day of workshops Arizona State University’s Mirna Lattouf had organized in partnership with the Creighton Community Foundation and Rotary International, for which she serves as director of youth services for the Southwest. Lattouf, a principal lecturer in ASU’s College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, wanted to create a relationship with these groups to help introduce students in the community to ideas, skills and opportunities.

“Students worked on exercises that advance their own well-being and were introduced to helpful skills that build community, service, and leadership,” Lattouf said, in summarizing the goals of the “Leadership Through Service: Living Our Humanity” workshop.

Duane Roen, dean of the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, introduced Gallego to the students. He emphasized that it’s important for students to start thinking about leadership now.

“It’s crucial that we do these types of workshops to help young people understand that they are the leaders of tomorrow and that they can make a positive impact in their communities,” said Roen, who also believes that it’s important for young people to see role models like Gallego.

“Mayor Gallego brings lots of optimism and people skills and resilience to this work — and a joy that serving your community brings. She also exemplifies additional leadership characteristics that I admire: compassion, empathy, respect for others, a sense of humor, humility, integrity and self-awareness,” he noted.

Both Lattouf and Roen agree that it’s important for ASU to be embedded in the community.

“The ASU Charter states that we have a fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities we are in. It’s important that we teach that by example,” Roen said.

“At the Downtown Phoenix campus, it is part of our mission to do outreach in our community. ASU, Rotary and the Creighton Foundation all have similar interests in civil awareness and helping children develop their potential,” Lattouff said.

Lattouff plans to make the workshop a yearly event and involve more community partners, services and other schools.