I was thrilled when Leadership Mountain View asked me to be their photographer for the first program day at Microsoft this year. Of course, I was happy to follow the group around with my iPhone, and it brought back so many fond memories of my time in Leadership Mountain View.
I graduated from the program in 2007 and I thought this would be a good time to tell anyone thinking about signing up for it, how helpful it is if you want to feel more connected to our community.
I was told that I would be given a website called “I Love Mountain View” and I could write about all things Mountain View with several stipulations… I had to finish getting my English degree, and I had to complete Leadership Mountain View. Are you kidding me? YES!
My class was full of interesting people, as the director of the LMV program always recruits from all walks of life. I remember being a bit insecure about being a student in a room full of leaders-in-the-community, but one of my classmates had a talk with me about how fortunate I was to be able to be in school and he thought I should take my time finishing my education and enjoy every minute of it. I did, and thank you Mike Cobb.
Most of the program days were absolutely exhausting, because I was so new to everything that I was learning. The City and Government Day showed the class how our city works and we got to meet some key figures in local and state government. Now I know everyone on city council and I make a point of introducing myself to them and getting to know them. If I have something to say now, I text the mayor. Hi Ken.
The Health and Human Services Day was the most memorable of the 9 program days. I saw people standing in line for food, in the rain at Community Services Agency. I honestly had no idea that this happened in my community.
Education Day gave us the opportunity to go to different schools in the area and watch local teachers in action. I opted for the German/Chinese school on Easy Street.
Public Safety Day included a tour of the police department. I remember that everyone had to pull over a car using a simulator and ask the person if they knew why they had been pulled over. I was the first person to do the exercise and all of my classmates were watching as I yelled at the person to get out of the car and put their hands on the vehicle.
A nice Mountain View police officer explained to me, and the rest of my class, why they don’t talk to residents like that. How embarrassing… and it’s a good thing I’m not responsible for making people abide by the traffic laws in our city. The police ride-along a few weeks later was very interesting and I saw how patient and kind our officers really are when they’re out in the community.
I’ve called upon my LMV connections many times over the years to answer questions about the community. I have also become one of the people that residents turn to when they have questions about our city. The number of people in my class is small compared to the total amount of LMV alumni in our community. If you imagine that there were at least 25 people in each class, and the program has been around 1990, that means there are at least 675 alumni in the community. You’re in good company.
One time I had a police officer in my house (after a bit of a situation with my next-door neighbor) and I asked him if he happened to be LMV alumni. Turns out, that’s a good way to start a friendly conversation. Every year, there is one person from the police department and one person from fire department in the class. It's so helpful to get to hear the inside perspective from those organizations.
You really never know who you're going to meet through LMV. Last week I met Kat, another Mountain View blogger, a past Google employee, and an author of children's books. She heard out about the program from this blog and now she's enrolled in it. Here's a link to her blog, What Kat Found Out. I'm looking forward to hearing what she finds out after she goes through the program.
I can’t even begin to tell you all the times my LMV connections have helped me with my job. I can’t imagine doing what I do (I write this website, which is the Visitors Center for the city of Mountain View) without the help of my LMV connections and all of the things I learned about our community from attending the Leadership Mountain View program. If you have any questions about the program, please contact me, or Bruce Humphrey, the director. The program is once a month, for 9 months. It starts in September and ends in May. Please think about attending it, if you aren't already alumni. I think it's fair to say that it's life changing.