Diversity Champions are individuals who exemplify the philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and who have enriched the community by empowering others. Individuals are nominated by others in the community and selected Diversity Champions are honored each year at the MLK Jr. Community Celebration. Eligible nominees must work, live or volunteer in Scottsdale.
2019 Diversity Champions
Thirty-nine Diversity Champions have been honored since the program’s 2001 inception.
Sharon Cini has long personified Dr. Martin Luther King’s philosophy of unity, non-violence and respect for all through her efforts to change Scottsdale’s image from an exclusive community to a welcoming one for all. In her current capacity as the City of Scottsdale’s Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Sharon initiates change and raises awareness on many fronts. Internally, she champions city programs and events that focus on providing ADA and Diversity and Inclusion training for more than 2,000 Scottsdale employees. She leads the employee-based Diversity Advisory Committee and coordinates the outreach efforts of the city’s Human Relations Commission. Sharon’s efforts also focus on youth. She collaborates with the Phoenix Indian Center to facilitate a student career exploration day and spends many evenings and weekends participating in diversity events and engaging with people of all stripes, backgrounds and beliefs. Her life experience as a Native American public administrator gives her a unique view of both local and world diversity challenges. She a person who strives to be involved with every opportunity to participate, learn and make things happen. Sharon’s continuing outreach efforts truly are having a positive community impact and will leave a lasting legacy of accomplishments for many to follow.
Gary Griggs embarked on his career as a youth guidance counselor with the Scottsdale Unified School District by helping young individuals with special challenges. Gary spent his summers directing a youth camp that mainstreamed individuals from 7 to 17 with Asperger’s Syndrome and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Now his focus and true passion lie with the district’s Unitown program. This district-wide program is run through the various high schools and works to develop youth leaders by helping them learn about others and themselves through on-going diversity and leadership training. While the program provides an impressive list of experiences and activities, the primary event is a five day retreat for 100 students and includes those with backgrounds ranging from Native American, African-American, Muslim and LGBTQ. The delegates from this event are charged with sharing their diversity awareness, empathy and acceptance with classmates. Gary’s master’s program focused on understanding the impact that race, culture and diversity can have when students have the ability to bond with a role model. Gary exemplifies the character of a diversity champion through his commitment to community, his caring spirit and his selfless dedication to service. His mentoring efforts continually impact the lives of many of our youth, as he strives to start a small, but significant, cultural shift that will ultimately benefit our future leaders and overall community.
Past Diversity Champions
Frances Ann Burruel
Lee and Ray Silverman
Jim and Cindy Hill
Lin Ling Lee
Meghan & Manali Ghave