SCOTTSDALE’s 20 MOST INFLUENTIAL

My husband Gary Jackson told me about this on Friday, and then I got a text from Michael Zivyak, Publisher of the very sophisticated magazine Modern Luxury Scottsdale.

I could not believe my eyes.

Modern Luxury Scottsdale, October 2020 – Magazine Cover

I told my husband,

– Me?, a number one? amongst the 20 most influential people in Scottsdale, Arizona? What?

And I am still processing this honor, truly. Have you seem the rest of people on this list? They are true trailblazers in the community, and I think that I walk under their shadow and follow their footsteps!

Modern Luxury Scottsdale Magazine, October 2020 (Pages 94-95)

My early days under the Sonoran Sun, were not the most glamorous. I was here to write a thesis project for 8 months (1 year max!) and I was going back to Madrid to continue my interviews with a company by the name of Ferrovial Agroman, that had offered me an internship and a job in one of their biggest international projects.

The long walks with no car, in a city almost desolate and burnt by the sun when I first got here made me think twice about this metropolitan city. Remember that I came from many years of living in medieval cities filled with European traditions .This city was labeled as a “utopia” in all my architecture books, and i thought to myself;

– “I am here!”

I was part of the pages, and I thought it was amazing! I was close to Taliesin West and Cosanti and even Arcosanti, wow!

Mobile App screen – Modern Luxury Scottsdale (September 26/2020)

You all cannot imagine how many many postcards (email just started at that time) to my friends and family, it was a year of a lifetime!.

Because I was distracted trying to absorb it all during the 1 year I budgeted, and because I found a part time job (with potential), and because it took me longer than I expected, and because I wanted to prove myself that I could do it, I decided to stay and this place home. It was a not an easy decision, but one I am happy I did. It was not because I had a tradition here, or family members, or a network, or I knew locals and had friends. It was because there were opportunities to be participant, create more, make a difference and be present.

I never imagined that one day my talents, and my driven passion (that passion that many talk about and the that moves me), were the fuel to take me here. I am honored beyond words, and I understand that this is a reinforcement of a commitment to continue working with my Valley of the Sun desert dwellers.

Submitted Cover for Modern Luxury Scottsdale Magazine – October 2020

The full interview is here;

When I look back to the days taking a bus to go to the Burton Barr Central Library during the 110F “warm” afternoons of August when I arrived, or the long walks to the The Ice House to attend a performance or an art opening, or walking down Central when months later I moved to the Embassy Condominiums, it all was normal to me. You know like in Padua, Italy – my last stop before stopping in Madrid and have a blast the night before living with my lifetime friend Imanol (I sent him so many postcards, I remember). But more normal looks today, when dressed in linen and suit I used to attend night classes at Phoenix College to work on my grammar, American History and overall English. (I lived in Paris, Milan, Padua, Salamanca and Madrid before finally landing here). It seems all so blurry now, but so clear when I see that this place is home!.

Phoenix College – 100th Anniversary Celebration
Phoenix College Founder’s Day 2020

* How would you describe your mission?

– At a noticeably young age, my father instilled in me the importance of being proud of who you are, where you come from and the place in which you make your home. My mission is simple, but broad. I try to use my given talents to make this place in the desert one of which we can all be proud. I try to make sure that where I stand, I am able to use those talents to contribute and become not only a voice, but a doer, a participant, and a collaborator to the greater effort of making this place a shining jewel in the Sonoran Desert.

* How are you helping your community?

– In our community, I decided to be a participant and not a witness.

Whether it be sitting on several boards or volunteering on committees for events, or promoting our very important arts organizations – I participate by engaging. Community organizations need action, so I try to bring as many to the table by chairing or participating in events to benefit different segments, like the LGBTQ community, for organizations like ‘one-n-ten’ or for mentorship programs for our kids, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona , or by helping the health of our children with pet therapy, with Phoenix Children’s Hospital . But it can also be direct, such as helping the homeless on the City of Phoenix Social Services campus at the St. Vincent de Paul shelter or working for Hispanic organizations with the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. But my main passion lies with my beloved world of arts. I am an avid supporter of the arts and the people that make it possible. And that takes direct involvement. I am an active board member for several institutions, including the dearest of all to me, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), where I have been a proud advisory Board Member for more than a decade. Last December, I chaired the annual Scottsdale Arts Gala and SMoCA 20th Anniversary Celebration called Starry Night, which was a smashing success!

with an incredible RED CARPET arrival hosted by our Carey Pena from Inspired Media 360.

My passion in the arts also translates into public art, where I am part of the board of the Friends of Phoenix Public Art, and I am leading an ambitious city-wide awareness campaign soon to be launched. And most recently, I joined the board of Southwest Shakespeare Company where I am helping to promote their significant work by conducting weekly online readings, where I am reading from classic literature, such as Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez alternating reading in both English and Spanish.

OSCAR reading for Southwest Shakespeare Company
Weekly the “LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA”

* What are ways other people can help?

First and foremost, you ought to ask yourself about your own personal passion? What triggers your curiosity and makes you want to invest your time? Once you figure that out, use your network to find out where help is needed and specifically how you can help. Commit to a schedule and the timeframes which work for you, and then make sure that you finish what you promise. Whether you will be lending a hand and personally volunteering, or simply making connections to make things happen for others, always start with small steps. You want to be measured in the extent of your volunteering will be available to others and learn how to balance it with your personal life as well. A modern spin to all this, is simply to use your voice in social media channels to be a unifier. Learn to listen to every single voice in a room with respect. Listening and acting is a simple way to help nowadays.

* What do you hope the world learns from these challenging times?

My hope is that we discover patience, resilience, and respect for each other. And I hope that we achieve a deep understanding that each of us are part of a larger eco-system. Even with all the political fluctuations, the financial instability, and online tensions, we depend on each other and should be there for each other. Another lesson I truly believe the world should learn, is to value your shelter as your most precious space. Technology and science are now a bigger part of our comfort and part of our day-to-day reality. Learn to mix the much-needed technology and comfort of the place where your most treasured asset rests: your shelter, your home, your privacy, and of course, your family.

* What is your 2020 motto?

As Little Orphan Annie sang,

– ‘The sun’ll come out tomorrow, so ya’ gotta hang on til’ tomorrow, come what may!’

* What do you recommend to those that want to follow in your footsteps?

Well, I hope that I still have more footsteps to make…Make and stick with some decisions: Make the decision to be part of something bigger than you. Make the decision to extent yourself to others. Make the decision to help to build rather than taking a passive role. Don’t dismiss that you are also part of a big net that includes everyone. Make the decision to be consistent. Create your place and identify the needs within your community. But also learn how to be limber when it comes to your involvement in the community. Remember that micro-networks always expand, and they percolate into bigger ones. You can expand as much as you can, and your positive influence could benefit many people. That, on its own, is an act of charity.

* What has been your silver lining this year?

This year has highlighted my sincere need to restore a connection with my community, and to showcase the people whom I find intriguing and whom I respect to that audience. So, I ventured into new territory and learned how to technically produce a LIVE BROADCAST online, with invited guests and all – and all on my own! By simply clicking here and there on the web, I lost the fear of new technology. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I am thrilled to be going back to reading hardcover books and novels – not digital, but paper, pages and binding. It was something I loved to do when I was young, and sadly, I left it behind due to the fast-electronic life in which we live.

* What does the world need more of now?

From my point of view, the world needs to be more noble. We need to rediscover how to be respectful and live in humility. The world needs to remember – and we are currently being reminded the hard way – that in the face of the power of nature and whatever is to come in the future, we are all simply witnesses. We need to realize again that science, nature and what we are to become as humans are much more powerful than our opinions.

Photography; Juan Loza for Loza Photography

Wardrobe; Suitsupply

Eyewear; Jacques Marie Mage available at Framed Ewe Optical.

Location; Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel remodel by Gensler Phoenix Team.

Article; Modern Luxury Scottsdale – October 2020 (Pages 94-95)

Always in Style,

Oscar~

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