Lea Haben SmartFemSmartFem publisher Lea Haben interviews Scottsdale Mayor W. J. “Jim” Lane and asks important questions about the role of women in the city of Scottsdale now and for the future.

I admit that I prefer to take my politics served light with a lot of humor and cynicism, but the positive optimism and passion displayed by Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane during our recent interview was such a refreshing change.  I wasn’t quite sure how he would respond to my female centric questions, but his comments about the important role of women here in the valley were passionate and articulate.  I later found out that he grew up in a family as the only boy with five sisters so of course he should understand women.

Here is the interview:

City of Scottsdale ArizonaSmartFem:  Scottsdale has historically been a cowboy town and the men have run the town, do you see that changing?

Mayor Lane:  It’s an interesting perspective; I think that the western cities put far more stock in women than traditional east coast cities.  Opportunities and acceptance is long standing in Arizona particularly in politics.  That isn’t to say we don’t have our problems but overall, I think we are in a very good state.

SmartFem:  Do you think the new Health care reform will hurt or help small business owners in the Valley?

Mayor Lane:  Early indications are not too good; in fact I think this will hurt some small business owners.  I think it will be difficult from a cost standpoint. I wonder how it will affect or disrupt women who are comfortable with their current healthcare professionals. Still it is still pretty early to predict.

SmartFem:  Have you seen a surge in women-owned businesses in Scottsdale?

Mayor Lane:  I don’t know that I would call it a surge as I think that Scottsdale has more women owned businesses that those of their male counterparts. I feel that we have always had some pretty savvy women business owners.

SmartFem:  There still seems to be a glass ceiling for women in the work force, how can we change that?

Mayor Lane:    I think the ceiling still exists and this is one of the reasons women become entrepreneurs. I also believe some women go into business for themselves so they can develop a lifestyle that suits them…that corporate America can’t provide.

SmartFem:  While growing up which woman in your life provided the most influence?

Mayor Lane: My sister Liz, I had 5 [sisters]. Liz could do anything [and] didn’t want to necessarily follow traditional roles. She was a professor and pilot and she followed my dad’s lead. She was a strong woman and chose an interesting life.

SmartFem:  Who is your favorite female historical figure and why?

Mayor Lane:  Barbara Bush, she was involved in very important programs very quietly and gracefully. I admired her for that.

SmartFem:  Mayor Lane what changes would you like to see in Scottsdale and in Arizona for the future?

Mayor Lane:  The City of Scottsdale has done some great reforms in efficiency but we need to do more. Opening up the city to the younger generation and working with them side by side so that we can balance out some of our differences such as ethnicity, economic backgrounds and bringing people together.

In his own Words… Here are a few things you may not know about Mayor Lane.

Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane photoI was born…in Jersey City, New Jersey as the fourth and only boy in a family of 6.

The most influential person in my life as a child was…my dad, with an uncanny understanding of people and human nature. He was a great salesman who sold whatever advice he gave us individually as our own.

I believe women can….do whatever they set their mind to.

The biggest challenge being mayor of Scottsdale is….balancing interests and values between the different socio-economic groups.

My guilty pleasure is…an occasional cigar.

My favorite movie of all time is….Open Range with Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall.

One thing no one knows about me is…I cry at the end of the movie A Wonderful Life.

My proudest moment was….winning my second term as Mayor with the acknowledgement of my first term accomplishments. – “Reform, Results, Recovery”

One thing I’ve learned that I want to pass on to the women of the valley is…when working properly and honestly the complimentary psyche of the genders is a great gift to society.

Women INVESTING in Women SummitAfter interviewing Mayor Jim Lane, I too feel very good about the role of women in Scottsdale and am encouraged about its future.

Mayor Lane will be attending the Women investing in Women event on January 11th at ASU Skysong. Click here to register.