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Davis Journal

Serving is the heart of leadership

Mar 16, 2023 01:03PM ● By Becky Ginos

Bountiful Mayor Kendalyn Harris speaks at Bountiful Junior High’s career day. Harris told the kids the highs and lows of being the mayor and what it takes to reach their goals. Photo by Becky Ginos

BOUNTIFUL—What does it take to be the mayor? Kids at Bountiful Junior High had the chance to find out from Bountiful Mayor Kendalyn Harris during a presentation she gave at career day at the school last week.

“I did a lot of things to prepare,” said Harris. “It takes steps, maybe years to get to whatever your goals are. You can’t just walk into a restaurant and say you want to be the chef. You have to learn how to cook. You can’t just show up at a concert and say you want to sing. You have to prepare.”

Harris said she graduated from the University of Utah in political science and communications. “College is a good way to take lots of classes to see what you like. If you get the best grades you can get scholarships.”

Sometimes college isn’t for everyone, she said. “There are schools like Davis Tech where you can learn to do different things. You might want to do hair, be a machinist, a chef or a welder.”

People think the mayor runs the city, said Harris. “We’re lucky because we have a city manager. A mayor is elected for four years but the city manager stays and keeps things running smoothly.”

The city builds new roads, she said. “That costs money so we have to plan the budget. We have overhead power poles that bring electricity to your house and the city makes sure you have clean water. Police officers are hired by the city. The parks are maintained by the city and garbage we have to plan where that’s going to go.”

Harris said she spends a lot of time talking to residents. “They’re usually upset. It’s things going on in the city like deer. Some people love the deer and others hate the deer. There are good parts and bad parts of the job. It’s a fun job too. I like to talk to people like you.”

Being mayor is a part-time position, she said. “You do get paid to be the mayor but it’s not enough to live on. Most of them have a regular full-time job.”

Harris told the kids they could all assume a leadership role. “You have the opportunity to become a leader but you need to show up. Show up and make sure you have a seat at the table. Be a decision maker.”

Speak up, she said. “You might be sitting in a meeting and you’re too afraid to say your opinion. Shut up. Sometimes other people have important things to say. Listen, if you’re too busy talking you won’t hear it.”

Harris said she tries to know what her neighbor is thinking about. “One of my neighbors wanted a bike lane. It’s fulfilling sitting in meetings talking about a bike lane and knowing that it was important to my neighbor.”

It’s about service, said Harris. “I might say, ‘oh I’m in charge, I can do whatever I want.’ Serving is at the heart of leadership. It’s about everyone else.”