Sunday, Apr 14th

Scarsdale Bowl Winner Jane Veron Encourages You to Volunteer and Make a Lasting Impact

Jane1Former Scarsdale Mayor Jane Veron is the winner of the 2024 Scarsdale Bowl. She will be honored at the Mamaroneck Beach and Yacht Club on Thursday night April 11, 2024 and the entire community is encouraged to attend the celebration. In advance of the dinner, we asked her to reflect on her life in Scarsdale, her volunteer ventures and her two years as Mayor. See what she shared below.

How long have you lived in Scarsdale …. and why do you enjoying living here?

I moved to Scarsdale 26 years ago, with two little girls, just one and three. Like most of our friends and neighbors, Andrew and I chose Scarsdale for the excellent schools, proximity to the city, attractive village center, and stunning amenities including the Scarsdale pool, library and myriad recreation fields. What I know now is what makes Scarsdale truly special is the community.

What were some of your earliest ventures into volunteer work?

When I moved to Scarsdale with preschoolers, I wanted to replicate the city experience of making new friends at the playground. Yet, whenJaneGirlScouts I sought out our neighborhood playground, I was surprised to learn that we didn’t have one in Fox Meadow. I had just gone on leave of absence from my corporate job, and always needing to feel productive, I decided to take on the playground project. I found my way to the Scarsdale Recreation Department, revitalized the defunct Fox Meadow Neighborhood Association, and after a year of work, built Willow Playground behind the Girl Scout House. With a resurrected neighborhood association, I decided to take on the overgrown triangle on Harcourt and Church and with the help of local landscape architect Elaine Yellen, we converted it into a gorgeous garden than continues to delight today. My next venture was securing a four way stop sign by the high school at Olmsted and Brewster. I regularly wonder how it hadn’t been so before we started the arduous multi year effort. At around that time, I became the preschool family representative on the school bond issue committee, became a member of the Scarsdale Bowl Committee, was appointed Chair of the Advisory Council on Youth for the Village, and joined the Scarsdale Edgemont Family Counseling board. Of course, once my children entered the school system, I became an active member of the Fox Meadow PTA, leading multiple committees. Once I joined the executive committee, I lobbied for enhanced school security, leading a piloted buzzer system for school entry.

What did those roles teach you about volunteering, as opposed to your work in for profit ventures?

I have told the story about returning to my business school reunion after moving to Scarsdale and telling my sectionmates that I secured a four way stop sign at a dangerous intersection adjacent to our high school. I was responding to the repeated question, “how is your career progressing?” and my answer puzzled most. I had left private sector jobs as a management consulting and as a marketing executive at a Fortune 500 company, and instead of apologizing for my career break, I was exceedingly proud of the ability to make lasting, measurable impact in the community in which I lived. Different from my private sector roles, I could see the immediate payoff of my hard work and the tangible difference I made.

ScarsdaleBoard

Tell us about some of your most significant roles in service in Scarsdale.

I have had the privilege to serve as Chair of the Planning Board, Chair of SNAP, and President of the League of Women Voters before serving on the Village Board. On the Planning Board, in addition to our regular land use responsibilities, we developed the update to the Village Center Comprehensive Plan, proposed zoning changes to attract restaurants to Scarsdale (It certainly worked!), successfully recommended adoption of bulky house, upzoning, tree preservation, stormwater, and affordable housing legislation. During my tenure on SNAP, we designed the new FAR guidelines, conducted forums on Christie Place development, Indian Point, and IKEA and held candidate debates during contested elections. During my tenure on the League, we grew membership and outreach and ensured careful evaluation of the Village and School budgets, election systems, government services consolidation, tree laws, education foundations, planning and zoning, and sustainability initiatives.

In my role as CEO of The Acceleration Project (although we get hired throughout the country), we donated countless hours of service to the Scarsdale local economy. We conceived of and launched the Shop the ‘Dale/Dine the ‘Dale branding campaign. Along with community volunteers, we built Light the ‘Dale, the hugely successful holiday celebration, and welcomed a farmers market, bringing Farmers in the ‘Dale. We also initiated Wing the ‘Dale, establishing a partnership with SHS AP students for public art. We also worked with the business community to attract relevant tenants and enable a smooth transition to Scarsdale.

When I was elected to the Village Board, I led several significant initiatives. I conceived of the Advisory Committee on Communications which led to our upgraded website, eblast communications to residents, and an official newsletter. I played an integral role in getting the bond passed to enable the library expansion and renovation. I continued Village Center revitalization efforts and worked with land use boards to address stormwater and coverage issues. I also supported sustainability efforts including the LED light installations, food scrap program, and streamlining solar panel approvals.

Thinking back on your two years as Mayor – what were some of the highlights of the job? What was most memorable?JaneTrees

It was very important to me to lead the community out of the dark days of COVID into a time of hope and possibility. We had endured devastating loss, and I wanted to rebuild our community spirit. I also wanted to reinvest in the future of Scarsdale. I kicked off the pool effort to reimagine this great community asset, the same way we did for our glorious library. We struck a deal with the Girl Scouts and reopened the Betty Taubert House. I wanted to capitalize on the great success of COVID measures that enabled a revitalization of our Village Center. We passed legislation to permit outdoor dining and enhanced the Dine the ‘Dale tent with extensive programming. We hired a firm to address chronic traffic and safety matters and devise placemaking. We had also deferred investment in infrastructure and it showed. We had a disproportionate number of roads in poor and fair condition, a water and sewer system requiring frequent emergency repairs, and a public works fleet that couldn’t handle operating demands. We needed to change our approach and the board allocated funds to make fiscally prudent long term investments. During my tenure as Mayor, I was also determined to bolster our relationship with the schools particularly around matters of recreation and public safety. We worked together to address field needs and provide equity for girls softball. Working with our Advisory Council on Technology, we finally got to the finish line in a deal with Verizon to close the telecom gap around the Scarsdale High School and Fox Meadow School. It was an unprecedented time of uncertainty. We navigated new norms and left the Village much stronger.

What did you find was the biggest challenges of the job?

So much to do, so little time! But isn’t that always the case.

You were very ambitious about proposing new initiatives. Did you sometimes find that it was difficult to move the needle?

Yes, I had very ambitious goals for our Village government. I set a strategic plan and partnered with my fellow trustees and department heads for shared responsibility of oversight of the pillars of government: Quality of Life, Infrastructure and Municipal Services, Public Safety, and Economic Development and Land Use. During my tenure, we made substantial progress in each area, and we institutionalized many advances through budgeting and legislation. Residents would likely note the significant improvement to our roads, the closure of our telecom gap near the high school, investment in our public works fleet, the kickoff of the pool project, the proposal for safety and placemaking enhancements in our village center, and an enhanced investment strategy. Behind the scenes, we led the transformation to 21st century governance excellence, gaining the GMOA budget certification, securing the police department CALEA gold standard, upgrading technology and cyber security, digitizing records, bringing to closure outstanding union contracts, and enhancing personnel training.

Was it difficult to find qualified residents to fill all the volunteer roles needed in Village government?

Scarsdale is filled with enormously talented and caring individuals, yet many feel uncomfortable raising a hand to get involved. We’re apprehensive about the unknown, and many of us need encouragement. When I was Personnel Chair, I tripled the number of applications for Boards and Councils, simply by making a personal ask of friends and neighbors. There is an assumption that you need to have prior knowledge to get involved, but we learn on the job. Say yes to something small, and allow one thing to lead to another. I have found Scarsdale to be incredibly inclusive and supportive.

Looking forward, what are some of the challenges facing Scarsdale in the years to come?

Scarsdale is an incredible place to live, work, and play, and we are enormously lucky to be members of this community. Yet, it remains very expensive to sustain our Village and schools. With few alternative revenue sources, property taxes will continue to fund the majority of our infrastructure and future investments. I loved being a part of our innovative public private partnership to renovate and expand our library. We will need to continue to find creative ways to invest in our assets, sustain our legacy and prepare for our future.

Jane George KenWhat are you up to now?

I’m still super busy. I thought I would have more leisure time, but instead, I have gotten involved in new activities. I joined the Federal government’s Investment Capital Advisory Council for the SBA, am leading a task force at the County level, and am driving catalytic growth at my nonprofit The Acceleration Project, now a national force that enables underserved small business owners to generate income and wealth for their families and communities. I also remain committed to Scarsdale and have stayed deeply involved in our economic development efforts.

Why would you encourage residents to get involved in volunteer positions for the schools or the Village?

There is truly nothing better. You work with the best and brightest, develop enduring friendships, learn more than you could imagine, and make a lasting impact on the place you call home.

You can learn more and purchase tickets for this special evening here:

Also, this year, whether you attend the dinner or not, you can send congratulations to Jane by way of a digital journal. It's super-easy: Just a matter of typing in a message here.  (The ads are all priced at $100, no matter the length of your message.) There will also be a raffle 
for the first time with several terrific prizes, and again, you can participate whether you attend the event or not.

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