The Independent Interview: Dennis Robbins

Dennis Robbins

Dennis Robbins

To make the world a better place is a guiding principle for Scottsdale Charros Executive Director Dennis Robbins.

While he admits the old adage is a bit cliche, Mr. Robbins, a man who says he is grounded by faith and family, believes the community of Scottsdale has more needs than many realize.

“There is a whole lot more of undeserved people here in Scottsdale than people realize, for whatever reason,” he said in a Sept. 19 phone interview.

“Eleven of the 29 schools at the Scottsdale Unified School District are Title 1 schools. I think about 6,000 of the 24,000 students are on free or reduced lunch.”

Mr. Robbins, a two-term member of Scottsdale City Council and 20-year member of the Scottsdale Charros, took over last year as the group’s executive director.

For 55 years the Scottsdale Charros have been in constant pursuit of improving the lives of Scottsdale residents while preserving the community’s ties to its western heritage.

“When I initially took the job, I think what attracted me was because of the good work the Charros did,” Mr. Robbins said. “And, what has come to light since is knowing that there is a lot of need — and it seems we can’t raise enough money to fill those needs.”

The Charro Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that has provided millions of dollars in grants and donations to local charities and educational programs. The programs of The Charro Foundation are supported by corporate and individual sponsorships, donations and the community service of the Scottsdale Charros.

Mr. Robbins, who was born and raised in Scottsdale, says it’s his duty to try and improve upon the world he was fortunate enough to be a part — the community of Scottsdale.”

“Being born and raised in Scottsdale, I want to make sure I am continuing the focus of community service,” he said. “I have a lot of motivating factors to continue doing what I am doing.”

Mr. Robbins says a paramount part of his life is his family.

“My family is extremely important to me. I am married to Cheralee who is an amazing woman. We have three terrific kids that are way smarter and better looking than me,” he pointed out.

Although a Scottsdale native, Mr. Robbins went to California to attend both college and law school.

“My public service began early when I was appointed to the Scottsdale Board of Adjustments and became an active member of the Scottsdale Charros,” he explained.

“I thoroughly enjoyed serving two terms on the Scottsdale City Council. My first term saw tremendous growth in population, housing and city budgets. During my second term we worked very hard to deliver outstanding service during a severe recession.”

Mr. Robbins was asked a variety of questions to help Independent readers better understand who is at the helm of the Scottsdale Charros.


•What inherent beliefs do you have that help guide you through your life and its challenges?
My foundation is built upon my faith and my family. I know every day is a gift and I want to live each day as such. I believe I have a duty to give back to those around me and my community.

•When faced with a difficult task or problem, how do you motivate yourself?
I want to make sure I get it right.  I study, I ask questions, and I take action.

•What do you think is your worst quality?
I’m not very good at sticking up for myself. I am also too hard on myself.

•Being a public figure, how do you deal with the pressures and commitment of public life?
It is part of the job. It comes with the territory when working in this arena.  I respect others’ opinions and I try very hard to not take anything personally.

•In your entire life what accomplishment are you most proud of and why?
Personally my relationships with my wife and children are most important. Professionally I love working for the Scottsdale Charros. I believe in our mission and I am proud of our historical success.

•What has been your biggest challenge professionally and how did you overcome?
Being in the retail service business during the great recession was extremely challenging.  I’m not sure I did overcome it, but I escaped from it.

•What has the biggest mistake you ever made and how did that experience help shape the person you are today?
It has been a series of smaller mistakes that has shaped my future.  I have not been good at trusting myself or my abilities.  I find when I do trust myself and I am confident in what I do I can accomplish my goals.

•What do you believe to be the biggest issue facing the city of Scottsdale?
Being afraid of change.

•What do you hope to achieve as the executive director of the Scottsdale Charros?
The Scottsdale Charros are a premier community service organization. I want to make sure we continue to honor our past traditions and at the same time grow and evolve into a better partner within our Scottsdale community.

•Do you have any hidden talents that may surprise people about yourself?
I’m a pretty good cowboy!

Northeast Valley Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.