By Adam Orr
The Ashe County Chamber of Commerce is hoping it can help grow the county’s next crop of leaders.
After a three year hiatus, the chamber is bringing back its Leadership Ashe program. “The overall goal of such a program is to develop future leaders who are well informed about the community, thus enhancing their skills through a base of knowledge,” said Director of Economic Development, Dr. Patricia Mitchell.
Leadership Ashe is an innovative leadership development program sponsored by the Ashe Chamber of Commerce, and administered under the Business and Community Development Committee. This program is designed to meet our county’s need for informed leaders who actively participate in our community. The goal of the program is to identify potential leaders and provide them with the community information and motivation needed to spur local involvement. Graduates are challenged to apply their talents throughout the community by becoming a part of community organizations including public boards, nonprofit organizations, civic clubs and the Chamber. A regional component is built into the program to further develop a “big picture” view of Ashe within the region.
The mission of Leadership Ashe is the continued improvement of our community, accomplished through responsible and active leadership. The profile of our towns and county is changing and today’s leaders need to have access to timely information. Visits with community and government leaders offer opportunities to interact with those affecting change.
The five-month long program will enable participants to gain a realistic understanding of how our community works and will help create an awareness of our community’s interests and needs. Participants are encouraged to explore our community and are challenged to become involved in the issues that affect all of us.
Participants, and their employers, are asked to make a major time commitment to eight sessions, beginning with a day retreat session on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011 and concluding with a dinner graduation ceremony on Dec. 6, 2011. A series of six half-day sessions provides information and experiences and includes tours of area businesses, organizations and facilities. The sessions are planned by experts and leaders in the topic area and offer information and thoughtful analysis. Sessions are designed to stimulate interest and awareness and will include an opportunity to interact with the speakers and discussion leaders.
The Leadership Ashe class is open to 15 participants. Residents of Ashe County, and those who work within Ashe County, should complete the attached application, which will be reviewed by a selection committee. After a thorough review of all applications submitted, participants will be selected in an effort to form a group of geographical, racial, gender, and occupational balance. To graduate, attendance at all scheduled sessions is expected. The class tuition fee of $135 includes program materials, refreshments for all sessions, a graduation dinner and diploma award. A limited number of partial scholarships are available, based on need. Program sponsors supplement other costs.
To apply, visit the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce’s website at http://www.ashechamber.com/, or call the chamber at 336-846-9550.