As we wrap up our 25th anniversary year, I continue to be amazed at the support Leadership Howard County (LHC) receives from the business, government and nonprofit communities. Our value to Howard County continues to grow with our ability to educate and connect participants, from high school through senior leaders, on the important issues in the community.
Currently in our country there is a great call to action for effective community leadership. There needs to be training that equips people with the tools and understanding of the decision-making process and allows their views to be expressed and incorporated into future development and planning. The acquisition of new skills also enhances effectiveness in addressing issues affecting their communities. It should also strengthen the community’s capacity to identify opportunities and address crises in innovative ways.
That is our goal with the programming at LHC — to create an environment in which people truly participate. By informing, inspiring and empowering our participants, we believe we are doing this, and Howard County will benefit. Our graduates report that they feel more capable as a colleague, a manager, a parent, a business owner, a student, or whatever role they had hoped to shape for themselves. Overall, they feel more knowledgeable, better connected and truly well-rounded as a result of the experience we have created through our leadership programs.
LHC offers four programs, each with a common purpose: to connect people to each other and to this county and to strengthen and transform our community.
Leadership Premier is designed for senior level business, nonprofit and civic leaders who have a history of community involvement. Premier provides participants with an overview of community issues and introduces participants to Howard County’s key decision makers. The program prepares participants for successful leadership roles on nonprofit boards, councils and/or commissions.
Leadership Essentials is a six-month leadership development program geared toward the rising stars in our community (typically young professionals from mid-20s–mid-30s). Participants learn essential competencies that will make them an invaluable asset in today’s multicultural, multigenerational workplace and beyond.
Leadership U is designed for Howard County high school students in their junior year who want to test their leadership capabilities outside the classroom and learn about the satisfaction that comes through community service. This four-month experiential learning program includes a week-long summer training session and a community service component, as well as the opportunity to “shadow” an experienced business or community leader.
Membership Programming keeps alumni informed and connected through a variety of educational events, speakers and programs. LHC graduates continue to develop their networks by attending these events and getting to know other members who share their passions and commitment to community service. Some of these events are open to the public and present noted national speakers who exemplify extraordinary leadership. At our annual Big Event on April 5, Jane Pauley was our keynote speaker who inspired us with stories of those who better their communities by pursuing their passions.
Looking to the Future
As we look to the future, LHC is focused on providing the tools for community leaders to take their place and make positive impacts on the communities and organizations they care about. Beginning with a new strategic plan in 2010, LHC convened a task force composed of interested community leaders who will develop a new training program for adults and youth to provide exceptional board leadership.
Expanding on the model of the successful Youth on Board program, in which LHC trained and placed high school students on nonprofit community boards, this new program envisions matching interested community leaders with the organizations that best fit their skills, interests and resources. We anticipate launching this program in early 2012.
Leadership Premier Is Now Accepting Applications
Now is the time for you to consider an investment in your future — and discover how Leadership can help you play a critical role in strengthening and transforming our community. This program is an extraordinary opportunity to learn about our county and to develop a broad network of colleagues and associates who are at the forefront of current issues and challenges in our community.
Each year LHC strives to select a class of approximately 40 individuals that mirrors the rich diversity of the community — with racial, ethnic, cultural, gender, age, professional and geographic representation from all parts of our county. The time commitment is approximately one day per month from September through June. Sessions include a variety of expert presentations, dialogue and site visits. The Premier program will help you answer questions such as: “What are the critical issues of Howard County?” and “Where are the resources that will help me to be more successful leading the county forward?”
To find out more about LHC’s programs and to view an online application, go to www.leadershiphc.org. Applications for Leadership Premier are due to our office on May 19, 2011. We believe that one of the distinct qualities of our graduates is their capacity to provide the necessary leadership for difficult challenges and the willingness to invest time and talents in bettering our community. Join us now!