EATON — The Leadership Preble County Class of 2018 graduated on Thursday, June 14, with a ceremony held at Reflections @PMG. This year’s class included 10 students, with sponsorship from Kettering Health Network, Preble County Development Partnership and TimkenSteel.
Leadership Preble County began in the fall of 2016 and has since became a signature program of the Preble County Chamber of Commerce. The program takes leaders, workers, and citizens from the area and introduces them to different fields and areas of study.
Sessions are conducted by leaders in their fields who cover topics related to the specific day’s theme. According to Chamber Director Leslie Collins, “Leadership Preble County is helping develop a pool of community leaders with the skills and vision to creatively address community issues. In the first two sessions, it has also allowed current leaders to grow and network with individuals they wouldn’t have met otherwise, and helped people in many varied fields build lifelong relationships with potential business resources.”
The program prepares its graduates to serve on boards and task forces. It is creating a network of individuals who will in turn use their awareness of the community’s strengths, weaknesses and opportunities to improve the quality of life in Preble County, Collins said.
This second session of Leadership Preble County began last November, with an orientation and an overnight retreat, and continued through June with ten half-day or full-day sessions, culminating with a graduation last Thursday.
Graduates of the second class included Chris Day, Amy Raynes, Betsy Crumbaker, Shannon Steele, Lori Pheanis, Sarah Wyka, Jessica Osborne, Brian Smith, Toni Morgan and Jeremy Meredith.
Sessions include Preble County history and heritage; agriculture; business, workforce and the economy; health and human services; local government; board training, a tour of the Ohio Statehouse; public safety and the justice system; infrastructure; educational system; quality of life in Preble County and health and wellness.
Collins added, “An important part of the program is specialized training by Lisa Nack, an expert with Pathway Guidance.
“Nack has over 30 years of experience working with leaders and teams and considers it a privilege to be invited into a client’s world. Her work focuses on developing people, challenging teams to improve the processes required for working together, and driving for better results. Her ability to blend experiential learning into training and development engagements creates an environment that is engaging, meaningful and ‘sticky.’
“Her background includes experience in the retail, hospitality, non-profit, rehabilitation and industry consulting industry and she has worked with Fortune 100 companies, Family-owned businesses, government agencies, and educational institutions. She facilitates both our overnight retreat and our board training session.”
Collins believes the program contributes to the skills of employers, sponsors, and participants alike.
“For the employers and sponsors, we feel the program develops increased leadership skills which can be applied for greater workplace effectiveness. It provides increased networking opportunities which can help businesses find solutions, and increase collaboration among public, private and non-profit sectors,” she said.
“The individuals who participate in Leadership Preble County improve their personal development and leadership skills, identify their own personal vision for community involvement, and become a part of an informed, diverse network for personal, business and community development.
“It also enhances their knowledge of Preble County, its resources and leaders.
“Having just completed my first full year as Executive Director here at the Preble County Chamber of Commerce, I was able to go through this session of Leadership Preble County in its entirety, and followed along as some great relationships were forged. Everyone who participated grew in some way, and I am proud to have been a part of the process.”
During the ceremony, Ben Thaeler, Field Representative for Congressman Warren Davidson, read a letter Davidson had written for the occasion.
He read, “Congratulations, in the last few months you have honed your ability to lead in respected industries. All of you are here because of leadership characteristics and goals that you have already refined in your workplace and communities that you serve.
“Leaders are marked by the many traits, but chief among these are a lack of schedule availability. Let’s be honest, the fact that you have been able to devote your limited availability to this is a feat in itself. Preble County has been blessed with great leaders from the beginning. Pioneers like William Bruce, William Alexander set Preble County’s precedent for hard work and courage to overcome the community’s biggest challenges.
“In 1849, a cholera epidemic struck Eaton, leading to a mass exodus of over half the town. A quarter of the remaining residents still perished after it, but in less than 30 years the town had doubled its pre-cholera residency number. Preble County has an inheritance of grit.
“This year’s cohort of Leadership Preble County is no exception. With your leadership, we have the opportunity to not only address the County’s most pressing needs, but you will also guide the community into a bright future of economic development, government efficiency, excellence in healthcare, and quality education.”
One of the Chamber’s initial goals was to launch Junior Leadership Preble County in 2018, and with the help of investors, in conjunction with The OSU Extension, they will be launching the LOOK to Preble County Junior Leadership program this fall. The program will be provided at no cost to interested high school students.
The third round of adult Leadership Preble County is set to kick off on Oct. 18, and the deadline for submitting applications will be Sept. 28.
Applications and additional information can be found at http://www.preblecountyohio.com/leadership-preble-county, or by contacting Leslie Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH