EATON – Before the COVID-19-related shutdowns and precautions, the Leadership Preble County class of 2020 was moving full-speed ahead with in-person sessions. And then March came, and everything that could be done virtually was shifted online.
Through it all, the members of the LPC cohort learned about Preble County’s social service agencies, the arts, infrastructure and the county’s available parks and recreation. They spent time developing relationships with current county and municipal leaders, learned about the educational system serving Ohio and Preble County, and were trained on being good, productive board members.
And they made some great connections across the county.
Ten individuals representing a wide range of Preble County businesses and organizations celebrated the fourth session of the Leadership Preble County program last week and were recognized with a special private graduation celebration on Thursday, Oct. 22, at The Bison & The Boar. The event wrapped up the 2020 portion of the modified year-long program which aimed to develop leaders who will work to improve the quality of life in Preble County.
“This group wanted to see each other, masks and all, in person one more time this year, as they finished the portions of the programming which could be done safely in 2020,” Preble County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Leslie Collins said. “They are actually getting to continue with the 2021 cohort for their Kettering Healthcare Day, Law Enforcement & Judicial System Day, and a visit to the Ohio Statehouse.”
Participants in this fourth cohort included graduate student Misty Bruns, Kelly Kiracofe, representing Silfex; Ben Carpenter, representing Kettering Health Network; Karen Moss, mayor of Camden; Cole French, Preble County Veteran Services Officer; Erin Harris from Ohio Means Jobs Preble County; Bill VanBrederode of Taylor Agency; Mary Lakes from Brown Memorial Library, representing the Village of Lewisburg; Daniel Gray representing the City of Eaton and Kathleen McCreary of Legal Shield.
Leadership Preble County kicked off in fall 2016. It includes an orientation and an overnight retreat at Wilderness Ridge Retreat Center in Camden and continues with 10 half-day or full-day sessions, culminating with the graduation celebration. The sessions are conducted by leaders in their fields who cover topics related to the specific day’s theme. Sessions include Preble County history and heritage; agriculture; business, workforce and the economy; health and
human services; local government; board training and the tour of the Ohio Statehouse; public safety and the justice system; infrastructure; educational system; quality of life in Preble County and health and wellness.
“For the employers and sponsors, we feel the program develops increased leadership skills which can be applied for greater workplace effectiveness,” Preble County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Leslie Collins said. “It provides increased networking opportunities which can help businesses find solutions, and increase collaboration among public, private and non-profit sectors.”
According to Collins, 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,” Collins added.
“We can’t thank our Leadership Preble County investors enough for sticking with this through this tough year,” Collins said. “Kettering Health Network/Grandview, Preble County Development Partnership and Indiana University East have helped us continue moving forward with this signature Preble County Chamber offering.”
The mission of Leadership Preble County is to “encourage, educate and stimulate individuals of all ages to become more familiar with, more interested in and engaged in all facets of civic endeavor that affect Preble County citizens.” Planning for the 2020-21 session is under way. The class will begin with an in-person, safe, overnight retreat on Friday, Nov. 20. There are still a few spots remaining. For information on sponsoring or participating, contact Collins at 937- 456-4949 or via email, firstname.lastname@example.org.