When many hear the word “leader,” they imagine a CEO, executive director, or president. At the FLEX Speakers Series in June, panel participants assured attendees that “everyone is a leader.” The panel consisted of six of the 13 graduates of the inaugural class of Leadership Venango, the Venango Chamber’s new leadership program.
Brian McNulty, Randy Arnold, Dan Flaherty, Greg Lander, Ashley Smith, and Tessa Byham shared their experience and advice from the nine-month program. Leadership Venango is designed to identify, educate, involve and motivate individuals who desire to become more effective leaders, and participants got to know the region.
“It wasn’t just about leadership, but about getting to know your community,” said Ashley. “Most of the places we visited are hiring and expanding, and our eyes were opened to all we have here.”
Several sessions helped participants learn more about themselves, too, and involved personality tests, mindfulness, and diversity.
“Many of the activities helped us build self-awareness, which in turn makes us better leaders in our community and work,” said Tessa.
“Learning my strengths and weaknesses enlightened me and has helped me strategize how I can use those to better work with others,” Brian added.
The participants networked with local leaders, as well as the other participants, forming a “family” they described. “We found we’re not all that different and were able to grow and develop together,” said Dan. “We learned the community needs people to step up and this program gave us the empowerment and skills to do that.”
At the Speaker Series, each panelist covered a topic, including honorable leadership, community, economic development, and communications. “Leadership is what you make of it and the value you bring in your position,” said Randy.
The Chamber is currently accepting applications for the next class, which begins in September.
“Leadership is not knowing all the answers, but where to find them,” Greg said. “This program helped us build connections and knowledge to do just that.”
Learn more about Leadership Venango, at leadershipvenango.org or get in touch with us—we can connect you with graduates who are happy to share more about the program.
This article was published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) July 2019 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.