“As a new Cleveland resident, the Leadership Cleveland program was invaluable to me,” 2013 graduate Mike Griffin, First Tennessee, said. “The program helped me understand how the community works and enabled me to meet and have one-on-one time with a majority of community leaders.”
Leadership Cleveland is an adult program of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce that provides an educational experience to build bridges to community leadership. For more than 29 years, the program has enabled participants to understand better the local community and to prepare for the challenges it faces by learning about the many facets that make up Cleveland and Bradley County.
“The Leadership Cleveland program is exceptional,” Kris Berger, Tennessee Christian Preparatory School and also a 2013 graduate, said. “The experience is enriching and valuable in that it gave me a greater knowledge of the community’s inner workings.”
The application process for the 2013-14 class of the Chamber’s Leadership Cleveland program has begun, Regions Bank’s Terri Boyd, chairman of the steering committee for the program, announced. Since its introduction in 1984, almost 400 participants have graduated from the eight-month program and gone on to become involved in all aspect of the local community. The goal of Leadership Cleveland is for participants to develop leadership skills and greater knowledge about Cleveland and Bradley County through a series of one-day sessions and an overnight trip. Topics covered include Education, Public Safety, Law Enforcement, Local Economy, Healthcare, Local and State Government, and Tourism, presented through lectures, discussion, tours, on-site visitations, and informal question-and-answer sessions.
“Leadership Cleveland is a great avenue for new employees or those that need to have contacts to help them or their business thrive,” 2012 graduate Suzanne Bayne, Cleveland State Community College, stressed. “I would strongly urge anyone that is given the opportunity to jump on board.” Bernadette Douglas, Chamber executive vice president, defined Leadership Cleveland as an “educational experience.”
“The goal of the program is to open the minds of participants to the perspectives that surround each issue,” Douglas explained. “Through consideration of these perspectives, participants are enabled to become more visionary leaders in our community.”
Douglas added that many graduates of the program have gone on to become involved in a variety of aspects of the community, from involvement on Chamber committees and task forces to local government and leadership positions in other volunteer organizations.
“I wish that every person in Bradley County could participate in Leadership Cleveland,” Brooke Fairbanks, Southern Heritage Bank, said after completing the 2012-13 class. “From relationships formed to the knowledge about our community’s resources, Leadership Cleveland was a life-changing experience.”
The 2013-14 class will run from September 2013 through May 2014. Those interested should call the Chamber at 472-6587.