Thursday, March 2, 2005

Leadership class kicks off with enthusiasm

Staff Writer

Marshall County’s LeadershipPlenty got off to a roaring start last week with 26 attending a retreat at Kirkwood Clubhouse.

Top trainers were scheduled to introduce concepts and modular material, including Rachel Welborn, community health coordinator with the Mississippi State University Extension Center.

Mississippi is the first state in the Union to initiate the leadership training program statewide, she said.

“That’s something good for Mississippi,” she said. “Gov. Ronnie Musgrove was instrumental in getting it started with the support of state leadership.”

MSU Extension Service is one of the state partners in LeadershipPlenty training.

Welborn and one other staff member with the Extension Service help train the trainers.

“My job is working with health coalition groups, but this is one of my other chief responsibilities,” she said. “One of my main duties is to build leadership skills in health coalitions - health department and division of Medicaid groups, for example.”

One of the fun activities, for Amy Presley of Byhalia, has been learning personal things about others, what they do, and finding out interesting things like who finished college and who dropped out.

“We’ve been enjoying the modules and enjoying learning about different phases of the community, of leadership and of implementing them,” she said. “All of us are here for different reasons. Of course, sharing the personal stuff is fun, but it also applies to how we respond to what we are learning.”

This is Presley’s second leadership training course. She participated in the CREATE leadership program in Tupelo in 2002.

Potts Camp Mayor Jimmie Collins said this is his first leadership training course.

“We are being given a lot of interesting stuff and feedback,” he said. “It’s very exciting and I am pleased with it.”

For Collins, meeting new people in leadership positions face-to-face is exciting.

“We are learning who is where and, most important, the how to,” he said.

Holly Springs Alderman Nancy Hutchens said she is enjoying seeing the concern and enthusiasm from the people of Marshall County who want to make it a better community. This is her second leadership training conference. She attended the Competitive Conference in Holly Springs eight years ago, she said.

Leah Grant, a NorthCentral employee and Byhalia Area Chamber board director, said she likes the diversity at the conference. Filling out and sharing the personality profiles - there were 16 different personality types - was the most interesting activity for her the first day of the conference.

“Knowing your personality type and being able to use it to improve yourself is exciting,” she said. “I’m really excited about it and the different modules. It’s definitely something I think people can benefit from.”

For Conway Moore, director of county planning and zoning, the most exciting facet of the conference was getting to know someone better.

“I’ve been having a good time with Elton Bray (Potts Camp Bank) and getting to know him,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to know people better.”

Bray agreed.

“Being real open with each other is the best part,” he said.

County educator R.C. Anderson was also happy to be invited to participate in the lessons.

“First of all, being selected to be one of the participants is an honor,” he said. “And meeting new people, both young and old, black and white, is very interesting. We also identified some needs of the county and how to go about filling those needs - things like job opportunities and education.”

The leadership training course is brought to the public by the Byhalia Area and Holly Springs chambers of commerce, the MSU Extension service and Marshall County as a gift to the community. Participants pay $100 to attend the conference, which helps defray a portion of the costs, according to Sarah Sawyer, executive director of the Byhalia Chamber.

She said funds from other agencies and donations are being sought to pay the remaining costs of the conferences. Anyone who would like to make a donation, may do so by calling 662-838-8127.

“This is not to profit our organizations (the chambers or MSU-ES) except to provide leadership training for Marshall County,” said Sarah Sawyer, executive director of the Byhalia Chamber.

Participating in this leadership class are Presley, Betty Byrd, Sarah Liddy, Scooter Dempsey, Carol Person, Kenny Dickerson, Ronald Johnson, John Jones, Nancy Hutchens, Ann Carpenter, Andy Seale, Elton Bray, Wesley Stanton, Andre’ DeBerry, Tim Liddy, Elizabeth Kriss, Collins, Anderson, Jo Ann Huff, Carol Scruggs, Monet Autry, Earnest Cunningham, Jacob Norton, Grant, Terry Rodgers, Moore, and Keith Taylor.

The planning committee — Larry Hall, Sarah Sawyer, Janet Jolly and Susan Jordan — also attended the retreat.

The Retreat offered the following:

  • Opening speaker, Mike Clayborne, C.R.E.A.T.E. Foundation. He discussed how the organization helps counties build foundations to offer funding to schools and non-profit organizations.
  • Fish Philosophy, Susan Seal, MSU-ES.
  • Myers Briggs Personality Profile, Ronnie White, MSU-ES.
  • Finding Leaders Within, Jack Russell, ARC.
  • Identifying Community Assets, Lisa Stevens, NMPDD.
  • Managing Groups for Results, Rachel Welborn, MSU-ES.

The remaining monthly sessions will be held at the Beckley Conference Center at Rust College.

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