Thursday, July 5, 2007
Emphasis on leadership
Leadership programs have played an important role in my life.
My office features plaques from Leadership Itawamba, Leadership Monroe and Leadership Mississippi.
But the plaques are not what’s important. The memories are cherished.
I remember the retreats. I remember some of the training sessions. I remember the graduations.
But most of all I remember the people.
I was still relatively new to both Itawamba and Marshall counties when I went through those programs.
My former boss, Rubye Del Harden, pretty much forced me to participate in Leadership Itawamba. I fought it for awhile.
“I don’t have time,” is the common excuse.
Then I gave in, and thank goodness I did.
Occasionally I still dig out an old photo of our team performing our graduation day skit. I think I was one of the “Three Bears.” It’s good for a good laugh.
Then a few years later, after a career move, I eagerly volunteered for Leadership Monroe.
As a newcomer to both counties, I met new friends, from all walks of life, and from all parts of the counties.
We split up in teams to work on important county projects – but we were all one. The camaraderie, the fellowship, the unity were amazing.
I developed close friendships through leadership programs.
Leadership Mississippi, of course, was on a lot bigger scale but again coming together with a wide range of Mississippians was indeed special.
Thursday night I was honored to attend the graduation ceremony for the Leadership Marshall County Class of 2007. I was actually the guest of my wife Pam, a member of the class.
This class is a perfect example of what I think is the greatest asset of any leadership program – folks of all races, ages, genders and communities coming together for the betterment of themselves and their home county.
There were loads of laughs and hugs Thursday night. There were a few tears, too.
This group, no doubt, has become extremely close over the last six months.
Friendships have been formed that will last a lifetime. And these leaders have the necessary tools to make a positive impact on the future of Marshall County.
Special thanks to Larry Hall, Sarah Sawyer, Susan Jordan and Janet Jolley for their dedication to the Leadership Marshall County program.
I’m convinced this program is perhaps the best thing we have going.
Deborah Tierce, who I met years ago in Itawamba County, addressed graduates for the second consecutive year. There’s no better motivational speaker anywhere, and like she said, she’s just a just a small town girl from Tremont.
Tierce challenged us all.
“Wake up and contribute,” she urged. “The more involved we are, the more excited we are.”
Recruitment has begun for the next class of Leadership Marshall County, which will form in January 2008. Don’t wait until your employer forces you to get involved. Volunteer. You will not be sorry.
This quote, from John Maxwell, was printed on the graduation program this year.
“Ordinary people with commitment can make an extraordinary impact on their world.”
You make an extraordinary impact on Marshall County. But perhaps even more importantly, you will love the people.
Call the Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce, 662-252-2943, the Byhalia Area Chamber of Commerce, 662-838-8127, or the Marshall County Extension Service, 252-3541, to find out more about Leadership Marshall County.
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