Chamber General Manager Debra Williams is our guest columnist this month.
One of my favorite parts of my job at the Chamber is working with the Leadership Morristown Program. This program has been a part of the Chamber’s Program of Work since 1984. It was designed to recruit individuals in business and industry (and more recently, non-profit agencies) who showed the interest and potential to accept posi-tions of leadership in the community, and help them achieve that goal by familiarizing them with the community and introducing them to the people who are already in leadership positions in key areas of community life. To me, this program is one of the most important the Chamber does. Why?
When Leadership Morristown was established, the Chamber Leadership at the time realized they would not be around forever. (Thankfully, some of those people still are!) They knew that new leaders didn’t just all of a sudden appear and decide they wanted to lead and guide community development. They knew that training, observing, learning and participating were all important steps to gaining the knowledge it takes to lead and serve the community.
This doesn’t mean the new leaders are expected to do everything the same way it was done in the past. It does mean they are given the foundations they need to develop goals and a vision for the future. It means they have a well-rounded understanding of the way a community works together and how all parts of the community are im-portant. It means they have the contacts they need to move their ideas in the right direction. It means they know how to ensure a good future for their children and grandchildren.
Graduates of Leadership Morristown have served this community well and some have expanded their service beyond local borders. They are a diverse group. They have served as elected and/or appointed officials at the local and state levels; they have served as Chamber Board Chairs; they have led United Way Campaigns and non-profit boards; they serve children, senior citizens, the disabled. They have founded organizations and started businesses. They have served locally and globally. I’m proud the Chamber has had a part in providing the tools our community leaders have used to ensure success.