07/19/10 — Leadership Wayne looking for members

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Leadership Wayne looking for members

By Laura Collins
Published in News on July 19, 2010 1:46 PM

The Wayne County Chamber of Commerce is still looking for applicants for the upcoming Leadership Wayne County class.

Steve Hicks, executive director of the chamber, said chamber officials are looking for about 20 people to sign up for the class.

"What is really important and one of the major purposes of the program itself is bonding and getting to know each other and 20 is a good number for that," he said.

Last year the class had 19 members and in previous years they've also hovered around the 20-member mark.

"What we normally do is try to get a well-rounded, versatile class of people," Hicks said. "We certainly want to try to have people around from all sectors of the economy and all different categories of leadership from government to the private sector."

He added that the class is open to anyone from any business sector.

"I think people sometimes misunderstand Leadership Wayne County. When they think leadership, they want to think about the people in the community that are at the top, but it's just as important to have people in everyday work experiences," he said. "If you have a team of people working an industrial job, that has to be a team and leaders surface at every level. What we're trying to do is make sure we're giving everyone that opportunity to have that leadership experience."

In addition, Hicks also added that the class is for the young professionals in addition to the "seasoned" businessmen.

The class meets every Friday during the workday for eight hours. For part of the class they tour facilities and learn more about what's offered in Wayne County including the courthouse and jail, Wayne Memorial Hospital, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Wayne County Public Schools, Wayne Community College, and other county and city government buildings. The class also kicks off and culminates with a retreat and every class does a volunteer project in the community before graduating.

"What we're trying to do is encourage people to learn more about themselves and the people around them," Hicks said. "Not just learning about what's around them and the things they see and how they work, but also trying to understand people and how they work and fit in society and how they fit into operation so we're all unified in doing what we can to make Wayne County a better place."

The class is offered to people working at non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses, with nonprofit groups making up about 35 percent of the class each year. The cost is $550 for chamber members and $650 for non-chamber members. Applications can be found online at www.waynecountychamber.com and the application deadline is July 30. One scholarship is offered each year if a business cannot afford the fee.