10/03/10 — Leadership program will host conference

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Leadership program will host conference

By Staff Reports
Published in News on October 3, 2010 1:50 AM

Leadership Wayne County's alumni group is hoping to share a little wisdom and to celebrate leadership at a conference later this week -- and the group is inviting other business leaders in the community to join them.

The gathering, which is scheduled for Thursday at noon at the Goldsboro Country Club, will feature a keynote address by William D. Johnson, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Progress Energy.

Johnson will discuss leadership and what it means to business and to a community in his address at the first-ever Leadership Conference. After his speech, he also plans a question-and-answer session.

In addition to the presentation by Johnson, the alumni group will also present its first annual Wayne County Outstanding Leader of the Year award.

The honor will be given to someone who has demonstrated not only achievement, but passion, for his or her work in the community, said Marc Best, alumni group chairman.

"We will be honoring someone who has not only found something they believe in, but who has worked hard to make a difference," Best said.

Nominations were solicited from alumni of the leadership program and an honoree was chosen from that group.

Attendance at Thursday's luncheon will be free for Leadership Wayne County Alumni Association members and $20 for anyone else who wishes to attend the event. Call the chamber at 919-734-2241 for details on how to register.

Leadership Wayne County is a program sponsored by the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce. It is designed to assist current and emerging community leaders in their efforts to serve in leadership roles in local businesses, industries, non-profits, governmental affairs and the community.

Graduates from the program, eager to keep the connections they had made during their year-long program and to continue their service to their community, formed an alumni group, Best said.

In addition to a social activity once a year, the group will also be participating in leadership events every fall.

Best said getting involved in programs like Leadership Wayne County -- and the alumni group -- is a way to develop contacts and to become a force for good in the community.

"We need people to take ownership of where they live," he said.

More than 300 people have graduated from the Leadership Wayne County program since its inception nearly 20 years ago, Best said.

The knowledge they have gained has helped them not only grow in their own professions, but has also been a boost to the community, he said. Leadership Wayne County graduates remain involved and interested in the decisions that are made in their county and devote time to organizations that support it.

Sitting back and waiting for others to make decisions that will affect your community's future is not the way to ensure it heads in the right direction, Best said.

"The ones that make the decisions are the ones who show up," he said. "If you are not involved in your community, you won't know what is going on in your community."