Every year the same thing happens. We graduate a Leadership Owensboro class in May, and we say “there is no way that next year’s class will be this strong.”
Every year, we are wrong.
This year’s group, the class of 2018, met last week for their retreat where they had the opportunity to get to know one another and to begin their year long journey of learning about Owensboro, its history, the challenges of the present and the opportunities to make a difference.
One of Chamber’s Strategic Goals in our Plan of Work is to “Develop and Connect Leaders for the Future of Greater Owensboro.” We do this is many different ways including our partnership with the Regional Alliance for Education, our internships and the Chamber Young Professionals. Leadership Owensboro is the longest running of these programs with the charter class beginning in 1982.
This year, there are less Owensboro natives than there are those who have moved here. That is a first. It is also a very good indicator for our community. We know that other cities around the country that are similar in various indicators to Owensboro are losing population and talent. We are headed in the right direction.
During discussions, it is evident that this mix of those who were born and raised in Owensboro and those who have “fresh eyes” will make for some rich learning opportunities for all of us. And the depth of backgrounds is another plus. Class members are from, small business, medicine, law enforcement, engineering, non-profits, education, manufacturing, accounting, banking and each person brings something unique to the group,
Executive Director Jessica Kirk works hard to build a quality program, and the community steps up to help her. Our speakers and presenters are busy people that graciously say “yes.” The program would not exist without their dedication.
It is an honor to be able to spend time year after year with so many people who care deeply about our community and the people in it. We live in a great place. And the future is even brighter.
By Candance Brake President and CEO Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce