Leadership. It takes commitment. It takes determination. But it’s also often the difference between progress and decline.
Thirty-four years ago, leaders in our community put a program into place to ensure that Manatee County pro-actively recruited and trained individuals for leadership roles. The aspiration was that we would never lack for leadership in our local businesses, non-profits, governmental entities, and elected offices. I am proud to be a founding member of the Leadership Manatee program, which was launched as a partnership between the Manatee Chamber of Commerce and Bradenton Kiwanis.
Each year, community leaders are chosen to participate as Leadership Manatee class members and experience a six-month program that exposes them to the many challenges and opportunities facing Manatee County. There are 11 days focused on specific topics like education, land use, transportation, healthcare, law enforcement and more. Class members are already “subject matter experts” in their own fields and have shown leadership outside of their profession. The Leadership Manatee experience gives them more indepth and well-rounded knowledge about how their leadership can influence our community’s future. They learn a lot from each other. They also learn from the top-level panel discussions, site visits, roundtables and tours that are included on each Leadership Manatee day’s agenda.
1,100 Number of local leaders who have graduated from Leadership Manatee
More than 1,100 local leaders have graduated from the program. These individuals have made a huge impact in our community. They tackle tough issues and propose new ideas. You’ll find Leadership Manatee graduates leading nonprofit boards, running local businesses, and holding elected office.
A sister program for high school juniors – Junior Leadership Manatee – was launched by alumni of the program. And there is an active Alumni Association to keep graduates connected.
We’re proud to announce the 2016-2017 Leadership Manatee class, which will begin its program in August
We’re proud to announce the 2016-2017 Leadership Manatee class, which will begin its program in August. Congratulations to Ron Beck, Mark Boehmig, Austin Boyd, Phaedra Carter, Jayme Chancellor, Anne Chapman, Adam Davis, Margi Dawson, Elizabeth Donald, Jeff Downing, Mark Dunlop, Catrese Estes, Brando Fetzek, Jedd Heap, Alysa Henderson, Edwin Hernandez, Renee Isrel, Adria Jensen, Jyna Johnson, Susan Jones, Crea Kitcher, Andrea Knies, Chad Lampton, Mike Ludwig, Brendan McDowell, Veronica Miller, Angie Oxley, Cameron Parsons, Simone Peterson, Paige Pierro, Jennifer Ruffino-Cook, Janet Samuels, Jake Saur, Danny Smith, Bobby Troxler, Steve Vernon, Craig Warzecha, Mike Wick, Cindy Winning, and Tim Wolfrum.
I am excited for these individuals to get started – and to see where their Leadership Manatee experience will lead them. Like all communities, Manatee County has its share of decisions to make about important issues that impact residents, businesses and visitors alike. Each year, the announcement of new Leadership Manatee class members renews my confidence that we have really talented, committed leaders who will help drive progress. Congratulations to our new class!
Robert P. Bartz, president of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce, can be emailed at BobB@ManateeChamber.com.