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WP Chamber introduces new leadership program


A new 12-week program for business and community program employees and members, aimed at honing leadership skills and community engagement, is set to begin soon in West Plains.

The Lead, Engage and Develop (L.E.A.D.) West Plains program, coordinated by Brandy Stutsman, will be open to professionals and civic leaders, and will begin with a seminar on Feb. 29, 2024, for participants to get acquainted.

A two-day retreat on March 7 and 8 will kickstart the remainder of the program, Stutsman explained at the most recent Greater West Plains Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon, held Thursday.

Stutsman is from West Plains, but moved out of the area for a time. She was employed with the Jackson, Tenn., Chamber of Commerce for 15 years, and she was Director of Leadership Development for the All In Leadership Development Program for eight of those years.

The mission of the L.E.A.D. program is to help individuals maximize their civic and leadership potential with an emphasis on giving back to the community, Stutsman said.

Networking and employee leadership training are some of the benefits of the sessions, each week introducing a specific topic that is a piece of the larger puzzle of great leadership and involvement with community members and problem solving within that community.

Diversity and inclusion, poverty and its effects, volunteer work and the involvement of government, education, criminal justice, healthcare and nonprofit organizations in community growth will be discussed.

The sessions will conclude with advice and opportunities to put leadership knowledge into practice through civic engagement and involvement, possibly through membership in nonprofit groups like the Kiwanis and Rotary clubs and a requirement to volunteer for community service.

Program participation will cost $500 per person, with participants to be divided into eight teams of two. Regular sessions will be held weekly from noon to 5 p.m. each Wednesday, except for the mandatory opening retreat, a community bus tour and program graduation.

A minimum attendance of 81 hours out of 102 is required for completion, and two partial scholarships are available.

For more information or to apply, contact Stutsman at the chamber office by calling 417-256-4433, or send an email to lead@wpchamber.com.