Chamber program helps build community leaders

Jul 16, 2013

Warren G. Bennis, known as the pioneer of the contemporary field of leadership studies, didn’t believe that leaders were born — he believed that they are made and that is exactly what the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce is trying to do.

Blossoming leaders in Haywood County have the opportunity to become informed and active members of the community by enrolling in the Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Haywood Program.

The chamber is now accepting applications for the eight-month program that will take an intensive look into the social, economical and political dynamics and their impact on our community.

As Bennis also said, “Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery.”

In order to be an effective leader in the community, it is crucial to have a pulse on the community and know the issues that need to be overcome. It also is important to build a relationship with other leaders in the county. And that is what Leadership Haywood is all about.

The program will begin with an opening team building exercise in September followed by an eight-month curriculum. The class will meet once a month and will discuss topics like the history of Haywood County, arts and cultural resources, health and medical, local and state government, education, economic development, nonprofits/religion, law enforcement and crime prevention, and the environment.

“During the course of the program participants will be informed, enlightened and motivated.  Participants will be challenged to tackle tough, complex problems our community faces.  As an outcome, graduates of Leadership Haywood will have a better understanding of key leadership principles essential for successful leadership work,” said Haywood Chamber President CeCe Hipps.

For those interested in doing more for their community, fill out an application and submit it to the chamber. Participants will be selected based on their civic involvement, leadership potential and commitment to the program.

According to Tommy Bourque of Old Town Bank, “Participants will garner a better understanding of how our community works and create working relationships with other class members and community leaders who lend their skills to Leadership Haywood.”

We encourage residents who want to make a difference in Haywood County for years to come to take advantage of this unique program. We all need a better understanding of our community and its past to prepare for a better future.

Participants are required to attend all sessions, which are held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuition for Leadership Haywood is $600 for members of the Haywood Chamber of Commerce and $700 for non-members. Applications are due by 5 p.m., Friday, Aug. 9 and are available via