The 2009 Leadership Monett class included: Laura Apostol, Miracle Recreation; Rawn Batson, Family Care Chiropractic, LLC; Sarah Garner, Monett R-1 School District; Sarah Hohensee, Monett Chamber of Commerce; Brian Bouray, International Dehydrated Foods; Russ Courdin, Jack Henry & Associates; Jason Schulz, Clark Industries; Everett Patterson, EFCO, A Pella Company; Mark Murphy, Tyson Foods; Ken Gaspar, Jack Henry & Associates; and Bryce Garner, EFCO, A Pella Company
Each graduate was recognized by name and asked to step forward to receive a certificate and a special gift from Lori Negre, chamber president.
Class members received a wooden box that contained a compass. The top of the box was engraved with the message, "Leaders carve a path with a vision and then point the way towards success" as well as the student's name and "Spring Leadership Class 2009."
The class members were also treated to a power point presentation highlighting their leadership class experience. The presentation was created by Adriana Salas, who is interning at the chamber office.
Suzy McElmurry, chamber executive director, congratulated the class on their achievement in completing the rigorous eight-week
"You've impressed me, challenged me and entertained me," said McElmurry. "It's been a wonderful experience for me too. I've learned a great deal from you. My horizons have been broadened and I appreciate you giving back to me and letting me be a part of the class."
Negre also offered her impressions of the 2009 class.
"Your creativity is limitless, and I am impresses with your positive attitudes and enthusiasm," Negre added.
At the end of the evening, McElmurry issued a challenge to the 2009 Leadership Monett graduates. She read from an essay on leadership written by Jim Gannon with the Detroit News and encouraged the group to be the "spark of leadership" small towns need to survive and thrive.
"Leadership is vision - some notion of where the future lies and how to get there. Leadership is guts - the willingness to step up to hard decisions, take risks, step on toes, and energy - the determination to keep going when everyone tell you it is a lost cause. Leadership is looking in the mirror and saying 'It's up to me . . .'"
"You are the future. You are our leaders," McElmurry concluded. "Every dream begins with a dreamer. Be that dreamer."
This is the third Leadership Monett class the Monett Chamber has offered. The program was created to provide and enhance "the foundation for great business and community leaders with targeted and specialized training in an affordable and accessible manner."
The class requires a four-month commitment for its members who meet every other Thursday for eight four-hour sessions. The class also works to complete a community project together. The 2009 class has chosen The Den youth center as its project.
Ken Gasper, a member of the Leadership Class of 2009, said he gained two things by participating in the class. He said he met a number of great people who were his classmates and also benefited from the presenters, who he described as engaging and informative.
"Secondly, I obtained a deeper understanding of what was needed to make Monett a great city and what will be needed to make it even better," Gasper said.
The Monett Chamber of Commerce will be offering its next Leadership Monett class in September. Applications will be available from the chamber in July.
Gasper and other Leadership Monett alumni encourage other business leaders in the community to consider becoming involved in the 2010 leadership class.
"We all have something to offer back to the people of this great city," said Gasper. "We owe it to the past generations by preserving their desires to make Monett great and to the future ones by improving upon that foundation and ensuring we continue the same progress.
"We all have something that can be offered and the Leadership Monett class is the gateway to us identifying those skills and potentially employing them for the greater good," added Gasper.
For more information about the 2010 Leadership Monett class, call the Monett Chamber office at 235-7919 or visit www.monett-mo.com.