My chosen profession pushes me to meet new people and learn about new subjects on a daily basis, and for that, I am grateful. But due to the demands of my chosen career, I have not had time to actually enroll in any formal classes for almost two decades.
I finally was able to break that trend when I applied to be a member of the 2011 Leadership Monett class offered by the Monett Chamber of Commerce. My application was accepted, and in August of this year, I embarked on a 14-week journey with 13 other area business leaders.
The 14 of us didn't know each other well when the class began, but it didn't take long for us to break the ice and realize we shared a common desire to challenge ourselves and discover how we could use our skills and talents to make our community better. This shared commitment to learning about ourselves, each other and this incredible community of Monett created a bond that is very real, and I am now happy to say I have 13 new friends in Monett who I think have my back, and more importantly, have the best interests of Monett at the forefront of their minds.
Through Leadership Monett, I gained a new appreciation for the city, the chamber, local businesses, industries, churches and community organizations that work together to support Monett and its progressive vision for the future. Our class sessions were held every other week for five hours each class. Our afternoons were filled with activities, speakers, tours and site visits that helped us learn about Monett and also challenged us to get out of our comfort zones and build our leadership skills.
On Nov. 17, the Leadership Monett class officially graduated, and it was a memorable affair, especially since we were honored to have Senator Jack Goodman as our guest speaker. The event was also bittersweet. The experience was such a positive one, many of us were not ready to give up meeting together every other week and getting the opportunity to learn more about Monett.
I highly recommend the Leadership Monett program to anyone who wants to improve their leadership skills, expand their knowledge of Monett and build new relationships within the business community. In particular, I want to thank Suzy McElmurry, chamber executive director, Regina Bowsher, chamber president, and Walter Branch, chamber president-elect, for their active involvement in the Leadership Monett program. All three lead by example, and as a result of their mentoring, the entire class has been inspired to invest their very best to help make Monett the best community it can be.
So when the chamber begins promoting its next Leadership Monett class, we hope many of you will consider applying. The program is definitely worth the investment of time and energy.