Chamber cultivates new crop of leaders

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The Kilgore Chamber of Commerce is ready to build local leadership from the ground up.

Through a new E4 initiative – recrafting and refocusing the organization’s previous Leadership Kilgore programs – the chamber aims to once again give participants a glimpse into the community’s inner workings but, more importantly, to infuse it with building practical skills.

Cindy Morris, president of the local chamber, is awaiting applications (due July 28) after tweaking the dormant leadership program’s core elements.

“We discovered, looking back and talking to past participants, maybe an emphasis needed to be placed on leadership training,” Morris said, more than simply taking Leadership Kilgore classes on tours of different areas and aspects of the community and local government. “Our goal is to incorporate leadership skills training, relationship and team-building and leadership within our community.

“Yes, we’re going to give them an understanding of how city government works, but we’re going to teach them how the leaders of our community integrate with our business community.”

There are 20 spots available in the 2017-2018, open to all ages but limited to those who have lived or worked here at least one year or are employed by a Kilgore Chamber member business. After submitting applications in July, participants will be selected in early August before the E4 program kicks-off in October.

For Morris, “We’re looking for anyone who is going to lead our community, to work to build a better, stronger business community.”

The revitalized E4 outreach’s objectives include Embark, Enlighten, Empower and Engage

According to the program’s application, “The purpose of the E4 program is (to) provide more in-depth corporate leadership training; motivate and encourage community leadership; build confident in self while building new business and personal relationships; and develop personal leadership characters and skills within the individual.”

Morris recruited Kilgore Mayor Ronnie Spradlin, Kilgore College President Brenda Kays, Citizens National Bank President Pam DeCeault and Kilgore City Manager Josh Selleck to revise the Leadership Kilgore program, building on past participantss experiences.

“While they learned a lot about the community and a lot about the individual entities at work in the community, they didn’t have a lot of opportunity to engage in leadership. We’re going to ask that every piece of it have some sort of leadership infused into it,” he added, looking for practical leadership lessons already at work in the city and area. For example, in a visit to Kilgore Police Department, “What I would like the police chief to talk about is how he implements and how he encourages his staff to be leaders in the community.

“I think that’s going to make this an even more relevant and desirable class,” Selleck said. “I think especially as we go through this first year it’s going to get a lot of people excited about participating.”

Class participation costs $450 per person (some financial assistance is available).

For more information about the Kilgore Chamber of Commerce and E4, call 903-984-5022 or email info@kilgorechamber.com.

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