Photo: Members of the Leadership Nacogdoches 2018-2019 class view the State Capitol from the rooftop of Texas Association of Business offices in Austin during their February 2019 State Government session. Pictured from left are J.R. McDaniel, Regions Bank; Winston Baker, SFASU; Katie Rudisill, Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful; Michelle Transier, Hydrex Environmental; Crystal Odoms, Burke; Happy Willhoite, Love INC; and Jonathan Johnson, Etech. (Photo by Kelly Augustine)
by Kelly Augustine, Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce
The Nacogdoches County Chamber is accepting applications for the Leadership Nacogdoches 2020-2021 program. From its beginning in 1981, the LN program offers unique benefits and opportunities for those who do business in or live in Nacogdoches.
“Leadership Nacogdoches is the premiere leadership training program for adults in Nacogdoches County,” said Paul Smith III, LN program co-chairman. “From new and emerging leaders to seasoned leaders looking to engage in the community in deeper and more meaningful ways, Leadership Nacogdoches helps participants identify and close the gap between where they currently are and where they want to be.”
New-to-Nacogdoches folks may find the program to be a fast-track to getting to know the community. As Dawn Bridwell with Coldwell Banker discovered “LN not only provided me knowledge and understanding of the management and workforce of Nacogdoches, it helped expand my leadership skills. As a new business owner, I left the program with strong relationships, connections and pride for our community.”
The benefits, relationship building and information gathering that LN class members experience comes with their commitment of both their time and funds. Tuition for the program is $975, and the program requires at least one day a month for nine months committed to attending program sessions. Each of the sessions explore different areas and industries in the County including city, county and state governments, education and Stephen F. Austin State University higher education, healthcare and community services. The goal is for every LN participant to learn as much as possible about the workings of the community and converse with the current leadership.
“The program put me at both the front row and behind-the-scenes of all the inner-workings of a city and community. Regardless of your career path, I highly recommend it,” said Juan Gonzalez, BancorpSouth.
Program co-chairmen Charlotte Ashcraft and Smith are ready to welcome the next group of future leaders. Planning meetings for the 21st class began in February with discussions for new activities and revised curriculum to keep the program fresh and relevant. The Nacogdoches County Chamber expects each participant in every LN class to graduate the program with an “I got more out of the program than I expected” experience.
“LN took me to places I had never been and gave me experiences I will never forget,” said Vicki Schmidt, City of Nacogdoches. “The future of our community needs new leaders with new ideas and visions.”
About Leadership Nacogdoches
Leadership Nacogdoches is a program of the Nacogdoches County Chamber's Community Development Division led by Vice Chairman Patrick Castillo, SERVPRO of Lufkin/S. Nacogdoches County. Program co-chairmen are Paul Smith III, Principal Financial Group and Charlotte Ashcraft, Commercial Bank of Texas. Applications are available now for the LN 2020-2021 program. Deadline to apply is July 15, 2020. Contact the chamber at 936-560-5533 for more information.