Monday, March 13, 2006

Training New Leaders

Training New Leaders
Chamber Program Focuses on Important Community Issues
By Amanda Janis/Business Writer

Program director Jan Maguire discusses the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce's leadership program, which will begin offering workshops to business leaders this fall. (Joel Rosenbaum/The Reporter)

A program to help develop Vacaville's future leaders is being launched for the first time this year by the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce.

The program, according to chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Tatum, is a first for Solano County.

Called "Leadership Vacaville: Developing Tomorrow's Leaders," the program aims to inform attendees about pertinent community issues and simultaneously strengthen their leadership and professional networking skills, through a series of 10 one-day workshops throughout the course of a year.

"We want to create a pool of talented, informed, knowledgeable people who will then be in our community in the businesses, in the non-profits, in the appointed and elected offices, who can make thoughtful decisions," explained Jan Maguire, program director.

Each daylong workshop will revolve around a specific theme and its related issues, she explained. Workshop topics will include:

• Youth and Family
• Health and Aging
• Heritage
• Government and Politics
• Communications
• Public Safety
• Agriculture and Land Use
• Planning and Development
• Business and the Economy

Each workshop, Maguire said, will feature a panel of experts who will present basic facts, demographics, and information on various subjects and local or regional issues tangent to the general theme.

For example, she said, on Health and Aging day, guest speakers might include health insurance experts, representatives from local health care organizations, specialists on conditions associated with aging such as Alzheimer's, or senior citizens who would share firsthand what they consider to be important issues.

"It's really increasing awareness," noted Tatum. "How often do people get busy with their everyday responsibilities and not know what's going on in their community?"

The expert panelists would make presentations to and engage in dialogue with participants. They would not only broaden a participant's knowledge, Maguire remarked, but their network of contacts within the community.

A typical workshop day would also incorporate a theme-related field trip or activity of some sort, leadership development work that would include creation of personal mission and values statements, and time to create and execute plans for a group service project.

The 20-25 attendees will work together on a project of their choosing, Maguire explained, which may be fund raising or some sort of direct service.

That will be their instant footprint, she said, though their continued contribution to and leadership within the community will be the lasting effect.

Desired applicants, Maguire noted, are people who participate actively in the community, "either on their own or through their work or church," and are likely already regarded as budding leaders or ladder-climbers.

Tuition for the program - which also includes a two-day retreat in August - is $1,400; applicants may apply for $1,000 scholarships from the chamber, and are encouraged to request contributions from their employer.

The application period for "Leadership Vacaville: Developing Tomorrow's Leaders" ends May 5th. Visit for more information.

"We're looking for people who are enthusiastic about our town, people who want to make a difference now and in the future," Maguire remarked.
Amanda Janis can be reached at

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