Leadership program starts today

The coming year will be a banner one for the Leadership Centre, as an influx of students are seeking an education in strong leadership practices, said the executive director of the 10-year-old society.

The coming year will be a banner one for the Leadership Centre, as an influx of students are seeking an education in strong leadership practices, said the executive director of the 10-year-old society.

Linda Wilson said 16 individuals have been selected to participate in the centre’s annual Leadership Networks program, a seven-month workshop that starts today with a two-day opening retreat at Camp Kuriakos west of Sylvan Lake.

The centre will also offer the training program to about 10 members of the Central Alberta Immigrant Women’s Association.

“They’re going to learn great skills to take back to the workplace to develop their leadership skills for their career and their financial positioning,” Wilson said of what students can expect.

“But we also want to challenge them, saying, ‘Our community needs you as leaders too.’ ”

The program gives participants the chance to improve their leadership skills by breaking into small groups to tackle community projects, plus monthly seminars and personal work.

Wilson said this year’s community projects will include the creation of a profile on income disparity and poverty in Red Deer, which will be presented to the city, an examination of the transition from being homeless to having a home for the Red Deer Native Friendship Centre and the development of a drama team at The Hub.

“The projects really touch on the emotional side of what we’re talking about in the classroom,” Wilson said.

“So when we’re talking about things like strategic planning; when we’re talking about things like communication and your communication skills; when we’re talking about brainstorming and how to think differently as leaders, how to challenge the norm, how to challenge our typical thinking — these projects force them to put that into play.”

The Leadership Centre, which held its annual general meeting on Oct. 28, has just wrapped up a successful year that saw the creation of the Community of Practice, she added.

This group meets to test out different facilitation tools so participants can practise new leadership techniques before using them in a work environment.

Wilson said developing leadership skills helps businesses strengthen the economy, improve the services non-profit agencies provide, and foster a deeper understanding of community issues at the volunteer level.

Ten students graduated from the program last year.

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