Thirteen graduate from Chamber’s Leadership Pike programPublished 11:00pm Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Written by Kelsey Vickers, intern with The Messenger
The members of the 2012-2013 Leadership Pike Class concluded this year’s program with their commencement ceremony at the Troy Country Club on Wednesday.
The ceremony featured guest speaker Dr. John Schmidt, senior vice chancellor at Troy University, who offered words of wisdom and knowledge about leadership to the graduates.
Chuck Carson, Leadership Pike alumni and committee chairman, said the Leadership Pike Program has been around for more than 20 years.
“It provides people who work and live in Pike County the opportunity to hone their development and leadership skills in a program sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce,” he said, “so this really increases the depth of our leadership in Pike County, and it also really assists the Chamber in promoting Pike County and our surrounding areas.”
Carson said the program participants attend a different program on one Wednesday of each month for 10 months.
“They range anything from business and industry days to state and local government days, and we also have an agriculture day.
“They get introduced to those things and it’s great to network and move in that direction,” he said.
Participants in the program are usually around the age range of college graduates and older.
Jeffery Whitehead, one of the program graduates, said the experience of being involved with the leadership program was one he won’t forget.
“Honestly, the friendship, the networking and the connections made were probably the best part,” Whitehead shared. “We did some boring stuff, some fun stuff, and doing it with these people and getting to know them made it what it is.”
Whitehead said that part of the program is learning about local business, but it’s also about making friendships and coming together as a group.
“We had a great time as a class, so I think our class as a whole was the best part,” he said. “Whether we were going through a factory or visiting a hospital, we had a great time together.”
He shared his favorite memory of the program was agriculture day. “We saw farms and it was great. We went to the peanut butter factory … I didn’t even know we had one here,” he laughed.
Janet Smith, class president of the program, also enjoyed the experience.
“We had a couple of favorite days, the agriculture and industry days were probably our favorites,” she said, “but it was really just getting to go do and see things that you normally wouldn’t get to see.”
Smith said with her job, she would have never been able to see the agricultural side of Troy and Pike County.
“It was a great learning experience; we had a lot of fun together and we all learned from each other.”