Application deadline nearing for Leadership Pike program

Published 3:00 am Thursday, July 5, 2018

By Tamela Staples

Young professionals can sign up now for the chance to go through a year-long course that will teach them more about the Pike County business community and what it takes to be a leader.

The Leadership Pike program of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce takes young community leaders through a one-day session each month for a year that provides them with knowledge of the Pike County area.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“In that session they look at the various types of economic sectors of Pike,” said Kathy Sauer, the President of Pike County Chamber of Commerce. “They will look at industry, health and human services, local and state government and also agriculture, “

Sauer believes that this program is important for leaders because, not only will they be exposed to other leaders, but they will learn more about the community and see the overall picture of the county, which can make them better leaders.

“It’s more than just seeing the business, but learning about the business – seeing how things work behind the scenes,” said Sauer. “Some of our jobs keep us in a narrow and busy area, and you don’t know what another sector looks like. Have you ever been inside Lockheed Martin? Have you ever milked a cow? Having those experiences and being in leadership helps so that when you talk to someone, you know about those things.”

The program allows for only 14 young professionals to complete volunteer hours, go on a one-day retreat and also participate in a community project before graduating.

“It’s mandatory for them to do a community project of their choice,” Sauer said. “They have to plan and execute that project from scratch. it gives them the skills they need to plan for that type of community event.”

In the past, those projects have included Walk Up on the Square, a talent show, and this year a band party. At the end of each project, they give out four $1,000 scholarships to one recipient at each of the high schools in the Pike County area.

“The recipients of these leadership scholarships fill out applications, we redact their names and send them off to be chosen,” Sauer said. “Half of it is based on their leadership skills in school and they can have a B average – that gives more opportunities to more students.”

“I like the idea that the scholarship recipients this year were able to participate in the graduation, because you get to put a name to a face,” said Dana Sanders, the Vice President of Pike County Chamber of Commerce.

Jylexus Williams, one of the recipients says it has been a longtime dream of hers to attend the University of Alabama to study Bio Chemistry and pursue a career as an Oncologist Pharmacist and this scholarship helped.

“I think everyone should apply for this scholarship, Williams said. “Not only can it be used for tuition, but is also can be used for off campus needs such as gas and food. Being at the graduation inspired me to want to join the Chamber of Commerce, either in Tuscaloosa or whenever I come home, so I am able to go through the program myself.”

Sanders said that exposure to the community and developing friendships is key when it comes to growing a business.

“We strive to keep the chamber competitive and this is one of the programs that excels and helps the growth of Pike County,” said Sanders.

The program consists of leadership training through visits to places such as Lockheed Martin along with team-building exercises through Camp Butter and Egg. The participants visit hospitals, schools and create new bonds with other leaders.

Leadership Pike is for Chamber of Commerce members who are sponsored through businesses, churches and non-profit organizations who are Chamber members, but not limited to them.

Anyone interested that is not a chamber member can become one and talk to the manager or CEO of the company organization, or church he or she is a part of to see if they will provide sponsorship for participation in the program.

The deadline to apply for the program is July 20. For more information on becoming a Chamber member, contact Kathy Sauer or Dana Sanders at 334-566-2294.