By Wendy Rudy, Leadership Bend Class of 2015
In today’s economy, challenges can arise at any time, most often occurring with little to no warning. How you respond to challenges says a lot about your leadership skills. Effective leaders are able to immediately respond to challenges with confidence, knowledge and expertise. If you have ever faced an unanticipated obstacle and wondered how you were going to push through, or if you are new to the area and want to learn about the inner workings of your community, you might consider joining a leadership program through your local chamber of commerce.
I have always felt that the chamber of commerce is the pulse of any city I have lived in. In order to truly understand what the community values, how it functions and the top issues that affect the quality of life for its citizens, you need to become an active member. If you want to participate in a more meaningful way by learning how to become an effective leader, look no further than Leadership Bend.
Leadership Bend can help you improve your leadership skills and thereby help you change your organization or community from good to great. After participating in three different chamber leadership programs, I have to admit that Leadership Bend has enabled me to connect to my community in ways that I never thought possible. I have established key contacts at a local, state and federal level; have been invited to participate in dialogue with elected officials regarding veterans’ health initiatives; have established amazing partnerships with local leaders; and I have gained valuable skills that I can use in my position as a Veteran & National Services Liaison at St. Charles Health System.
Leadership Bend is a nine-month long program that builds your confidence, enhances communication skills, encourages introspection and empowers you to succeed. The monthly sessions are designed to teach you how to look at challenges from different perspectives, clarify your vision, effectively evaluate an issue, foster relationships and lead you to the next level. Additionally, you will be exposed to some of the most influential leaders in the community who donate their time and expertise to teach you about our community and share the secrets to their success.
Leadership Bend is a wonderful opportunity to engage in your community while developing useful leadership skills. You will have the opportunity to get to know yourself better by exploring your motivation to lead, evaluating your own biases, testing your emotional intelligence and developing other qualities needed to become a good leader.
The Leadership Bend program and their partners – the Leadership Bend Alumni Association, City Club of Central Oregon, Taylor Northwest, BendBroadband and others – dedicate a lot time, energy and resources to make sure that each class is provided every opportunity to learn valuable skills, grow as a professionals and to connect with their community. They even offer scholarships each year to those who might not otherwise be able to participate.
I am personally grateful to Leadership Bend for the veteran scholarship I was awarded, the invaluable skills I gained, the partnerships I formed, the confidence I built and for the nine months of being surrounded by some of the most amazing classmates and leaders in our community.
The Class of 2015 wishes to extend a special thank you to Jamie Chrisman, executive director of the program, Jillian Taylor, our executive coach, and all of the esteemed guest speakers, leaders and facilitators who donated their valuable time and talents to help build future leaders.
“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others” John Maxwell.