By Amy Ward, development director of Deschutes Children’s Foundation
On June 9, my fellow Leadership Bend classmates and I gathered for our graduation ceremony. With a gorgeous view of the Cascades from the Deschutes Brewery Mountain Room and inspiring toasts from class presidents past and present, we enjoyed the culmination of our hard work and dedication knowing we would certainly gather in more informal settings many times in the future.
There are numerous benefits to participating in Leadership Bend. The camaraderie among classmates over nine months of leadership and learning is a reward unto itself. All of my classmates echoed my sentiments that we had gained a new perspective on our community. We had earned a high-level understanding of key issues impacting Central Oregon’s future: the history of this beautiful area, the wealth of natural resources, the industries, public works, government and public services and safety that all help define who we are and how we work together.
Learning continued on our lunch breaks with relevant, engaging discussions at City Club of Central Oregon. Leadership Bend students were welcomed at each table, and given the opportunity to make new connections and contacts. These monthly community forums featured a wide variety of topics and issues. The panelists, speakers and moderators were always on their game and well prepared to answer even the most challenging questions.
Leadership Bend is led with unflagging energy and enthusiasm by the Bend Chamber’s own Jamie Christman. Jamie obviously loves her job and is perfectly suited to engage and ignite the next generation of community leaders. Fellow Leadership Bend alumni, Jillian Taylor, served as our executive coach and provided insights into effective executive communication, problem solving and team management.