By Jamie Christman, Bend Chamber Director of Leadership Bend and Government Affairs
With nine months of education, training and new community connections behind them, a dedicated group of local business and community members have now joined the ranks of the prestigious Leadership Bend Alumni.
The Leadership Bend Class of 2015 graduated June 9, 2015 to the sights of glorious mountain views and a warm, dramatic sunset from the Mountain Room atop Deschutes Brewery, while toasting with fellow classmates and guests to a job well done.
Twenty-nine participants graduated this year, marking the program’s 22nd year with the largest class to date. Leadership Bend’s first class graduated in 1993, whereby key supporter, Todd Taylor of Taylor Northwest, was one of its first graduates. In a continual form of encouragement from the start of the 2015 year, Taylor wrote the graduates, “Please let the class know how proud we are to be part of this ongoing educational arm of the chamber. We look forward to seeing all of the graduates participating throughout Central Oregon communities in the years to come.”
Stephanie Senner, Leadership Bend Class President of 2014, Bend Chamber “Emerging Leader” 2014 SAGE Award recipient and BendBroadband B2B marketing director, personally addressed the graduates.
“Leadership Bend has been the best way to get introduced to (the community) for deep and meaningful relationships, business and personal alike,” Senner said.
Senner asked the group why they think the Bend Chamber and others, such as her organization, invest in the program. She answered with her belief that it’s to make sure the community has business-focused leaders. Her final comments focused on questioning what motived the group to commit to the time and energy of the nine-month program. Senner stated, “My motives were for really two specific things in our community. It’s great we live in a nice community. But, nice doesn’t mean good and I want to be in a good community… and a free one. I’ve got to put my time into that. My kids are here, your kids are here. You’ve got to put your time into that to make it work. Thomas Edison said, ‘Nothing that’s good works by itself just to please you. You‘ve got to MAKE the damn thing work,’ and that’s what you’re doing!”
It seemed apropos the graduates and Senner celebrated the evening in the Deschutes Brewery Mountain Room, as its founder and CEO, Gary Fish, helped launch Leadership Bend while serving on the Board of Directors for the Bend Chamber of Commerce. Leadership Bend is a separate 501(c)3 non-profit from the Chamber and is similar to programs one might find nationwide. Currently, there are over 360 Leadership Bend Alumni, many of whom have gone on to serve in a myriad of roles positively impacting the region and hold prominent positions in business, governance and social services. Alumni are often a resource for exploring how to get involved in the community.
To find out more about the hot topics explored in this year’s program, just ask one of the following graduates of the Class of 2015:
Karla Aguilera, Asocarr Import/Exports & Latino Comm. Assoc.
Timothy Casinelli, Deschutes Brewery
Steve Curley, COCC/SBDC (Honors; Top Honors for most points)
Robert Gibbons,Knife River
Colleen Goldblatt, 75 Nineteen Media (Perfect Attendance; President)
Russell Grayson, City of Bend
Jay Hatfield, BendBroadband
Darin Hillier, First American Title Company (Distinction; Perfect Attendance)
Lindsey Hopper, C.O. Health Council (Honors; Perfect Attendance)
Ken Katzaroff, Hurley Re, P.C. (Distinction)
Maggie Kirby, Craft3 (Honors; Vice President)
Laura Kloss, OSU-Cascades
Elaine Knobbs, Mosaic Medical
Suzanne Lafky, Oregon Adaptive Sports
Beth Larsen, Volunteers in Medicine
Danielle Lordi, Bryant, Lovlien & Jarvis, P.C. (Perfect Attendance)
Todd McIntyre, Taylor Northwest (Perfect Attendance)
ChuckMohler, Pacific Power
Gwen Moore, Johnson, Phillips & Moore, LLP
Lori Murphy, Miller Nash
Annie Nelson, Karnopp Petersen
Dana Perry, Volunteer Connect
Wendy Rudy, St. Charles Health Systems (Perfect Attendance)
Jared Standerwick, U.S. Bank (Distinction)
Mike Szabo, Szabo Landscape Architecture (Perfect Attendance)
Diane Turnbull, S.M.A.R.T
Todd Uhrich, Bank of the Cascades (Perfect Attendance)
Amy Ward, Deschutes Children’s Foundation (Perfect Attendance)
Andrea Wilson, Bend-La Pine Schools
With the Leadership Bend Class of 2015 graduated, the opportunity now opens for new participants to submit applications for the Class of 2016. Investor opportunities to align with the development of local emerging leaders are also available. Find more information and applications online at www.bendchamber.org. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis through August 14 and will be reviewed for acceptance on an individual basis. Learn more about the graduates and the Leadership Bend Alumni Network, Facebook and LinkedIn.
About the Bend Chamber-The Bend Chamber, located on NW Wall Street, has been here for the business community for over 85 years. We are a vital strategic partner creating resources and opportunities for member success, quality of life, engagement and meaningful impact.