Congratulations to the 23rd graduating class of Leadership Bend!

By Nancy Gammond-Moody, Barret Business Services Inc. (BBSI)

Graduation is a milestone, a celebration of our achievement. Graduation is a time to reflect on what we have learned and most importantly to look forward to how we can effectively apply and proactively use the knowledge we’ve gained.  Graduation is a rite of passage.

Reflecting back on our class, we have progressed far from our initial orientation at Awbrey Glen Golf Course in September 2015. Leadership Bend has provided us with knowledge and great insights into our community, from the water system in the Deschutes Basin to information from our U.S. Representatives and Senators that represent our region at the federal level.   We have been exposed to our local judicial system, city and county governments and current hot topics that are economic drivers for the business climate in Central Oregon.

The Leadership Bend class of 2016 has been instrumental in training and supporting local nonprofits in our region through the Central Oregon Impact Summit.  My classmates and I organized and marketed this program. We planned professional trainings. We fundraised for the Central Oregon Impact Summit: Pitch for a Purpose culminating event that has had a direct impact on our community by supporting the people who live in Central Oregon. The Pitch for a Purpose was no small accomplishment.  As I reflect back, the most important thing I gained from this class was meeting amazing people with who I have built lasting friendships with.

Looking forward, graduating from Leadership Bend puts us in good company with many other graduates from past classes.  Todd Taylor of Taylor Northwest, Leadership Bend’s title sponsor, was in the first graduating class of Leadership Bend.  During his speech to our class at our graduation ceremony held at the Deschutes Brewery Mountain room, he reminded us that this graduation is just a stepping stone to being leaders in the Central Oregon community. He challenged us to take the information we have been given and put it to work for Bend and Central Oregon. Taylor reminded us that there are a myriad of committees at the city and county levels to support and become involved in that will determine how, where and when growth and expansion happen in our city and region.  He reminded us of Central Oregonian’s rich history of being actively involved in taking care of our neighbors and community; there are many nonprofit organizations that will benefit from our active participation in their organizations.  He also shared with us some advanced information on the Mirror Pond project. Stephanie Senner, commercial marketing managerof BendBroadband, continued Taylor’s challenge when she spoke after him at graduation.  Senner stated that now is the time to for us, the Leadership Bend graduating class of 2016, to make a difference in the Bend community.  If you’re thinking of applying for the upcoming class of Leadership Bend, I would recommend that you do!  You will often hear advanced information on important community topics and you will make lifelong friends ~ you won’t regret your decision!

As we move through this rite of passage and contemplate how to effectively use the knowledge that we have gained during this amazing program, I am reminded that it is the people who show up that are the leaders in any community. It is these people, who show up for their communities, making time in their very full schedules, who become the influencers and decision makers in the community.  I know that my fellow graduates of the Leadership Bend class of 2016 are the people who make Bend a priority, they “show up.” I challenge my fellow classmates to continue “showing up” for Bend!

Congratulations to my fellow classmates of Leadership Bend Class of 2016 on your graduation!

Leadership Bend Graduation Night-3

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