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LIFETIME LEADERS: Engaging “Not-so-retired” Residents of Bend

Let’s suppose you’re Cyndi DeSoto. You’ve recently relocated to Bend from Seattle where you enjoyed a successful entrepreneurial career. You made your mark on Seattle, now you want to do the same for Bend.

After all, you’re here, in this awesome space we call Bend, and you’re driven to do whatever it takes to make it even more awesome.

And so, thanks to your unquenchable entrepreneurial genes, you rolled the dice and talked the Bend-LaPine School District into allowing you to develop and present what you call “Pursuit Connects;” an inspiring event for high school sophomores introducing them to various career paths. The program was held at the Riverhouse in late 2018 and, according to those who attended (students and adults alike), Pursuit Connect killed it! Exceeded all expectations.  Including yours.

…designed for retired (or not) individuals who seek to share their wealth of experience and leadership skills with their new community.

And yet, you wanted more. After all, you’re here, in this awesome space we call Bend, and you’re driven to do whatever it takes to make it even more awesome. You’ve heard what many of Bend’s oldtimers have done to get our community this far and you want to be part of the next generation. Besides, thanks to a lifetime of working on cool stuff, you’re addicted to being relevant. You need a lot more than golf, TV, and Facebook to satisfy that addiction.

Thanks to a friend’s referral, you stumbled on a Chamber of Commerce program called Lifetime Leaders. The Lifetime Leaders Program is designed for retired (or not) individuals who seek to share their wealth of experience and leadership skills with their new community. The program will help its attendees to develop a personal vision for their new life, you were told, at the same time it helps Bend become a better place to live.

The Chamber bills the Lifetime Leaders program as a double benefit. The first is to educate the attendees on what makes Bend tick. To this end, the program will include personal visits from some of the Bend’s most inspirational leaders in the business, education, government, and nonprofit sectors. When finished, team members will have talked with many of the key players in town.

The second benefit is to motivate the attendees, i.e. “seasoned professionals with leadership skills,” to get involved. Thanks to the program’s six three-hour classes, attendees (five men and five women on this team) will learn where the opportunities lie, along with the people to contact who can help team members get involved.

The program’s two facilitators are seasoned professionals themselves; both have had extensive careers in Bend. Dr. Tom Carlsen has been an orthopedic surgeon in Bend for thirty-five years, founder of the Center Foundation, and successful real estate investor. Jim Schell has been active in starting a half dozen 501 (c) 3’s, turning around four other troubled nonprofits, all the while mentoring many of Bend’s younger professionals.

And that’s how Cyndi came to be another in a long line of contributors to Bend’s uber-collaborative ecosystem.

Why wouldn’t I want to do this Lifetime Leaders thing, Cyndi must have thought. And so, she did, and it was every bit as cool, fun and rewarding as she’d hoped. Plus, she met nine other folks, all as interesting and motivated to get involved as she was. All ten graduated summa cum laude and today, post-graduation, the team of ten meets on a regular basis, searching for opportunities to contribute their time and expertise.

And that’s how Cyndi came to be another in a long line of contributors to Bend’s uber-collaborative ecosystem. Not to mention, she met nine other fascinating souls, ranging from a Portland ad agency owner, to an ex-Microsoft and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation executive, to the Strategic Planning Director for Kiva.org, one of the coolest NGO’s on the planet.

The Chamber is now forming Cohort #2 of its Lifetime Leaders program. It’s looking for twelve seasoned professionals, people like Cyndi, who want to be relevant and who want to make new friends. Click here to apply today!

 

Jim Schell is a long-time, active citizen in Bend and a co-facilitator of the Chamber’s Lifetime Leader’s program.    

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