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Nic Skovgaard

Nic Skovgaard

Leadership is a skill that we just don't seem to teach anymore. It is also a skill that we all value but too often we create a standard in our own minds that is almost impossible to live up to. For many people, the title of leader is just something they are not comfortable giving to themselves. The good news is that there are organizations in our community working to change that.

I recently had the privilege of being part of the Leadership Carbondale program through the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce. I can honestly say that it was one of the most valuable experiences I've ever been a part of. Not only did it teach basic leadership skills but it did something fundamentally more important. It helped me to see and understand the forces that are acting in my community to make it a better place to live, to work, and even to raise a family.

Throughout the seven month program, we got a chance to visit community organizations from the fire station to Carbondale Community Arts. We toured facilities like SIH and Brehm Preparatory School getting an in-depth look at the unique services they provide. At each stop along the way, we saw people who were making a difference.

Having a chance to hear their stories first hand drove home for me what was the most important piece of the entire program — redefining leadership. Somewhere along our tour of the Boys and Girls Club listening to stories about the life-changing interaction that one staff member had with a young girl in crisis it dawned on me — if you can make a difference to one life, to one person, you are a leader to them.

Organizations that impact the community change lives and each and every one of these organizations are run by someone I would call a leader.

Throughout each of the day-long classes, we got to hear story after story about people making a difference. Our group had a chance to meet the people who are working to better their own communities every day. Best of all, over the course of the last seven months, I had the chance to build relationships with 13 up-and-coming young professionals who are looking for ways to be more impactful in their own right.

The national curriculum from Positive Leadership focused on key leadership skills; Authenticity, Purpose, Resilience, Community-Building, Reason and Gratitude. The ultimate goal of this program is to help develop new young leaders within the Carbondale community with the intent that they would someday step up into leadership roles through the Chamber of Commerce, City government, or other community organizations.

Our community needs more leaders to grow. Participating and supporting programs like this is one of the best ways to ensure that happens. For more information about the Leadership Carbondale program or to apply to be a part of the 2019 class visit www.CarbondaleChamberofCommerce.com/leadership-carbondale.

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