Chamber’s Leadership Program a needed — and valuable — asset

The Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce offers an array of services that are advantageous to the business community. Among them is the Leadership Program, an eight-month intensive study of Sampson County and the things that shape it.

Without question, it is one of the most unique and vital programs offered to those in new leadership roles throughout the business community and beyond.

This week, the latest Leadership group completed their journey of knowledge, graduating from the program that, when completed, had armed them with a plethora of knowledge about the inter-workings of government, business and industry, education and politics, couched between the forging of new relationships and the networking of minds.

There are any number of reasons why we believe this decade-old program continues to be a viable option for up and coming leaders in our community, not the least of which is the information gained during field trips that take folks into worlds they might have thought they knew but quickly realized they didn’t.

Those graduating from the program this week used words like “eye-opening,” “intriguing,” and “fascinating” to describe the months-long journey they took, participating in day-long field trips that took them into industries like Smithfield and Schindler, businesses like Star Communication and government entities like the city of Clinton, the N.C. Legislature, the county of Sampson and both public school systems. A visit to the Sampson County Detention Center is often part of the package as well, an often jaw-dropping awakening of life lived behind bars.

For more than 10 years, Chamber officials have offered the Leadership Program, and each time a class graduates they walk away saying it was perhaps the best experience they have ever had. That includes long-time Sampson County residents and leaders who didn’t expect to learn all that much from a program that offered a birds-eye view of the county’s inter-workings. What they learned, however, was that even those who had been a part of Sampson for most, if not all, of their lives, learned new things while taking part in the behind-the-scenes offerings that came only through the Leadership Program.

It truly is a gem among the many and varied offerings provided to Sampsonians both through the Chamber and other entities in our great county.

The eight-month program provides participants exposure to everything from agriculture and industry to government and business, opening a world of knowledge about the county’s economics as well as how things get done, and why they get done as they do.

Everyone who has participated in the program has said they walk away better for having taken part. We’ve no doubt that is true.

It’s why we believe this is one program Chamber leaders need to hang on to and, if possible hone, giving others the opportunity to be a part of something special, something that gives even the long-time businessman or woman a deeper understanding of the county they love so much.

We tip our hat to the Chamber and all those who make the Leadership Program possible each year for providing something that is not only needed but extremely valuable to all those who take the time to absorb all that is offered.

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