In 1992, The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce gathered twenty-five up-and-coming leaders to become the first-ever Mesa County Leadership Class. Tasked with learning more about what made our community operate and how they could become civically engaged to ensure future economic prosperity, this class carved the path to what has become three decades of dedicated business leaders in our community.
Graduates of the inaugural Mesa County Leadership Class included names we all have become familiar with such as Tom Benton, Lonny Suplizio, Michael Russell, Wayne Wright, and the Daily Sentinels’ own – Gary Harmon.
Since then, an annual average of 20 next-generation business leaders have dedicated one day a month (sometimes more) to learning everything they can about what it means to be a leader in our business community as participants of our latest Mesa County Leadership Program. That amounts to over 600 dedicated individuals who have actively taken steps to bolster and support our business community as committee leaders.
Known for its interactive and on-site sessions, this program “pulls back the curtain” and truly gives these future leaders an up-close look at what keeps our community thriving and the economy growing.
Spending time exploring the impact and importance of water and education in our Valley, conversing with local, state, and industry leaders about what keeps our economy thriving, understanding the impact of healthcare, and braving self-evaluation to grow personal leadership skills is only just a sample of the hard work these individuals put in to complete the course.
By discovering and learning about these essential elements in our community, participants in the Mesa County Leadership Program gain an understanding of the importance of not only being successful in their professional careers, but also finding ways to give back to this community we live, work, and play in.
Recent graduate Andrea Lopez, External Affairs Manager at the Ute Water Conservancy District says “The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce’s Mesa County Leadership class was extremely beneficial to the knowledge of my community. As an individual that has lived here my entire life, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I learned about Mesa County and the pillars of our community through the leadership course.” Lopez went on to say “The course is unmatched and does a great job of connecting participants with organizations and leaders in the community who are instrumental to our thriving community.”
Many graduates have gone on to lead a variety of non-profit boards, community initiatives, and even seek elected office. Most notably, both former Mesa County Assessor, Ken Brownlee, and current Mesa County Commissioner Cody Davis are alumni of this program.
“Business leaders are more effective when they step outside their daily work environment and immerse themselves in a different perspective.” said long-time steering committee member, Dan Prinster.
It’s safe to say this program’s impact on our community is undeniable. This year marks the 30th anniversary of its creation and to celebrate, a record 30 participants are currently emersed in learning about the many puzzle pieces of our community’s big picture.
Applications for the next class will be available in April. If you or someone else you know in our business community is interested in learning how to take the next steps as a true business leader, contact Candace Carnahan at email@example.com for more information.