Leadership Richardson – Cultivating community trustees for more than three decades

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May 26, 2016
A view from the Chamber board room

by Beth Kolman, Community Relations Manager, Cisco Systems and RCC board of directors

The Richardson Chamber of Commerce offers many valuable programs and services to the community; one shining example, in which I personally participated, is Leadership Richardson. And with this year’s program application deadline rapidly approaching, now is the ideal time to celebrate Leadership Richardson’s community contributions to date.

Through this nine-month annual program, running from September to May, participants from diverse backgrounds meet monthly to explore various aspects of the community, including arts and cultural diversity, business and economic development, local government, health care, public education, public safety and social services.

These leaders gain a greater understanding of what makes Richardson unique, how the community functions and how to solve problems collaboratively. They develop personal leadership skills, make valuable connections with other local leaders and foster friendships that last a lifetime.

The ultimate goal is to build better leaders for the whole community, and to instill an abiding commitment to community trusteeship. After 31 classes since the program’s inception, nearly 1,100 graduates have gone on to help make Richardson stronger.

The program’s success is self-evident: graduates hold numerous city, community and non-profit board or commission leadership positions. For example, currently, five of the seven City Council seats and four of the seven RISD School Board seats are held by Leadership Richardson graduates.

As a Leadership Richardson alumna, I can attest to benefiting in many ways. Not only have I used LR experience in my professional role, but also in my personal life. I’ve enjoyed serving several terms on the city’s Cultural Arts Commission, and am currently the chair, but I would not have been aware of the opportunity to participate without hearing about it in LR. As a theater lover, the chance to get to know the amazing arts organizations through the commission has been an incredible experience, and all thanks to LR!  I’m very proud to tell people that I’m a graduate of Leadership Richardson.

Leadership Richardson is seeking applicants now for its 32nd class (2016-17), with a June 17 application deadline. I strongly encourage those who care deeply about Richardson’s rich heritage and vibrant future to apply.

For an application or more information, please visit leadershiprichardson.com. It’s a great way to learn more about Richardson, to build life-long skills and connections, and to give back!
Beth Kolman is Cisco Systems’ Community Relations Manager and a member of the Richardson Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. “View from the Boardroom” is a recurring guest column featuring viewpoints from Richardson business and civic leaders, produced in cooperation with the Chamber.