New Leadership class embarks on learning and fun

Recently I watched proudly as two of our superstars at Shelby County Newspapers were introduced as members of the Leadership Shelby County Class of 2011.

Molly Alexander, sales manager, and Samantha Hurst, associate editor, will begin their yearlong leadership adventure soon, when they will join their fellow classmates from all over Shelby County at the Alabama 4-H center for their overnight opening retreat.

Molly and Samantha are very much looking forward to Leadership, learning more about Shelby County and meeting other county leaders from all walks of life.

As excited as they are, they have no idea the impact this wonderful program will have on their lives.

It is, indeed, life changing.

I’m no newcomer to the world of work and have participated in a variety of groups through the years — from a United Way campaign cabinet member to a chamber board member to Rotary, among others.

Leadership Shelby County has proven to be the best professional experience of my life. I have an appreciation for Shelby County I don’t think I’d have were it not for my year with Leadership’s Class of 2010.

In a nutshell, Leadership Shelby County class members devote a day a month for about 10 months to getting to know each other and getting to know Shelby County in an organized, intimate way.

Each Leadership day is devoted to learning about some aspect of Shelby County – from industry and economic development to county government to quality of life.

In addition, the Leadership class is broken into project groups.

Each group develops a project aimed at meeting some community need or making life better here.

Some of those Leadership projects have had far-reaching effects — like Paws for a Cause or the newly formed Shelby County Mental Health Court.

As much as I grew to love Shelby County, most importantly, Leadership meant for me forming bonds with some fantastic people, who I know will be part of my life for the rest of it.