Local News

Leadership program gets help with grant from foundation

A community-wide leadership program of the Garden City Area Chamber of Commerce has received a Kansas Health Foundation grant of $100,000.

Date: 4/14/2009

Posted by Finney County Community Health Coalition on 4/14/2009


By SHAJIA AHMAD

sahmad@gctelegram.com

To allow the local program to continue providing servant leadership training for local community members. The program, known as "Every Voice," focuses on teaching leadership skills individuals can use in the private and public sectors and is better known as servant leadership, said Lisa Knoll, the chairwoman of the Leadership Garden City Board of Directors.

Communities, Knoll said, need leaders who have a clear vision and the ability to bring people together to achieve common goals, part of the philosophy behind servant leadership. "We have all kinds of people who take the class, from teachers to accountants to church pastors, all from different education levels and experiences," Knoll said.

"The program can help people on a business level or personal level, and they can use the skills at home, at work or at church." Knoll, who also works as a development manager with the Kansas Children's Service League, said the philosophy behind servant leadership education is that leaders must learn to lead with a greater appreciation for and commitment to those they serve. Leadership should not serve an authoritative role but rather the role of a collaborator who develops a relationship based on partnership.

The first Leadership Garden City program was taught in 1988, and dozens of area business leaders and employees have taken part in the organization's programs since, Knoll said. The grant will provide additional funding to the organization's existing endowment at the Western Kansas Community Foundation, a huge honor for her organization, Knoll said.

Every Voice classes are scheduled for this summer and fall, and the cost for the course is $350 per individual, Knoll said. Traditionally, many businesses have sponsored their employees for the course, and scholarships contributing to up to half the tuition are available, she said. In addition to the Kansas Health Foundation, funding for Leadership Garden City is provided by Commerce Bank, Lewis, Hooper & Dick LLC, State Farm Agent Robert Unruh, Southwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Center, the city of Garden City and Southwest Kansas Regional Prevention Center. Leadership Garden City still is accepting sponsors, Knoll said.

For more information or to enroll in upcoming classes, call the chamber at 276-3264