In the spring of 2015, a group of attendees at the DeKalb Chamber Partnership’s annual Leadercast event recognized a striking realization. Despite the event's strong attendance, there were many of the community’s traditional leaders not in attendance, not to mention a missed opportunity to engage with emerging leaders. The realization was also made that our county had many key leadership positions (Community Foundation ED, CVB ED, Museum ED, Economic Development ED, City Mayors, County Officials, just to name a few), that were nearing retirement eligibility. Their years of service had laid a foundation for our community in some of the most important areas but had done little to cultivate and attract a pipeline of future leaders. While we had strong non-profit organizations, it was not uncommon for local philanthropists to be sitting on multiple boards, spreading themselves unreasonably thin. Since that time, various community projects, consultants, and surveys have continued to recognize this as a major issue in DeKalb County. Although we have been able to fill key leadership positions with very capable and engaged people, we have done so by reaching outside of our community time and time again. As a community dedicated to ‘plugging the brain drain’, we need to set our sights on creating ways of keeping young people engaged in the conversation and active in key roles in our county. Creating a robust leadership development program is the solution.
Leading, engaging, and activating DeKalb County is the key to cultivating a thriving community. In today's fast-paced, ever-changing world, a community must help connect, train, and grow its pool of leaders in a way that is intentional and sustainable. When people become more knowledgeable, connected, and compassionate, not only do they feel more invested in their community, but they feel more responsible for its future. Leadership DeKalb is positioned to be a catalyst for this effort. The program will challenge community champions at all levels of influence to cope with the complexities of the day, take informed risks, and put what is good for the community at the center of their decision-making- both personally and professionally. These trained individuals will be armed with a deep understanding of themselves and their community. They will have honed the skills to maximize their collective and individual strengths to drive positive change through leadership and civic responsibility. By balancing world-renowned training and facilitation with a local emphasis, Leadership DeKalb will be uniquely positioned to reach a broad sector of emerging leaders and encourage them to step up into key roles and lean into courageous leadership strategies.
We know our community is desperate for brave leaders who are willing to show up, dig in, and help to create a future for DeKalb County that is inclusive, forward-thinking, and innovative. We believe that to scale leadership and cultivate a culture in our community where brave hearts, respectful conversations, and innovation are the expectation, we need a program that is different. We need a program that is tailored for our community, with a balance of local experts and fresh perspectives. This program will create leaders that are aligned with their core values, foster trust and equity, and move us to a place where courageous leadership is the expectation.
Trin / DeKalb LEADS Alumni
DeKalb Chamber Partnership
The James Foundation
DeKalb LEADS Facilitator
Team Quality Services
Garrett-Keyser-Butler Community School District
Community Foundation DeKalb County