Leadership Gainesville Celebrates 50th Graduating Class

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On Thursday, June 20, Leadership Gainesville graduated Class 50 at the beautiful 1908 Grand. As the longest consecutively running leadership course in the state, this milestone was a true testament of not only The Chamber’s commitment to developing strong leaders, but the commitment of our member businesses who recommended and supported their employees as they built skills, awareness, and presence in the community.

Graduates and guests enjoyed delicious food and drink, courtesy of Hill’s BBQ & Catering and The Bar Hop, before experiencing an unforgettable performance from this year’s class deans: Shannon Ritter, Brenda Cesar-Banales, and Jane Kupfer as they took Shania Twain’s “Man, I Feel Like a Woman” and playfully adapted it to “Man, I Feel Like a Leader” and were enthusiastically accompanied by pink cowboy hat clad Chamber Leadership (be sure to check out the pictures; they say so much more than we ever could).

As each graduate took the stage, they were asked to provide a one word description of their experience. These responses were as diverse as they were profound and really shed a light on the impact this program provides.

Leadership Gainesville : A Brief History

In the early 1970’s, the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, as it was once known, became aware of the need to create a forum for leaders from both the community and the University of Florida to discuss issues of importance to Gainesville and the State of Florida. At the time, there were very few leadership programs in the south and none available in Florida. In 1974, then president Finley Cannon and vice president Carrol Gray brought in a consultant, developer of the Leadership Atlanta program Gerald Horton. Brochures and applications were sent out to all Chamber members and within a week, the inaugural class was full. Since 1974, Leadership Gainesville has provided skills, community exposure, and connections to hundreds of participants.

Applications are now open for the next Leadership Gainesville class.

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