Schlaudecker: Join us in leading, connecting, growing, servingWritten by Guest Author | | GuestAuthor@toledofreepress.com
Toledo Free Press readers likely associate Leadership Toledo with one of our most successful and fun annual community events: Restaurant Week Toledo. Since the event first began four years ago, readers have learned much about Leadership Toledo’s 35-year history of inspiring community volunteerism and expanding awareness of community issues.
Consider the following four words: Lead. Connect. Grow. Serve. For the almost 2,100 Leadership Toledo adult and youth graduates, these four words define the experiences that they received as class members because each learned the pivotal role we play in fostering leadership and development for greater Toledo residents.
Leadership Toledo graduates represent both this community’s veteran and young leaders of today. We are not the new kid on the block; we are respected for both our knowledge of Toledo’s history and traditions and for possessing the insight necessary to help foster resurgence throughout the Toledo region.
Leadership Toledo challenges both adults (Community Leadership Toledo) and youth (Youth Leadership Toledo, Youth In Philanthropy Encouraging Excellence [YIPEE] and Youth Jefferson Awards/Students In Action) to explore what their leadership styles, roles and responsibilities are and how to impact others. These skills help transform their workplaces, their schools and our communities into places that thrive with enthusiasm for charity, service to others and teamwork.
Lead. Connect. Grow. Serve. These words demand action — just like the issues that face our nation. History offers names of many men and women who demanded action. Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln and Gandhi: Are these the names that you associate with leadership or are you fortunate, like me, to recall examples of great leaders who exist not just in history books but right in the Toledo area?
When asked to define leadership, I think of a member of one of our earliest Youth Leadership Toledo classes who took what he learned during our programs to Cambridge, Mass., and started a youth philanthropy organization while attending Harvard. He has grown significantly since his high school years and has returned to the greater Toledo community where he stays connected as a volunteer board member for several local nonprofit organizations.
I think of another Youth Leadership Toledo graduate whose commitment to serve and her philanthropic endeavors gained her leadership of her professional fraternity. She continues to serve as a law student at the University of Toledo. I also recall a recent graduate of our adult program who accepted the challenge to help transform a troubled local agency to one of efficiency and stability. It is difficult to limit the number of examples because there are so many and each is as impressive as the next.
Lead. Connect. Grow. Serve. These words define Leadership Toledo and that is how we lead community involvement. The question now is, do you want the experience? Opportunities to join the next Leadership Toledo class in September are limited.
For more information, visit www.leadershiptoledo.org, or call the office at (419) 241-7371.
Dave Schlaudecker is executive director of Leadership Toledo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.