Great leaders have power to make you believe

Published 9:00 pm Wednesday, May 20, 2015

By JERRIA MARTIN | Columnist

Great leaders have the power to make you believe. They don’t only have the influence to make you believe in them. They empower you to believe in yourself, and in others. The most gifted of leaders help you to believe in the miraculous power of our awesome God.

Did you know that we have an ingenious program that skillfully nurtures and intricately molds great leaders here in Selma?

Over the past nine years I’ve graduated from over 10 different institutions and leadership programs: from Stillman College, to the Leading Edge Institute of Alabama, to the Israeli/ Palestinian Conflict Resolution Leadership program in Jerusalem. I give glory to God for all of these accomplishments. All of them mean a lot to me. However, on Monday evening I graduated from Leadership Selma-Dallas County and this accomplishment meant the world to me.

Leadership Selma-Dallas County is a leadership, community, professional and personal development program with the purpose to create a diverse leadership network of individuals that are able to more effectively serve the needs of Selma-Dallas County. Participants become better acquainted with the leaders in the community and with the development of the community. They learn more about themselves and one another; participate in engaging dialogue, have an opportunity to express ideas; develop core skills and develop and implement a class project that will have a lasting impact on the community.

Leadership Selma-Dallas has made me believe more in myself, in the members of our community who are striving to make a difference, and in God, who has His restorative and redeeming hands on our city and her people.

As a younger leader growing up, my mother taught me Albert Camus’ famous quote,

“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”

This program instilled in us the significance of being a diverse and versatile leader, understanding that there is a time to follow and a time to lead. But, Leadership Selma-Dallas means the world to me because now I have 21 friends who love Selma as much as I do.

Congratulations to the extraordinary class of 21! Selma now has 21 more great leaders and the best is yet to come! Thank you for electing and entrusting Alvin Craig and me to be members of the board of directors for Leadership Selma-Dallas County. We will serve well and will continue to push Selma to believe that there is hope for us, because there is dynamic, empowering, and uplifting hope in great leaders.

Jerria Martin is the coordinator for the 21st century youth leadership movement.