Leader group kicks off 2018 class with breakfast, retreat

Published 9:54 pm Friday, August 4, 2017

This year’s Selma-Dallas County Leadership class kicked off its 2018 session with a breakfast Friday at Vaughan Regional Medical Center.

The class, now in its 24th year, then followed up with a two-day retreat at the 4-H Center in Columbiana.

The class is a leadership, community, professional and personal development program with the purpose of creating a diverse network of individuals to serve the needs of Selma-Dallas County.

In addition to the treat, the class will meet monthly to explore such topics as economic development, education, agriculture, criminal justice, city and county government, healthcare, state government, community service, media and quality of life.

“It’s going to be a journey for you, but you will learn to be a better employee and better community leader, and we offer all of our support for that,” said John Solomon, who graduated in the program’s third class and now serves as president of Leadership. “It’s going to be a good journey, exciting journey. It’s changed a little bit from the time of Class III, but it’s still good.”

Solomon said some components of the program haven’t changed since he went through the program more than 20 years ago, but many parts have evolved with the times.

“Some of the things that are new I didn’t get to experience, but I’m going to experience some of it today,” Solomon said.

The Harriet R. Bates award was also presented Friday.

The annual honor is awarded to someone in the previous year’s class. Bates was a member of the first Leadership class and former extension office coordinator.

This year’s honoree was Kimberly Bonner, who works at the juvenile detention center and has created an after-school program in Sardis called Voices of Silent Cries.

Wallace Community College President James Mitchell spoke to this year’s Leadership class during the breakfast. Past alumni were also in attendance.

Mitchell said he was sure everyone at the kickoff event has surely been to classes and seminars on leadership.

“Well, what do you tell people that already know?” Mitchell said.

“The first thing that I’ve always recognized about leaders are they have to be someone that has truly has it within them to be transformative or make a change.”