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Leading Diverse Communities – A New Leadership Greenville Lab

Posted by: Nika White on Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Leadership development training continues to be a popular solution for grooming professionals to become more effective leaders.  Offering robust leadership development programs that can prove to increase leadership effectiveness helps justify the value of investment of time and financial resources and enhances individual and organizational performance. Leadership Greenville (LG), a 10-month leadership development program offered by Greenville Chamber of Commerce for Upstate South Carolina residents, is an example of a program established to increase volunteerism and enhance leadership effectiveness. LG’s goal is to help develop informed, committed, and qualified leaders by taking an intensive look into the issues affecting Greenville County. Effective leadership skills are paramount for strong organizations and thriving communities.  LG’s goal is to help develop knowledgeable, dedicated, and competent leaders by taking an exhaustive look into the concerns affecting Greenville County. On average, each year 50 – 60 business and community leaders participate in LG demonstrating the program’s influence in the local market.  The program consisting of experiential visits, labs, group capstone projects, networking opportunities and monthly full-day leadership training, prepares and motivates participants to provide quality, dynamic leadership within the greater Greenville, SC area. Since the program’s inception in 1973, there have been approximately 2000 graduates. Many alumni serve in key leadership positions within their businesses and organizations, as well as city council, county council, school board, and members of Congress. Participants chosen demonstrate ability to set and achieve high personal goals. New classes embark each year on a journey to understand the inner-workings of the Greenville, SC area, including Managed Growth and the Economy, Quality of Life, Human Services, Local Government, Justice, Education and State Government.  Each class selects a project to meet a need in the Greenville community.  Proposal submissions from local nonprofits determine class projects. It is a goal of LG stakeholders to ensure that the totality of the LG experience sensitizes participants to the needs of the community creating stronger desire for volunteer leadership.  Participants of LG see the big picture of the issues relevant to Greenville, which leads to solutions.  LG provides the opportunity for participants to answer the call of public service.  Opportunities for personal growth include assessments of learning and leadership styles, people skills, and problem solving.  Class sessions include presentations, panel discussions, experiential learning, and interaction between cohorts and presenters.  The objective of the program is for graduates to become better informed, enthusiastic, and well networked to develop and implement solutions that positively influence their respective organizations and community. There’s a new addition to this year’s LG class, a half day experiential lab focused on exercises to help LG participants lead diverse communities.  Leadership Greenville Class 41 will be the first class to participate in this newly added lab to the curriculum. This workshop will be hosted at Furman University and is based on a model that is very popular with universities, corporations, government agencies, religious institutions and company organizations throughout the world. The creators of this successful model is National Coalition Building Institute (NCIB). NCBI is a nonprofit leadership training organization based in Washington DC with chapters all over. You can learn more at The workshop consists of a series of incremental, experiential activities that provide peer training strategies for welcoming diversity and leading diverse communities – a great alignment to the mission of LG. The workshop is designed to help leaders understand the dynamics of oppression by working through  a series of personal and small group explorations. In short, participants learn to:
  • Celebrate their similarities and differences
  • Recognize the misinformation they have learned about various groups
  • Identify and heal from internalized oppression/discrimination
  • Identify and express pride in the groups to which they belong
  • Understand the personal impact of specific incidents of discrimination
  • Learn how to interrupt inappropriate or discriminatory remarks
Congratulations to LG Class 41 and best of luck! Learn more about CAPACITY, Greenville Chamber’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative Follow CAPACITY on Twitter Like CAPACITY on Facebook Check out the CAPACITY YouTube Channel


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