Leadership Rockingham graduates Class of 2020Jun 11, 2020
The Rockingham Community College Foundation and the Chambers of Commerce of Reidsville, Eden and Western Rockingham, just graduated another class of Leadership Rockingham.
The program, which kicked off in September 2019 at the Morehead-Fair House in Eden, has a rich history in Rockingham County, with nearly two dozen classes of community leaders.
Leadership Rockingham began in 1996 with seed money from Duke Energy. Over time, it has changed and developed, according to the needs of the community.
A multi-dimensional program, Leadership Rockingham is designed to identify individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to the community through service and have the ability to assume expanded responsibilities. Participants are exposed to group problem solving, personality profiles, and creative thinking scenarios.
This was the second time Randy Hunt went through Leadership Rockingham.
“I got a lot out of it. In the late 1990s I took it, but the entire program was held in a classroom, said Hunt, Eden’s Main Street manager. Over the years Leadership Rockingham has evolved, and now includes numerous activities across the county.
Monthly day-long sessions, held September through May, were facilitated by Madison native Liz Penn.
“She did a good job being able to dive deeper into conversations and motivations, to have people question their opinions, their leadership abilities, and to really think about issues they can change, and how to get to the root of some things that cause people not to be able to be effective leaders,” Hunt said.
“I saw, over the course of the class, several people get out of their comfort zones and make some things happen,” he said. “Vicky Hale is a prime example. I always thought she was a strong person anyway … anyone who can take a leap of faith and open a small business like she did … there’s a leader deep inside of her that I think she was able to pull out.”
Hale, owner of Elite Driving School, agreed.
“What I gained through Leadership Rockingham was the courage to step up my game with my leadership skills. I’ve dabbled in it a little here and there with committees and boards, but I struggled to put myself into a much larger role. I’m trying to be there for my community … it’s a big step for me,” she said.
Hale appreciated being able to see how other businesses operate, and the chance to try new things, like boating down a local river, walking up beside a huge bull at the NC A&T farm in Wentworth, and touring the Pine Hall Brick plant in Madison.
Hale said she had always wondered about the NC A&T farm, but would never have approached someone there to ask what was going on and why the trees were being cleared from the property.
“I can actually do that now … I will stop and ask somebody, ‘Whatcha doin’?’” she said. “I’ve grown in confidence, more than anything.”
Hunt said one of the biggest benefits of Leadership Rockingham is the people.
“The wonderful thing that I got out of it personally was meeting some of these emerging leaders – these will be the people that make change in the future – and being able to network with them. They will open up their network to you because you built up a trust over the course of several months,” he said. “You can figure out what people are about, spending this amount of time with them, and it will give you better access to make things happen. It’s good the chambers can work together on this; it’s good for the entire county.”
Hale enjoyed meeting her classmates as well.
“I enjoyed getting to know everybody and making friends,” she said. “I know people see it as networking, but it’s more than that for me because I can see running into one of them being like seeing my friend I haven’t seen for a while.”
Although the Class of 2020 has graduated, they continue to work on their class project, which had to veer from the tradition of being a hands-on effort. Due to the governor’s restrictions on the number of people who could gather, the Class chose to do a virtual fundraiser for local small businesses. The Class created a GoFundMe page, “Rockingham County Small Business Relief Fund,” with a goal of raising $10,000 by the end of June.
“We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel and try to vet those businesses ourselves,” Hunt said, so the Class will turn over the donations to the county for its microbusiness relief project that provides grants to small business owners.
The Leadership Rockingham Class of 2020 includes:
Inge’ Lynette Benim of Gildan Activewear
David Bundy of Cone Health/Annie Penn Hospital
Jessica Brooke Chandler of Press Glass (formerly of HomeTrust Bank)
Haywood Cloud Jr. of the City of Reidsville
Jeffrey Garstka of the City of Reidsville
Victoria Hale of Elite Driving School
Chief Robert Hassell of the Reidsville Police Department
Randall Hunt of the City of Eden
Shannon Hurd of Hire Dynamics
Angela Martin of Rockingham County Schools
Morgan Moore of First Citizens Bank and Trust
Lindsay Morris of McMichael Mills
Mark Nicholson of Gildan Activewear
Shaunna Overman of The Overman Group
Tara Pruett of UNC Rockingham Hospital
Sheila Regan of Rockingham Community College
Phillip Ray Stone of A New Dawn Realty
Timothy Tuggle of State Employees Credit Union
“I would highly encourage anybody who wants to make some positive change in the county to go through Leadership Rockingham,” Hunt said.
For information on the next Leadership Rockingham contact one of the following:
• RCC Foundation: 336-342-4261, ext. 2201/2106
• Eden Chamber: 336-623-3336 or firstname.lastname@example.org
• Reidsville Chamber: 336-349-8481 or email@example.com
• Western Rockingham Chamber: 336-548-6248 or firstname.lastname@example.org