BY MARK WEBER
The Leadership Centre of Central Alberta, based in Red Deer, continues to offer new opportunities to help shape future local leaders via a number of programs and learning opportunities.
“They originally got together about 50 community leaders and said, ‘Let’s talk about this. What happens 20 or 30 years down the road when we start seeing the exodus from our companies, public and non-profit organizations and also what about our volunteer sector’,” explained Linda Wilson, executive director, of the very beginnings of the organization.
The question was and is, ‘How are we nurturing that leadership community spirit?’
“We’re not only learning about leadership, but we are also learning about each other, our different sectors, and how we all contribute to a healthy Central Alberta – breaking down some of those barriers,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity also for them to peel back those layers and really let them see how they have a lot in common – more in common then they realize.”
According to their web site, “Our programs integrate practical skill development and time to practice the new learning, all within a supportive environment.
“Our goal is to have a diverse group of current and emerging leaders.”
Today, there are three major components to The Leadership Centre – Leadership 101, Leadership 201 and Leadership 301, said Wilson. Leadership 101 is designed for front-line staff who are beginning to develop their personal leadership skills. Leadership 201 is designed for those who are already in supervisory, team lead, or management roles and who would like to focus on enhancing skills in leading others.
And Leadership 203 is for CEOs or executive directors who are responsible for operating and managing companies and organizations. Wilson said after a time, it became apparent that individual programs had to be developed for the above groups.
Wilson said Leadership 201 just kicked off and Leadership 301’s opening retreat is Dec. 1st. She’s still recruiting for that one, and Leadership 101 begins in January.
“We’ve also asked, how can we be true to our mandate, look at some way of generating some money for us while really supporting our key components of what we trying to do in the community? So that’s where the Leadership Conference came from.”
The fourth one was held just this past September. “It’s great support for our alumni. It’s also a great opportunity for people who haven’t even touched any of our programs and don’t know about us – it’s a great leadership opportunity within our community as well.”
Wilson said the programs have grown remarkably, with several organizations sending more and more of their staff each year to take part.
She added the 201 program has proven to be particularly popular. “We start in November, they graduate in June and they are working on individual goals, challenging themselves. We also challenge them to pick one work-related goal, two personal and one community goal to really get them going. Where can they connect where they may have wanted to before, but were perhaps a little shy or didn’t know where to start? Let us help you and connect you with something in the community that maybe you haven’t had a chance to before.”
Community projects also link participants with the non-profit sector in particular.
“It allows them to see and really gain a new respect about what these non-profits are doing out there,” she said. “The community projects are also a great way for them to practice the skills they are learning through the program and to really develop those team skills in working with others – knowing when to lead or when they need to pull back and encourage and support others.”
Ultimately, careful planning has made The Leadership Centre that much more effective, she said.
“It’s like we’ve made every component as deliberately as we can, so it’s a rich experience.”
And yes, pretty much anyone can hone those leadership skills. “Anybody could be a leader – there are very strong leaders from any of the different temperament styles.”
Check out www.theleadershipcentre.ca.