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Valparaiso Chamber Leadership Academy



The Valparaiso Chamber Leadership Academy graduated its 10th class, strengthening its collaboration with Purdue Extension. Sixteen participants completed the program this year, which included 40 hours of class time on topics such as conflict management, interpersonal communication and economic development, as well as tours, networking opportunities and guest speakers.

Purdue Extension’s Kris Parker was part of the initial team that created the Leadership Academy in 2006 and returned last year to serve as the facilitator of the program. She helped merge the strengths of the existing program with renewed focus on skill development and experiential learning opportunities offered by Purdue’s new Community Leadership Program curriculum. Helping lead sessions this year were Purdue Extension’s George Okantey, Steve Yoder, Mary Foell, Samm Johnson and Tamara Ogle.

Some quotes from participants:

  • “I have made new friends and understand what it takes to add value to my community. I realize how critical my leadership is and how much my community depends on it.”
  • “I want to get more involved in the community and join different events. I also learned to read my staff better to help coach them in a more positive way.”
  • “I thought this class was fantastic. This is a class that should be mandatory for all leaders to attend. I think most people are trapped in their own bubble of what leadership is, but this class really broadens your horizons to help you lead in many different ways.”
  • “The Academy was inspiring. The facilitator was truly a part of the group and made the experience special. I will remember my experience forever.”

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