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Chambers leadership class refocusing on leadership
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The chamber’s Leadership Newton County program is changing its focus to, well, improving leaders.

The annual eight-month program, organized by the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce, has become an orientation and networking class, lacking true leadership development.

"We realized that over the last several years the concept of LNC had lost its bearings and its mission," chamber President Hunter Hall, who is on the LNC committee and has experience training leaders, said.

"We’ve always done a good job of orienting people to the county and local government and how all the different community components fit together to create a quality of life that people desire, but we did little to no leadership development, so we added a new component this year."

This year, the committee will try and orient and develop leaders.

Chamber members can pay to send a employee to the class, which meets once a month for eight months and covers a variety of topics, including economic development, local government, nonprofit group and public safety.

This year, part of each class will be devoted entirely to leadership training, which will be led by Hall. One of the key aspects will be real-world application. Class members will have to choose an issue at their work or in their community and develop a plan to address that issue, whether it’s a problem or an opportunity.

The training will build off the idea of the four hats, or responsibilities, of a leader: spokesperson, direction setter, change agent and coach. Class members will be have to decide what role they need to assume in order to tackle their specific problem.

LNC Committee Chairman Mike Petroff said he’s excited to see the program taking a new direction.

"When I originally went through the class four years was a fun, I had a good time, but what the name says wasn’t there," Petroff said.

As he spent time on the committee, Petroff realized the program needed to be tweaked, and with Hall in place, he saw a perfect time to make the change.

"The thing that’s the most exciting is that the leadership class members will have a chance to realize what type of leader they are and how they can grow," Petroff said. "If you know who are and you know your role in the community and in your business…you can give 100 percent of yourself in that role."

Because of the new nature of the program, Hall said people who have completed the class are welcome to complete the class again.

In addition, the chamber is offering more condensed leadership training to small business and industries. There will be three separate one-hour sessions, and the chamber already has session scheduled with Clairon Metals, Newton County government’s department heads and Eastridge Community Church.

For more information about LNC or individual company training contact the chamber at 770-786-7510.