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By Chevon T. Baccus APR
Executive Editor 

Leadership Lake Wales Graduates 13 from 9-month Program


Last updated 8/1/2019 at 11:33am

Chevon Baccus

Leadership Lake Wales Class 23 after graduation

Thirteen area residents completed their 9-month program June 6 and became graduates of Leadership Lake Wales Class 23.

After enjoying a pasta dinner at the American Legion at Eagle Ridge Mall, the classmates talked about learning many new things about Lake Wales and forming bonds that will last well into the future.

The Leadership Lake Wales group held an opening retreat in September and a closing retreat in May and met monthly for a daylong session devoted to a particular topic, visiting various businesses and community organizations to learn more about health care, agriculture, education, arts and tourism, county and city government and industry. The group also took a two-day trip to Tallahassee to explore how state government operated during the legislative session.

Leadership Lake Wales is a program of the Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council, operated through the Chamber's Lake Wales Area Foundation. The program costs $1,300 for Chamber members and $1,600 for non-members, but partial scholarships are available.

According to program materials Leadership Lake Wales seeks to "develop a network of resourceful, informed and proactive leaders who will create a more vibrant community.

"Leadership Lake Wales seeks to develop visionary approaches and collaborative behavior in graduates who occupy or will assume leadership roles in organizations within the community."

At the closing banquet, class members Kat Gates-Skipper, David Vanlerberg and David Brown shared some of the more memorable experiences, but all came back to the importance of the relationships they formed with fellow classmates.

On behalf of the class, Kathy Bangley expressed appreciation and presented a bouquet of flowers to this year's program coordinator, attorney Sara Jones. Vanlerberg will be coordinating the program for Class 24.

Chevon Baccus

Leadership Class Member Kathy Bangley presents flowers to program coordinator Sara Jones

Leadership Lake Wales Class 23 graduates include: Kathy Bangley, City of Lake Wales; David Black, Lake Wales Police Department; Warren Brown, Polk State College; Julie Diaz, The Vanguard School; Greg Edwards, Lake Wales Medical Center; Kat Gates-Skipper, Kat & Son Airport Transportation; Marcos Gianini, Florida's Natural Growers; Curtis Gibson, City of Lake Wales; Shay Hixenbaugh, Polk Avenue Elementary; Terrance Horne, Green & Gold Foundation; Michele Lescard, Lake Wales Care Center; Allison Snyder, Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce; and David Vanlerberg, Lake Wales Care Center.

People attending the Leadership graduation, which include program alumni, were asked to nominate at least three current or emerging community leaders for the Class 24 program. Individuals also can self-nominate once the program application is available. For more information, call the Chamber at 863-676-3445.

Author Bio

Chevon T. Baccus APR, Contributing Writer

After working as a newspaper reporter and editor for eight years, Chevon moved on to a long career in public relations, marketing and business development. After 2 1/2 years as founding publisher of she's happy to still be an occasional contributor.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 8636511065


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