The program this year includes 29 leaders from the community with experience in business, education, and government who take part in the nine-month class this year. This year’s class is larger than normal, with the average being 24 participants, said Chamber Vice President Shelbia Bohannon.
“We try to expose the class to everything that makes business successful in Paulding,” Bohannon said.
According to Leadership Paulding’s mission statement it “is a community-based organization committed to identifying, educating and training a diverse mix of community leaders to meet today’s challenges with tomorrow’s solution.”
The program costs $750 for each member, Bohannon said.
The group learns about different aspects of Paulding in classes which focus on health and human services; the state Legislature; government, including meeting local elected officials and learning about the obstacles and opportunities the governments face, and homeland security; tourism; education; and economic development, according to information from the chamber.
Participants also plan and undertake a class project designed to help support a part of the community in need.
To learn about the state Legislature participants went to the State Capitol to spend the day with Paulding’s elected state officials last week. For the program’s education segment the group received a chance to shadow principals in January, according to information from the chamber.
In May the class will tour the Atlanta Film Studio Paulding and the Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport.
Anita Van Brackle, site director for Kennesaw State University’s Paulding Site, decided to join the group to better understand the community and how to know how to help grow her school, she said.
“With this group of people I have been learning so much about Paulding,” Van Brackle said.
Paulding County Deputy Fire Chief Joey Pelfrey said he has learned about what other leaders in the community do.
“I wanted to know about the county’s innerworkings on a state and local level,” Pelfrey said.
He said he learned how all of the different leaders’ areas of expertise are linked together.
Van Brackle said she will be able to tell her students and faculty about the different resources they have in the community after taking this course.
“This group is comprised of a group of people who want to help other people,” she said.
The class is getting ready to start planning their group project, Bohannon said. Every year each class finds a way to give back to the community, which can range from a construction project, beautification project or planning programs for Paulding.
“As leaders you need to show that you care about the community,” Pelfrey said.
This year the project will be at the Paulding County Senior Center in Dallas. The group has not finalized what they will be doing, but they should have it planned at their meeting next month, Bohannon said.