Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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June 18, 2014

A strong Athens starts with its leadership

Athens — A strong community is built and developed by those willing to volunteer time to become and train leaders.

As the City of Athens continues to grow, the Athens Leadership Institute is gearing up for another session.

Athens Chamber of Commerce Office Manager Becky Smith said the deadline for applications is June 30.

“Leadership is so much more than supervision or planning, financial management or even vision,” Smith said. “It is a world view, a choice to lead a life of engagement in things that matter.  Leadership cannot be taught. It's even a question among the experts whether it can be modeled. It must be experienced first hand. This investment now in your up-and coming leaders will plant them firmly in the center of their community, as well as your organization.”

The Athens Leadership Institute is a program of the Athens Chamber of Commerce that endeavors to train both existing and emerging leaders in the knowledge and skills to help them make a real difference in the Athens community.

The stated purpose of the Institute when founded in 1983 — as explained in an Athens Review article printed that year — is to “provide a forum for and increase the awareness of potential leaders, giving them an intense course which encompasses a broad scope of community concerns.”

Hundreds have graduated the program since it was founded, with several taking it more than once.

“ALI brings out the best in people, and will invite you to step up to your potential,” Smith said. “You will meet friends for life, engage with organizations that need your spirit and participation, and learn about all the places your leadership can make a difference.”

The Athens Leadership Institute has been opening the minds and hearts of many in Athens for 30 years. The many opportunities of leadership enrichment started with the first session in 1983 graduating in 1984.

“Every organization has those people who show great promise, from the smallest to the largest companies. For those leaders-in-training, and even for those who have already made it to the top, the ALI program is a must,” Smith said.

With classes filling up fast, applications must be submitted to the Chamber of Commerce office at 201 W. Corsicana St., Suite 1, Athens, TX 75751 on or before 5 p.m., Monday, June 30.

Those who commit to the program will be required to attend an orientation retreat in September, and attend one full day session per month. An overnight trip to Austin will be held in February at an additional cost.

Tuition for the leadership institute is $495 for non-chamber members and $350 for chamber members.

Applications are available at the chamber office. For more information, call the chamber at 903-675-5181.

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