Leadership Institute seeks trainees | TheUnion.com

Leadership Institute seeks trainees

Dan BurkhartBobbie Swanson, outgoing facilitator of Nevada County Community Leadership Institute, poses in her office at Lutz Center in Grass Valley.
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If you aspire to a role in shaping your community’s future or simply want to learn more about what makes our area tick, then the Nevada County Community Leadership Institute wants you.

Founded in 1996 by Sierra College-Nevada County Campus, United Way of Nevada County, the Grass Valley/Nevada County Chamber of Commerce and the Nevada County Business Association, NCCLI is a 10-month program that begins each September.

Participants meet monthly to learn about and discuss issues critical to western Nevada County and develop the leadership skills necessary to deal with them, said Bobbie Swanson, NCCLI facilitator and Lutz Center Adult Day Services executive director.

Up to 25 participants are selected each year by the NCCLI Steering Committee, which will begin recruiting for the class of 2002-03 this month.

“We try to get a good cross section of people representing all segments of our community,” said steering committee member Mary Ann Mueller, president and chief executive officer of the Grass Valley/Nevada County Chamber of Commerce. “We look for all ideas so all philosophies can be discussed.”

The steering committee is also looking for a facilitator to replace Swanson, who’s stepping down after seven years.

“My job as facilitator was to provide the continuity and consistency from class to class,” she said.

The purpose of the leadership institute, Swanson said, is to give participants the opportunity to look beyond their own area of interests and passions and to collaborate on improving the community.

“It allows them to get outside of their own box and see how policy decisions in their area of expertise impact other critical areas of interest in the community,” she said.

Swanson said the most important outcome for participants is the ability to network with people they wouldn’t have otherwise met.

“It gives them the opportunity to talk one-on-one with many of the major leaders in our community,” she said.

A number of success stories have come out of the leadership institute, said steering committee member Paul Norsell, executive director of the Nevada County Business Association.

“The alumni association is kind of a who’s who of the county now, and that’s a credit to the quality of the program,” he said.

NCCLI alumni include former county Supervisor Karen Knecht; Grass Valley Vice Mayor Patti Ingram; Joe Boeckx, superintendent of the Nevada Joint Union High School District; and Weaver Auto and Truck Center co-owner Matt Weaver.

Supervisor Peter Van Zant graduated from the first NCCLI class in 1996.

“It’s a good way to bring people up to speed quickly on the history of Nevada County and also how the different segments function and relate to one other,” Van Zant said. “I met some very interesting people who are making a difference in Nevada County.”

Alumni come back after graduation to teach their area of expertise.

“I’m honored to get a chance to return to teach on Government Day at the institute,” Van Zant said.

• For more information on how to join next year’s class or apply for the position of facilitator, call steering committee chairwoman Tina Ludutsky-Taylor at 274-5301.

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