What is a leader? You can ask this question of 100 people and receive as many responses. With consistency, however, you will find the following traits among great leaders. A leader has conviction in her beliefs and the courage to pursue those beliefs in the face of opposition. A leader can rally people to accomplish goals bigger than himself. A leader sees the potential in people and helps instill in them the desire and fortitude to reach their true potential. A leader has a vision coupled with the tenacity and passion to create the action plan to inspire others to stretch to reach it. While some may say leadership can be lonely at the top, I know a group of leaders who may beg to differ.
Tempe is the fortunate recipient of 25 years of leadership graduates from the Tempe Leadership program. Nearly 500 leaders have graduated from the 9-month program and their impact on the community can be seen in and countless ways.
While it’s easy to recognize the big names associated with any program, Tempe Leadership is no exception. The Tempe Leadership program has prestigious alumni who hold titles including mayor, state and federal representatives, state senators, city council members, fire chiefs, CEOs of public and private companies and executive directors at non-profit agencies, to name only a few positions. But leadership is so much more than a title. It’s the cumulative effects of months and years of training that result in leaders who make a difference that you see in your home, your neighborhood, your community. It’s the schoolteacher who dedicated nine months of her life to the Tempe Leadership program to learn how to make a difference in her classroom that would extend to her community – our community. It’s the Tempe Leadership alumni who impacted your child to be an advocate for something that mattered to him or her – who then inspired a community to raise awareness for a cause and that difference trickled from local to national reaches.
It’s the faceless person who served tirelessly on yet another board or commission or non-profit agency to figure out how to innovate or stretch their resources or find a connection to a desperately needed resource by turning to the Tempe Leadership alumni network to find the answer.
Tempe is a community filled with amazing leaders and many of them graduated from the Tempe Leadership program. This year, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Tempe Leadership program and we look back over the years to see the impact of this dedicated organization on our community. Please join our celebration on April 9 at 6 p.m. at Tempe Center for the Arts. For more information and to RSVP, visit us at www.tempeleadership25.com or call the Tempe Chamber of Commerce at 480.967.7891.
Joan L. Jakel is a Tempe Leadership graduate from Class XXI