During the fall of 2012 and the Spring of 2013, I was fortunate to participate in the Leadership Charlottesville program created by the Charlottesville Chamber of Commerce which allows a diverse group of community/business leaders to learn about and become more engaged in the Charlottesville community. We started with a day of Orientation at Branchlands, a retirement community in Charlottesville. That in no way prepared me for our second meeting at the Falls River Center, a ropes course! The ropes course pushed each of us to understand how to function as a team with people we had just met. The eleven educational meetings were as diverse as our group of thirty five students. We listened to political leaders such as Delegate David Toscano and educational leaders such as Ms. Gertrude Ivory with the City of Charlottesville Schools. Meeting at South Street Community Center we listened and learned about “The Impact of Poverty,” “The Homeless and their Needs.”
Each class was an eye opener and not to be missed. Learning about all of the needs in our community seemed overwhelming. Five projects were chosen in November 2012. In groups of 6 to 8 we set out taking what we had learned and became more engaged in our community. My fellow classmate, David Saunier was quoted in the Daily Progress as saying he was “surprised to see how collaboration and creativity created more genuine excitement and energy than just writing a check.” Each group was successful in making a positive impact on the community we live and work in. One group helped CATEC, a local technical school with rebranding, rethinking their purpose for the children who attend; another group started the first United Way Day of Sharing in the Charlottesville area.
Our class graduated May 30th 2013. Our final projects were presented, friendships and connections solidified; all of us ready to continue making a positive, noticeable difference in our community. As I have noted in prior blogs, allowing this community engagement makes Allen and Allen one of the best places to work.
Leadership Charlottesville Class of 2013
- Richard “Dick” Abidin, R.E. Lee & Son, Inc.
- Martha “Molly” Akeel, Tastefully Simple
- Simone Alley, CenturyLink
- Dyan Aretakis, University of Virginia Health System
- Tara Atkins-Brady, Piedmont Virginia Community College
- Gayle Bragg, Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen
- Edward “Ed” Carder, State Farm Insurance Companies
- Leigh Ann Carver, Mountaintop Montessori
- Bruce Cauthen, WorkSource Enterprises
- Thomas “Tom” Cobb, Allied Concrete
- Andrea D. Copeland, Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Stacy Crowell, University of Virginia Health System
- Helene Downs, Hantzmon Wiebel LLP
- Elaine Fogliani, Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates, Architects
- Molly Fulton, Jefferson Area CHiP (via United Way-TJA)
- Richard “Rick” Grant, LexisNexis
- Eric Grodt, C-ville Cleaning Solutions, Inc.
- David Hassler, State Farm Insurance Companies
- Wendy Heifetz, MH Swanson & Associates
- Amy Hughes, Comcast Spotlight
- Brooke Jenkins, Virginia National Bank
- Vicki Karabinus, InFocus Small Business Strategies
- Holen Lewis, Samuel T. Freeman & Co.
- George Kenneth “Ken” Lewis, Jr., James Madison University
- Jennifer McCune, Rodan + Fields
- Selena Cozart O’Shaughnessy, Piedmont Housing Alliance
- Hope Rana, SunTrust Bank
- Gloria Rockhold, Albemarle County Public Schools
- Michelle Rupp, Charlottesville Newsplex
- David Saunier, OAR-Jefferson Area Community Corrections
- James “Jamie” Shifflett, Charlottesville Fire Department
- Bryan Slaughter, MichieHamlett, Attorneys at Law
- Brigitte “Bri” Warner, Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Erica Wheat, University of Virginia
- Robert Wood, Jr., United Bank