“Leadership is not about titles, positions or flow charts. It is about one life influencing another.”
This axiom by John C. Maxwell might well serve as the guiding principle of the Leadership Adams organization that was established in Adams County in 2010.
Some people believe great leaders are born, not made. While there are some born leaders, most people have to develop their leadership skills through dedicated and diligent practice.
In 2008, the world economy faltered and swayed on the edge of a global depression, there was widespread worker layoffs, and American morale, which had only begun to rise out of the long shadow of 9/11, began sinking. Life as we had known it seemed balanced on the edge of a blade.
It was during this period of time that a group of concerned citizens from Adams County began asking themselves what they could do to make things better. Mike Pell, CEO of First State Bank (FSB), was one of those people.
At the time, Pell was involved with a group in Brown County called Leadership Brown, and he also had several close friends who participated in a similar Leadership Highland program. Bringing the ideas that he had been exposed to in those groups, he and the others began exploring the idea of developing a similar leadership group in Adams County.
“In 2009, myself and handful of leaders in Adams County recognized that our community needed to develop leaders,” said Pell. “When things are not going well, it becomes very important that we work together to cast a positive vision for the future.”
Pell and the others believed that the best way to create and actualize that vision was by giving local leaders an opportunity to development their leadership skills.
“Effective leadership requires vision, collaboration, planning and a serious commitment to honing your leadership skills,” he explained.
Together the group, consisting of Pell, Don Bowles, CEO Dreamcatcher Communications; Chris Johnson,Pastor W3CU; Russ Brewer, Enterprise Center SSCC; David Richey, CFO at FSB; Michael Parks, Pastor Church 180; John Caldwell, Adams County Attorney; Peggy Chalker, SSCC; Nicole Roades, SSCC; John Condon, retired banker; Dan Harrison, Pastor W3CU, and Deana Swayne, Adams County Chamber of Commerce – began to develop and articulate their guiding vision and mission.
They developed their mission guidelines: To improve the quality of life for all who live and work in Adams County by developing and preparing individuals to assume leadership responsibilities in their communities and organizations.
And, their vision: To create a well informed, civically active community where individuals are able to influence the prosperity of the Adams County community through their strong leadership and interest in building the future.
In 2010, the Leadership Adams group was officially founded as a non-profit corporation under the laws of Ohio and was certified as a tax-exempt organization.
That year they began their first leadership class, inviting twelve local individuals to participate in the year-long program.
Since that time the Leadership Adams alumni has grown to include 70 members who have participated in the program. Additionally, in 2014 the group added a Youth Academy which provides local high school students the opportunity to participate in leadership projects.
The program, which focuses on the development of leadership skills, begins in September and lasts through June. Each month students have the opportunity to participate in a new skill-building project including: Team Building at Butler Springs in Sept.; Travel and Tourism Adams County in Oct.; Infrastructure in Nov.; Non Profits in Dec.; Health Care in Jan.; Education in Feb.; Commerce in March; Government Day in April; Leadercast in May; and Graduation in June.
Each month’s class provides students with unique learning opportunities. For instance, the Leadercast project each May features speakers such as Jack Welch, John C. Maxwell, and Peyton Manning; during Government Day in April the class members visit the state capitol and have the opportunity to meet elected leaders; and in December the students had the opportunity to present five local charities with a donation of $1,000 each.
The members of the 2016 class are Time Carter, Randy Chandler, Susan Huff, Michael Hughes, Amy McClellan, Scott McFarland, Beth Pistole, Richard Seas, Shalana Shreffler, and Carl Trotter.
For more information about Leadership Adams, go to leadershipadams.org.