Leadership and Lifelong Friendships

Leadership and Lifelong Friendships

(from the Executive Director- Debbie Hawkinson)

The Leadership McPherson Class of 2021 graduated on November 3rd with a celebration luncheon at the McPherson Opera House. All eleven class members, their families and co-workers, Leadership McPherson alumni and the Leadership Advisory Committee all attended to show their support, and to hear what the Leadership McPherson Class of 2021 has planned for their class project.

Leadership McPherson has been a professional development program of the McPherson Chamber since 1982 and is one of the oldest leadership programs in the state of Kansas. With over 400 Leadership McPherson Alumni, the impact that they have made individually and collective in our community and beyond is incredible!

The Leadership Advisory Committee, made up of alumni, is passionate about facilitating Leadership McPherson each year to develop effective leadership, open minds to perspectives
that surround issues facing our community, give participants the skills to move organizations and businesses forward, and enable participants to become more visionary leaders. But what
I consider the BONUS of taking Leadership McPherson is the lifelong friendships that are formed. The Leadership McPherson curriculum involves being willing to be vulnerable and working
outside of our comfort zones, and ultimately building trust.

I enthusiastically tell everyone about my AMAZING 2009 Leadership Class, the priceless experience, and the special friendships that many of us still share 12 years later. Sadly, my classmate Reed Hardgrave passed away recently. Reed was the ornery one of the bunch and had such a positive attitude that you couldn’t help but smile whenever he was around. After our class graduation, Reed continued to give of his time and talents though his involvement in the Leadership Advisory Committee. To steal a sentiment from his co-worker “Reed challenged everyone to do better!!”

So, although the Leadership McPherson class is focused on developing effective leaders, to me, it has always been about the opportunity to cultivate lifelong friendships, and I truly hope that the 2021 class has experienced this too.

I always tell everyone that I had such an incredible experience and would love to take the Leadership McPherson Class EVERY year, and in a way I get too. Helping to facilitate the classes and getting to be a part of their journey is a blessing.

As part of the curriculum, the class is tasked with planning and implementing a class project to put their leadership skills into action, and to benefit the youth of McPherson. This year’s class had several great ideas and found that the hardest part is narrowing down the focus. I encouraged them to gather information on what is already being offered for youth and where they feel the gaps are. They worked as a team and after discussing many areas that could make an impact in the community, the class determined that mental health was the concern they wanted to pursue. Details about the 2021 Leadership McPherson Class project and the progress they have made will be published soon.

Congratulations to the Leadership McPherson Class of 2021. May your leadership journey continue to be meaningful and impactful, and may you always remember the KLC principles “Leadership is an activity, not a position. Anyone can lead anytime, anywhere. It starts with YOU!”

  • Abigayle Morgan- McPherson College
  • Aly Weyand-Emprise Bank
  • Dan Bumgarner-Multi Community Diversified Services
  • Erica Rivera-The Cedars
  • Jason Cummins-McPherson Police Department
  • Hannah Howard-Adams Brown
  • Kaila Bell-Ferguson Production
  • Karolyn Moore-McPherson Housing Coalition
  • Kristen Montgomery- McPherson Center for Health
  • Tammy Welch-The Cedars
  • Tifanie Becker- Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd