The Leadership Cayuga Class of 2018 attends a session on philanthropy with Dan Fessenden, center, executive director of the Fred L. Emerson Foundation, in the conference room at the Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce in Auburn.

“Leadership Cayuga provided me with the opportunity to meet many people and explore businesses in Cayuga County. It opened my eyes to the vast services provided by members and organizations in our community.” – Pam Landon, class of 2019

Over the course of nine months from September through May, Leadership Cayuga participants are invited into the inner fabric of what makes our county and community tick. They are given the opportunity to meet with community leaders, learn hands-on with human service agencies, and get behind-the-scenes tours of local businesses and landmarks. All with the intent that when they see how things run and how hard people work in all industries to make this a great place to live and work, our participants can’t help but want to participate, too.

Over the last three decades, we’ve seen more than 670 graduates from the program do amazing things like run for local offices, pioneer economic development projects, start businesses, be promoted to positions of leadership, lend their voices and experience to countless boards of directors and guide them into the future, and volunteer their time for causes they believe in. Our graduates have more than lived up to the accolade of being leaders in our community and their careers.

Leadership Cayuga is an engaging, hands-on community education program of the Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce that gives a diverse group of aspiring and current leaders an experience like none other. The program is designed to give students an in-depth look into our community, raise awareness of local issues, develop leadership skills and build strong networks of committed individuals. Leadership Cayuga is a valuable resource in our community.

Participants in each year’s program come from all geographic areas of Cayuga County and represent business, industry, education, government and nonprofit organizations, as well as citizens from the community at large.

Each of the nine monthly sessions goes into detail about a particular aspect of our community. Session topics include economic development, history, government, board service/nonprofits, human services, health and wellness, emotional intelligence and so much more! In addition to that, as a member of the class, you have behind-the-scenes access to a number of sites throughout the community, as well as an exciting countywide bus tour.

It’s not just the invaluable lessons and behind-the-scenes tours that make each class the #BestClassEver, it is the comaraderie and lasting friendships that solidify the experience.

I would love for you to be able to experience this, too. We are currently looking for high school seniors and adults new to the area, new to their position or interested in becoming a community leader to apply for this year’s class.

Leadership Cayuga is for you if ...

• You have a strong interest in and commitment to your community

• You are committed to your personal leadership development

• You anticipate an active role in business and community activities

• You wish to gain access to a network of business, government and community leaders and resources

• You believe change can be anticipated, managed and directed for the betterment of Cayuga County

Applications for the Leadership Cayuga Class of 2020 are now being accepted online and by mail. Leadership Cayuga includes one session day per month, starting in September and ending in May, plus additional optional tours and networking opportunities. There is a tuition discount if the application is received by Aug. 15! A limited number of partial scholarships are available. For more information, please contact me at (315) 252-7291 or leadership@cayugacountychamber.com. Applications are available at cayugacountychamber.com/leadershipcayuga.

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Jessica Wrench is program director of Leadership Cayuga, a program of the Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at jwrench@cayugacountychamber.com or (315) 252-7291.