Leadership Omaha: What Will They Think of Next?

By: Lynda Shafer
Director, Leadership Development

I read the following quote recently on the website of Leadership Columbus, the community leadership development program started 41 years ago in Columbus, Ohio: “Because we have Leadership Columbus, Columbus will always have leaders.” Insert “Leadership Omaha” in that sentence and you’ve captured the essence of the program the Greater Omaha Chamber started 38 years ago. Alumni of Leadership Omaha (LO) are serving in the Nebraska State Legislature and Congress, on school boards, city councils, and on the boards of numerous nonprofit organizations in the metro area.

They are leading corporations, starting companies and changing lives.

A huge part of Leadership Omaha is the small group project. Class members don’t believe me when I say I care more about what they learn about small group process than about the actual project. Why is that? Because when you are skilled in small group process – forming, storming, norming and performing – you can work more effectively with others to strengthen and transform the community. The ability to understand and utilize small group process is a transferable skill – take it from LO to the next nonprofit board you join or the next work project you volunteer for.

Still, LO participants have come up with some pretty spectacular small group projects over the years. Like Class 37’s Team Army. The group put the call out to organizations and individuals to give their most precious resource – their time – to make a difference in the community. From Gavilon to HDR to Thrasher, companies and their employees competed to see who could have the biggest impact during 24 Hours of Impact. Sign your organization up for the 2016 event on July 22. Find more information at http://24hoursofimpact.com/.

Do you love the murals you see scattered around Benson? The Benson Mural Project was the brainchild of Class 31 members who wanted to pair public art with mentoring for young artists. Not only are they beautiful, the murals gave established and emerging artists the opportunity to work together to create something of value for the community.

We Don’t Coast. We Lead. That’s what LO is all about, this year and into the future. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

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