By Lindsay Ducharme
Wood Buffalo may be short on housing options, warm weather and alternate traffic routes, but one thing the region has never been short on is leaders. Leadership Wood Buffalo is looking to tap into the region’s other natural resource by recruiting their newest cohort of leaders in 2014.
“The program itself is a eight month program designed to help participants gain a broader understanding of the critical issues within the community, but also hone in on their leadership skills necessary to delivery community leadership,” explained Jennifer Lamontagne, associate of capacity building at Fuse Social.
“Once you graduate we do keep everyone involved in our alumni program. We have 136 alumni along with 18 people who will graduate this year. That is a network of individuals within our community who are involved and who are like-minded individuals who have gone through the program. That is a great resource if you are working on a community project. Networking is a huge reason why people become involved in the leadership program,” she continued.
Leadership Wood Buffalo, now a division of Fuse Social, was introduced nine years ago as a means to promote and foster the leadership skills of some of the region’s fastest rising stars. The program strives to mimic the demographics of the community by including members from industry, business, social profit and the community at large in each cohort.
“It’s really important that we have a demographic that is representative of our community so that while individuals are going through the program they can learn from people who may not have the same perceptions on community issues. They are then exploring different viewpoints from the community,” she noted.
Lamontagne said that each cohort, the next of which is beginning in September, starts off with an opening retreat designed to prepare participants for the leadership journey they are about to embark on. Following the retreat, participants will take part in a learning day each month, which includes topics such as communication breakthroughs, past, present and future in terms of understanding our region, setting the stage which includes basic skills such as project management, communications strategies, from there the other days focus on strategic leadership, leading with influence, managing the message and fundraising.
“In addition to that, participants are engaged in an active learning project which is when individuals come together and they work on projects that will benefit the community, while also being an opportunity for the participants to apply what they have learned from their learning days,” Lamontagne added.
Those interested in becoming a part of the next Leadership Wood Buffalo cohort must submit an application package including a reference letter by May 30th. Interviews will shortly follow the application deadline. “There is also a download for tuition support. If you are not able to get your tuition paid from your employer with your volunteer organizations, we do have some dollars allocated to sponsorship each year that provides an equal opportunity for everyone,” Lamontagne stressed.
For more information on Leadership Wood Buffalo, including access to the application visit fusesocial.ca and follow the links to become a part of Leadership Wood Buffalo.