From the opening 3-day retreat to the graduation ceremony 9 months later, Laurie Renchik's leadership skills were put to the test. The Leadership Oakland organization is all about growing local leaders and the 49 members selected to join the 2011-2012 Cornerstone program brought a spectrum of corporate, civic and non-profit experience to the group. "When we started the program last fall, we embarked on a somewhat unknown journey," Renchik explained. "Many of us had been told about Leadership Oakland and encouraged to apply, while others had heard about it and were simply curious."
They join more than 800 local leaders who have graduated Leadership Oakland since its foundation in 1990. This year's class delved into important issues facing the region, from the educational system to the justice system and began to envision solutions through in-depth, monthly day-long sessions. According to Leadership Oakland:
When you take leaders and provide them with a rich network of colleagues, a deep understanding of the regions challenges and the opportunity to achieve value for their own organizations . . . . . you create new levels of leadership. Through Leadership Oakland, today's leaders will shape tomorrow's community.
At the graduation ceremony at the Fieldstone Golf Club in Auburn Hills, the 2011-2012 class was recognized for their new understanding of local issues. Laurie remarked, "The program was inspiring and humbling at the same time. I have lived and worked in Oakland County for many years and learned new information at every session." Renchik said the conclusion was bittersweet. "As the academic year came to a close, I had a keen sense from the experience what leadership truly stands for, that it comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and that innovation and vision can be found in one's backyard."
The graduates' participation links them to one of the most powerful business networks in Michigan. For more information about Leadership Oakland please visit www.leadershipoakland.com