Civic program provides basic leadership tools

By Tonya Garner: CNJ staff writer

A group of local professionals are choosing to continue their education by participating in Leadership Clovis.

The civic program was started in 1988 by the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce to provide local businessmen and businesswomen with the tools to be more effective leaders.

“We are looking for individuals who are interested in community and civic involvement,” Chamber Director Ernie Kos said. “This program is ideal for people interested in becoming an elected official or for those interested in volunteering for non-profit organizations.”

Group members study topics such as education, economic development, the environment, cultural diversity and health and human services.

Chamber employee Ashley Szymanski serves as training specialist for the educational program.

“This is my first year and I love it (Leadership Clovis).” Szymanski said, “it’s a great networking tool.”

The networking aspect is Lance Pyle’s favorite part of the program.

“I’m big on networking,” said Pyle, who is the assistant county manager and mayor of Melrose. “I have met people from the city of Clovis and local banks.”

City of Clovis secretary Vicki Reyes decided to participate after several of her co-workers had spoken highly of the program.

“It is a really great program,” Reyes said, “and it gave me the chance to meet other people in the city.”

Along with networking and learning leadership skills, participants also tour local businesses. According to Kos, the group takes “Clovis field trips” to see the inner workings of local businesses. Kos said the group plans to tour Southwest Cheese and the dairies that provide milk to the cheese plant at an upcoming meeting.

“I am looking forward to viewing Southwest Cheese,” Reyes said, “because not many people have that opportunity.”

Szymanski said applications are being accepted for the 2006-2007 Leadership Clovis group.

“Our application numbers are rising each year,” Szymanski said. “Our goal is for the graduates of this program to step up and be a leader by volunteering or doing more inside and outside their workplace.”