VVL Board President Kathy Wombacher says, “We are excited to begin the year-long journey with this new VVL class. Our participants comes from many walks of life, from CEOs to attorneys, individuals aspiring to become leaders or those just starting their leadership careers. We’ve also trained people with their doctoral degrees in the sciences who were given leadership responsibilities without any previous leadership background. All communities in the Verde Valley have representatives in the pool of VVL graduates. Current and future leaders from throughout the region are welcome to apply.” Ms. Wombacher, Graduate, Class IV is leading the group this year.
The Filardo Group, for the 10th year in a row is conducting the leadership retreat. Al and Jodie Filardo, two of six Founders of VVL are educated, trained and certified in their fields of organizational development, coaching and economic development and have practiced and applied their leadership skills both in public and private entities in multiple cultures around the globe. Their degrees are from Stanford, ASU, and The University of San Francisco.
“This is not a ‘sit-and-listen’ program,” says Jodie Filardo. “During the kickoff retreat, the class members actively participate. We all have a lot of fun! It is a ‘learn-and-apply’ environment. We use actual cases encountered in the field to reinforce learning. The participants work with one another to analyze cases relevant to topics they are studying and then present their findings back to the rest of the class.”
Upon completion of the two day retreat, the rest of the program consists of a Presentation Skills Course, field trips, shadowing days, and issue days organized by the participants to explore community issues such as education, economic development, criminal justice, and other regional issues. Per Lana Tolleson, President and CEO of the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce, “As a graduate of Class V, I’ve had a chance to reflect on the benefits of Verde Valley Leadership. Not only did I learn leadership skills, but I also joined a network of engaged community leaders. I would highly recommend Verde Valley Leadership to anyone wanting to get more involved in our wonderful community and meet some really awesome people.”
Two of this year’s participants illustrate the wide spectrum and diverse backgrounds of those who attend the Verde Valley Leadership Program. On one hand you have an experienced entrepreneur and company president who is looking to learn more, and on the other is a young, motivated professional aspiring to be a future leader.