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    Leadership Loudoun pairs with Chamber for a reboot

    “Participants in the nine month leadership development program explore current economic and social issues and Loudoun civics and culture.”
    Leadership Loudoun is looking at a reboot through a partnership with Loudoun's Chamber of Commerce.

    The organization, which initially formed by government, nonprofits and local businesses via the Chamber of Commerce to teach leadership skills and educate the county's workforce, took a one­-year hiatus for its 2014­-2015 season.

    The group, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year, didn't graduate a class in 2014, but believes 2015­-2016's class will be quite strong because of a renewed partnership with the Chamber of Commerce.

    "Historically speaking we actually started out of a partnership between the government, the chamber and local nonprofits," said Tanya Bittenbender, Leadership Loudoun's program coordinator. "We're going back to our roots to help us move forward."

    Tony Howard, president and CEO of the Loudoun Chamber helped explain the push to renew the program saying, "I felt like Loudoun deserved to and really needed to have a high functioning leadership development program."

    Howard said the group is "very focused on issues and community awareness," whether its gangs, traffic, healthcare or the environment.

    The idea for the program is rather simple. Professionals in the fields of business, nonprofit and government go through leadership training, attempt to solve answers for county problems and gain knowledge of their community through a series of retreats, classes and projects.

    According to a release from Leadership Loudoun, "Participants in the nine month leadership development program explore current economic and social issues and Loudoun civics and culture. Professional coaching integrates with the community component to strengthen individual leadership capacity."

    One of Leadership Loudoun's past group projects created Loudoun's Habitat for Humanity program.

    Backpack buddies, a program established to provide food for the weekend to school children in need, was also helped off the ground by a Leadership Loudoun team.

    One of the focuses of the program is to create a pipeline of leaders for the county.

    "It all comes down to a workforce issue. Keeping a good workforce here in the county," said Bittenbender.

    The average age of participants is anywhere from 25 to 55, with leaders from all different sectors.

    "It's an amazing pipeline, because if you have a strong program, you grow a network of leaders looking out at the community," said Susan Spears, the president of the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce.

    Applications for acceptance to the 2015­2016 class are due June 12. For more information and instructions on how to apply visit leadershiploudoun.org/class_of_2016.

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