Leadership Lee's 2011 graduating class is, left to right bottom row, Amanda Matthews, Mandy Davis, Kelli Duke, Debbie DeVane, Katie Peppers, Misty Scully and Patsy Shirley, and, top row, Andrew Tillman, Steve Morrenzin, Bryan Fenton, Michael Hill, Renata Davis, Aaron Edmondson, Jr. Shawn Snedden and Jim Russell are not pictured.
LEESBURG -- Fifteen "students" completed their "work assignments" recently and became the 2011 graduating class of Leadership Lee, a collection of area citizens interested in enhancing leadership opportunities.
Leadership Lee classes convened briefly in the 1980s before losing momentum and dying out, but the classes re-emerged in 2005 under the guidance of the Lee County Chamber of Commerce.
The 2011 class is the seventh consecutive graduating group.
"The primary mission of Leadership Lee is educational," Chamber Director of Operations Lesley Barbosa said. "Leadership opportunities are enhanced by increasing participants' knowledge of the economic strengths and infrastructure of the community and by exposing them to challenges and issues confronting the community.
"We try to introduce them to various elements that are vital to our community: city and county government, agriculture, industry. We've found (Leadership Lee) to be a rewarding experience for our participants."
Members of the 2011 class are Shawn Snedden, Jim Russell, Amanda Matthews, Mandy Davis, Kelli Duke, Debbie DeVane, Katie Peppers, Misty Scully, Patsy Shirley, Andrew Tillman, Steve Morrenzin, Bryan Fenton, Michael Hill, Renata Davis and Aaron Edmondson Jr.
Leadership Lee entails five sessions, during which participants are introduced to various elements of the community, including economic development, local government, entrepreneurship venues, health care, agribusiness and the local education system. This year's class visited, among other sites, the MillerCoors brewery in Albany and the Oakland Development Industrial Park and Chokee Plantation in Lee County.
"We invite any interested person in Lee and Dougherty counties to take part in Leadership Lee," Barbosa said. "It's a great educational and networking opportunity."
Classes convene each year in February. Interested persons may be put on the class list by contacting Barbosa at (229) 759-2422 or online at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will contact interested persons about class participation in December.