Lakeland Business Guide 2019 Chamber Guide_2019 - Page 66

MICHELLE LEDFORD chair of Leadership Lakeland Class XXXVI occupational, economic, and demographic segments to achieve a diverse class each year,” says Michelle Ledford, chair of Leadership Lakeland Class XXXVI. The program also looks for individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to serve the community and with potential to play a significant role in the community’s future. “The program is not just a group of people looking for notoriety, prestige, or more networking in the community. It is a group of passionate and humble leaders who have a sincere desire to make the city of Lakeland the best city in the nation,” says Leon Battle, executive director of Strategic Partnerships for One More Child / Florida Baptist Children’s Home. Battle is also a part of Leadership Lakeland’s current 30-member class along with Thomas. “Leadership Lakeland provides participants with an opportunity to meet and exchange ideas while learning from the backgrounds and perspectives of each other and other community leaders,” says Ledford. After the class begins in August with an orientation and reception honoring the new class followed by an opening retreat in September, the class then meets October through May for once-a-month sessions held at various locations throughout the community, based on the topic of the month. “The class becomes more knowledgeable on a wide range of community issues, resources, and opportunities that exist within greater Lakeland,” says Ledford. Experts in the field lead each session ensuring that it’s an immersive experience for the participants and provide in-depth knowledge on each specific topic. “I thought I knew everything about the city. I was always a dedicated and thorough consumer for all local news and information,” says Chuck McDanal, Leadership Lakeland’s current chair- elect. While McDanal was a part of Leadership Lakeland Class XXXI, he was 66