Lakeland Business Guide 2019 Chamber Guide_2019 - Page 68

“We have something special, and I believe that our city is rapidly growing and improving due to unified leaders that come through this program.” LEON BAT TLE member of Leadership Lakeland Class XXXVI – LEON BAT TLE working as director of IT and operations at The Ledger. “So I thought [Leadership Lakeland] would be good development for me but that I wouldn’t really learn anything. I was delighted to be 100 percent wrong about that,” says McDanal. By intentionally creating both a class and curriculum that represents a cross- section of our city, Leadership Lakeland has been able to give participants a broader perspective and understanding of what Lakeland has to offer. “It bridges the gap between various organizations within the education, health, arts and recreation, and service fields,” says Thomas. “Leadership Lakeland has helped me better understand the needs of our city and how our class could make a difference,” adds Battle. Similar leadership programs around the country often require those who participate to design their own service project. “However, we do not require Leadership Lakeland participants to do this, because it naturally happens on its own year after year,” says Breed. Participants are not only exposed to the wonderful elements that make up Lakeland, but also the issues that still face our community. “Every year, class members rise to the occasion and find an opportunity to give back. It is a beautiful process to watch a class, without prompting, decide together to raise money for a nonprofit or adopt an individual or family to support,” says Breed. Along with learning about different components of our community, 68