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Leadership Etowah

Leadership Etowah


Leadership Etowah is a program of The Chamber of Gadsden/Etowah which each year brings together a class of ten participants for ten one-day retreats. The program objective is to present to the participants a series of issues-oriented forums based on the belief that knowledge is a key element and prime motivator of leadership. Class members visit organizations and institutions across Etowah County. This allows them to seek a mutual understanding of the priorities and problems facing the county; they also seek to invent vital solutions to the challenges that define the future of our county. Program participants will gain a broader understanding of the complexities that our diverse community represents. Participants will leave the program prepared to use the information and skills they will gain from this experience to be a leader in the community.

From our first meeting to our Graduation Ceremony, students are informed, engaged and encouraged to make a difference in their own personal, individual way. We visit organizations and institutions through the year, challenging participants to listen, learn, teach, think and do with an expanded, broader vision of the paths to take to move our county forward and to better the quality of life for all citizens.



Leadership Etowah is a personal development program designed to motivate participants to develop and enhance leadership skills through an educational process that addresses pertinent community needs.

Our success in meeting the challenges before us depends on the active involvement of informed, dedicated citizens who have the ability and desire to assume positions of leadership—people like you.



The purpose of Leadership Etowah is to:

  • Identify potential and existing leaders in business, labor, education, government and the community at large and help them prepare for voluntary responsibility in our area.
  • Provide leaders with practical and sophisticated understanding of major opportunities and problems facing the Etowah County area.
  • Facilitate access between emerging leaders and the current leadership in the community.
  • Improve the communications network among leaders from unique and different backgrounds.
  • Stimulate increased participation and commitment in the community.


The Leadership Etowah program consists of ten monthly topic-oriented one-day seminars from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and a graduation ceremony. Attendance is mandatory.

The goal of each session is to open the mind of each participant to the perspectives that surround the issue and, through thoughtful consideration of those perspectives, to enable participants to become visionary leaders in the community. (Class order is subject to change.)

Session I—Orientation to Leadership
Session II—Non-Profits and Social Services
Session III—Education
Session IV—Workforce Development
Session V—Government
Session VI—Healthcare
Session VII—Arts and Culture
Session VIII—Economic Development  
Session IX—Tourism
Session X—Public Safety


2016 Class Dates

  • January 12
  • February 9
  • March 8
  • April 12
  • May 10 + 2 additional days TBD for a Wednesday-Thursday overnight stay in Montgomery to visit the legislative session
  • June 14
  • August 16
  • September 13
  • October 11
  • November 8
  • November 15 - Graduation begins at 5:30 p.m.


  • Demonstrated desire to serve the community by past civic activities.
  • Willing to seek leadership roles on public and private boards, in volunteer organizations, or in public office
  • Motivated to improve skill set
  • Have potential for advancement to leadership positions in their own organization, or already in a leadership position
  • Have an occupation in which they will not likely be relocating from the county in the immediate future
  • Commit to participate fully, meet attendance requirements, and as alumni continue for at least one year their involvement with the program as resource persons, program planners, Board Members or other roles as needed
  • Have a letter of recommendation or support of participation from their employer

Participants are selected based on leadership abilities or potential, career goals, volunteer activities, contributions to their communities, and commitment to help shape a better Etowah County. Participants are diverse and do not share a common age, gender, lifestyle, career or hometown; but what they do share is a vision of what Etowah County can and must be as we move forward. And they share the ability to lead our county to that visionary future.


Leadership Partners

  • Huntingdon College
  • The University of Alabama Gadsden Center
  • Gadsden State Community College
  • Jacksonville State University
  • Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
  • Honda Manufacturing of Alabama
  • Team One Automotive
  • Alabama Power
  • Gadsden Public Library
  • The Chamber, Gadsden/Etowah County


Cost: $500 per participant for members, $600 for non-members


We regret that there is a coding error in this web page that we are unable to access to correct. When you select the application and/or brochure, please select the upload with the 2016 date. 

Current Class

  • Chris Payne
    Chris Payne
    Training Manager
    Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
  • Darlene Temple
    Darlene Temple
    Director of Sales
    Holiday Inn Express & Suites
  • Derrick Griffey
    Derrick Griffey
    Somewhere in Time Antiques & Collectibles
  • Jennifer Boozer
    Jennifer Boozer
    Director of Finance and Personnel
    Alabama Land Trust
  • Mary Wood
    Mary Wood
    Manager of Marketing & Development
    Downtown Gadsden Inc/Gadsden Commercial Development
  • Mike Hilton
    Mike Hilton
    Assistant Director of Public Works
    City of Gadsden
  • Shaine Stewart
    Shaine Stewart
    Senior Staff Engineer
    Honda Manufacturing of Alabama
  • Steven Winston
    Steven Winston
    Plant Manager
    Gadsden Steam Plant/Southern Company
  • Susan Stough
    Susan Stough
    Managing Partner - Gadsden
    Chappell CPA
  • Susan Williamson
    Susan Williamson
    Vice President of Advancement and Communications
    Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama
  • Wardrick Griffin
    Wardrick Griffin
    Special Programs Division Manager
    Quality of Life
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