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Helping mold community leaders

FD Area Chamber of Commerce leadership initiative graduates its fifth class

June 27, 2010
Messenger News

The Fort Dodge Area Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Class, first started under Chamber Director Bob Singer, has graduated its fifth class. Each class has approximately 28 participants, so there are now well over 130 Leadership graduates in our community.

The mission of the class is to develop leaders who are informed, dynamic, qualified and motivated. It is a broad-based, interactive experience that seeks to shape future leaders by providing them with the background information and tools to become a positive force in our community.

Starting in September and ending in May, the members of the Leadership Fort Dodge class spend one full business day (the second Thursday) each month examining leadership styles and specific aspects of the community such as education, area government, local business and economic development, health and human services, the criminal justice system, media and quality of life. Participants will have the opportunity to meet and interact with city, county and state leaders.

The insights participants gain as they explore the inner workings of the community serve as a foundation for increased involvement in the greater Fort Dodge area in variety of leadership roles.

Participants will gain personal and professional skills that increase their effectiveness within their community and business environment. The class visits area businesses, health care and human service organizations, learns about the history of Fort Dodge, volunteerism, the criminal justice system, city, county and state government, local media and recreational venues in our region.

Class members were able to visit and tour the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility, C&S Products, the Fort Dodge Regional Airport, Trinity Regional Medical Center, the Smeltzer Answer Farm, NEW Co-op and meet with Iowa Supreme Court Justice Mark Cady and our local legislators at the Capitol among many other activities.

Fact Box

2009-2010 Leadership Class

Katie Averill, Citizens Community Credit Union

Cindy Baedke, First Federal Savings Bank

Dennis Baugh, Youth Shelter Care of North Central Iowa

Pam Bunte, Trinity Regional Medical Center

Zak Clark, Northwest Bank

Matt Cosgrove, Webster County Conservation

Jill Dinkla, Trinity Regional Medical Center

Keely Gunderson, Gunderson Funeral Home

Ann Halbur, Hy-Vee Food Store

Jill Heddinger, Central Financial Group

Tricia Helmers, KHI Financial Solutions

Jamie Huse, Domestic/Sexual Assault Outreach Center

Joel Johnson, Memories in Motion

Dan Kinney, Iowa Central Community College - president

Erin Lusk, Nestle Purina

Troy Martens, Trinity Regional Medical Center

Ashley Matsen, Friendship Haven

Scott Meinders, city of Fort Dodge engineer

Keshia Meissner, D/SAOC

Kristen Meyer, Elderbridge Area Agency on Aging

Amanda Mundie, Mid-Country Machinery

Lindsay Nevins, Fort Dodge Area Chamber of Commerce

Nancy Nevins, Butler & Rhodes Abstract

CJ O'Brion, Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Mercury Toyota

Alison O'Brion, FD Animal Health/Boehringer Ingelheim

Kim Pagano, Nestle Purina

Stephanie Sheetz, City of Fort Dodge Planning

Linda Whaley, Trinity Regional Medical Center

Class participants from the 2009-2010 year enthusiastically support the program. Ann Halbur, marketing director at Hy-Vee, joined the program to increase her knowledge in a variety of areas and to enhance her leadership skills. She moved to the Fort Dodge area in 1994. Although she has lived here for a number of years, she found that there were many things she didn't know about the region. Her favorite Leadership program was the visit to the Air National Guard, where the class learned about the history of the guard and had a tour of the facilities. She also enjoyed Bob Singer's presentation of the history of Fort Dodge since 1835 and the characters that portrayed notable historical residents in Fort Dodge.

The Leadership Class meets for one day month from September through June. Corporate sponsors for the 2009-2010 class were: The Messenger, The Ann Smeltzer Trust, Nestle Purina, Boehringer Ingelheim, Frontier Communications, Trinity Regional Medical Center, Iowa Central Community College, Tate and Lyle and the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way. The class would not be possible without their generous donations, for which we are very thankful. The Chamber is currently accepting registrations for the 2010-2011 class. Please contact the Chamber at 955-5500 or visit our website at to enroll.

Amy Bruno is executive director of the Fort Dodge Area Chamber of Commerce.



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