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Economy • Local Business

Our Future Leaders - where are they? Right here! by Helen Neuharth, President/CEO, Greater Casa Grande Chamber of Commerce


ast September, I wrote an article relating to leadership for this publication. I want to reiterate what I wrote last year because I do believe that people of all ages have leadership abilities, it is just a matter of how each individual develops his or her leadership ability. The members of the Chamber Board of Directors and I have been discussing leadership development, not only within the Chamber but also throughout our community. Are we, as a community, doing enough to develop our future leaders? What are we doing to help encourage leaders? It seems every generation has a label. I am of the generation labeled “Baby Boomer”, which is just fine with me. Our community is made up of all types of generations. Let me recap for you: • • • • • • • •

1890-1915: The Lost Generation The Generation of 1914 1901-1913: The Interbellum Generation 1910-1925: The Greatest Generation 1923 – 1944: The Silent Generation 1945 – 1964: Baby Boomer Generation 1961-1981: Generation X 1975-1995: Generation Y The Millennials - Gen Next 1995-2015: Generation Z

(Source: The Generations* What Generation are You? By Michael T. Robinson) For definitions for these generations visit: Career-Articles/Generations.cfm This past May, I met with a group of “Millennials” (between the ages of 20-40), to get their perspectives on leadership and involvement in the community, since Millennials make up a large part of the workforce. Some excellent points that resulted from that conversation include: (1) the use of technology as the most effective way to communicate, and generate interest and involvement in an organization, especially for those people in the Millennial Generation (2)


A sense among the Millennials is that leadership opportunities and roles are extended to them by invitation only. (3) The message of the importance of community involvement and leadership must be made more significant to the management/ownership levels of businesses. The message about leadership isn’t getting to the top of the management ladder. There are Millennials who would like to get more involved in our community while representing their employers but their management team must agree before they can proceed. The Millennials also stated the need to know what their time commitments would be, whether it is attending meetings, serving on boards or taking on leadership roles. It is important to them to identify the purpose of an organization or business before a commitment can be made to a cause or before they step into a leadership role. Basically, we have Millennials in our community who are willing to lead but we must address these concerns before they can commit to an organization. Since meeting with the Millennials, I have met individually with representatives from community organizations and businesses to find out what others are doing to foster leadership and involvement in their organization or business. I found that most of us are in the ‘same boat’-- not doing enough to foster our future leaders. I have been asked to address this question, for this issue on Leadership: What makes the Greater Casa Grande Chamber of Commerce a leader in our community? First organized in 1920 and incorporated in 1935, the Greater Casa Grande Chamber of Commerce has advocated for business growth and sustainability and has been a contributing and valuable organization and resource for more than 85 years. The business support of the Chamber, through annual membership, has grown from the five individuals in 1920 to more than 500 businesses in 2015. The Chamber has been the leading orga-

nization in a number of ‘spin-off’ organizations and groups. The Casa Grande Valley Economic Development Foundation, now AccessArizona™, was an offshoot of a committee of Chamber business-members; O’Odham Tash was housed for many years in one of the offices of the Chamber; as was Casa Grande Main Street when they were incorporated. Welcome back Winter Visitors became Winter Celebration with the Chamber coordinating a specific calendar of events for the months of January through April of each year. The Chamber has collected information about various events that take place in Casa Grande which was expanded into the Casa Grande Community Calendar, and made available in print and on the Chamber’s website, Recognizing business and community leaders through annual business and community-service leadership awards began through the Chamber in 1991 and continues on today. In the last issue of Golden Corridor LIVING Magazine, you read how the Chamber even loaned the City the funds to complete construction of the city swimming pool in 1946; the Chamber played an important role in helping to raise the funds needed to give the San Francisco Giants clear deed to 160 acres of land for the construction of their Minor League training base in Casa Grande. In 1992, through the leadership of the Chamber, Casa Grande 2000 was established in support of education. The information we have gathered about ways to develop local leadership can be summed up in one phrase: ‘Leaders not only motivate others but must also be motivated’. So I am asking you, what do you have to offer as we work together to develop leadership in our community?



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Golden Corridor Living Magazine  

Fall 2015

Golden Corridor Living Magazine  

Fall 2015