MARION COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Marion County Development Partnership is in the process of training its leaders through the Leadership Marion County Class of 2019.
The program is geared to equip some county leaders with tools to empower their community.
The 18 Participants selected for the group take a nine-month-long course where they learn how to collaborate and use the community’s assets to make a positive difference.
“The goal in this project is expressed in the phrase ‘better leaders, better communities, better lives,’” said Lori Watts, with the Marion County Development Partnership.
“It’s really impactful. It’s really feeling fulfilling and it’s really rewarding when I can see a group like this come together, roll up their sleeves, put their own resources to it and begin to make a difference,” said Joe Fratesi, the program director for the project.
Watts said the entire county could benefit from the principles of leadership the participants learn.
“Rising tide lifts all ships, right? So, as they are brought up and they bring others up, our entire community wins,” said Watts.
A school administrator said he thinks the efforts the group is making to improve the downtown area will surely pay off.
“Anything we do downtown to draw people or keep people or even point people towards our downtown area, towards the city is going to be really good things,” said Dr. Jay Rayborn, an Assistant Principal at Columbia High School.
The leadership skills the members attain in process will help members personally and professionally.
“It’s not just this particular project through which they’ll impact their community," Watts said. “It’s that they will go back into their roles that they fill everyday and by their employers their churches their family and they have new leadership skills that will help.”
“It’s been everything from some of their physical assets, such as they might have equipment or capital, or they may have buildings to their knowledge skills and their abilities. And what we’re doing is thinking how we can link and leverage those to create new opportunities for Marion County and Columbia," Fratesi said.
Members said the variety of professions represented creates a productive and diverse learning environment where good change can be created.
“Anytime you can get multiple people in the room from different areas you’re going to learn so being growth minded is important,” said Rayborn.