DOVER — Leadership Central Delaware and Leadership Delaware Inc. are in the business of mentoring, developing and training the state’s next generation of leaders.
On Thursday, the organizations announced the start of a partnership between LCD and LDI.
Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce President Judy Diogo and LDI’s CEO Jennifer Cohan have worked together to create a bridge between the two programs.
“Once an LCD graduate becomes an expert in central Delaware, we want the opportunity to take them to the next level,” said Ms. Cohan.
As a result of this partnership, opportunities will be generated to bring participants of LCD and LDI together. This kind of networking will be important to their growth and promises to breed opportunity.
In addition, graduates of LCD who are identified by the program’s leaders as the best and the brightest will be offered an opportunity to apply for LDI at a discounted rate.
“Delaware is a unique place,” said Ms. Diogo. “First, we give these emerging leaders exposure to one county, and then, access to the entire state. Delaware truly seems to be the only state in the union where that can happen.
“This partnership will give our participants more opportunities to be better leaders, to develop bigger toolkits, to harness more resources than ever before. And they will use all these things to grow and improve the state of Delaware.”
Known as the CDCC’s “Diamond Program,” LCD, now in its 21st year and with an alumni base of more 500, creates effective, dynamic and knowledgeable leaders by introducing them to the industries in Kent County who serve as the area’s largest economic drivers.
LCD’s 10-month program is comprised of nine daylong learning sessions, an opening and closing retreat and graduation.
Each session, marked by conversations with the leaders of these businesses, tours of the county’s leading facilities and hands-on learning experiences, is focused on a different economic segment of Kent County.
As a result, participants will gain opportunities to develop resources and partnerships, an understanding of the role of leaders in the community, connections with people of influence and an understanding of the importance of collaboration among business — all while developing their own leadership styles.
“Leadership Central Delaware promotes collaboration among business professionals and opportunities to learn how to connect with industries throughout the region,” said Christina Lessard, class of 2013. “The unique mix of speakers and tours introduce you to the true bones of Kent County.”
Leadership Delaware Inc. is a yearlong program that focuses on leaders statewide. Through issue-oriented forums and experiences, LDI’s Fellows are given the opportunity to hear firsthand from more than 150 speakers identified as those in the state who “make it happen every day.”
The program’s presenters include corporate CEOs, the governor, members of the cabinet, university presidents, legislators and members of the judiciary.
As the year progresses, LDI’s Fellows are involved in conversations about the economy, health care, education, leadership, government and public affairs, law and the judiciary, industry, nonprofits and philanthropy, the arts, politics, law enforcement and much more.
From issues that are discussed at Legislative Hall, to unique tales about the state’s history, to the remarkable hidden gems that enrich lives, LCD and LDI create community awareness and a rich understanding of how business is done in the First State.
“A comment from one of our Fellows really speaks to the breadth of knowledge gained through the program,” Ms. Cohan said. “He put it this way: ‘I never knew how important chickens, credit cards and chemicals were to Delaware!’”
Ms. Diogo and Ms. Cohan know that Delaware is all about relationships, having experienced the rewards of their longtime friendship and their close connection as business colleagues. They know, too, that those bonds create pathways that take individuals to new places.
Taking LCD and LDI — previously parallel organizations — and joining them together should go a long way in demonstrating just that.
“These programs are a way to help these leaders of the future want to remain engaged in their communities,” Ms. Cohan said. “We want to make this investment in them, so that they will stay in Delaware and develop roots here.”
Officials of both organizations believe that effective leaders who demonstrate integrity and who are ready to make a commitment to positively impact Delaware are all too few.
Ms. Diogo and Ms. Cohan said they understand that leadership training, which often happens simply by default, must be methodical and intentional to be effective.
“We also want them to see how things happen here and develop an understanding that Delaware is a place where things get done,” said Ms. Diogo. “They can easily be the leaders that take this state to the next level.”
Ms. Cohan added, “And they will develop bonds with like-minded friends across county lines that will last a lifetime.”