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‘Leadership Cape Coral’ program marks silver anniversary

By Staff | Aug 16, 2018

The Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral’s leadership program is celebrating 25 years of educating and developing leaders of the future.

Leadership Cape Coral is a 13-week curriculum designed to help one learn about the infrastructure that drives Cape Coral, rub elbows with local dignitaries, tour facilities not open to the general public, learn how to support the community, become part of the elite core of chamber members and establish a bond and form a network with classmates, lists the programs website.

“In 1993, a group of leaders at the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral wanted to create a program to teach our current and future leaders more about our community,” said current Chamber President and CEO, Donna Germain. “Leaders like Joe Saber, a local Realtor at the time, Doug Lockhart, former Chamber President and Joe Mazurkiewicz, former mayor, were instrumental in creating the program and were members of the charter class.”

The 2018 class began sessions this past week and will continue until graduation in mid-November.

There have been more than 600 graduates since the program’s inception, many of them having become a part of Cape Coral Leadership Alumni and go on to the advanced program, with a focus on developing and enhancing management and leadership skills.

These graduates have also gone on to hold prominent roles in the community.

“We have had several including mayors, city council members, county commissioners, state representatives and so on. We are so proud of all of our graduates and many of them have gone above and beyond to give back to their community,” said Germain.

Learning the history of a city, especially a new and up-and-coming one such as Cape Coral, from those who actually lived it, is one of the reasons the program is so special.

“Cape Coral was and is still so unique as we are such a young city and many of our founding families are still with us to give the complete history of our city as they saw it firsthand,” said Germain. “Historians like the late Paul Sanborn, who worked for the Rosen Brothers were always a staple of the program. Each year, he would present the history of Cape Coral along with Elmer Tabor on our first day ‘Made In Cape Coral Day.’ Each year, the popularity of the program and interest from the community grew and 25 years later, we are welcoming the class of 2018.”

Some of the other topics covered along the 13 weeks include infrastructure, healthcare day, media day, city government day, public safety day, arts and entertainment day and more.

Germain herself participated in the program in 2005 and became staff liaison for Leadership Cape Coral in 2011, a position she still holds today.

“Although I was born and raised in Cape Coral, I learned more about Cape Coral and Lee County in those 13 weeks, than I had growing up here,” she said.

Leadership Cape Coral’s core values are the cornerstones of which the program is based around.

“In practicing integrity, we will strive to be honest, respectful, ethical, fair and authentic. We will act in a professional manner consistent with community expectations. In practicing service, we understand our roles as representatives of the Leadership Cape Coral programs. We will endeavor to practice humility, to make things better for others and to treat others as we want to be treated. We will offer criticism in a constructive manner. In creating unity of purpose, we will practice cooperation and teamwork to the betterment of our programs and community.

“Towards being responsible, we will master the elements of our assignments, meet deadlines, smooth transitions between changes in leadership, be solution-oriented and do more than what is expected. We will follow through with our commitments and be reliable. We will be accountable for our actions,” the values read.

The program is intended for most anyone looking to bolster their leadership skills in the community and may help managers or new business owners get a better idea of the landscape they are setting up shop in.

“Leadership Cape Coral is geared towards anyone really, whether you are retired and just moved here and want to learn more about your new community, or if you want to grow professionally. This is a wonderful investment in yourself and your community,” Germain said.

The program would not be possible without the help of volunteers, sponsors and the community, she added.

“It takes a lot of time and effort to plan these 13 weeks and we have an amazing group that help put it all together. From business owners, to our annual sponsors, program chairs, co-chairs and day chairs they work year round to make this program happen for these 13 weeks.”

For more information on Leadership Cape Coral, contact Germain at 239-549-6900 or visit www.capecoralchamber.com.

– Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj