BOONE — The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce announced on Nov. 10 that registration is open for 2021 Watauga Leadership Institute courses. WLI is made possible each year thanks to the sponsorship support of Allen Wealth Management, Johnson Price Sprinkle, PA, and Appalachian Commercial Real Estate.

“Developing leaders within our local community has never been more important, and we have adjusted our Watauga Leadership Institute courses to meet today’s challenges,” said David Jackson, president/CEO of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce. “Our team spent considerable time over the summer adjusting curriculum to not only enhance each course, but to maximize delivery of the material. A major component of leadership centers around adapting to the situations around you. We will provide an in-person, socially distanced opening retreat that will allow for important relationship building as we start each course. We have also invested in technology to provide for effective and efficient virtual delivery for individual sections. We feel the adjustments we’ve made to our structure and delivery will allow us to provide the best content possible in the safest manner we can, given the circumstances of our pandemic reality.”

The Watauga Leadership Institute offers three courses to start its 2021 offerings. Each class will be led by Jim Street, founder/owner of Ridgeline Leadership.

Watauga Leadership Challenge

The chamber’s signature community leadership development program is the Watauga Leadership Challenge.

This program gives participants the opportunity to broaden their understanding of leadership and to see themselves as agents of change in their associations, their places of work, their community and in their own lives. To develop the capacity to lead, one must have a keen sense of self awareness, an understanding of others, a recognition of how people work together in teams and organizations and an awareness of the greater community.

Watauga Leadership Challenge strikes a balance between understanding leadership and understanding the community. Participants will have the opportunity to interact with business and community leaders who are finding ways to bring people together for change.

“Watauga Leadership Challenge is the chamber’s long-standing leadership program that equally focuses on leadership development and community engagement,” said Street. “It is ideal for community members who are looking to get more involved in the community while developing their capacity to lead.”

Watauga Leadership Development

With a revamped curriculum for 2021, the Watauga Leadership Development course provides participants the opportunity to take a deeper dive into understanding leadership and the competencies required for effective leadership in work, community and in life.

The program focuses on authentic leadership and covers competencies that are critical in the leadership process.

“Watauga Leadership Development is our next-level leadership program,” said Street. “Our target audience includes people who have participated in a community-based leadership program like Watauga Leadership Challenge and are looking for an opportunity for a deeper dive into leadership development.”

SOLO (Single Owner Leadership Odyssey)

A new program under the Watauga Leadership Institute umbrella in 2021, the SOLO program provides solo entrepreneurs with the opportunity to come together with others who have chosen to go on their own.

There are two critical components to the program:

First, there is a program curriculum designed to help participants create a stronger sense of purpose, values, and direction for their business. Secondly, there is the cohort of participants who can provide each other with insights, ideas and feedback — something that solo entrepreneurs often do not have at their disposal.

“Our new SOLO program is for the solo entrepreneur looking for like-minded people who embrace the autonomy and independence of going it alone,” said Street. “We have built this program after consultation with several ultra-small businesses in our community and feel like this program will combine resources with growth strategies that can be helpful to this important group within our business community.”

Each class will begin with a socially distanced retreat day Jan. 21 in downtown Boone. Remaining sessions will be held virtually at the dates and times listed in the course outlines linked above.

Contact David Jackson at david@boonechamber.com with any additional questions. Space is limited, so register today to begin your leadership development journey.

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