This year’s Leadership Northeast class sponsored by the Northeast Johnson County Chamber of Commerce is offering a $400 scholarship to make the program more accessible to a larger pool of applicants.
The new scholarship was funded by the Class of 2016 as a way to encourage more applications from individuals, small businesses and non-profits to the program that’s now in its 27th year.
“Our goal is to broaden our students horizons and introduce them to area leaders, and allow them to bring those skills back to their business,” said Lauren Vaughan, program and events director for the chamber.
More than 500 people have gone through the leadership program since its start in 1989. The application deadline for this year’s class is today and the program begins in January.
The leadership program includes nine all-day sessions with topics including the communities of Northeast Johnson County, education, entrepreneurship, health care and public safety.
One of the sessions is a visit to Topeka where participants meet with lawmakers. Another brings participants together with county and Kansas City regional leaders.
The cost is $825 for chamber members, $925 for non-members. Each class has about 25 members. The Class of 2016 is providing one scholarship to help attract applicants for the upcoming program.
Vaughan said many Leadership Northeast alumni have gone on to important roles in the county. And many also have remained friends and contacts through their participation.
“People never regret going through the program, there’s a great bond of being an alumni,” she said.
Ron Shaffer, a county commissioner and former mayor of Prairie Village, was in the first class back in 1989.
“It’s been a great experience,” Shaffer said. “You talk to any graduate and they say its very beneficial. You have the opportunity to get to know each other, form friendships and get to know how the county and state works.
“I’m the biggest cheerleader.”