SAULT STE. MARIE — The Sault Area Chamber of Commerce is now accepting applications for its annual leadership training program.
Each year, Sault residents participate in seminars and networking events designed to help them become more educated and influential members of the community. The program has been active for six years, excluding the 2021 program due to COVID-19.
“This is a nine-month course for mature students to learn about what’s going on and about different aspects of the community,” said chamber executive director Tony Haller. “Over 50 people have already graduated and everyone has had nothing but positive experiences through the program.”
The program begins with a weekend retreat and orientation before beginning the monthly sessions. Once a month, participants will meet with leaders from the Sault community who will teach them about the different aspects of leadership.
Program topics include local government, business planning, economic development, education, and more. Each session includes one or more local guest speakers to present their area of expertise.
“For the government session, for example, I’ve had the mayor speak in the past,” Haller said. “I want the city manager to speak, I’ll have someone from county government talk about how these interactions work in the county.”
The sessions are designed to help educate attendees about all local leadership positions and why they are important to the community. It is also a way to be better informed about the functioning of a community as a whole.
The program is also used as a networking device that allows potential leaders to see opportunities in the community.
“You get out of it what you put into it, it’s more than just an educational program,” Haller said. “There have been students where they’ve met people and changed jobs because of it.”
The primary goals of the program are to identify locals who show potential for community leadership and provide them with the skills, resources, opportunities and connections to reach their potential. Ultimately, the program exists to encourage participants to become more involved as leaders in the Sault community.
“The ultimate goal is for graduates to be better informed about what’s going on in the area, to find that they can go out into the community and learn about things,” Haller said. “These people could eventually be recognized as potential leaders in the community, helping to build relationships that will potentially help shape the future of the surrounding area.”
Upon completing the program, participants will receive a graduation certificate and be honored at the annual dinner and chamber awards banquet.
Participants will attend nine sessions in total, not including orientation or graduation. Sessions last from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and include a free lunch.
Applicants will be chosen based on their community involvement, professional background, work experience and leadership potential. The application deadline is April 15 and must include a $400 application fee.
For more information or to apply for the program, visit the Sault Area Chamber of Commerce website.