Learn & Lead: Metro Chamber Expands Leadership Programs to Develop the Next Generation of Leaders

Creating a world-class community takes a diverse group of empowered, creative leaders who serve as catalysts for change. They are unafraid to challenge the status quo and inspire excellence from their teams and environments. They have made a real, indelible impact on cities around the world. And they live right here in Las Vegas.

The Metro Chamber cultivates and develops these individuals at all stages, from an emerging leader to one who already influences and mentors others. As Southern Nevada emerges as a force to be reckoned with for economic development, new technology, entrepreneurship and community advancement, the Metro Chamber Leadership programs foster, connect and give these leaders an opportunity to dive into the inner-workings of the Las Vegas region, including its most challenging issues. After their Leadership experience, class members are ready to use their talents towards those issues and create a better place to live and work. Leadership program graduates are found in all levels of community leadership, including government, nonprofit and private industry.

With the exciting expansion of the Leadership program through Leadership Advance and the relaunch of a new and refreshed Focus Las Vegas program, the opportunity for reaching and developing more current and emerging leaders and creating an even larger community impact through them becomes a reality. Leaders at all levels of their career will have a place to hone their skills, contribute meaningfully to the community and have the potential to enact real change for the collective betterment of Southern Nevada.

“The Metro Chamber Leadership programs give experienced and emerging leaders throughout the Las Vegas community a place to develop and use their skills to reach the next level of professional development and community stewardship,” says John Osborn, who oversees the Metro Chamber’s suite of leadership programs.

Leadership Las Vegas

The Leadership Las Vegas program, since its inception in 1986, brings together 48-50 individuals in leadership roles, as well as high-potential leaders, from a breadth of industries and local businesses for an intensive 10-month experience. During an immersive two-day opening retreat and nine monthly session days which follow, class members develop a keen awareness of the community by closely examining the major systems that comprise the region. They are motivated to assume – or expand – their leadership roles within the community and their industries. By the end of the program year, participants have developed valuable relationships with fellow classmates, as well as alumni, and are empowered and impassioned about shaping the future of the Las Vegas community. Their experience doesn’t end there, as the Leadership program has a dynamic and busy alumni group which plans out session days, facilitates the opening retreat, conducts alumni get-togethers and recruits future classes. “Leadership Las Vegas has played an essential role in the development of our community by providing leaders with valuable insight on important issues facing Southern Nevada,” says Betsy Fretwell, city manager for the City of Las Vegas and graduate of Leadership Las Vegas, class of 2000. “The relationships that are formed during Leadership Las Vegas are invaluable as we work together to make our community a better place.”

From the history and culture of Las Vegas to local education infrastructure, Leadership Las Vegas’ diverse and inclusive curriculum delves into the systems that make Las Vegas such a vibrant and dynamic metropolis, as well as outlines its biggest challenges and greatest areas for growth. Session days are guided by engaged members of the alumni who are industry leaders in the community. Classes are packed with expert panels, speakers, interactive tours, simulations and other activities to give each participant a “deep dive” into such topics as community safety systems, government, politics and media, health, criminal justice and education.

Graduates of the Leadership Las Vegas program are comprised of more than 1,200 business executives, entrepreneurs, elected officials and community leaders. “When you think of the strides we’ve made as a community in addressing critical issues from social services, healthcare and education to resource management and economic development, you can be certain that Leadership graduates are involved at all levels, engaging with civic, business and elected leaders in trying to solve our most pressing challenges and improve our community,” says Flo Rogers, Leadership Las Vegas council chair, graduate of the 2004 class, and president and general manager of Nevada Public Radio. Many of these leaders have stayed in the Las Vegas area, including Rogers, who credits Leadership Las Vegas as a turning point for her to commit to not only to Las Vegas as her home but the United States as her country of citizenship. “Because of the people, the entrepreneurial spirit and the friendships I’d made, I connected the work I was doing and the increasing impact we could have beyond the listeners who rely on us,” she explains. “After being the in U.S. for more than 18 years, I decided it was time to become a citizen and I was proud to do so in January 2006 in the federal courthouse here in Las Vegas.”

Leadership Advance

The Metro Chamber’s new Leadership Advance program is tailored specifically to emerging leaders and those wanting to enhance their leadership skills, as well as enrich their knowledge of the Las Vegas Valley. Building off of the solid foundation of the Leadership North Las Vegas program, Leadership Advance will focus on encouraging individuals in the Las Vegas community on the path to significant leadership positions to play an active role in developing their leadership abilities and prepare for the challenges of community leadership.

When the Metro Chamber and the North Las Vegas Chamber combined operations in 2012, Leadership North Las Vegas became an exciting addition to the Metro Chamber’s signature programming. The Leadership Advance program reinforces and builds upon the Leadership North Las Vegas program style of blending in-depth community education with practical, hands-on skills and leadership training and expanding its scope to the entire Las Vegas Valley. Each session focuses one a system or topic in the community, with the curriculum now encompassing regional history and gaming; the second half of each session day is dedicated to growing skills that will enhance leadership prowess, improve companies and advance careers. By the end of the program, participants gain extensive experience and insight into their own leadership technique and skills, create deep-rooted relationships with fellow participants and grow in awareness and understanding of challenges and issues within the community.

“One important trait of great leaders is one who believes in continued education,” says Sonny Vinuya, program chair for Leadership Advance, 2013 graduate of Leadership North Las Vegas and vice president/small business relationship manager for Nevada State Bank. “We must continue to improve ourselves, continue to evolve and be open to new ideas and concepts.” Personal and professional growth is a key takeaway from the program, evidenced by Jarron Gray, a member of the Leadership North Las Vegas Class of 2013. Using the knowledge and skills he gained from the program, he made the decision to go into business for himself. “I was in a position where I wanted to take more control of my career path,” he says. “The best opportunity I had was to open my own business. This was the best option because it was the best way I could continue to foster relationships with the numerous contacts I had within my community.”

As Las Vegas grows and diversifies, so also will its need for transformative leaders. By nurturing their sense of community leadership and creating opportunities for them to hone their skills, these participants will emerge from the Leadership Advance program equipped to handle leadership roles and responsibilities that are demanded of leaders today.

Focus Las Vegas

The Metro Chamber’s Focus Las Vegas program is an immersive two-day experience that gives participants an insider’s look at the Valley. This is an excellent opportunity for those who may be new to the Valley, recently promoted or want to get more involved in community issues. Focus Las Vegas is also ideal for those who want to get a “crash course” in the systems that shape Southern Nevada, or those wanting an introduction to the Leadership or Leadership Advance programs. Creating a better understanding of the workings of the community and its challenges, Focus Las Vegas builds a solid foundation of community enrichment and involvement for participants.

It is also an opportunity for participants interested in a particular area of Las Vegas life – business, culture, or economic – to immerse themselves with the experts, key organizations and ideas of that topic. Subjects of particular relevance to current issues and affairs in Southern Nevada, from government affairs to entrepreneurship and youth leadership, will be the spotlight of targeted Focus sessions, in addition to the general sessions.

Focus Las Vegas will hold its first sessions in the fall of 2014. Look for more information on upcoming Focus Las Vegas sessions in your inbox and in the Business Voice.

Stay Informed!

Visit LeadLV.com for valuable program information, photos and to keep up with any upcoming events, application deadlines and Focus sessions. You can also sign up for email notifications, download applications and recommend an  employee, colleague, family member or friend for the program.

Making an Impact: Class Projects

Each Leadership class has its own story to tell, including those of game-changing, community-driven class projects that continue to benefit Southern Nevada on several different levels. Some of these projects continue to have a positive impact our community today:

Centennial License Plate – Leadership Las Vegas Class of 2001 – The centennial license plate, a commemorative icon of Las Vegas’ rich history, has generated millions of dollars in revenue, which to this day still funds historic presentations and celebrations such as the Helldorado Days parade and walking tours.

Lincoln Elementary School Endorsement – Leadership North Las Vegas Class of 2012 – The class adopted this at-risk school and addressed resource issues, such as basic school supplies and uniforms. In addition, the class hosted a teacher appreciation lunch with prize drawings and a Career Day for the students featuring the class member industries.

Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth Renovations – Leadership Las Vegas Class of 2007 – Recognizing a need in the community, the class picked up their tools and renovated condominium units for housing to help homeless youth in the Las Vegas community.

Get Ready for Your Leadership Experience

Leadership Las Vegas – Applications are now available for Leadership Las Vegas, Class of 2015, and can be found on LeadLV.com. Completed applications are due no later than 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 15, 2014. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. For more information, contact Lisa Gough, Leadership Las Vegas coordinator, at LGough@lvchamber.com or 702.586.3841.

Leadership Advance – Applications for the inaugural Leadership Advance Class of 2015 are now open and can be downloaded from LeadLV.com. Completed applications are due no later than 4:00 p.m. on Monday, June 30, 2014. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. For more information, contact Kristen Larsen, Leadership Advance program coordinator, at klarsen@lvchamber.com or 702.586.3825.

Focus Las Vegas – Focus Las Vegas sessions begin this fall. Keep up-to-date on session dates, topics and opportunities for engagement by signing up for email updates at LeadLV.com.

A Legacy of Leadership

Leadership Las Vegas has accumulated a network of more than 1,200 alumni in more than 25 years. In the last few years, the program has also seen an introduction of “legacy graduates” – children of Leadership Las Vegas alumni who have since graduated. These legacy alumni represent a multi-generational commitment to community stewardship and guidance in Southern Nevada. Such legacy graduates include:

  • Fafie Moore, president of Realty Executives of Nevada and past chairman of the Metro Chamber and daughter Tanya Murray, realtor with Realty Executives of Nevada;
  • Associate superintendent of the Clark County School District Joyce Haldeman and son Josh Haldeman, vice president/loan officer at Bank of Nevada
  • Judge Stewart Bell and daughter Judge Linda Bell
  • Dedee Nave, whose daughter Alisa Nave-Worth, an attorney with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, who graduated in 2012.

“The ethic of giving back to the community through volunteer service runs strong in our family and we have taught our daughter that knowledge of the context for which the service is aimed is critical to its effectiveness and success,” says Dedee Nave. “I am sure she has benefited from the Leadership Las Vegas experience as much as I did in this respect.” Echoing those sentiments, Alisa Nave-Worth says, “Growing up, my parents taught me through their own actions the importance of philanthropy and community investment.  No better example of this dedication to community was my mom’s participation in LLV, which I vividly remember.  Her example inspired me to apply over twenty years later.”

Councils Spotlight

Florence M.E. Rogers, Council Chair, Class of 2004

Florence Rogers is president & general manager of Nevada Public Radio, the public media company providing news, cultural and online services to Nevada. Rogers joined Nevada Public Radio in 2001 to oversee KNPR’s programming and establish Nevada’s first classical music station. She co-created the flagship public affairs program KNPR’s State of Nevada and has many national network credits for her own reporting, including NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Studio 360. A 1989 graduate of San Diego State University, Rogers holds a Masters Degree in Communications.

Sonny Vinuya, Leadership Advance program chair, Leadership North Las Vegas Class of 2013

Sonny Vinuya, a 2013 alumni of the Leadership North Las Vegas program, is the vice president/small business relationship manager for the Durango Business Center branch of Nevada State Bank. Previously, Vinuya served as branch manager for the bank, and has been part of the Nevada State Bank team since 2004. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and appreciating the outdoors by cycling and hiking.

Priscilla Raudenbush – Leadership Advance program co-chair, Leadership North Las Vegas Class of 2012

Priscilla Raudenbush, a 2012 alumni of the Leadership North Las Vegas program, is a staff consultant of customer development at NV Energy. She has been with NV Energy since 1993, and is a member of the Employee Volunteer Council with the organization. Her nonprofit activities extend to serving as the program co-chair for Leadership Advance, as well as program co-chair and alumni chair for Leadership North Las Vegas. She is also a past board member of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and a past loaned executive for United Way.