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  • The benefit of leadership opportunities & the inside story of the Leadership FMWF program

  • The benefit of leadership opportunities & the inside story of the Leadership FMWF program

    The benefit of leadership opportunities & the inside story of the Leadership FMWF program

    Did you know that as a Chamber member, you have the opportunity to apply, or support an employee in applying, for the Leadership FMWF program?
    This is just one opportunity many of our members value because they have the chance to get to know other professionals in our region, meet community leaders and learn about different businesses and organizations. When we speak to members, they often comment on these benefits from participation:

    • ​Connections and relationship building
    • Learning new skills
    • Gaining communication tools and skills
    • The knowledge of how to influence other
    • Gained confidence and empowerment
    Each year, this benefit exclusively for members allows them to participate in this sought-after opportunity. Then after graduation, we look forward to watching these individuals continue growing upon the knowledge, skills and connections they made during the program.

    Other local leadership opportunities
    There are many other Chamber members that offer leadership trainings and programs. Here are just a few other opportunities you might want to look into.* *Not an exhaustive list of all opportunities. Let us know if we missed one that you love, or if we can help connect you to how to get involved.

    All about Leadership FMWF: The inside story

    The Chamber’s Leadership program has been in existence since 1989. When the Fargo and Moorhead Chambers were separate entities, they each had their own Leadership program until the merger created one Leadership program—the one you know today!
    Since the late 80s, the Leadership program has seen over 1,000 graduates. The program has gone through many evolutions over the years. The program formerly strongly focused on skill development, touching on essential skills for leadership. Today, the program not only offers professional development opportunities, but also focuses on community exploration and understanding leadership by learning from community leaders that are brought into class. 
    Group projects have always been a strong component of the program. What was once a project where groups partnered with non-profits has now evolved to participants identifying needs in the community that should be addressed and forming a project around addressing those needs.  
    One thing that has always been a constant of the Leadership program is the focus on network development. Ask any graduate what their biggest takeaway is and they will say the network they were able to develop!  

    Applications are now open for the Leadership FMWF class of 2021-22!

    Have questions about the program? Want to ask graduates about their experience or have questions on a specific part of the application? Log on to one of our Leadership Info sessions in April! All info sessions will be held virtually.
    Applications will be open from April 1 to May 14. Apply at fmwfchamber.com/leadership.

    Reflections from current Chamber Board Members & Leadership graduates

    “When I first moved to Fargo in March 2008, the FMWF Leadership program was a great way for me to interact with up-and-coming leaders within the community and to experience more of the community itself. I really enjoyed having our sessions at various businesses and non-profit organizations such as Cass County Electric, Microsoft and NDSCS. Some aspects of the program that stuck with me and informed my leadership style were the great team-building exercises, my first exposure to DISC profiles and learning more about the Dale Carnegie approach to leadership and public speaking. I highly recommend the program for anyone looking to expand themselves into further leadership roles that will influence the community for years to come.”
    Peter Stenehjem, First International Bank & Trust, Class of 2008-09

    “The program is about opportunities, opportunities, opportunities! It’s also about meeting people in the community as well as the community and all the things I didn’t know the Fargo-Moorhead area had to offer. It’s about awareness and opening my eyes to the opportunities and community.”
    Joanna Slominski, Mortenson, Class of 2014-15

    “I was a member of the very first Leadership class, and at the time The Chamber was realizing how important it was to build the next group of community leaders. The people involved in The Chamber were senior corporate leaders, and they knew that they had to find younger people to take over for them, but in order to do that they wanted to educate these young potential leaders on the community… past history, current successes and future needs and challenges. Many of those people in that first class decades ago are still my friends, and we have worked on numerous other projects together. I’m proud to think that we might have had a small but important impact on the success that our community is experiencing today.”
    Tom Dawson, Dawson Insurance

    What do past graduates say about their experience?

    “The FMWF Chamber Leadership program was an amazing experience! The program engaged us to interact and network with numerous industries and groups throughout our community. I was also able to connect with some incredible people from various organizations throughout the FMWF area.”
    Kristin Gille, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, Class of 2019-20
    “As someone who grew up in West Fargo and has never lived elsewhere, I liked to think I had a good grasp on what the FMWF community offered. Leadership FMWF introduced me to so many wonderful businesses and community members that I now see how small my lens truly was. If you are looking to strengthen your connection with local businesses and community members and broaden your lens, Leadership FMWF offers you the unique opportunity to do so. Even if you’ve always lived in the area like me, I guarantee you’ll learn something new!”
    Lindsey Cernik, Border States Electric, Class of 2019-20

    “The program broadened my community knowledge, allowed me to meet and learn from inspiring community leaders and gain additional leadership skills. … I came away with lifelong friendships and a wealth of knowledge I didn’t have before regarding different service industries and the important roles they all play in our economy.”
    Amber Blomberg, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, Class of 2018-19

    “As part of the Leadership class, I was provided with opportunities to connect with many like-minded professionals in our community and form multiple professional and personal relationships.  Being able to hear from community leaders during our monthly sessions was an unforgettable opportunity to learn about new organizations and what they are doing to make our community a better place to live, work and play.”
    Stephonie Broughton, Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau, Class of 2018-19

    “The Chamber’s Leadership FMWF program proved itself to be an invaluable experience for me in many ways. I was able to get a behind-the-scenes look at area businesses and organizations, connect with and learn​ from elected officials, understand challenges and opportunities facing our region, be actively involved in driving positive community change and enhance my own professional and personal skills; all while working alongside 39 other emerging and established community leaders. These friendships and business relationships have continued to flourish years later, and I strongly recommend this program to anyone looking to further ingrain themselves in our great community.”
    Tyler Fischbach, City of Fargo, Class of 2017-18

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