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Anna Chamber announces new leadership program

By Joshua Baethge
For the Anna-Melissa Tribune
Sherman Leadership Class of 2020 gets ready to cut the ribbon on the renovations to Sherman's Animal Shelter in 2020. Anna is looking for individuals interested in joining the inaugural Leadership Anna class. [Jerrie Whiteley / Herald Democrat]

The Greater Anna Chamber of Commerce announced plans for its first ever Leadership Anna program.  The Chamber, in partnership with the Tomorrow’s Leaders Today organization, has put together a six-week program that includes lessons in civic leadership, professional and personal development, as well as interactions with social service organizations, local businesses and various city departments.

According to Chamber President and CEO Kevin Hall, the program will be similar to ones in nearby cities like McKinney, Frisco and Plano.  A key difference is that while those programs are typically a year-long endeavor, Anna’s will take place in six weeks, with classes meeting every Wednesday from 5:30- 7:30 p.m.

“We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel.  We’re just trying to inflate the tire,” Hall said.

With Anna growing at such a record pace, it’s hard to know everyone in town. One of the goals of the Leadership Anna program is to build connections within each group to the point that they stay connected even after they graduate from it.

The program will be virtual this year. Participants will connect with a variety of speakers from city government, local businesses, the school district and area nonprofits.  Attendees will also get to work with area nonprofits and develop their own service project.  According to Hall, one of the things he is asked about most at the Chamber is where can people go to serve and give back to the community

“If people are interested in getting into politics or getting more connected to Anna this program is going to give you more of that,” he said. “Our goal is that the participants will get educated, learn more about leadership and then use that for Anna and Collin County.”

Leadership Anna is open to anyone who lives or works in Anna and the 75409 area code.  It is also open to all members of the Anna Chamber.  Enrollment is $300 for Chamber members and $350 for non-members. Organizers hope to have a class of around 20 people.

Those interested can learn more and sign up at the Chamber website Feb. 17 is the last day to enroll.

“We want this to be impactful and powerful,” Hall said. “We want you to learn something, get connected, and then hopefully stay here and be a better leader in our community.”