C2 Represented in Leadership Champlain’s Class of 2017

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C2 is proud to announce that its Marketing Director, Jennifer Graham, has completed the 2017 Leadership Champlain program. The Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce has run the program for decades to cultivate community leaders.

This year featured the program’s biggest ever class—44 professionals from the Burlington area. This diverse crew included attorneys, architects, non-profit executives, marketing specialists and technology innovators. Over the course of nine months, they got a chance to meet each other and bond—and discover the dynamic spirit of the area.

Things kicked off in the fall, with a two-day team building retreat in the mountains. Every month thereafter had a theme, and members attended day-long seminars and hands-on sessions focused on topics like Human Services, Energy, Government, Criminal Justice, Education, Business, Health Care and Community Service.

For instance, during the month on Government, participants traveled to the statehouse to see in person how bills get introduced to the legislature, and they got to debate a real bill in the chamber. Members also met with community leaders in health and human services and criminal justice, visited shelters and a home for recovering alcoholics, and spent a day at the Burlington Police Department learning about the critical issues facing the department and State.

In addition to all this outreach, participants needed to complete two projects. The first involved interviewing a community leader and then reporting back to the group. Jennifer interviewed Jen Kimmich, who along with her husband, John, founded The Alchemist brewery. Their locally-brewed IPA is globally recognized as possibly the best beer in the world. (This Vice article, for instance, actually calls it “the World’s Most Sought-After Beer.”)

The other, larger project ran from February through June. Jennifer and four others did a complete re-branding for a local nonprofit, the Winooski Coalition for a Safe and Peaceful Community (WCSPC). They helped the WCSPC define their voice, survey their constituents, draft a comprehensive marketing plan and redesign their logo. The end result was a thorough, 65 page document, complete with step-by-step actions for the nonprofit to take. Jennifer and her teammates presented their case study to the class.

On June 13 the class wrapped things up with project presentations and a graduation ceremony. But fortunately, it’s not the end of the line. The program boasts a strong alumni network of hundreds of people who meet up every month and continue to network and work together to creatively serve the community. Several have also gone on to hold seats on the Leadership Champlain and Chamber Board of Directors.

Jennifer loved the experience and felt it revealed sides of Vermont that few people ever see, exposed profound challenges our State faces, and introduced her to an amazing group of people.

To learn more about the Leadership Champlain Program, visit here for details.

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