Talina Massey of Business Savvy/YUP ENC/Craven County Branch NAACP recently graduated from the NC Rural Center’s Homegrown Leaders program, a three-day regional leadership and economic development program that develops and supports highly-motivated leaders who are committed to building regional collaboration across multi-county regions in the state.
For the past two years, Homegrown Leaders has served Western North Carolina. Over the next two years, however, the leadership and economic development training program will cover a 42-county region in Eastern North Carolina.
The third training of the series, held in New Bern on July 20-22, 2021, attracted existing and emerging leaders from an eight-county region that included Bertie, Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Greene, Lenoir, Pamlico, and Pitt counties.
“The Homegrown Leaders curriculum underscores the critical importance of innovation in leadership development and regional collaboration,” said Rural Center Senior Director of Leadership and Engagement, Bronwyn Lucas.
NC Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders spoke to graduates on the last day of the training about the importance of a holistic approach to economic development. “Collaboration and diverse partnerships across sectors and the state—and intentionality in leadership and goals—are necessary to build greater resiliency for our workforce, businesses, and communities,” said Sec. Sanders.
Certificates were presented to the program’s 33 graduates upon completion of the training.
“Leadership development is at the core of the Rural Center’s work, and now more than ever it is important that our leaders are equipped with the skills and tools to foster growth and innovation,” said Rural Center President Patrick Woodie. “We’re excited to see the impact our Homegrown Leaders graduates will have in their communities and regions, especially as we try to move through and recover from the coronavirus pandemic.”
Class participants included economic development professionals, educators, and civic and nonprofit leaders.
The Homegrown Leaders trainings in Eastern North Carolina are funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Anonymous Trust, the North Carolina Community Foundation, Smithfield Foods, the North Carolina Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, and First National Bank. For more information about Homegrown Leaders, visit the Rural Center’s website.
About the NC Rural Center
For 30 years, the NC Rural Center has worked to develop, promote, and implement sound economic strategies to improve the quality of life of rural North Carolinians. The Rural Center serves the state’s 80 rural counties, with a special focus on individuals with low-to-moderate incomes and communities with limited resources.
By Meg Farrell Buckingham, Director of Communications, NC Rural Center