By Laura Lanford
Elected officials from across the country convened in Charlotte, NC, last month for a series of programs and skill-building sessions aimed to strengthen and enhance their work as city leaders. The meeting was NLC's 20th Anniversary Leadership Summit -- developed two decades ago as an interactive retreat designed specifically with local government officials in mind. This year's summit focused on two key components of leadership: trust and legacy.
General Hugh Shelton, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush spoke to the group on the topic of leadership and positive legacies. The conference also featured presentations by Nicholas Beamon, from the Center for Intentional Leadership, and David Horsager, author of The Trust Edge. Carolyn Sawyer of the Tom Sawyer Company was this year's theme weaver.
Summit participants walked away with useful tools and experiences to better serve their home communities. An'cel Davis from Riverdale, Georgia, said, "I really enjoyed the training classes as each presenter gave us some ‘golden nuggets' to better our position as an Elected Official. I know that we will be better equipped to lead our constituents to the next level."
In addition to regular programming, participants were given the opportunity to discuss issues of particular importance to host city Charlotte. James E. Mitchell Jr., NLC's Immediate Past President and Charlotte City Council member, collaborated with his hometown and NLC to bring summit attendees an unforgettable taste of the Queen City.
A highlight was the joint closing session with Charlotte youth delegates, "Passing the Baton of Leadership." Twenty-one local area youth joined participants to learn valuable leadership skills from the officials and presenters. As the session closed, officials delivered the gavel to the youth as a way of ceremonially passing their knowledge and experience on to the next generation of leaders.
Attendees were also able to informally network and socialize while learning more about Charlotte's cultural attractions, including the NASCAR Hall of Fame. As Vince Williams from Union City, Georgia, stated upon return from the Summit, "This past week and weekend was one of the NLC events I'll always remember."
Over the years, the Leadership Summit has featured presentations by noteworthy leadership scholars and provided opportunities for engaged learning and networking with influential individuals from across the country. The program's goal is to showcase leadership skills and topics valuable to local leaders at every level. Additionally, each city that hosts the Annual Leadership Summit has the opportunity to use the program as a platform to discuss issues of particular importance to their community.