PUBLISHED: 5:13 PM on Wednesday, January 30, 2008
UW launches leadership program
Leadership Juneau, a new community leadership development program, recently concluded its inaugural retreat weekend in Haines. Thirteen members of the initial class completed a busy schedule filled with leadership workshops, an ethics seminar, and meetings with Haines community leaders such as writer Heather Lende, Mayor Fred Shields, and Kimberley Strong, President of the Chilkat Indian Village at Klukwan.

In 2005, United Way of Southeast Alaska conducted a community perception survey called Compass II in Juneau. Among key concerns, Juneau residents expressed a strong desire for greater civic engagement, improved cross-cultural understanding and communication, and enhanced opportunities for volunteerism.

To respond to these community aspirations, United Way received a start up grant from BP to launch the first annual Leadership Juneau program.

Based on a nation-wide community leadership education movement, the program is preparing participants to serve as the next wave of Juneau's nonprofit board members, elected officials, and community organizers. A distinguishing feature of Leadership Juneau is its commitment to an independent stance with regard to community issues while seeking to broaden the base of leadership and the community's capacity for creative, collaborative problem-solving skills.

Leadership Juneau class members are Juneau residents who have demonstrated leadership potential. They come from all sectors of the community-businesses, government, and non-profit organizations---and are diverse in terms of age, race, culture, and gender. Participants in the pioneer class are: Ariel Baird, Drew Baird, Kenneth Cook, Weston Eiler, Sylvia Kreel, Melissa Griffiths, Nathan McCowan, Rebecca Parks, Cristina Reitz, Dianne Slater, Yarrow Vaara, John Williams and Sheri Williams.

The opening retreat also featured seminars presented by local talent, UAS Professor Emeritus Dr. Lawrence Lee Oldaker and Juneau Empire publisher Bob Hale, who offered their insights on leadership from their respective professions.

The focus for the eight remaining seminar days shifts solely to the local community, said Scott Ciambor, coordinator for Leadership Juneau.

Diversity training, information-gathering sessions with community leaders, and the completion of a Community Impact project by Leadership Juneau participants are on the agenda. The program ends May 31st, 2008.

United Way of Southeast Alaska is a volunteer-driven organization that creates lasting community change by bringing people and resources together to address community-wide issues.

For 28 years, UWSEAK has helped nurture children and youth, care for the elderly and people with disabilities, promote wellness and self-sufficiency, and meet the basic needs of people in crisis. UWSEAK is a member of the United Way of America system that includes nearly 1,400 community-based United Way organizations. Each is independent, separately incorporated, and governed by local volunteers.

For more information on Leadership Juneau, contact Scott Ciambor at