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Iowa State University Extension

Dynamic leaders make things happen in Iowa communities

Developing Dynamic Leaders class

Communities need elected leaders like city councils, county supervisors and school boards. But they also need selected leaders -- those individuals, whether chosen by themselves or their peers, who find themselves heading up nonprofit organizations, volunteer groups and other community activities. However they arrived at their positions, ISU Extension has a program to help them become better leaders.

Developing Dynamic Leaders is focused on developing the personal skills people need to take on leadership roles, whether in their office, community, church or family,” says Abbie Gaffey, an ISU Extension community and economic development specialist.

Sioux County starts the program Sept. 11; Hardin County starts in October. Each county is putting its own spin on this adaptable leadership development program.

Sioux County is focusing on worksites. “The program will be very helpful for new supervisors and frontline managers,” said Cheryl Heronemus, ISU Extension education director for Sioux County.

In addition, the Sioux County Extension Council is encouraging the county’s new slate of fair superintendents to participate, Heronemus said. “Since this is a first leadership position for many of these folks, the council is paying a major portion of the program’s cost for any new superintendents who are interested in expanding their leadership skills.” 

Chad Negus, from Primebank in Sioux Center, is a Developing Dynamic Leaders graduate and a member of the steering committee for the upcoming session. He recommends the program.

“The sessions are well thought out, giving you a better understanding of yourself and others.  The speakers are top-notch, focusing on specific points that will give you the tools you need to be an effective leader in your workplace and community,” Negus said.

Hardin County hopes to expand its leadership base, said Darwin Miller, ISU Extension education director in Hardin County.

Fifteen years ago Hardin County participated in ISU Extension’s Tomorrow’s Leaders Today program, Miller said. “Many of those graduates hold community leadership positions.  They felt there was a need to train the next generation of leaders in Hardin County.” 

And that is the point of Developing Dynamic Leaders, Gaffey said. “We’re trying to build that capacity within communities, to build the networks and the social capital necessary to make things happen, whatever they choose to do.”

This article appeared in September 2008 -- From Jack Payne Newsletter