Stephens, of Campton, and Primex Chief Executive Officer, Ty Gagne, of Holderness, graduates of the Leadership New Hampshire Class of 2013, are the co-founders of this program.
"Our region is surrounded by other regional leadership programs. We saw both a gap and an opportunity to develop a program specific to the Plymouth and Newfound areas." said Gagne. "There is a great deal of talent and social capital in our communities, and this program will help grow and sustain both."
"The Leadership Academy participants have had the opportunity to develop and expand their level of awareness and engagement as an individual, as a community member and as a professional," explains Stephens. 'To achieve these outcomes for the next class, the Academy seeks to identify individuals who currently hold, or are aspiring toward leadership roles, drawing from diverse personal and professional backgrounds."
Program session days run from September through May, meeting one day a month at a variety of locations throughout the region. In addition to sessions on state and local government and non-profits in New Hampshire, topics to be covered in depth include education, healthcare, the environment and sustainability, the criminal justice system and economic development.
Founding Director of the Center for Rural Partnerships at Plymouth State University, and PSU's Provost for Research and Engagement, Dr. Thad Gulbrandsen, a 2011 graduate of Leadership New Hampshire, agrees that networking is a very crucial component of the program.
"The relationships that are formed go far beyond anything that could easily be developed in the course of our regular working lives," said Guldbrandsen. This gives you the ability to interact with people from all around the state and to tap into a broader network. "Professional relationships become deeper, richer and more authentic. It strengthens the connections between people and enables them to collaborate more effectively. There are many great leaders in our region, but we can all learn more and get better at working together."