Community Spotlight: Leadership Arlington

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Photo courtesy of Leadership Arlington.

Leadership Arlington is a leadership program for people that live in or work in Arlington, Texas. With an emphasis on training, empowering and connecting people who want to make a difference in Arlington, the eight-month program bonds its participants, improves their leadership skills and teaches them how various city departments operate.

Program Details

Participants of Leadership Arlington have to go through an application process, with anywhere from 20 to 60 community members chosen for the program each year.

“On average we’d like to have a class from 30-35, but it ranges based on the applicants,” said Dara Newton, Leadership Arlington board member and Director of Undergraduate Recruitment at University of Texas at Arlington. “We really try to make sure we have good representation [of the community],” she said.

After a two-hour orientation, the program starts with an overnight retreat in October that sets the tone for the remaining eight months. Participants take personality tests and go through teambuilding exercises while getting to know one another.

Then, the class meets once a month for four hours at locations that pertain to the focus of the night. Topics range from government to education to arts & culture. After the first two sessions, program participants begin giving the monthly presentations to their peers.

This past year Jeana Baxley was accepted into the program after receiving a nomination by Terry Gaines, chair of the board for the Friends of the Levitt Pavilion.

Baxley’s group researched and planned the economic development presentation using a Price is Right theme, asking questions such as “How much money was spent on tourism in Arlington in 2011?” and “What is the actual retail price of Cowboys Stadium?” The answers, respectively, are $593 million, which is up 8 percent from the prior year, and $1.2 billion.

How Participants Benefit

Most alumni of Leadership Arlington mention that they form a strong bond with each other that helps them professionally and personally long after the program ends.

“People say, ‘You don’t graduate from Leadership Arlington – you graduate into it,” Baxley noted, referring to the large network of alumni. She thought so highly of the program that she nominated a work colleague to join the 2012-13 class.

The program also provides insight into the city’s history, which often gives a new perspective to participants in the context of their homes or jobs. Newton says the program can benefit people that just moved here and people that have spent their whole lives in Arlington.

“Last year I learned some things that I didn’t learn in my class,” said Newton, who was in the 2010-11 class. “Even if you’ve been in Arlington for some time, you can still learn things from this program.”

How You Can Be Part of Leadership Arlington

Applications to be part of the next class are due Aug. 31. Download them on Leadership Arlington’s site. Complete the form and email it adult@leadershiparlingtontx.org or mail it to Leadership Arlington, 4002 W. Pioneer Parkway, Arlington, TX, 76013. Tuition is $550.

The organization also has a Youth Training Program for high school juniors. Students apply by May 1 at the end of their sophomore year. The program costs nothing for students since the adult tuition supplements the youth class.

If you would like to support Leadership Arlington, call 817-459-1446 or email info@leadershiparlingtontx.org.

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