Leadership East Texas now seeking aspiring community leaders for six-month program

Jay Rice with Leadership East Texas Academy shares details of the six-month program with guests at the May 13 Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Without competent leaders, businesses and communities will struggle to attain their potential. In an effort to create new leaders and enhance the capabilities of seasoned leaders, the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce is spearheading Leadership East Texas (LET), a six-month leadership academy.

The impetus for the academy came from Chamber Chairman Jim Carson, a graduate of the Leadership North Houston Academy in the Humble area.

“The people who go through the Leadership East Texas Academy are going to learn how to go on to lead the companies where they work, the businesses they own and the communities where they live,” Carson said. “They will be able to interact with other people in the county and the surrounding area. They will be able to form relationships with other like-minded people, which will serve them well in the future.”

Creating homegrown leaders is no easy task, Carson said, which is why students must be willing to commit to a once-monthly class over the course of six months.

LET was formed as a separate non-profit from the Chamber, though the Chamber will be very much involved in promoting and assisting the organization. The chairman of the LET board is Jay Rice, who shared details about the Academy at the May 13 Chamber luncheon.

“About two years ago, the Chamber Board took on a new initiative called Leadership East Texas,” Rice said, adding that plans were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know there are a lot of folks who are good at leadership, but you are not born that way. Leaders are made. If you know a good leader, then you know they have had a lot of experiences that led them there,” Rice said.

Currently, LET is seeking community partners, such as municipalities, school districts, other chambers of commerce and businesses for financial support. Sponsorships range from $1,000 to $5,000 annually. Depending on the level of sponsorship, tuition for 1-5 students is included. Individuals who want to sponsor themselves may do so at a cost of $600.

The size of the inaugural class will be limited to the first 25 people who enroll. For more information on LET, call the Chamber office at 281-592-8786.

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