After graduating from Leadership Knoxville class of 2016, we had a chance to sit down with Angie and ask her about her experience with Leadership Knoxville over the past year. Here’s what Angie had to say about this life changing experience.
What is Leadership Knoxville?
“Leadership Knoxville is an incredible organization based out of Knoxville that takes community leaders and sends them through a nine month program. The program is designed to make these leaders more aware of what is going on in the community, and to get them out into the community to get hands on experience. They truly epitomize what it means to be a servant leader and really cultivate that into each class.”
How many were in your class?
“This year we had the largest class of 53 leaders from Knoxville. It was an incredible group, and I truly made lifetime friendships that I will always value.”
Explain how Leadership Knoxville works?
“Well, each month we focused on a different aspect in our community. For example, in September (2015) we focused on exploring Knoxville in general and had hands on exercises that went alongside with getting to know Knoxville. Throughout the other months we focused on Media and Communications, Education Processes, Diversity, etc. There is a curriculum committee that does an incredible job at expanding our knowledge through both teaching and hands on experiences.”
How did you get involved in Leadership Knoxville and how long were you a part of this?
“I think you have to be nominated and then you go through an application process for Leadership Knoxville. I had been aware of the Leadership Knoxville Program, but I don’t think I realized the impact that this program has had on this community and the impact it would make on my life. It truly was so much more than I could have ever imagined. I was a part of the program from August through May of this year.”
What has your experience been like with Leadership Knoxville?
“Every session I left thinking this could not be topped, yet every time the next session was even better than the one before. The curriculum committee does an incredible job of blending speakers with activities that completely open your eyes to the area of interest for the month.”
“The motto of each class is that they are “the best class ever”, but there is no doubt that this class was a class that was truly incredible. The variety and quality of the leaders that I was surrounded by was something that will forever impacted my life.”
What was your favorite memory with Leadership Knoxville?
“I probably have two favorite memories. The first was when I did a ride along with the local sheriff department. That was a very eye opening experience to see what they do every single day, and the sacrifice they make to our community. I was extremely impressed with the quality of work they did and the way they care about the people who live in our community.”
“My second favorite memory was the unit we did on education. We visited different schools in the area and met with the principles to ask them questions about challenges and opportunities. I had the sweet opportunity to visit a rural school, and was very impacted by the challenges that they face on a daily basis, yet the passion they have for these children. I met with the principle for several hours, toured the school, and had an amazing opportunity to hear first hand the joys and hopes for the school, but also the daily challenges for funding and resources that are really difficult in a poorer area.”
“Later in the month I was able to visit a local magnet school, and it was incredible to see first hand the programs that are being offered. The arts and theatre program were incredible, and it was neat to see how educators have really branched out and impacted students from a variety of creative programs. I never knew these programs existed, and it really impacted me to see the students enthusiasm and talent.”
What would you say you learned the most from your experience?
“Even though I have lived in Knoxville my whole life, I think I got to really see how diverse our community is, and I enjoyed seeing that. I also realized what it means to be an intentional servant leader in both my company and my community, and was challenged to live every day intentionally.”
What types of activities/projects did you do?
“Wow, looking back we did a lot. Every month was something different, and all of it was amazing. From scavenger hunts, to touring schools, we had hands on activities each month that went alongside what we were learning.”
“One of the most impactful “outings” was when we went to the Junior Achievement of East Tennessee. They put us through a “simulation” of learning the impact diversity has on everyday life and choices. This exercise really opened my eyes to how people in different socioeconomic circumstances are treated in our community, and I was very impacted by the simulation.”
Any other thoughts on Leadership Knoxville?
“It is an incredible program that far exceeded my expectations. I cannot say enough good things about it. Anyone who has the opportunity to join Leadership Knoxville should jump at the chance. It is the best investment of my time that I could make, and my life will be forever impacted by this program”