Butte group takes lead in leadership training

One of the common gripes you hear on the streets of Butte is there’s a vacuum of up-and-coming leaders for the community.

Butte needs to cultivate tomorrow’s leaders today if it is to have consistent, long-term economic growth.

By Gerard O’Brien Of the Montana Standard

Enter L.E.A.D., or the Leadership, Education and Development initiative sponsored by the Butte Chamber of Commerce. The program takes citizens who have a strong interest in the future of the community and immerses them in the various facets of what makes southwest Montana tick. The program focuses on leadership development, and business and policy education.

It’s a seven-month commitment, but the workshops are generally one, six-hour programs monthly. The goal is to develop new leaders and keep southwest Montana on track with economic development. Similar programs have been conducted in Billings and Bozeman with remarkable success.

"It’s important to have a leadership program in our community," said Marko Lucich, executive director of the Butte Chamber of Commerce, the major sponsor of this effort.

"Other communities in the state have had this program for 10 to 30 years, so we’re playing a little bit of a catch-up."

The idea is to develop a long-term program that identifies potential leaders as early as high-school age and brings them forward in learning and caring about their community.

The program costs $250 per participant. It is hoped that up to 35 people will participate in the first year. There is limited financial assistance available for full or partial scholarships.

The real cost is the time commitment, but it is time well-spent and the workshops are hands-on and interactive.

The program requires that participants attend 90 percent of the workshops over the seven-month period. Each participant must be involved in a community project, such as volunteering, coaching, participating on a community board.

Here’s a breakout of the workshop topics.

# Sept. 25 is an overview of the program and a look at Butte’s


# Oct. 26 looks at tax structures, business opportunities;

# Nov. 30 reviews the area’s infrastructure, police, fire coverage and education;

# Jan. 25, 2005, reviews tourism, recreation opportunities and volunteerism;

# Feb. 15 and 16, 2005 will be a southwest Montana leadership summit, inviting all economic development and related officials to a two-day networking seminar.

# March 29, 2005 looks at change, adapting and the future of Butte;

April 26, 2005 will be a wrap-up and graduation ceremony.

If interested in participating or sponsoring an employee, fill out an application by July 19 and return to the chamber office.

Applications are available at the chamber office, 1000 George St.; KBOW-KOPR radio offices,

660 Dewey Blvd; the Butte-Silver Bow chief executive’s office in the courthouse on West Granite or can be downloaded from The Montana Standard Web site at

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