Daily News

ACCGS Seeks Applications for 2015 Leadership Institute

SPRINGFIELD — Applications are now being accepted for the 2015 session of Leadership Institute, Rethinking Leadership: Sharpening Skills for Organization and Community Service, sponsored by MassMutual Financial Group with scholarship support from the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation.

The Leadership Institute is a unique collaboration between the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield (ACCGS) and Western New England University (WNEU) aimed at teaching mid- and upper-level managers the crucial thinking and problem-solving skills needed to enable them to be effective leaders in service to the community and in their workplaces, and designed to develop high-energy and high-involvement leadership.

“As a CEO, I know that I need to engage my team and energize their strategic thinking,” said John Weiss, a 2014 graduate and president of Ormsby Insurance Agency. “Leadership 2014 provided me with the invaluable opportunity to not only continue on my own personal path of learning, but to learn from some of the most respected faculty in the region and learn from my colleagues in the program; gain new ideas, new perspectives, and new experiences; and be able to bring it all back to my team, my business, and my clients.”

Since 1982, the program has developed members of the business community for volunteer service to community organizations. Institute alumni represent many accomplished and distinguished leaders in business, education, government, and nonprofit communities, including U.S. Rep. Richard Neal; former state Sen. and Hampden County Clerk of Courts Brian Lees; Henry Thomas, president and CEO of the Urban League of Springfield; and MassMutual Financial Group Vice President Carol Demas and Community Responsibility Consultant Glenn Davis.

Directed by WNEU Dean of the College of Business Julie Siciliano and Executive-in-residence Jack Greeley, Leadership 2015 will challenge participants to think in new ways and to analyze their own strengths and organizational challenges within a dynamic economy. Taught by Western New England faculty, participants will focus on problem solving, learning to ask the right questions, and implementing creative solutions for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations.

Participants will actively explore best practices of leaders; analyze their own leadership, learning, and problem-solving styles; and experience the synergies that come from high-performing teams. Emphasis will be on experiential activities that identify, develop, and refine skill sets for effective leadership.

“By exposing me to the faculty local experts in their field and providing the opportunity to spend time with such a diverse group of fellow students, Leadership Institute has given me information and contacts that might otherwise have taken years of networking to accumulate,” said 2014 graduate Nicole Sweeney, marketing manager for Eastfield Mall. “Each class leads to valuable introspection, which, with the help of suggested follow-up materials by each instructor, I will be able to build upon for years to come.”

The Leadership Institute runs for seven consecutive Thursdays from 1 to 4:30 p.m., Feb. 12 through March 26. The Feb. 12 opening session will be held at the Sheraton Springfield, One Monarch Place, Springfield, with the remaining sessions held at the TD Bank Conference Center, 1441 Main St., Springfield. The program culminates in April with the ACCGS Beacon Hill Summit, the chamber’s annual trip to Beacon Hill, and a graduation ceremony and dinner.

Tuition is $885 per participant and includes all materials, several learning and personality inventory tools, the summit, and the graduation ceremony and dinner. Not-for-profit organizations interested in participating may apply for scholarship funding provided by the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation.

Interested participants must complete an application, obtain a letter from a sponsor supporting the application, and provide a written letter of interest with background. Information and applications are available by contacting Kara Cavanaugh at the ACCGS at (413) 755-1310 or [email protected]. The deadline for applications is Wednesday, Feb. 4.