On August 20th nineteen individuals gathered together at the welcoming party for the start of Leadership Tangipahoa 2008. None of us knew what to expect, but each of us had our own level of curiosity, excitement and nervousness. During the course of the gathering, previous graduates described our upcoming weekend as enlightening, unforgettable, fun and amazing. Little did we know how right they would turn out to be.
That weekend, as we all arrived in Ponchatoula at Rosaryville Spirit Life Center; we realized exactly how different we all were. We were nineteen people from every walk of life, representing so many different aspects of the community. This “Class of 2008” represents non-profit organizations, the banking industry, municipalities, public safety, education, the health care industry, administration, and the legal profession. After two days together we realized that we really are not that different and that we all share a basic common goal. We all want to live in a great community where our kids can go to school, where we are safe, and have the ability to work and socialize with wonderful people.
Each of us have (individually) worked in our respective positions day after day to better our community never stopping to think what everyone else is doing. What we now realize is that if it were not for the rest, we would not survive. We depend on each person, each organization, and each business to get through our daily lives. Individually we are strong, but together we are so much stronger. It takes every walk of life to make a community what it is and over the course of our weekend we now understand that Tangipahoa is a very strong community.
Over the next nine months, our class will meet monthly to learn what Tangipahoa Parish has to offer, not only to us, but to those moving into our area. We will discover everything from how our local government works to tourism and everything in between. I look forward to our monthly meetings and to building relationships with my classmates. This week I have seen several of my new friends and am absolutely amazed at how excited we are to see each other. Just a week ago we had never met and here we are today already helping each other.
I am astounded that I have the privilege to be part of this remarkable group of leaders in Tangipahoa Parish. I would like to thank all of the people who encouraged me to apply for this program and especially to the Hammond Industrial Development Board for allowing me to participate. I am proud to represent such a group of true leaders. Without this group I would not be where I am today, for that I am thankful. I would also like to thank the staff and residents at Rosaryville for such a wonderful weekend. The accommodations were five-star and the food was fabulous. Finally, I would like to thank the Executive Director of Leadership Tangipahoa, Glen Villalobos, for being such a great facilitator and leader. This was truly an experience that I will never forget.