Leadership Nevada County is back with the Class of 2023 – SWARK Today

Leadership Nevada County Class of 2023 (left to right) James Gillard, Carlos Vanhook, Jennifer Robbins, April Lovette, Beronica Parrish, Shanta Wiley, Casey Autry, Tessa Oliver, Megan Horton, Caitlin Hunt

The Class of 2023 for Nevada County Leadership recently kicked off its year of events with a retreat at Oak Bower in Bismarck. The group of ten, drawn from a wide range of occupations and backgrounds, participated in various learning activities geared towards emerging leaders in the community and also participated in activities that would allow them to get to know each other better. Due to the pandemic, this is the first leadership class in Nevada County in several years, and Mary Godwin, director of economic development/leadership facilitator, said she and the Leadership Board of Directors are excited to be able to bring this program back to the community.

“We’re very excited,” Godwin said. “This program has been very popular and very successful in developing and supporting emerging leaders in our community. Since its inception in 2001, this program has completed 143 individuals who have gone on to form new businesses, assume new leadership roles in the community, receive appointments as board members, and more. We have a great group this year and we look forward to seeing what they achieve.”

At this month’s Prescott City Council meeting, Terry Oliver, mayor and board member, told council members that the retreat was a great opening of the year. “This group is very smart and they got along well,” Oliver said. “It’s going to be a great year.”

Prescott Parks and Recreation Director Carlos Vanhook is one of the participants in the Nevada County Leadership Class of 2023. He shared with SWARK. Today he shared his thoughts on the inaugural retreat. “It was a pretty cool experience and also very informative,” said Vanhook. “I’ve learned a lot and made new friends who will be great contacts as we all learn new ways to serve the community. I look forward to what next year will bring.”

Another member of this year’s group is Deputy Tax Assessor for Nevada County, Beronica Parrish, and she said the retirement was a different but much-needed experience. “The retreat was very nice and also a new experience for me,” said Parrish. “It has definitely taken me out of my comfort zone to take on this new role through our activities, but it has allowed me to learn a lot and meet people from all walks of life that I would never have met otherwise. I hope to branch out even further this year so I can learn more about how to serve my community and inspire others while also being inspired by them.”

Over the next year, the Class of 2023 will meet monthly to learn about diverse topics such as state government, education, law enforcement, cultural diversity, local history, economic development and much more. An example that took place during the retreat was the class’ field trip to DeGray Lake for an Eagle Tour to learn more about the ecology of the area and how the state park system works. Other field trips on this year’s itinerary include locations such as the state capital, ALETA (Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy), the Nevada County Courthouse and other relevant areas of citizen and community operations. Throughout the year, the Class of 2023 will also take courses to learn techniques and styles in leadership, work on service projects that benefit the community, and provide independent reports of successful and popular leadership reading materials.

The Leadership Nevada County mission statement states that the program is “designed to build a talented leadership pool, motivate emerging and existing leaders, and develop participants’ potential for leadership and community decision-making by exposing the realities, strengths, Resources and opportunities are exposed to the needs of our region.” Throughout the next year, as the class delves deep into the inner workings of the community, citizens of Prescott and Nevada County will likely meet some or all of the Leadership Nevada County Class of 2023. They are as follows:

James Gillard – Nevada County Library
Carlos Vanhook – Prescott Parks and Recreation Director
Jennifer Robbins – Counselor at Prescott High School
April Lovette – SWARK.Today Community Reporter
Beronica Parrish – Nevada County Assistant Inspector
Shanta Wiley – City of Prescott Water & Light
Casey Autry – Prescott Police Department
Tessa Oliver – Special Education Teacher for the Nevada School District
Megan Horton – City of Prescott Water & Light
Caitlin Hunt – Process Engineer at Holcim