Thursday, October 27, 2011


I would not necessarily call myself a "leader"; however I have been honored over the past year to be part of the 2011 Class of Leadership Oak Ridge. This is an annual program of about 25-30 people chosen from companies all across the town I work in. You must be nominated to enter the class and you must be an emerging leader in the community. I was nominated by my boss last year, and here I am about to graduate the class on November 1st. I have a wonderful group of people in my class, and it has been a blessing getting to know them. It's almost sad to say goodbye to these folks because we have spent so much time together over the past year. It has been so much fun! I wasn't quite sure what to expect at first. How do you hone your leadership skills? How do you get together with a large group to develop yourself further? Am I going to look like a fool being in a class with CEOs and VPs? I am a measly little Business Development and Marketing person at a local public utility company. I believe that I was able to bring an interesting angle to the class, and I rarely felt out of place (even though several of the people in my class have 3-4 degrees to brag about). They often tell us that we have the ability to make a change in Oak Ridge, in Tennessee, in the US, maybe even the world. They encourage us to think outside the box and stand up for what you believe - even if you have opposers. There will always be people on the opposite side of the fence from you in life. BE THE CHANGE IN THE WORLD.

We met two full days a month, every month since January. As well as, two overnight trips - one to Nashville and one to Gatlinburg. We've mingled with Governor Haslam, toured a top notch national lab (ORNL) and saw the world's largest super computer, toured a national security facility (Y-12) where they house weapons of mass destruction, learned about Oak Ridge's super secret role in WWII, as well as the current economic situation that our community faces. I even have the manager of the Dept. of Energy's Operations Complex in my class! I was very in awe of him at first, but turns out he's a pretty normal down-to-earth guy. Although I am not an Oak Ridge resident, I grew up in Clinton which is literally 10 minutes north of Oak Ridge. I have always been familiar with Oak Ridge's past, and most of the people I knew growing up had parents working at the plants out here. I find all the mystery surrounding the past of this city very intriguing! I love a good history mystery!

Anyway, I just wanted to share my little accomplishment. I'm not kidding when I say that I feel very honored to have been chosen as part of this year's class. Everyone who is anyone is this town is a LOR alumni. Groups like these are where you can make lifelong connections. It feels good to be surrounded by fellow fun working professionals - some of whom are able to mentor me.
Here are some pictures of our class sessions over the year -

PS - check out how chubby I was in some of the pics! In some of our earlier sessions I was rocking the red hair too!

Some of the class on the front steps of the Capitol Building in Nashville - learning about how our state government affects local economy

Class at the Bijou Theatre in downtown Knoxville

Class at Smokies Park in Gatlinburg - windy day! haha

Class in Nashville at the Capitol Building with TN Gov. Bill Haslam and State Senator Randy McNally

Class on our first day together in front of the OR Chamber of Commerce

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