An Inside Look at the KC Chamber’s Centurions Program: Initial Thoughts and ImpressionsPosted on Wednesday, October 7th, 2020 by Kristen Leathers-Gratton
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In late August, the KC Chamber kicked-off the Centurions Leadership Program. I was selected to participate in the Fall 2020 class. Over the course of the next two years, I’ll be periodically sharing updates on my experience. You can expect to see key takeaways and lessons learned from this beneficial program in our new blog series.
Here’s a brief overview highlighting some of the experiences we’ve had so far:
- We participated in a scavenger hunt with our pod mates. For it, we ran around downtown Kansas City, capturing photos of people and places.
- We attended a two-day retreat where KC Chamber leaders answered questions about the challenges facing our city today and tomorrow. We also listened to film director and writer, Kevin Willmott, share his story and discuss his projects.
Every participant is assigned to a committee and task force. I’ll be on the Legacy Committee. Each year, this group selects a local, non-profit organization to highlight and engage. They also plan and lead the community service projects and organize program volunteers. The project we select will begin in Fall 2021. This year, we’re supporting reStart, an organization Affinis has served in the past.
I’ve also been added to the Urban Neighborhood Renewal task force, which will present in April 2021. As part of our assignment, we will explore neighborhoods teetering on the edge of renewal or decline and assess the consequences for each. We will gather community perspectives, identify challenges and problems, and discuss possible solutions. We will organize a day-long program for the entire cohort to bring awareness and engage action.
A Focus on Community Service
In addition to these activities, Centurions commit to a minimum of 20 hours of community service each year. One of my first outings was at the KC Veteran Community Project (aka Tiny Houses). It is an amazing project that serves homeless veterans. It provides shelter, food, and support services while transitioning these individuals to independence.
COVID-19 has put an additional strain on the organization’s resources. Loss of jobs/income have increased the average cost from $300/person to $900/person. This year, the annual cost is expected to increase from $80,000 to $250,000 for rent, utilities, etc. Likewise, it has limited their ability to bring new residents into the facility. Learn more about how you can help here.
Centurions Leadership Program Takeaways
After just a few weeks, I can already tell that this program will up my “A” game. Each member of my cohort is smart and brings an interesting viewpoint to the group. My initial takeaways are that it will:
- Challenge me to stretch outside my comfort zone.
- Make me a better leader by broadening my perspective.