Leadership Eastern CT has it right in the name. For more than 30 years, the focus has been on our region—one that encompasses the largest submarine base and manufacturer in the U.S., major tourism draws like the casinos and aquarium, energy producers from nuclear to emerging wind power, family farms and aquaculture, quaint villages and cities on the rise.
“The Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Program provides valuable insights into many strengths and resources we have in Eastern Connecticut, but sheds light on the challenges we face as well,” said Richard Balestacci, VP and Commercial Loan Officer at Chelsea Groton Bank, Leadership Class of 2013. Recently honored in Independent Banker magazine’s 40 Under 40, Balestracci saw value in the experience that “highlighted so many components of the region, which help shape our vision and focus for the future” and provided “an excellent opportunity to build lasting relationships.”
In a two-year program, a cohort of about 30 meet top-tier executives in a wide-ranging curriculum that examines the interacting forces at play in our region. Networking within the class, with presenters, and alumni of the program contributes to a powerful web in the region with long-lasting benefits to all involved.
Thematically organized sessions explore industry, tourism, government, community services, and military installations. The group exercises their skills with a capstone community service project, fully implemented by the participants. In the second year, participants coordinate sessions for the incoming class, further building leadership and networking opportunities.
Employers have sponsored employees in the program, gaining connections in the region and promoting the professional development of rising leaders in their organizations. Participants consistently appreciate the opportunity, maintain contact with class members, and bring current regional knowledge back to their institutions.
“I think this program would be great for any business professional to participate in, if they truly want to learn more about the community they serve,” said Donna Yother, President, Sava Insurance Group, Class of 2010.