Leadership Springfield next year plans to double the amount of participants it accepts annually.
The program is adding a second signature class in 2017, which is expected to boost accepted applicants to above 60, said Andrea Brady, president of the Leadership Springfield Board of Directors.
The addition of a second class marks the largest increase in the program since it launched in 1984.
“As a board, we’ve been talking for a long time about how to expand our program and get more leaders into the community, said Brady, who works as Great Southern Bank’s retail regional manager for the Springfield area. “After much planning and discussion, we decided this is really the best way.”
Leadership Springfield’s Class 32, announced last month, comprises 33 participants starting Sept. 8. The two classes would launch around the same time next fall, said Jamie Fields, Leadership Springfield program coordinator.
Last night, Leadership Springfield held its annual alumni meeting and celebrated the graduates of Class 31 at The Old Glass Place downtown.
“It was well received last night with our alumni and the graduating class,” Brady said of the second class announcement. “It’s a big change.”
The group yesterday also recognized Springfield Fire Chief David Hall with the 2016 O. Franklin Kenworthy Award for Outstanding Leadership. The award recognizes his service to the Leadership Springfield board, for which he was president 2009-10, according to a news release.
A collaboration between the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, Junior League of Springfield and United Way of the Ozarks, Leadership Springfield is designed to develop leadership talent in the Ozarks. The group has graduated more than 1,000 since inception.