Leadership Graduation Dinner

                The Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a graduation dinner on March 24th to recognize the twenty-four students who just completed the R. David Tebben Community Leadership Academy.  Sixty people attended the dinner, and the audience included family and co-workers of the graduates, alumni of the academy, and chamber staff, officers, and directors.
                This is the 13th year the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce has organized a leadership academy.  A total of 240 individuals have now completed the program.
                 The featured speaker at the dinner was Reverend Lloyd Brock, Pastor of Pekin First Church of the Nazarene, and a 2010 graduate of the academy.  Reverend Brock challenged the graduates to “embrace the community.”  He also noted that “leaders are servers, and not the other way around.”
                In March of 2009 the chamber’s board of directors voted to change the name of the academy, adding R. David Tebben to the title as a way to recognize a former chamber president and leader who was active in a number of chamber committees and events, including the leadership academy.
“The Pekin area has been fortunate throughout its history to have strong volunteer leadership from the business community,” said Bill Fleming Executive Director of the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce.
“The R. David Tebben Community Leadership Academy ensures that tradition of community leadership continues,” said Fleming.
Fleming noted the mission of the academy is to identify, inform and educate existing and emerging leaders of the local community, and to motivate them toward leadership responsibilities by exposing them to the realities, opportunities and challenges of the local community.
“We accomplish our academy mission with weekly interactive classroom sessions featuring local subject experts, and weekly field trips,” said Fleming.
This year’s classroom topics included Welcome to Leadership, What is Leadership, Pekin Municipal Government, The Courts, The Media, Tazewell County Government, Pekin Coalition for Equality, Pekin Public Schools, Dirksen and Civil Rights, and The Pekin Park District. 
Field trips included visits and tours at Excalibur Seasoning Company, Pekin Hospital, Preston-Hanley Funeral Homes and Crematory, a City of Pekin bus tour, Caterpillar, Tazewell Machine, Peoria Air National Guard, the Federal Correctional Institution in Pekin, and the Illinois State Capitol and Legislature.
The students each completed a class project – a report on an area non-profit organization.  Additionally, the students were required to make a formal introduction of another student to the class, and attend community and government board meetings and chamber networking events.

The twenty-four graduates and their employers:

Tom Belk, Illinois Corn Processing
Bobbi Brienen, Preston-Hanley Funeral Homes & Crematory
Linda DeFrates, Pekin Hospital
Jill Douglas, SJB Promotions
Lori Draeger, Pekin Hospital
Karen Duckworth, Pekin Hospital
Drew Eilts, Edward Jones - Drew Eilts Financial Advisor
Jamie Evans, City of Pekin
Debbie Gaines, Pekin Hospital
Amy Gehrt, Pekin Daily Times
Paula Gensel, City of Pekin
Chip Hill, South Side Bank and Trust
Chuck Hundt, Illinois Corn Processing
Jim Kaminski, City of Pekin
Dave Lannert, Pekin Park District
Ali Lohnes, Wolf, Tesar & Company
Marlo Mastalerz, Excalibur Seasoning Company
Katie Muller, CEFCU
Erin Schutte, Holiday Inn Express
Cheryl Sherwood, Pekin First Church of the Nazarene
Lori Utter, Pekin Hospital
Rod Wamsley, Henderson Funeral Home
Craig Wells, Herget Bank.
Rev. Daryle Wright, Pekin First Church of the Nazarene


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