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Chamber announces launch of leadership academy

Chamber announces launch of leadership academy

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The Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce last week announced the launch of its inaugural Smith Mountain Lake Leadership Academy, a 12-month program designed to educate emerging leaders and help shape the future of Smith Mountain Lake.

The Smith Mountain Lake Leadership Academy is structured to offer participants the opportunity to meet and learn from this area’s most prominent leaders from a variety of business sectors, according to Christopher Finley, the chamber’s executive director. Over the course of 12 months, the program will grant participants access to many of the most influential businesses and organizations in the area and three surrounding counties.

“The chamber is excited to present this forum to activate, connect and inspire emerging community leaders,” Finley said.

Finley, who has taught for the past 16 years as a part-time adjunct professor in Radford University’s School of Communication, plans to use his background in higher education to develop a curriculum that will focus on specific themes such as economic development, education, government, tourism, health care and real estate. Classes also will include leadership training, networking, site tours and team building.

“We’ve created a valuable yearlong program that will give participants a multi-faceted understanding of our community,” added Finley.

In its first year, the chamber will accept 10 participants from a group of local professionals, representing local industries and entities. Applications are being accepted until Nov. 20.

For those selected to the program, tuition is $750, which includes orientation, classes, networking mixers and graduation. More information is available at

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