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Leadership Central Delaware and Leadership Delaware, Inc. announce partnership

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Judy Diogo, CDCC President and Jen Cohan, LDI CEO | PHOTO COURTESY OF CDCC

Leadership Central Delaware (LCD) and Leadership Delaware, Inc. (LDI) are in the business of mentoring, developing, and training the state’s next generation of leaders. Program leaders of both organizations believe that effective leaders that demonstrate vision and integrity, and who are ready to make a commitment to positively impact Delaware, are all too few. They understand that leadership training, which often happens simply by default, must be methodical and intentional to be effective. To that end, LCD and LDI strive to create an experience for emerging leaders that will assist them as they grow and become the region’s next generation of leaders.

The Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce’s “Diamond Program,” LCD, now in its 21st year and with an alumni base of over 500, creates effective, dynamic, and knowledgeable leaders by introducing them to the industries in Kent County who serve as the area’s largest economic drivers and their leaders.  LCD’s 10-month program is comprised of 9 day-long learning sessions, an opening and closing retreat and graduation. Each day-long session, marked by conversations with the leaders of these industries, tours of the county’s leading facilities, and hands-on learning experiences, is focused on a different economic segment of Kent County. As a result of this incredible experience, participants will gain an opportunity to develop resources and partnerships, an understanding of the role of leaders in the community, connections with people of influence, and an understanding of the importance of collaboration among business – all while developing their own leadership styles, skills, and strategies.

“Leadership Central Delaware promotes collaboration among business professionals and opportunities to learn how to connect with industries throughout the region,” remarked Christina Lessard, Class of 2013. “The unique mix of speakers and tours introduce you to the true bones of Kent County.”

Leadership Delaware, Inc., is a year-long program that focuses on leaders state-wide. Through issue-oriented forums and experiences, LDI’s Fellows are given the opportunity to meet and hear first-hand from over 150 speakers identified as those in the state of Delaware who “make it happen every day.” The program’s presenters include Corporate CEO’s., the Governor, members of the Cabinet, University Presidents, Legislators, and members of the Judiciary. As the year progresses, LDI’s Fellows are involved in conversations about the Economy, Healthcare, Education, Leadership, Government & Public Affairs, Law & the Judiciary, Delaware Industry, Nonprofits & Philanthropy, the Arts, Politics, Law Enforcement, and much more.

From issues that are discussed at Legislative Hall, to unique tales about our history, to the remarkable hidden gems that enrich our lives, LCD and LDI create community awareness and a rich understanding of how business is done here in the First State. “A comment from one of our Fellows really speaks to the breadth of knowledge gained through the program,” commented Jen Cohan, LDI’s CEO. “He put it this way: ‘I never knew how important chickens, credit cards, and chemicals were to Delaware!”

This year will mark the start of a new partnership between LCD and LDI. CDCC President, Judy Diogo, and Cohan (both born and bred Kent County girls) have worked together to create a bridge between the two programs. “Once an LCD graduate becomes an expert in Central Delaware, we want the opportunity to take them to the next level,” said Cohan.

“Delaware is a unique place!” remarked Diogo. “First, we give these emerging leaders exposure to one county, and then, access to the entire state. Delaware truly seems to be the only state in the Union where that can happen!”

“These programs are a way to help these leaders of the future want to remain engaged in their communities,” commented Cohan.  “We want to make this investment in them so that they will stay in Delaware and develop roots here.”

“We also want them to see how things happen here and develop an understanding that Delaware is a place where things get done,” added Diogo. “They can easily be the leaders that take this state to the next level.”

As a result of this partnership, opportunities will be generated to bring participants of LCD and LDI together.  This kind of networking will be important to their growth and promises to breed opportunity.  In addition, graduates of LCD who are identified by the program’s leaders as the best and the brightest will be offered an opportunity to apply for LDI at a discounted rate.

“This partnership will give our participants more opportunities to be better leaders, to develop bigger toolkits, to harness more resources than ever before,” remarked Diogo. “And they will use all these things to grow and improve the state of Delaware.”

“And they will develop bonds with like-minded friends across county lines that will last a lifetime,” added Cohan.

“Leadership is best developed through both challenge and opportunity,” commented Diogo. “This partnership will allow us to challenge these leaders of tomorrow and expand their opportunities.”

Judy and Jen know first-hand that Delaware is all about relationships having experienced the rewards of their long-time friendship and their close connection as business colleagues. They know, too, that relationships create pathways, and that pathways take us to new places. The ability to easily make these associations is part of the brilliance and the beauty of Delaware. Taking LCD and LDI, previously parallel organizations, and joining them together in partnership will go a long way in demonstrating just that. After all, it stands to reason that, in general, we can accomplish far more when we work together than we ever could on our own!

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