Leadership Montcalm

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A Training Program for the Emerging Community Leader

Mission: to identify and develop an informed, committed and diverse network of effective leaders.

Leadership Montcalm is a monthly one-day training program incorporating both critical issues education and skills training. This program has been designed by current local leaders to ensure the effectiveness of future local leaders.

The next Leadership Montcalm class is open for enrolling. Click 2019_Leadership_Montcalm_Application.pdf for the application.


For more information regarding an upcoming Leadership Montcalm class, please contact Michelle Adams at (616) 894-2350 or by email at leadershipmontcalm@gmail.com. 

Leadership Montcalm Begins 19th Year

Download the Leadership Montcalm  PARTICIPANT_BROCHURE_LM_XIX.pdfand SPONSOR_BROCHURE_LM_XIX.pdf for additional information.

2018 sponsors include: MCC, Isabella Bank, Chemical Bank West, Montcalm Care Network, MAISD,  Spectrum and Kelsey Hospitals, Commission on Aging,  Stanton Rotary, Consumers Energy, Meijer, Greenville Rotary, LA Wood Consulting, Judge Kreeger, City of Stanton, DiCastal North America, DHHS, Montcalm Townships Association, DHHS, Stafford Communications, Women's Action Network, Montcalm County Sheriff's Department, Village of Howard City, Alpha Family Center, Montcalm County Commissioners, School Com 608 LLC, Federal Mogul, Eight CAP, and Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Leadership Montcalm will kick-off its 19th year with a banquet and a presentation on the demographics of Montcalm County at the Turk Lake Restaurant on Wednesday, Sept. 12. This year's group consists of about 25 participants from all areas of Montcalm County.

So, what is Leadership Montcalm?

Leslie Anne Wood, former executive director, describes it as''

  • A dynamic training program which incorporates critical current issues, education, leadership skill development and team building.
  • Designed by current local leaders for other current and emerging local leaders.
  • An opportunity to learn more about yourself and your leadership style
  • A chance to see and learn about various communities, businesses and the people of Montcalm County.
  • A networking opportunity that allows you to get to know and work with other Montcalm County leaders.
  • An in-depth look at local, township, county and state governmental structures.
  • Nine monthly (September - May), day-long sessions (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) held at  various locations throughout the county. 

Friday, September 14, the group will go on a county-wide community profile bus tour. The tour will stop at various locations and visit businesses and learn about some of the less know treasures of Montcalm County.

During the October session, participants will actively learning about public issues, communication and leadership styles. Presentations from various media personnel will be the focus for the first part of the day. The afternoon will be spent in a program called True Colors. In this session, participants each learn what their particular leadership style was and how those styles impact their decisions, effectiveness and relationships within their organizations.

Remaining sessions will include the following topics:

  • Education, workforce readiness and team building  ''
  • Health care and human services
  • Government: township, city and county
  • Manufacturing, economic development, land use and housing
  • Public safety and the judicial system
  • Understanding the legislative process: A day in Lansing

The session culminates with each participant creating and sharing a presentation on an organization or critical issue that impacts the county and its people or resources. 

Finally, this is followed by a graduation ceremony where each successful participant is awarded a certificate of completion.  

It is interesting to note that many counties in Michigan have similar programs. Montcalm County's Leadership Montcalm is one of the strongest and most viable in the state. Leadership Montcalm welcomes anyone interested in Montcalm County or a leadership position – from club president to elected official – to improve leadership skills, study the issues affecting Montcalm County and learn about our community’s resources. Perhaps Leadership Montcalm’s greatest value is in meeting and networking with others who care about the future of Montcalm County.

To learn more about the program and to enroll for next year, please contact the executive director, Michelle Adams at (616) 894-2350 or leadershipmontcalm@gmail.com. You can also "Like" us on Facebook.

History of Leadership Montcalm''

Montcalm County MSU Extension received a grant from the Fund for Rural America in 1998. The purpose of the grant was to enhance rural economies through community development programs identified by the community.

Issue identification conducted with county focus groups assembled with the support of this grant identified the lack of leadership in the county as a need that must be addressed on a long-term basis. Leadership was identified as a key component of a healthy and productive community, and the group recommended the implementation of a sustained leadership development program to identify and develop a committed and diverse network of effective local leaders.

The Montcalm County MSU Extension office worked with a community coalition to develop and implement a leadership program which was named “Leadership Montcalm." The committee was composed of Sheri Harrell, Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce; Richard Heckman, MCC; Diana Jones, Michigan Works!; Carolyn Kane, United Way; Lisa Lund, HSPC; Franz Mogdis, Montcalm Alliance; Louis Morse, Cato Township; Don Smucker, Montcalm County MSU Extension; Roger Thelen, Central Montcalm Superintendent and Ivan Woodrow, Edmore Chamber of Commerce.

Leadership Montcalm I was launched on Sept. 21, 2000, with a kickoff reception at Maxfield’s Restaurant. Twenty class participants graduated on May 21, 2001 at a graduation banquet also held at Maxfield’s.

Don Smucker served as the program coordinator for its initial two years. Don recalls, “I think the first tour was done on a school bus from the ISD - may have done that two years. We then took the Greenville Transit System bus several years. One year when there was scheduling confusion with our Charter bus company, they all rode like lumber wagons!” Originally all sessions, except for the county-wide tour, met in the Doser Building at Montcalm Community College. Different meeting locations were gradually added giving variety and an opportunity for the participants to be familiar with different facilities in Montcalm County. 

A big step forward was made when the Greenville Area Community Foundation awarded a grant to MSU Extension enabling the Steering Committee to hire a part-time coordinator in 2002. Barb Luskin of Montcalm Behavioral Health, a graduate of Leadership Montcalm I, filled that role. Barb stepped down after Leadership Montcalm VI and Linda Ferguson, a graduate of Leadership Montcalm V, coordinated the program through Leadership Montcalm X. 

Upon Linda’s “retirement,” Brenda Greenhoe, a Leadership Montcalm IX graduate, was hired to be the Leadership Montcalm coordinator.''

Changes at MSU Extension required changes to Leadership Montcalm in 2011. No longer “sponsored” by MSU Extension, Leadership Montcalm became independent, changing the Steering Committee to the Executive Committee with the Executive Committee serving as the supervising body of  Leadership Montcalm. Montcalm Community College took on the role of fiduciary.

In June of 2012, Leslie Wood, graduate of  Leadership Montcalm I, became the fifth executive director. Upon Leslie's next phase of retirement, Michelle Adams took over as Executive Director in June 2015. Graduates of the program serve as day coordinators for the individual sessions of each series. The Executive Committee is also composed of Leadership Montcalm graduates.

Leadership Montcalm survives and thrives through the support of its graduates and community sponsors who provide funding to support the program and keep the tuition cost low. Leadership Montcalm now has more than 350 graduates.

Click here to see a list of Alumni_post_XVIII.pdf

Leadership Montcalm Executive Committee''

John Johansen, Chairman - Montcalm County Commissioner

Carol Pettengill - Stafford Media Solutions (retired)    

Lori Wilson - Mazzola - Montcalm County Register of Deeds

Dorinda Kirshman - Montcalm County (retired)

Bob Clingenpeel - Montcalm County Controller

Melissa Christensen, Secretary - Montcalm Community College 

Lori Williams  - Farm Bureau Health Services

Jeni Williams - Montcalm County    

Mark Kuzma - Chemical Bank

Ben Wood - Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center/The Right Place

Michelle Adams - Executive Director Alumni Coordinator

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