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RLI Graduates Return with New Perspectives on Leadership, Region

The 2017 RLI class enjoys the setting in Savannah.

ARC’s Regional Leadership Institute (RLI) graduated its 28th class on October 5, sending 46 local leaders home with a better idea of how to be regional leaders and move metro Atlanta into the future.

“I have loved this experience,” said Lara Smith, managing director of Dad’s Garage Theater Company in Atlanta. “This week is something I will think back on for years to come. The relationships I’ve built through this and the knowledge I’ve gained through this will be influencing my work and potentially the future trajectory of my career.”

Each fall, RLI takes a group of local leaders from the business, government, and nonprofit sectors to Savannah for a week of learning and networking. Participants hear from individuals and from panels on a wide range of topics from leadership to affordable housing, mobility, and community development. Many of the panelists, including state legislators, and CEOs, are themselves alums.

RLI strives to create a network of passionate, engaged professionals who are ready and able to collaborate around regional challenges facing metro Atlanta. The program accomplishes this goal by bringing together leaders from around the region to learn how they fit into the bigger picture, and how their local leadership can make an impact on a regional scale.

“It has been a whirlwind of a week,” said Katerina Taylor, president & CEO, DeKalb Chamber of Commerce. “I’ve enjoyed learning with people I should have met a long time ago, and understanding how DeKalb fits into this puzzle that we call the Atlanta region, and how all the puzzle pieces fit together to make this region great.”

Graduates leave the program with the confidence that they can collectively tackle regional issues and take advantage of opportunities when presented. Each participant sets a leadership goal at the end of the week and will meet in small groups over the next six months to encourage one another. The entire group will reconvene in January to celebrate successes and give prospective applicants a preview of RLI.

“They have challenged us as leaders to look beyond our particular perspective and recognize that there are many different perspectives out there,” said Corey Hambrick, chief of staff, Rockdale County Board of Commissioners. “I would encourage anyone out there who is interested in leadership to try the Regional Leadership Institute.”

Registration for the 2018 RLI class will open in the spring.

Follow ARC on Twitter @atlantaregional for an announcement about the exact date.