Leadership Spokane 501 (c)(3) is the original organization, founded in 1982 by the Spokane Area Chamber of Commerce and a group of business and community leaders. Leadership Spokane offers a civic leadership training program in which the voices of all sectors of the community are balanced, with the clear understanding that the health of all these sectors is vital to a healthy Spokane. Today, individuals from a variety of professions, races, backgrounds and neighborhoods from all over the county compose the Adult and Youth Leadership class each year. Classes focus on Servant Leadership, “Spokane 101″ information and skills such as team building, systems thinking, facilitation, conflict resolution, envisioning and project management.
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Front and Center: Linda Finney, Leadership Spokane Director
The Spokesman Review has interviewed Linda Finney and her work as executive director for Leadership Spokane the past 15 years. Linda will be retiring at the end of June. Their piece “Front and Center: Linda Finney, Leadership Spokane ” provides a great picture of how the organization has evolved as well as what’s ahead for her. Give it a read!Executive Director Linda Finney will be retiring from her 15 year position at the end of June. Photo Credit: Dan Pelle
As the article cites, Linda reflect on how participation has changed, “The first class was mostly a bunch of white guys who worked in the tall buildings downtown. Today’s classes are much more representative of all segments of society. The typical age range is 35 to 45, because businesses invest in employees they know are going to be around. About half are women, and we’re a little more diverse than the general population, because we heavily recruit minorities. About 60 percent of our participants come from regular businesses, but we also have people from universities, the medical field and a few nonprofits. It’s hard to attract small businesses, because they can’t always get out of the office for 11 days.”
She continues by offering advice for her successor to, “Take time to listen and learn. Have a vision for growing the organization, but keep its mission central. Someone once told me the executive director’s first job is to stay out of jail. Next, bring in the money. Then you get to save the puppies. You can’t do your mission if you’re not compliant with rules or you’re in the red.” She concludes that she is unsure about the next chapter in her life but reveals her perfect job. “I think I want to be the catcher in the rye. Forty percent of our kids aren’t ready for kindergarten, and by third grade you can tell who’s going to jail by their reading scores. That’s a problem I hope to work on.”