When I was asked to write about my experience with Leadership Tallahassee I was hesitant. To the uninitiated, I can sometimes come off as a Kool-Aid drinking fanatic when asked about LT. My smile gets scarily big, I start talking faster than usual, and I have been known to invade personal space a little bit due to the excitement about LT. I did not want those that inquire to think LT is a cult of personality. My experience was far from the echo chamber or the “exclusive club” that skeptical Steve’s and Sally’s think Leadership Tallahassee is. My experience was one of being seen and heard for who I am. I was allowed to represent all of myself: a banker, brother, LGBTQ, a political moderate (gasp crazy!), and mostly a jokester. My Leadership Tallahassee Class, Class 33 the “Most Social Class”, is a group of the most politically diverse, engaged and outspoken people I have come across. I really got to know them and what they stood for. I was surprised by the differences. I was more surprised that, by the end of our year, those differences strengthened our bonds.
This is the core of what Leadership Tallahassee means to me. We are a collection of different voices, working on understanding one another to improve ourselves and the community we call home.
This year I have been asked to chair the recruitment effort for the upcoming Class 38! I am excited to engage with applicants and help them understand that all voices need to be heard in the Leadership Tallahassee family. My request to the LT alumni is to search out someone who you think needs to be heard. Let them know about your LT experience, help them with the application and connect them with LT staff to discuss scholarships and payment plans. My goal is to make sure the perceived barriers for prospective applicants is as low as possible and enthusiasm is high. I say this to everyone that asks me about Leadership Tallahassee. It is the best experience I have had in Tallahassee. My hope is for the new applicants to have that same experience…and maybe a tall glass of Kool-Aid.