With a goal to assist those who influence the community, the Leadership Resource task force of The Waxahachie Project is aiming to provide easy access to information and resources to empower local leaders.
“When we’re talking about leaders we’re not necessarily just talking about organizations,” began Andy Lehmann, The Oaks Fellowship Church's missions and community engagement pastor and organizer of the Leadership Resource task force.
“I think what we’re saying is that we want to help people influence others and grow in their gifts. Ultimately, when leaders grow then they’re able to see their organization, school, church, or social club grow."
Described by OneHope, a Florida-based international research non-profit, 88 percent of surveyed organizations in Waxahachie indicate significant partnership with community leaders cited “collaboration by organizations” as one of the city’s strengths.
As for Lehmann’s group, the Leadership Resourcing task force is the glue of the project, encouraging the reputation of Waxahachie to be known as “leaders among Ellis County.”
“When we think about who we’re trying to serve, ultimately, it’s the leaders of organizations and the community because it’s trickling down to serve all the residents of the community,” Lehmann explained. “In a sense, we’re creating a group that’s a connection point to the leadership community of Waxahachie and all of the other task forces."
“We want to make it as easy as it can be by connecting leaders with each other and informing leaders on what’s happening, opportunities available to them, and opportunities to refer and have collaboration with others,” he articulated the group’s purpose.
Lehmann goes on to explain that the goal is to not merely share avenues that empower leaders, such as networking or event-based support, but also to use existing means to accomplish quality results.
“There’s a lot we want to do, so we’ve been talking with the [Waxahachie] Chamber of Commerce because when you think of organizations in our community, that's one that's already doing it,” Lehmann acknowledged.
“We’re not looking to start something new, we’re looking to come alongside those who are already working and enhance what they’re doing,” he added.
In partnership with the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Waxahachie program, the task force will combine recent research of the city with the forerunning operation of the Chamber to produce well-rounded leaders.
“It just so happens that when Debra [Wakeland, former Chamber president] resigned, we decided not to do one that year,” began Sandy King, the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce’s CFO and director of membership engagement.
“And that’s when The Waxahachie Project kicked off and got the ball rolling, conducting tremendous research over the last year in several different areas in the community. So it’s actually developed the perfect storm for us to be able to have a program with a greater knowledge of what Waxahachie needs,” she added.
Through an established network with over 700 members and a ten-month program that King describes as a “once-a-month themed outing,” the task force will be adding value in additional areas of leadership improvement.
“For the past program, we would pick apart the town and connect our members with those leaders, but what we’re adding to it now is even more ‘class time’ with not only personal development but business, skill, and leadership development as well,” King affirmed.
“We did a survey, and there are about 85 leaders in the community that filled it out,” Lehman recognized. “And we took the results and said, ‘Okay, based on this we’re seeing that the number one thing they’re looking for is event-based leadership development opportunities.”
“They also listed five or six categories that they wanted to grow in. From marketing to leading change, to engaging millennials, and addressing the generational shift, we’re hoping to empower a sustained flow of leaders for an organization,” he encouraged.
Lehmann also notes that the task force will not only explain the functions of the City of Waxahachie, but will also add key components ranging from educational sessions, discussions for best practices, and mentorship of individuals.
“Working with the Chamber, our goal by the end of this year is to have a plan in place that we’ll launch in 2018. We want to make being a leader as easy as it can be in terms of connections, relationships, and growth in areas that is of greatest benefit to their organizations,” Lehmann affirmed.
“We’re targeting anybody who says, ‘I want to grow in my ability to influence or lead others.’ We are also looking for ways to incorporate young leaders, and create a space that’s appropriate for where they’re at and grow with their peers,” he described.
As for the task force's future endeavors, King and Lehman are confident in the direction it’s going.
“We’re excited to build leaders around what Waxahachie truly needs in leadership,” King expressed. “I don’t know how many chambers have the community resources to develop such a strong program and we’re just lucky here in Waxahachie that The Waxahachie Project is willing to plug into a Chamber program and just make it better. “
“My favorite part is dreaming about how to serve the leadership community, serving those who already do so much, and getting to work with the people in doing just that,” Lehmann expressed. “It’s all about relationship in the end, and our mission is ‘working for the good of Waxahachie.’”
To connect with The Waxahachie Project, visit thewaxahachieproject.org or call (972)-643-8673.