Past graduates have come from all sectors of the community. Many have made a significant impact. All have made a difference.

After a short hiatus, the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce is reviving its Leadership Waxahachie program to help develop future leaders. The new class is scheduled to begin in August, with graduation planned in May 2009. The curriculum for this year’s class will cover a broad spectrum of topics, providing graduates with a working knowledge and diverse set of contacts to become engaged, get involved and “make a difference.”

Candidates must be willing to commit to one day of training each month as each session will involve discussions with key leaders in government, education, industry, business, arts and culture and non-profit organizations, most involving tours in order to provide additional insight to the various issues impacting the community.

Applications will be available in May for the incoming Leadership class. The application process will be open to all Ellis County residents, however, class size will be limited.

Application information — as well as the curriculum schedule for the 2008-2009 Leadership sessions — is expected to be announced following the Waxahachie Chamber Board meeting in May.

Alumni reunion

A special Leadership Waxahachie reunion event is being planned for July to kick-off this year’s class.

Currently, the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce is compiling information for an alumni directory of all past Leadership Waxahachie graduates.

Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Debra Wakeland is seeking help from alumni to ensure the directory is inclusive and current.

“What we are hoping to do is list all the alumni and include a short bio on what they’re doing now and what community organizations they are involved with,” Wakeland said. “While we’re planning to run the group graduation photos for each of the classes, it would be nice if we could have a current individual shot of each of our alumni to run with the short biographies.”

Additionally, Wakeland said she could use help on tracking down alumni who have moved out of the area.

“The wonderful thing about Leadership is that our graduates have developed a strong track record of getting involved in the community and giving back to the community,” Wakeland said. “If you look at the list of members on just about any civic organization, community board — even the city council — it’s like a ‘Who’s Who’ list for Leadership Waxahachie.

“Because of careers and other issues, some of our alumni have moved away from the area over the years,” she added. “But we’d still like for them to be included in the alumni directory and include an update on what they are involved with in the towns where they currently reside.”

All past Leadership Waxahachie graduates are being asked to send an e-mail to Wakeland at and include name, contact number, Leadership class, current position and a short bio of community involvement and a current photo.

Current photos may also be taken at the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce on YMCA Drive or at the Daily Light office at 200 W. Marvin Avenue.

“If anyone has any pictures they would like to share from their Leadership class, please send those to us as well,” Wakeland added.

During the July reunion, the incoming leadership class will be introduced.

“The reunion will also provide as an opportunity for the incoming class to network with alumni and develop mentors who will help them — not only during their training but in the years to come as they take on leadership roles in the community,” Wakeland said.

Neal White is the editor of Waxahachie Newspapers Inc. A Class of ‘99 Leadership Waxahachie graduate, he serves on the Chamber of Commerce Executive Board and is the chairman of this year’s Leadership Waxahachie Committee. E-mail Neal at