Laredo organization aims to create leaders (July 28, 2008)
Laredo organization aims to create leaders (July 28, 2008)By PAUL S. MARTINEZ Published: Laredo Morning Times Business Journal - Monday, July 28, 2008
Leadership Laredo is committed to addressing uncontested local elections, the organization's president told the Laredo Kiwanis International Club last week."Leadership Laredo is a good program," said former Kiwanis Club President Sabas Zapata. "But we are cranking out all these people who are supposed to be leaders, but I don't see many new folks taking on new leadership positions."
There are plenty of opportunities for leadership positions in the county, the city and the two school districts, he added.
Others in the club, which meets Tuesday for noon lunch at the Holiday Inn Civic Center, lamented that there are so many uncontested local elections.
Leadership Laredo President Vanessa Martinez-Contreras, who was speaking to the club meeting, said she would address their concerns.
A Kiwanis Club member suggested adding a class on how to run for office. Martinez-Contreras agreed.
"I've already spoken to somebody Austin who knows how to prepare a political campaign to bring him down," she said over the phone a few days after the meeting. "A lot of times people don't run for office because they don't know where to start."
Leadership Laredo is a two-year program: the first year consists of monthly classes taught by a handpicked instructor covering various topics of the community such as history, health, business and so on.
The second year consists of a service project for the community, which Martinez-Contreras wants to make stronger.
The International Bank of Commerce marketing executive said she plans to bring back a Friday/Saturday ranch retreat, which used to be a part of the class, but was done away with a few years ago.
"That's where all the second-year planning was done," she said. "And there was bonding. Since that went away, I think the essence of what the second year is supposed to be was lost."
Leadership Laredo is still recruiting for its 23rd class.
The program will hold a recruitment luncheon on July 31 at 11:30 a.m. at the Embassy Suites hotel with a keynote address from U.S. Magistrate Diana Saldaña.
The cost is $500 for a 10-person table or $75 for an individual ticket.
Martinez-Contreras said there are still tables available.
The board of directors chooses the class, expected to be between 40 to 45 people, after the application is made.
Applications and more information through the Laredo Chamber of Commerce Web site at www.laredochamber.com/leadershiplaredo.