By: Duane Blankenship | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: August 2007
Beverly Savage and Cari Little, Leadership Bixby graduates, show off one of the beautiful crystal plaques each graduate receives at their graduation ceremony.
Leadership Bixby is sponsored by the Bixby Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the City of Bixby. The six-month leadership course is designed to develop leadership potential in individuals for future community development. Many leaders in the Bixby community have graduated from the program with new knowledge and understanding of their city.
Participants are required to attend six classes throughout the course, which goes from September through April. Classes are conducted from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month. A day trip to Oklahoma City is also held during Leadership Bixby; class members meet with area representatives and senators.
At the conclusion of the program, a graduation ceremony is held with Bixby Chamber of Commerce members. Each graduate is presented with a crystal plaque. Graduates are also asked to each nominate one qualified candidate for future Leadership Bixby courses.
Past graduates speak proudly of having successfully completed Leadership Bixby. They place value on the education, development skills and relationships built with other community leaders. One graduate states, “Leadership Bixby is one of the best investments of your time and money that can be made.” The required tuition of $225 covers all materials, meals and travel to the Oklahoma Capitol.
Beverly Savage and Cari Little review class materials for the next Leadership Bixby class.
Leadership Bixby Orientation kicks off the program, followed by informational sessions for students. During the leadership development session, students are informed about what it takes to be an effective leader. The social services session challenges the future and current leaders in the Bixby community to figure out what can be done to help support the less fortunate and what might be the impact of volunteer involvement. During the session about municipal government and public safety, basic city operation is explained, as well as zoning and planning processes and how the Bixby City Council operates. The meeting on state government involves the trip to the Oklahoma Capitol and gives students an insight of what our state representatives and senators do while in session. The community and economic development session defines several terms: economic development, metropolitan statistical area and infrastructure. Attendees learn to recognize elements of economic development in Bixby. The final session focuses on the excellent area educational facilities that enhance the quality of life in Bixby, including the Bixby Public School system and higher educational facilities in the area.
No more than one session may be missed for a participant to successfully complete the program. Potential graduates are also required to serve as board interns for any nonprofit organization in the Bixby or Tulsa areas during the September to April period.
Cari Little, Bixby Chamber of Commerce’s membership representative, says, “If you are interested in attending the Leadership Bixby program, or if you know someone who you think would be a good candidate for the course, please get in touch with our chamber office. We are currently accepting applications.” Beverly Savage, chairman of the Leadership Bixby Steering Committee, adds, “Together, every office, organization, business and individual is building a stronger Bixby community.”
Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.