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Leadership Simi Valley, The First 25 years

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By Leigh Nixon

Editor’s Note: The Simi Valley City Council just celebrated the anniversary of the Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership program.  Limited to 20 students per 9 month session the program has trained and graduated community leaders for 25 years.  Leigh Nixon, President and CEO of the Chamber accepted the award on behalf of her organization.  One hundred alumni joined in honoring the program.  Council Member Steven Sojka graduated in the first class of the Leadership program. (Photo:Chamber Board Chairman Mike Nolan, Mayor Bob Huber and Leigh Nixon with Council’s proclamation)

The Strength of a community can be measured by its leaders and the many contributions and sacrifices they make to the area’s growth and continued vitality. This has never been more evident in Simi Valley than evidenced over the past 25 years. With new growth and a bright future, the Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce saw the challenges ahead and utilizing the need to develop Simi Valley’s future civic leaders, they initiated the LEADERSHIP SIMI VALLEY program.

The program has provided a series of educational and participatory experiences as well as opportunities for dialogue and discussion of critical issues with policy makers and key community leaders, and the development of new personal relationships among the participants.

The phenomenon of leadership is a continued challenge to the American people and the Chamber recognizes that the long-term stability of our community requires sound, informed and responsible leadership.  The program is governed by its own Steering Committee comprised of individuals from non-profit organizations, government, corporations, education, seniors and law enforcement.

Over the years of the program it has grown to more than 500 graduates of the program who are now Alumni.  The Chamber added Leadership Socials/Mixers where the current class and the Alumni socialize at an Alumni home and this has kept the Alumni involved in the program imparting shared experiences with the current class.  The Socials are monthly and are held on the same day as a class session.

Many of the classes over the years have established a legacy (class project) bringing needed services to Simi Valley, such as the Safe Harbor, Sarah’s House, A Teen Center or refurbishing Pre School sites at the YMCA or trail heads in Corriganville. One of the classes spearheaded the initiation of the now popular Youth Summit.

Twenty-five years ago, the Chamber saw the need for effective leadership, everywhere—in politics, in business, in the professions, in education and the non-profit sector.  Today, through face to face discussions with present community leaders and experts from organizations, the participants develop an in-depth understanding of the interrelationships and complexities of our community.

We applaud the organizing Steering Committee who spent countless hours making the program a successful reality.


Leigh Nixon is President and CEO of the Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce



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