Chamber Connection

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Businesses in Fredericksburg and the counties of Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford are finding success thanks to the efforts of the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce. By joining the Chamber, these companies have gained the vital exposure they need and access to unmatched resources.

One of those invaluable tools is the Leadership Fredericksburg program. By participating, members develop their skills while learning more about the community where they reside, do business and have fun.

“It is a sustainable, long-term program,” says Susan Spears, president and CEO of the Chamber. “Not only for businesses but for folks from nonprofits, government entities and the community at large. And, it’s working very well.”

Exponentially, the program has impacted hundreds of lives as leaders go through nine months of training and learning about the community.

“They network with peers and mentors from diverse sectors,” says Spears. “Meeting monthly, a class of 28 fellows participates in a long-range community project and monthly educational forums at various businesses and organizations around the region, learning about industry, health care, education and more.”

Aside from gaining knowledge about how the region operates, participants learn about themselves too.

“When the class begins, each fellow is given a personality assessment that helps them understand their leadership style,” says Spears. “It’s very insightful. An introvert for example, can gain understanding of assertiveness and how to better step forward at appropriate times to work more effectively within an organization. An extrovert may become aware that there are times when it’s more important to listen, than speak.”

As the program progresses, fellows dive even deeper.

“Further into the year, each one goes through a professional 360-degree leadership assessment led by certified administrators, using a highly recognized assessment tool,” says Spears. “It provides feedback from peers and other leaders, assessing skills, effectiveness and influence as a leader. It’s life changing.”

Developing leadership is a big part of creating a vital workforce, making Leadership Fredericksburg highly complementary to the Chamber’s mission.
— By Cathy Cuthbertson

Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce Staff

Kyle Allwine
Community Advancement Manager

Stacey Hicks
Office Manager

Susan G. Spears
President & CEO

Tonja “ TJ” Walding
Director of Finance  and Human Resources

Whitney Watts
VP of Member Services

Wendy Zelazny
Business Development Manager