Leadership Stanly celebrates its 2023 graduating class

ALBEMARLE — The Leadership Stanly Class of 2023, now the 32nd group in program history, recently celebrated its graduation ceremony at the Morgan Ridge Vineyards-Brewhouse on May 23. 

With roots dating back to 1989, the Stanly County Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Stanly program is a comprehensive nine-month initiative specifically crafted to empower a group of local citizens from varied backgrounds with the skills to actively participate in the community as leaders. 

“We are so proud of this Leadership Stanly Class,” the Chamber of Commerce posted on its social media page. “We had a blast celebrating them last night at Morgan Ridge Vineyards-Brewhouse. Thank you for the amazing food and great service. We would really like to thank our wonderful Leadership Stanly Steering Committee for all their hard work this year. You did an amazing job!” 

Per the program’s goals, the primary objective is to recognize the economic impact on the county from varying monthly sessions that focus on history, manufacturing, industry, business, health care, human services, environmental resources and other local factors.  

“As part of Leadership Stanly, each class plans and executes a class project,” the Chamber added. “Our 2023 graduates built a beautiful outside area for the local Esther House. They also donated some other items to Esther House.” 

In recent weeks — as a component of its community service initiative — the group constructed a wooden pergola featuring a double swing set outside of Esther House, a facility that offers aid to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking in Stanly, Cabarrus, and Montgomery counties.  

Additionally, Leadership Stanly has taken the initiative to supply duffle bags to residents as they transition from Esther House to their next subsequent locations.  

The 2023 graduating class includes the following members: Janet McClure (State Employees’ Credit Union), Rodney Myers (Better Badin, Inc.), Malayne Martinez (State Employees’ Credit Union), Christopher Saavedrea (Preformed Line Products), Charlie Lentz (Uwharrie Bank), Shields Howard (Hospice of Stanly & the Uwharrie), Ashlyn Barbee (Stanly Community Christian Ministry) and Emily McCallum (Stanly County Senior Center). 

The class also included Abby Elkins (Stanly Community College), Zeb Bost (What-A-Burger 13), Christian Payne (Stanly Community College), Scott Howard (Town of Norwood), Julie Long (Albemarle Police Department), Pierre Brewton (City of Albemarle Fire Department), Carla Poplin (Nehemiah Project Covenant of Love), Tonya Lowder (Uwharrie Bank), Sandy Carelock (Stanly Adult Care Center), Joshua Rich (Hartsell Funeral Home) Rachel Watkins (Atrium Health Stanly) and Mark Stogner (Preformed Line Products). 

Every year, the Leadership Stanly Steering Committee chooses a class of motivated leaders for a series of seminars and retreats where they are exposed to regional opportunities through a series of forums. A program fee of $800 for Chamber members (and $900 for non-Chamber members) covers all costs pertaining to hired speakers, meals, lodging, materials, transportation, orientation and the graduation celebration. 

In order to make a nomination or request an application for the next Leadership Stanly class, contact Sandy Selvy-Mullis at 704-982-8116 [email protected]. All candidates must be a resident of or working within the county; the candidate’s participation must be endorsed by their employer or sponsored by a civic or non-profit organization.