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Chamber names 14 professionals to inaugural leadership academy

Chamber names 14 professionals to inaugural leadership academy

The Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce recently named 14 professionals to its inaugural Smith Mountain Lake Leadership Academy, a 12-month program designed to educate, connect and inspire existing and emerging community leaders.

The SML Leadership Academy kicked off on Jan. 6 at The Franklin Center for Advanced Learning and Enterprise in Rocky Mount and featured a half-day orientation and guest speaker Beth Bell, executive director of the Salem-Roanoke County Chamber of Commerce. Bell delivered a presentation entitled “Developing Your Centers of Influence,” which included advice and tips to improve networking return on investment.

“Bell’s presentation was impressive and provided participants with strategies to build lasting relationships that are mutually beneficial and that can boost market access and credibility through referrals, testimonials and simple, undervalued word-of-mouth,” said Christopher Finley, SMLRCC executive director, noting that Bell also serves as publisher of Macaroni Kid Roanoke, founder and president of FemCity Roanoke, a women’s networking group, and as a columnist for Valley Business FRONT.

“The SML Leadership Academy is dedicated to investing in leadership and community awareness,” Finley said. “During monthly sessions, participants will engage with local leaders to expand their awareness and understanding of unique issues and opportunities facing the Smith Mountain Lake community, as well as Bedford, Franklin and Pittsylvania counties. Classes also will include leadership professional development, networking, site tours and team building.”

The inaugural SML Leadership Academy participants are:

John Broughton, CBO, Franklin County building official

Evan Deyerle, lending assistant, American National Bank and Trust

Julia Darling, Smith Mountain Lake Rental, Savvy Promos Inc.

Kelly Drinkard, CMCA, AMS, common interest community manager, Perrow Management Corp.

Dr. Charles Dudley, president and co-founder, Advantage Merchant Systems LLC

Mariel Fowler, CZO, planner, Bedford County Division of Planning

Christine Giglio, CAD Administrator, Department of E-911 Communications, Bedford County

Shauna Janczuk, loan officer, Farm Credit of the Virginias

Xan Pilgrim, CRS, GRI, associate broker, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Smith Mountain Lake Real Estate

Betty Robertson, BSN, RN, Carilion community health and outreach educator

Madeline Sefcik, clerk to the Board of Supervisors, Franklin County

Whitney Pugh, FNP-BC, CEO/owner, Agenacare Housecalls, PLLC

Tommie Jo Walker, account executive, Womack Publishing

Ryan Walters, owner, Drifter’s

During the kickoff event, participants followed COVID-19 restrictions, including wearing masks, being spaced 6 feet apart and having access to hand sanitizer.

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