Joint MC-Leadership Blount event will ask leaders to discuss county's growth

January 30, 2004
Karen B. Eldridge, Director of News and Public Information
865.981.8207; karen.eldridge@maryvillecollege.edu

Maryville College and Leadership Blount are currently making plans for the first annual Leadership Summit for all elected officials and key governmental leaders in Blount County.

Scheduled for Feb. 26, the inaugural gathering will focus on growth in the county and issues surrounding growth. The half-day event, held on the Maryville College campus, will include an objective presentation of development – benefits and trade-offs – by Linda Hoke of the Southern Growth Policies Board.

Following the presentation, participants will be asked to participate in small-group discussions, facilitated by Leadership Blount associates and Maryville College faculty, regarding the various approaches to dealing with growth.

"The inspiration for this type of gathering came from a breakfast hosted by the Leadership Blount Class of 2003," said Mark Cate, vice president for advancement and admissions at the College and member of the Summit Planning Committee. "At that breakfast, Leadership Blount and elected officials talked about the strengths of our community and its challenges."

According to Cate, the response to the breakfast was so positive that it was decided Leadership Blount, a neutral, non-profit leadership enhancement and development program, could facilitate dialogue between key leaders annually.

Invitations to the summit have gone out to at least 60 individuals, including those serving on the governing bodies of Maryville, Alcoa, Friendsville, Rockford, Townsend, Louisville and Blount County; city and county managers, mayors, and planners; and representatives from the Blount Partnership.

"We're starting the day with an appreciation breakfast," explained Sue Wyatt, member of the Summit Planning Committee and Leadership Blount Board of Directors. "Public service doesn't always get the recognition it deserves, and [committee members] believed it was important to first say ‘Thank you' to attendees for the sacrifices and commitments they've made to make Blount County and its communities better places to live and work."

Cate said the Summit Planning Committee was expecting good attendance for the summit.

"Furthermore, we expect people to be engaged in helpful discussion about how Blount County should move forward," he added. "Growth and development seemed to be on a lot of people's minds last year. In choosing to focus on these topics at this Leadership Summit, we hope to provide information and context so that our leaders are informed when confronting these issues."

For more information, persons are asked to contact Mark Cate or Sue Wyatt.