Stealth has always encouraged ongoing learning – in any form – for our staff members. And two members of our Joplin, MO, office take this to heart with their participation in Leadership Joplin, a program to identify, cultivate and motivate future community leaders.
Pat Nagel, Videographer, was part of the 2015 class, has served on the Steering Committee since 2016, and co-chair of this year's program, while Garett Jeffries, Managing Director, is a member of the 2019 class.
“It’s a great way to get to know Joplin and how the city works,” said Garett. “The program helps you get in touch with other business leaders to understand what’s going on in the community and how we can help give back.”
“It goes beyond networking to really give you great awareness of the community and the resources available,” said Pat. “You gain a better understanding of what’s here – and the ways you can better help and get involved.”
The Program’s Purpose
Leadership Joplin is in its 36th year with more than 925 graduates. This informative and thought-provoking program of 12 sessions introduces an average of 30 participants per program year to the community and exposes them to its challenges. The program provides a strategic curriculum to enhance participants’ leadership skills, and creates a dialogue for discussion on relevant topics and assessment of case studies, ultimately supporting the Chamber’s strategic initiatives and goals.
“During my time as a participant, Leadership Joplin helped me better understand my community and the ways I can fit in and give back to the business community at large,” said Pat. “The most insightful aspect of the program was taking the Color Code personality test. It not only helped me better understand myself, but also taught me how to assess my coworkers’, peers’ and clients’ color codes to better understand how to work and interact with them."
In fact, Pat was getting so much out of the program that halfway through it, he expressed interest to the coordinator about serving on the steering committee. When an opening became available shortly thereafter, they offered the spot to Pat.
"Having lived in this area my whole life and working in TV news, I’d had exposure to this, but the program offers an even better understanding of how things work," said Pat. "It exposes you to all of these other professionals in the Joplin area, and I thoroughly enjoy helping to see them grow in the program just like I did.”
Garett recounted similar insights regarding his time so far in the 2019 program. “It’s helped me understand the professional makeup of the Joplin area, including people and businesses in healthcare, media, HR fulfillment, architecture, engineering and more. I now understand which businesses are growing and what the industry will look like moving forward,” he said. “I’ve also taken time for a lot of self-reflection with the Color Code personality exercise. It’s really helped me understand my motives and drives in a way I didn’t realize before. I’m a Blue, focused on intimacy, service and connections, which is why I often react with such emotion when speaking with people. Now I know why and can view things more objectively.”
The Leadership Experience
The program meets every two weeks for a day-long session, and members are also asked to attend other community-related functions, such as First Friday Coffees, business networking events the Chamber hosts at a different local business each month, Business After Hours, a more causal networking event, Good Morning Joplin a quarterly, more formal meeting with a speaker, or any board meeting for a city program.
In addition to the standard class experience, the group also takes longer excursions. For example, Garett and Pat recently had the chance to take a trip to Jefferson City, MO, to visit the Jefferson City Correctional Center, a maximum-security prison, where they toured the license-plate facility, which is where all of the license plates in Missouri are made. They also toured the furniture, sewing and uniform divisions. They spoke to people imprisoned for murder, rape and other such crimes, who now help mentor other prisoners to help them channel their anger into positive activities and to become better people.
Following the prison visit, the crew shared dinner with their state legislators. The following day they toured the capitol building and Supreme Court, and sat in on house and senate sessions, and even met with the governor himself, who posted about the encounter on Facebook.
Another event included Law-Enforcement Day, where the class met with the Sheriff’s Department, Joplin Fire Department, SWAT, FBI and the K9 unit.
“We were able to see one of their dogs in action, seeking out drugs, as well as climb inside the fire truck, witness the throwing of a flash bang, and gain a better understanding of the most common drug problems in the area, how to recognize people using drugs and how law enforcement plans their raids,” said Garett. “While children often have the benefit of a fire-truck tour and discussion with law enforcement during grade school, it’s definitely a truly unique experience as an adult.”
Both Pat and Garett see immense value in the program, and how it demonstrates and showcases the true sense of community in Joplin.
“When you’ve never lived in a town that is so community-centric, it’s hard to understand that until you see it in action,” said Garett. “Leadership Joplin provides access to understanding the overall purpose or end goal for our community, which is truly empowering.”
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