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Community development is shaped by the leaders of that community. Leaders listen and experience the people’s needs, have foresight when making important decisions, and collaborate when possible for the benefit of all. Leaders have focus and direct actions towards the needs, they understand the past and assess the present to produce good future outcomes. Good Leaders are paramount to the betterment of life and services provided in the community.

Vision Statement

The vision of this program is to enhance the skills of current leaders or develop future leaders in our community that will utilize their talents and passions to make a positive impact in the Manistee area.  Current and prospective leaders will acquire knowledge of the strengths, trends, and issues within Manistee County with the goal of participants identifying and getting involved in ways of affecting change.

What is the Leadership Program?

It is a nine-month program where participants will explore and engage key skills, meet current community leaders, and showcase many important areas of our local community.  Prospective leaders will acquire knowledge of the strengths, trends, and issues within Manistee County with the goal of the participants becoming leaders in identifying ways of affecting change.  

At the end of the program, the leadership cohort will create and fulfill a “Big Day of Serving” community service project.  This project enables the leaders to put their skills to the test and work through a service project.  The comradery will build positive lessons and relationships that will hopefully benefit the community in the future. 

Why Participate?

  • Learn about the strengths, challenges, and opportunities in Manistee County.  Find ways to put your skills and passions to work for greater community improvement.
  • Acquire a larger network of contacts and resources by meeting with current leaders.  Learn from their wisdom, experience, and vision.
  • Expand your personal development either enhance current skills or gain new to become prepared for community leadership roles.
  • Collaborate with other local professionals throughout the program and build long-lasting relationships.
  • Become a future community leader who can anticipate change and act decisively
  • Apply knowledge gained immediately to maximize contributions at current employers and organizations.

Program Schedule

Orientation Retreat: September 9, 2022

Natural Resources Day: October 12, 2022

Education Day: November 17, 2022

History Day: December 16, 2022

Industrial Day: January 19, 2023

Government/Justice Day: February 17, 2023

Tribal Day: March 16/17, 2023 (TBD)

Healthcare Day: April 21, 2023

Wrap Up Mystery Retreat: May 19, 2023

*Topics/Dates are subject to change

Leadership Program Sponsors

Lunch Sponsor Recognition


“Joining this past year’s Leadership Program has helped me form additional professional and personal contacts. We had a quaint group, 6 in total which helped us all get to know each other on a more intimate level that will carry on for years to come. Get out there and experience what our county has to offer and find out what wonderful opportunities await you. Step outside of your comfort zone and discover what this program can do for you!” 

~Kali Owens, City of Manistee

The Leadership Program has allowed me to grow professionally while learning about and exploring the community that I live in. It is an eye-opening experience that has made me more aware of the challenges that our community faces and the fact that there is plenty of opportunity to impact the community in a meaningful way. This program has opened the door for the possibility of opportunities that I had never known about before.”

~Heather Hansen-Foggo, West Shore Community College

"The Manistee Chamber Leadership program was an amazing opportunity to meet and connect with numerous people in the community, as well as get to know eleven awesome people throughout the experience."

- Kyle Ray, Networks Northwest/Michigan Works! Manistee

"It has been a great experience being part of the 2022 Leadership Program. I have learned so much about Manistee and the people that make Manistee the way it is today. I recommend the Leadership Program to anyone living in Manistee whether you've lived here your whole life or just moved here, there is truly so much to learn about this great place! I have also enjoyed working as a team to make the Big Day of Serving a reality!"

- Kari Koscinski, Filer Credit Union

"The Leadership Program has helped me to grow professionally while networking with professionals around Manistee County. It allowed me to step outside my comfort zone and explore and learn about the community I live in. It was a very eye-opening experience that made me aware of the challenges our community faces. This program helps to make Manistee County a better place for all by teaching people how to give back to the community in a meaningful way."

- Amber Cooper, West Shore Community College

“To anyone who has the initiative and desire to become a leader in our community; The program is a great opportunity to work with other leaders whom you may have never met, to see what good things you can do for the area and what good things are already happening.” 

- Lucas Richardson, Spicer Group, Inc.

"I have really enjoyed my time as part of the Leadership Group. I was able to visit local locations that I had never been to. Specifically the Arcadia Marsh and Tippy Dam."

- Cindy Vasquez, Peterson McGregor Insurance


For more information, please contact



This one-day community service event allowed numerous individuals and teams complete community service projects for various Manistee County non-profit organizations.

Thank you to everyone who participated in our 5th annual Big Day of Serving on June 11, 2022!

If you or your company has an interest in being a part of the next class and you have additional questions please contact Cassidy

via email at or by phone at 231-723-2575.