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story.lead_photo.caption Pictured, from left, are Christy Donaldson, Hanna Lechner, Robert Boone, Jenna Houchins, Ashly Moore, Brian Hughes and Devin Johnson.

Callaway Chamber of Commerce hosted the Leadership Callaway Class of 2019 commencement last week at KACO The Kitchen.

The guest speaker was Matt Gowin, vice president of Central Bank of Fulton.

Gowin is well-versed in leadership roles through Callaway County. Speaking from experience, he gave the group advice and encouragement as they grow as leaders.

He shared with the group a quote from Dr. Benjamin Ola Akande, former president of Westminster College, "Adapt or die."

"If you are a leader and are thrown a curveball, for instance, or things do not go as planned, you have a back up plan," he said. "Leadership means to always be adapting."

Class members learned about the innerworkings of local and state government. Class of 2019 graduate Robert Boone, assistant director of administration for Fulton, had worked in state government at the state's Capitol for 23 years. Even with his years of experience, he still took away valuable information through Leadership Callaway.

Brian Hughes, commercial and real estate lender for The Callaway Bank and also a 2019 graduate, found the program showed Callaway County in more detail and through a different perspective.

"Leadership Callaway gives a unique perspective to see what great things are being done locally, what needs improvement and how we can all work together to make Callaway County a better place to live and work," he said.

Commencement attendees included new Fulton Mayor Lowe Cannell. He said he is excited to see what the future holds for Leadership Callaway.

"I actually haven't gotten to see the whole process of Leadership Callaway, but I've seen the results recently and I'm impressed," he added. "Whether for personal or professional development, these are the type of activities that will take a person to that next level in terms of growth and confidence."

Callaway Chamber Executive Tamara Tateosian said she is looking forward to the Leadership Callaway Class of 2020 to begin their journey with the program.

"Leadership Callaway is geared for individuals that are upcoming leaders, new leaders to the area, or even those that want to learn more about the community," she added.

The graduating class of 2019 included Boone, Christy Donaldson with SSM Health Medical Group, Jenna Houchins with Callaway Electric Cooperative, Hughes and Ashly Moore with The Callaway Bank, Devin Johnson with Koelling Family Chiropractic, and Hanna Lechner with the City of Holts Summit.

Leader Callaway participants will take part in "ride-a-longs" with both fire and law enforcement personnel, tour the state's Capitol to learn more about the House of Representatives and Senate, visit colleges to learn more about higher education, and so much more.

For all those interested in applying for the Leadership Callaway program, please contact the Callaway Chamber of Commerce office at 573-642-3055 or by email to [email protected] The application deadline is June 24.

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