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Local professionals learn from international leaders

By Katie Demeria

MIDDLETOWN -- Local professionals were given the opportunity to learn how to become most effective at work from international leaders Thursday.

Lord Fairfax Community College's Workforce Solutions hosted Leadercast, an event broadcasted live from Atlanta, Georgia. While this is the fourth year the professional development organization has offered the event, this year they were able to host it at all three campuses for the first time.

Vice President Jeanian Clark said the event serves the professionals working in the local community. It offers them exactly what their busy schedules do not allow: to learn from international leaders who have lessons to teach.

In the back of the large presentation room on the LFCC campus, participants had the opportunity to purchase books by some of those speaking in Leadercast.

"All these books are phenomenal," Clark said, indicating the table. "But it takes a lot of time to read them. This lets them learn all those lessons in one day -- it's a really inspiring day."

Nine international leaders spoke at Leadercast, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former first lady Laura Bush, and bestselling authors Malcolm Gladwell and Simon Sinek.

Clark said the event helps individuals throughout every aspect of their lives.

"They can learn from everything, it hits all sorts of folks," she said. "It transcends beyond business."

Because Workforce Solutions serves individuals from various professional fields, those participating in Leadercast came from different types of companies.

Tammy Ryan, warehouse manager with HP Hood in Winchester, said the day was a nice opportunity to step back from the day-to-day.

"Our jobs are very stressful," Ryan said. "This is a nice reminder that you need to take a look at the big picture."

The event also offered useful networking opportunities with individuals in other industries, she added.

The tips were meant to be useful in the average professional environment, as well. Sinek, Clark said, gave a particularly interesting talk, providing six points to being a good leader.

"He pointed out that you don't have to be passive and looking over your shoulder, you can take steps on your own," she said. "Take the lead yourself -- don't wait for permission and look for someone else to take the lead."

But Sinek encouraged his listeners to take the lead in their personal lives, as well, Clark added, and make a choice not to sit back and allow others to make decisions for them.

That message tied in with this year's theme, "Beyond You." It was meant to encourage participants to look at how their actions impact others beyond themselves, according to Clark.

"It tells you not to take leadership positions because of the title or the pay hike, but because you can actually make a difference in someone else's life," she said.

Mary Magerkorth, assistant site director with Old Dominion University, said that aspect of the event was particularly helpful.

"It was less about being a leader at work and more about being a leader of humanity," she said.

Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kdemeria@nvdaily.com

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