Leadership is never about any one person. But together, we have the capacity and responsibility to lead and transform our community.

Relaunched in 2015, Leadership Worcester is a unique community leadership development program, run by the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Worcester Community Foundation. It’s a call to action for young professionals providing an opportunity to gain insight into the city, build knowledge of different forms of leadership, and forge new connections in the community.

The current LW class is the fifth cohort and, come May, there will be more than 125 graduates from 70-plus employers eager to continue meeting, learning, and serving.

Members are enthusiastic to connect and advance the visions created during their participation – which is why an LW Alumni Network was launched last month. More than 60 alumni attended the first meet and greet where they committed to building the network together. The event, generously hosted by Joe Salois, president and CEO of Atlas Distributing, Inc., featured time to reconnect, meet other alumni, and hear inspirational comments from Timothy P. Murray, Chamber president and CEO; Mr. Salois, LW Selection Committee chairman; and Barbara Fields, a Leadership Rhode Island alumna, and GWCF president and CEO.

Mr. Salois commented on the alumni’s unique character saying: “The camaraderie and care they have for one another [makes them] a collegial group who embrace Worcester and value the importance of being involved.”

While she knows the impact of the program first-hand, Ms. Fields is excited to learn more about LW. She said: “Our role at the foundation is two-fold: we work to build a stronger community and improve people’s lives. LW positions us to do both.”

LW alumni look to build on the strengths of the city and not shy away from the work necessary to make it more inclusive, more equitable, and a vibrant community in which to live, work, and play. Initial activities of the alumni network include volunteering, hosting lunch and learns with leaders from across the city, and networking to strengthen bonds among fellow alumni. Once established, the group aims to raise the program’s visibility.

“I believe the LW Alumni Network provides graduates a continued point of contact with a broader group of individuals committed to personal and professional growth as well as a sense of civic responsibility,” said Mr. Murray. “What inspires me, is all things they will accomplish.”

Applications to join the next cohort, the Class of 2020-21, are due in May.


Kim Davenport (LW ’18) and Ryan Matson (LW ’18) are correspondents for the Chamber Exchange. To read the entirety of the November 2019 edition of the Chamber Exchange, visit the newspaper archive.