Outgoing LPBC President Tammy Clarke shared her reflections on getting accepted into LPBC in 2008 and steadily rising to become our president in 2015. It’s been a great journey that she recommends for anyone wanting to lead in today’s complicated world.
By Tammy Clarke
For many years, I was quite intrigued by compelling stories told by prior graduates who insisted that I just HAD to apply for the Leadership Palm Beach County program. Of course, like most people interested in a leadership type program, I am always extremely busy and I just didn’t think I could invest the time needed for this opportunity. I told everyone that it was definitely something that I’d like to do “one day”. That day finally happened in April of 2007 when I finally applied for the LPBC Adult Program (now called “Engage”) and a few months later I was accepted into the class of 2008.
After hearing so much praise about LPBC for so long, I thought my expectations were set pretty high. I soon discovered that they were not set high enough. I knew that a group of people met for one day each month to drive around in a bus to learn about the county. I truly expected a somewhat passive program, similar to school field trips. The reality was that this program explodes out of the gate (at the initial class retreat) and is a vibrant and interactive experience. It is a “living classroom” for the arts, business community, community engagement, economic development, health, ethics, education, public safety, and the basics of respect, human dignity, and relationships. LPBC stretches and challenges you in unexpected ways and will encourage you to grow out of your comfort zone.
Throughout the program I learned a great deal about the city and its problems but more importantly, I learned how vital relationships and networking can be in a process where you connect with people with similar yet different circumstances and backgrounds. The comradeship was phenomenal and I didn’t want it to end when my class graduated. I decided that I wanted to have a much more active role in this organization and so I ran for, and was elected to, the Board of Governors of LPBC.
I really had no way of knowing back then how important that decision was. I knew that my class (the BEST class) was comprised of many absolutely amazing people that I now call friends. What I didn’t realize then was that joining the board would introduce me to the volunteerism that makes this organization so great. The business leaders that volunteer with LPBC are an amazing collection of the most talented, experienced, and highly influential leaders within this county and for the next 7 years I worked very closely with all of them to educate and unite leaders to build a better community.
Now, when people ask me about LPBC, I tell them that LPBC is not just worthwhile – it is, in retrospect, essential to be able to lead in today’s complicated world.