Chamber recognizes Leadership Institute graduates

The Moore County Chamber of Commerce announced the 35th graduating class of the Moore County Leadership Institute (MCLI). This is an exclusive leadership program hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and has graduated over 640 participants since its inception.

MCLI provides participants with the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally through education and connections to various community leaders and partners. Participants learn about civic leadership, business challenges, governance, and community involvement and receive targeted leadership development training. Ultimately, these individuals are well-rounded, capable leaders with a deeper understanding of civic responsibility. Upon graduation, they are encouraged to serve in the community in a volunteer capacity and to inspire others in their respective workplaces by being transformational leaders. 

Each class is required to complete a community project as a culmination of their program. This year, Moore County Schools was the recipient of a $10,000 donation to cover a portion of the $24,000 school lunch deficit for the 2023-2024 fiscal year. FirstHealth stepped up when the class asked for support. Matt Prestwood said, “We strive to help those who needed it most. Our high school seniors miss vital opportunities in their senior year if they have an unpaid school lunch deficit and we didn’t want anyone to miss prom or graduation due to unpaid fees. When asked how much, Jonathon Davis with FirstHealth of the Carolinas said done!” The school district worked with the class to identify 800 students who would likely be unable to cover their deficits and their fees were covered under the donation. “Diversity in our community is deep, however, we learned that most people’s issues can be easily solved by working together.” Stated Chris Urie, with Pinehurst Medical Clinic.

The 35th graduating class includes:

Morgan Wesley, executive sous chef, Pinehurst Resort

Robert Hinsley, veteran, Donovan & Bank Foundation

Aaron Bush, veteran, Donovan & Bank Foundation

Ashley Culbreth, registry administrator, Aging Outreach Services

Cheryl Moody, colleague relations partner, St. Joseph of the Pines

Georgia Lozier, deputy chief of staff, Congressman Richard Hudson – 9th District

Ellen Hillyard, business development – group sales, Pinehurst Resort

Matthew Prestwood, MHA vice president, Moore Regional Hospital Operations FirstHealth

Emily Harris, executive chef, Southern Pines Brewing Company

Chris Urie, clinical educator, Pinehurst Medical Clinic, Inc.

One anonymous participant said, “As a result of my participation in the county leadership development program, I wouldn’t change my past decisions; however, what I’ve learned has significantly influenced my current and future behavior. I now actively consider ways I can more positively impact community and economic development in the area. I am more likely to pay attention to state and local issues and perform more in-depth research on political candidates. Additionally, I am mindful about supporting small businesses, even if it is more expensive or less convenient. I have made a conscious effort to slow down my decision-making process and have learned that no matter how compassionate, educated, or self-aware one might believe they are about current events and societal issues, there are always unknown factors. Therefore, instead of assuming I know all perspectives, I now actively observe, listen, and seek to understand other viewpoints rather than dive right into solving problems.”

“Effective leaders are open-minded and willing to strive to move forward for a brighter future. These graduates took the time to understand the dynamics of effective leadership and decision making,” said Linda Parsons, president and CEO of the Moore County Chamber of Commerce in a press release. “Participants studied over an 11th month period our community infrastructure, analyzed their own individual leadership styles, and further developed their communication skills. We are proud of this class and the accomplishments that they have all achieved.” For those interested in applying to be apart of the next MCLI Class, more information can be found

Contributed/Courtesy photo.

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