On February 11, I had the opportunity to be part of Leadership Rockland’s Art and Media Day program. An organization that offers a unique experience for business and community leaders, Leadership Rockland is a true gem in our community. Each year a small group of individuals are handpicked to learn about the many facets of Rockland County in a program that involves exploring history, environment, leadership, arts, and media, among other topics that come together to form life in Rockland County.

While my boss, Ann Byne, has been involved with Leadership Rockland for many years (she was a graduate of the 1994 class, served on the board for several years, and has been a program coordinator and presenter), today was my first introduction to the program. Maybe it was being in a room with community and business activists, maybe it was because I’m relatively new to Rockland County and I love exploring this complicated little county, or maybe it was because I love and thrive in a teaching and learning environment; whatever the case – the takeaway today was pure inspiration. Twenty-five individuals, from different organizations, businesses, and backgrounds, come together once a month to learn, explore, debate, and grow both professionally and personally.

 The day began at the WRCR-AM Radio station located at Provident Bank Park, home of the Boulders baseball team. A panel of local journalists spoke to the class about the 24-hour news cycle, challenges and benefits of social media, and what journalists look for and need from business leaders and organizations around town. Following was a discussion on media ethics and decision-making and then everyone headed to the Rockland Center for the Arts (ROCA) for the rest of the day’s activities.

It was there that Ann and I had the pleasure of speaking to the group about social media and how to use the various avenues available to institute community change. We discussed social media outlets, local and national case studies, and then passed the baton to the attendees – creating a working session for the Leadership Rockland class to come up with their own public relations campaigns. Using messaging, hashtags, special events and social media outreach, each group presented their ideas, and they were awesome! It was inspiring to see everyone so involved, working towards a common goal and then presenting their ideas enthusiastically to the rest of the group. We posted some photos and videos on our Facebook and Twitter pages – take a look.

Compared to the majority of people I meet these days, I’m considered a Rockland County “newbie.” I’ve lived here for just over five years, but have only recently gotten involved in the business and networking groups through my position as Marketing and Brand Manager at The Byne Group. I’m only just beginning to learn about the various opportunities in Rockland, but from what I can see so far – this community is filled with leaders who will continue to effect positive change for Rockland County and beyond. Thank you Leadership Rockland, and the class of 2016 for an unforgettable day.