LGM Class of 2019: Unstoppable
Bold and empowered, the Leadership Greater Manchester (LGM) Class of 2019 is a force to be reckoned with. Taking both small and large strides, they won’t stop until they have made an impactful change in the Manchester community.
LGM 2019 is a group of roughly 35 leaders and professionals in the Manchester area who have spent the last nine months completely immersed in learning about what makes Manchester, well, Manchester. For a full day each month, they were enveloped in topics such as education, government affairs, economic development, criminal justice, health, human services, arts & culture, and history. This type of direct exposure to the influencers, issues, and triumphs in all these areas led to some common themes that LGM 2019 couldn’t ignore. Youth development as well as the possibilities around how they can assist in solutions to the mental health and substance use issues happening across the city is what LGM 2019 has narrowed in on.
Early prevention and intervention efforts were a thread for LGM 2019 – they asked themselves as leaders in the community, “How do we address these issues and how do we get ahead of them to impact change in the long term, for the younger generation?” The idea of a youth leadership program grew from these conversations.
From Day 1, LGM 2019 felt a sense of trust and open communication with one another, which has helped in their efforts to contribute something lasting.
“At our first meeting, there was a common bond of being grateful to be in the LGM program and experience the adventure together. Now that the program has ended, I feel truly connected. Connection is everything to me. I have a better understanding of the issues, the community, and I now have people and relationships to pursue opportunities with,” said Rachel Behrens, Business Change Manager, Anthem.
The type of support and connection Rachel mentions is also what led Lara Quiroga, Director of Strategic Initiatives for Children, Amoskeag Health, to decide to run for School Board in Manchester. “I feel like be able to have more of a powerful and meaningful impact, knowing I will have the support of my classmates,” said Lara.
Keeping up the momentum
Keeping up this momentum post-graduation has not posed as a hurdle, as the group’s overarching takeaway is that even the smallest initiatives can make a dramatic difference. Though a final “project,” is still in the works, LGM 2019 is well underway with leaving their mark on the Manchester community. Individually they are driven and determined. Together – they are unstoppable.