On Thursday, June 14, 2018, James Althoff from our Business Development department graduated from a nearly year-long leadership program in McHenry County: Leadership Greater McHenry County (LGMC). Unlike a more traditional skills based approach to leadership, James described LGMC as teaching its students to focus on understanding "what issues affect us, regionally, locally, and nationally".
Leadership can be viewed through a narrow lens as a tool to only be utilized in the workplace, but James learned how to utilize leadership skills to better serve the community. To that end, he studied Human Trafficking.
Human trafficking is an insidious problem in the Midwest, often times connected to drug routes flowing through Chicago. "Chicago, Rockford, McHenry are known as the trafficking triangle," James said. In addition to learning communication skills and other typical facets of leadership, James also learned to apply a leadership perspective to a broader angle. Part of why human trafficking continues to plague this region is that "we live in a bubble, so we don't see the periphery". People have to step up in their communities and assume leadership roles in order to combat issues pervading the local area.
Other teams in the program studied issues such as opioid addition or economic issues. James and the other graduates learned to "connect, educate, [and inspire engagement] in the community", and doing so manifested itself through the variety of topics people dove into.
"It's really harder than it seems, it's trying to find out what your passion is and giving back to the community in some way," James said.
James is the 4th INTREN employee to complete the program, joining Sue Clarke, Mary Lucarelli, and Christina Mazhary as a fellow graduate of LGMC.