There are 33 new leaders in Hampton Roads, as the eXcel LEADership Academy graduated the students in the class of 2019. They represented 6 Hampton Roads cities and 16 schools. During the 4 day program, they visited 11 sites and heard 32 speakers from various industries such as Clark Nexsen, ODU Strome College of Business, The Port of Virginia, The Chrysler Museum, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Chesapeake City Council and the Virginia Beach Police Department. They learned valuable lessons in the importance of social capital, regionalism, giving back to the community and various types of leadership approaches and work environments. “The eXcel LEADership Academy is a once of a lifetime opportunity for incoming juniors and seniors to really understand the Hampton Roads region. Each site visit gave the students an insight into how that particular field of work majorly affects Hampton Roads and how each career is essential to our local economy. It teaches the students strong leadership skills that will carry on with them for a lifetime,” said Kayla Danner a rising Senior at Grassfield High School.
The program culminated with a graduation ceremony at the Slover Library. Hampton Roads Chamber President and CEO Bryan K. Stephens introduced the keynote speaker, Delegate Jay Jones. Delegate Jones, a Hampton Roads native, shared his leadership story of being the youngest person ever elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. He completed his undergraduate studies at the College of William and Mary, where he was a double major in Government and History. He later obtained his law degree from the University of Virginia. Delegate Jones spoke to the students, along with their family and friends about the impact of being a young leader. He iterated that it is important to be a part of the community, while understanding that Hampton Roads has a lot to offer.
As each of the students received their graduation certificates, they joined 400 eXcel LEADership Academy graduates who will help shape the future of the Hampton Roads region. The eXcel LEADership Academy, now in its eleventh year, was created by the graduates of LEAD Hampton Roads, the Chamber’s executive leadership program.