UACES Facebook A Renewed Sense of Connection: Internal Leadership Program Reenergizes Employees
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A Renewed Sense of Connection: Internal Leadership Program Reenergizes Employees

by Emily Smith - May 31, 2022

Finding Purpose in Return: What Does it Mean to Turn Towards Renewal?

Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines renew as “restore to freshness, vigor, or perfection” (Merriam Webster, 2022). After two years facing the COVID-19 pandemic, communities, individuals, businesses, organizations, and UADA professionals are finding new ways to envision our purpose, restore its freshness, engage stakeholders and partners, and explore creative approaches to our work. 

Everyone was changed by the COVID-19 pandemic in some way—professionally or personally. We seek to capture and share ways Arkansans are looking anew at their work, envisioning new ways to engage volunteers and community members, and acting boldly in ways that create lasting change.

The below example demonstrates renewal through the lens of an internal leadership program. 

Amy Cole, Pulaski County 

Amy is the digital media program manager at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service in the Information Technology Department.amy
After nearly two years of working remotely, many of us were ready to connect in person in 2021. That was the year the internal leadership program, iLEAD opened as an opportunity for employees.
I was thrilled to be admitted into the iLEAD program and have the opportunity to tour our research facilities throughout the state. iLEAD is an internal leadership program for Division of Agriculture employees whereby we learn from peers and understand better the role of our research and extension programming statewide. As a participant, I have enjoyed learning how each research station and even many county offices weathered the pandemic and upheld high standards of research and outreach.
I have gained a deeper understanding of the mission of the Division and the history of our work in both global and local communities. This leadership training opportunity has allowed me to integrate what I've learned into my job as an online marketing professional, which, in turn, helps me spread the mission of the Division to more diverse audiences through digital communications.
Finally, the friendships and connections I've made over the past year have further impressed the importance of such leadership programs. Learning about everyone's role in the Division has expanded my knowledge of how important each person is in what they do. I look forward to seeing more participants take advantage of the learning opportunities in iLEAD going forward.

Sharing Stories - Strengthening Arkansas Communities

Each month, the Community, Professional and Economic Development unit will explore a different theme related to our mission, vision, and the work being accomplished to develop communities across the state.

A great way to capture this work is through stories: stories of impact, stories of change, stories of challenge. This can be the work of individuals, businesses, organizations, and UADA professionals that are striving to improve the quality of life for all Arkansans. We will capture and share these stories via social media, our newsletter, and other forms of communication.  

Share your community story and learn from the stories of others, as you help co-create a new community online—a space that preserves experiences, sheds light on challenges, fosters new insights, and hopefully inspires others.

Read more about next month's theme: Citizens in Action.