Leadership Lodi is a unique program run through the Lodi Chamber of Commerce. The program gives forward-thinking individuals an insight into the community while providing a unique opportunity to develop a special service project. This years’ project beneﬁts the World of Wonders Science Museum. Since ’90, the Leadership Lodi program has encouraged local citizens to achieve higher levels of leadership responsibility. Participants interact with community leaders to discuss and learn about topics important to the Lodi community such as government, law, education, leadership dynamics, economic development, agribusiness, health and the arts. Chairman of the Leadership Lodi Steering Committee, David Diskin explains, “Most of the participants are currently-employed business people. But occasionally, we’ll get someone who is right out of college or who is retired. We often enroll employees who have been promoted to a director or manager position, or have moved to Lodi and it has been suggested to get better-acclimated to the city.”
Each year the class takes part in a project that enriches the community. “The participants this year selected the World of Wonders Science Museum in Downtown Lodi. They watched a presentation from one of their employees and it was very interactive, it had brain teasers and they just loved it. What the Science Museum had asked for was a new interactive exhibit that focused on brain teaser puzzles,” Diskin says. “When we got to our retreat to ﬁgure out what the project was going to be, there was a lot of enthusiasm about helping out kids and education in Lodi and something that would last a long time. It was almost unanimous that this was going to be the project.” The new exhibit will feature challenging puzzle-like activities that make visitors think and construct solutions. The permanent project will inhabit a fairly large space at the museum. “It’s made to look like a café and it’s called, ‘The Cranium Café.’ It’s decorated very differently from the rest of the museum. There are chairs and tables made from old wine barrels and there are shelves where you go pick up your brain teaser and then you ‘feed your brain.’ You put it back on the shelf when ﬁnished and if you’re still hungry for more, you pick another one,” states Diskin. “Signs on the wall, meant to look like café menus, will list the donors.”
“Non-proﬁt organizations that serve Lodi can deﬁnitely ask to be included in a potential future project with Leadership Lodi. There’s a very simple form that they would ﬁll out that gives us the needed information.” Projects submitted for consideration are discussed amongst the Leadership Lodi class and the pool of candidate projects are narrowed until one is chosen. “Every time Leadership Lodi meets, there is a particular theme for the day. One of our very ﬁrst meetings before our retreat is non-proﬁt day. In that day, we tour and listen to more than a dozen non-proﬁts. They’re also pitching to us what they would like to have us consider for a project,” Diskin notes. Some past projects have been the renovation of the Boys & Girls Club of Lodi with new paint, ﬂooring and furniture; a dinner banquet hosted for families that had adopted and fostered children through Share Homes Adoption Agency, with funds going to creating a mobile awareness display; and the creation of more than 600 blankets that were given to CHP, Lodi House, the Women’s Center, local police and ﬁre departments and local churches.
Alumni of Leadership Lodi include Tracy Williams who runs the LOEL Center and Gardens, Carol Farron at Lodi Memorial Hospital, Nancy Beckman at the Visit Lodi!Conference & Visitors Bureau, Eric Daegling with Bank of Stockton and many other talented, civic-minded people. “When our graduates have ﬁnished, they have a greater appreciation of what it takes to be successful and more effective as a team member, a new perspective of how they and the organization they represent ﬁt into this community and a deeper knowledge of the community in which they serve,” ﬁnishes Diskin. Approximately 15-18 people are chosen to participate in Leadership Lodi each year. For those that are interested in applying for the ‘15 Leadership Lodi class, they can apply online at lodichamber.com/leadershiplodi.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
LODI CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
35 S. School St.
Lodi, (209) 367-7840