Chamber Chat – 22nd Year of Leadership Sanford Begins

September 12, 2021 | Written by: sanford-user

By Meg Moss, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

This week marked the start of the 22nd year of Leadership Sanford. This Chamber of Commerce program exists to create a diverse, continuous supply of creative leaders to our community by developing participants knowledge of our region, and providing then the opportunity for meaningful action.

The nine-month program provides participants an in-depth look at a range of topics that impact our community. The topics are designed to provide personal and professional development, as well as community enrichment.

The first session of Leadership Sanford consisted of learning the history of Lee County. You have to know where you came from, to know where you are going. From the prehistoric times, when Lee County was actually on the coast (if you were at the current Kentucky Fried Chicken Location, you would have had a beach front property!), to the coal mines and the deadly disaster that occurred in Lee County, to the coming of the Railroad, Lee County has an interesting history.

The history lessons were presented by a several local historians. Woody Seymour, an attorney here in town, was born and raised in Lee County. He went off to college, but returned to Sanford to practice law with his father, and has continued to practice law here for the past 45 years. Seymour has been a member of the Railroad House Historical Association for around 40 years.

Marty Stevens was also born and raised in Sanford. She too went off to college, but returned to Sanford and married her high school sweetheart, Bob Stevens. Stevens is going on her third year as president of the Railroad House Museum.

And lastly, Leadership Sanford participants were able hear from Sanford City Councilman and photographer Jimmy Haire, another local historian who was born and raised in Lee County. In addition to the information he shared about the history of Lee County, he shared many anecdotal stories and memories of his time working at The Sanford Herald.  He began at the Sanford Herald in 1959 as a 10-year-old paperboy and later served as writer, ad salesman, photographer and circulation director.

Participants in this year’s Leadership Sanford Program are: Brenda Aguirre, Tacos El Primo; Josh Barnes, FirstHealth of the Carolinas; Jonathan Best, Samet Corporation; Todd Collins, Sanford Contractors; Halie Conners, DMJ & Company, PLLC; Adela Costelow, Coldwell Banker Advantage; Yesi De Santiago, Partnership for Children and Families; John Cotton Dean, Sanford Area Growth Alliance; Russell Dillard, Pilgrims; Matt Dilworth; Jayne Hartman, Tri-River Consultants; Craig Jacobs, NC Farm Bureau Insurance; David Johnson, YMCA of the Triangle; Endia Lindsey, t.l.c. Home; Denise Martin, Central Carolina Community College; Rita Oglesbee, t.l.c. Home; Kevin Pedley, Mertek; Christina Piard, Central Carolina Community College; Mark Rogers, The Sanford Herald; and Mitch Williams, NC Cooperative Extension.