Forsyth County Government hosted Leadership Winston-Salem’s Government and Public Safety Day on Wednesday, Dec. 4.
Leadership Winston-Salem (LWS) is a program that educates, connects and energizes leaders to serve and improve the community. The current class of 64 participants spent the day at the Forsyth County Government Center.
The day helped them learn about the complexity of decision making on critical issues in government, criminal justice and public safety. It also challenged them to rethink their expectations of government and their responsibility for involvement beyond paying taxes and voting.
“As part of the push to get people fully engaged in their community, an essential part of that is really educating them on what makes our government tick,” said LWS Program Director Katherine Perry.
County Commissioner Tonya McDaniel is in the current class. She said she finds the program energetic, innovative and thought provoking. She says it can be a real eye-opener for community leaders on how things work behind-the scenes. She said she hopes it inspires some leaders to get involved with some of the county's many advisory boards and committees.
“There’s a lot of people who care about the community and they just want to know how they can help,” said McDaniel.
Public Health Director Joshua Swift and Social Services Deputy Director Elizabeth White are also in the current class. Forsyth County encourages its upper level managers to take the program, and regularly has participants in every class.
"LWS immerses the participants in the history and spirit of the community while developing a culture of servant leadership,” said County Manager Dudley Watts. “This is extremely valuable for new county leaders and is a proven retention tool due, in part, to the networks and relationships the program develops.”
The current class for LWS started with a retreat in October and will end in early June. Upcoming days in the program will be held at locations around the city and devoted to topics like human relations, health, arts and innovation, education, and social services.