Romer: Community engagement key to leadership development |

Romer: Community engagement key to leadership development

People look to leaders to guide them in their actions. Good leaders are role models for the people they lead, motivating them, supporting them and facilitating communications among teams, resulting in better outcomes and higher service levels.

In business, good leadership translates to long-term success with high morale and a high rate of employee retention. In public entities, good leadership translates to effective and efficient public policy and stewardship of tax dollars.

The importance of leadership in both public and private society should not be underestimated. People look up to leaders to set the example and organizations often take on the personalities of their leaders. Good leadership helps shape a positive attitude, promotes harmony and facilitates maximum productivity. However, none of this happens by accident.

Vail Valley Partnership has made a commitment to the quality of Eagle County’s future. We are pleased to introduce Vail Valley Works as the premier local program for establishing, training, and supporting a network of aware and knowledgeable citizens ready to take on the challenges of an ever-changing community.

The quality of life in a community is at least partially determined by the quality of its public and private sector leadership. If a community is interested in creating change and supporting innovation, it will begin with a firm commitment to analyze its challenges and to identify, educate, train, and support a team of public and private sector community leaders to attack those issues.

Without that commitment, a community cannot develop the intelligent, creative, and energetic local leadership network that is essential for the community to achieve its full potential. Three different leadership development programs are available to help local organizations better engage in the community and grow their professional skills and networks.

Community Issues Bootcamp is an opportunity to learn about specific issues affecting our community including housing, health care, behavioral health, transportation, childcare, water, community sustainability and community resiliency. Each topic will be led by local and regional experts.

Community Leadership Academy is an experience for individuals looking to enhance their leadership capabilities and connect with like-minded professionals in Eagle County.

NEXT Vail Valley Emerging Professionals is an opportunity to meet with six dynamic community leaders, learn from their success and growth in this valley and grow your professional network.

Not only are these types of leadership and professional development opportunities good for people, but they are good for business too. Technology has helped create social networks but also has resulted in social isolation.

The increased availability of technology platforms means that in-person professional development and intentional community building is no longer something that is a “nice to have,” it is a “has to have.” Companies see the tremendous value when investing in employee professional development; they get happier staff who stick around longer and are more connected to the larger community. This is why we focus our programming on community building and the impact across industries and geographies is important to developing future leaders.

Why so many people are willing to devote so much time, energy, expense, and personal sacrifice to join communities to move the needle to build employee engagement and development? I think it is because well-structured, productive, and healthy communities bring out the best in people. Community engagement, leadership training, and professional development teaches us how to be better at what we do, how to solve problems, and how to build rewarding and lasting friendships.

That is a triple net win: it helps individuals, helps businesses, and builds stronger communities.

Chris Romer is president & CEO of Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at

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