Putnam represents Livingston County.

Twenty-Four area residents make up the 2020 class of Leadership Northwest Missouri, an annual series of sessions that bring together existing and emerging leaders from throughout a 19-county region to discover and sharpen their leadership skills, explore regional issues, and build a network of contacts throughout Northwest Missouri.

According to Deb Powers, executive director of leadership Northwest Missouri, the 2020 class began with a two-day retreat, Jan. 29 and 30, at Conception Abbey. The participants will gather monthly for day-long sessions in varied locations throughout the region. The series concludes with a July 16 graduation celebration in Trenton.

Members of the 2020 class and the counties they represent are: Ashlee Boner, Andrew County; Debbie Bennett, Dave Fast, Nikki Graves, Katrina Lock, Atchison County; Kaylee Gibson, Rob Honan, Teresa Linville-Mier, Courtney Nixon, Cindy Wells, Buchanan County; Anna Barlow, Carroll County; Rick Daly, Clay County; Julie Burns, Clinton County; Mackenzie Manring, Daviess County; Tim Wymes, DeKalb County; Jenny Huard, Gentry County; Megan Derry, Grundy County; Whitney Esry, Harrison County; Judy Hood, Randy Mendenhall, Holt County; Ashley Putnam, Livingston County; Maria Peace, Mercer County; Julie Robertson, Br. David Wilding, Nodaway County.

Leadership Northwest Missouri has become the catalyst for identifying, training and connecting the leaders of our region and is a pathway for effective leadership for generations to come. There is a deliberate focus on fostering a sense of ownership for the region – that we have interdependent roles and we depend on each other for the progress and success of Northwest Missouri.

“My experience with the retreat was more than expected. It was an opportunity to think outside the box and get to meet others from different professional backgrounds. It also was an opportunity to learn that we all shared similar professional experiences.” Tim Wymes, Clinton and DeKalb County representative said.

Sessions incorporate a blend of classroom presentations and experiential exercises; in-depth examinations of such regional issues as education, youth development, healthcare, quality of life, entrepreneurship, agriculture, economic development, workforce development and team empowerment round out each session.

“Regional-focused leadership development programs are the foundation for building the capacity of individuals, communities and regions to solve their own problems,” said Dr. Tim Crowley, a local leadership expert who is one of the program’s facilitators. “Participants develop leadership best practices, establish strong networks, increase ability to solve complex problems and deepen their understanding of regional needs and assets.”