Gila Valley Leadership gets creative

Contributed Photo/Courtesy Graham County Chamber of Commerce: The cohort toured the Safford Theatre, which is undergoing renovation.

Contributed Article/Courtesy Graham County Chamber of Commerce

GRAHAM COUNTY – The Graham County Chamber of Commerce held its second Gila Valley Leadership meeting for Cohort 16 on Thursday, Oct. 14, and discussed leading with empathy, art, history, and volunteerism.

Contributed Photo/Courtesy Graham County Chamber of Commerce: Brian Douglas

The 16th cohort of the Gila Valley Leadership program met bright and early on Thursday morning for their lecture series beginning with a brief presentation by Alma Flores. Flores’ discussed leadership and empathy, describing its profound influence in her life and how it encouraged her to move forward as a young mother.

Branching into local programs and government Brian Douglas from the Graham County Health Department also gave an overview to the cohort on the available programs at the department.

Contributed Photo/Courtesy Graham County Chamber of Commerce: Tom Green

This month, the cohort learned a great deal about the nonprofit entities within Graham County, including the Gila Valley Arts Council, the Graham County Historical Society, and the Eastern Arizona Museum and Historical Society of Graham County. The cohort toured the museum, learning about historical figures and the origins of each town.

Tom Green, president of the Gila Valley Arts Council, said the leaders should volunteer for causes they are passionate about. Although serving on a nonprofit board is a way to make new connections within the area, unless there is a driving passion for the cause, the volunteer will get tired and drop away from the nonprofit.

“Find something you enjoy giving back to the community,” Green said.

The cohort also visited the Safford Historical Theatre and was given a tour of the building by Safford Downtown Association President Danny Smith. He explained to the cohort the theater’s importance as an economic engine to the downtown area, saying that it will give the community another reason to spend time and money Downtown.

Contributed Photo/Courtesy Graham County Chamber of Commerce: Cohort 16 art

Gila Valley art was another element highlighted in the series this month.  Local artist and historian Talana Hooper presented her artwork to the group. Another local artist, Deanna Cluff, gave the cohort an hour-long instruction period on completing an etching art piece. The cohort each created a piece of art and took it home that day. Lastly, Brandt Woods, a local mural artist, explained his project of 30 murals in 60 days and how he hopes to bring more art to Downtown.

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