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Virginia Cooperative Extension, City of Roanoke to host '2012 Innovative Leadership Conference: Guiding the Force of Change'


BLACKSBURG, Va., April 17, 2012 – Virginia Cooperative Extension and the City of Roanoke invite Virginia’s community leaders to attend the “2012 Innovative Leadership Conference: Guiding the Force of Change” on Tuesday, May 22, in Roanoke, Va. The conference will be held at the The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Virginia communities and organizations want the change that transitions ineffective practices into innovative initiatives. This type of change challenges the best thinking of leaders and requires creativity to direct the path, according to Martha Walker, Virginia Cooperative Extension community viability specialist. “The 2012 conference will push participants to overcome ‘decision paralysis,’ find the bright spots, and pave the path to change using Dan and Chip Heath’s Switch principles.”

The 2012 conference is designed to expand participants’ understanding of the process of change in challenging environments and to provide guidance in implementing an effective model for launching community transition. 

Conference participants will be engaged in a four-hour interactive session led by Susan Heath Hays, a Switch certified trainer. This training has been highly recommended by workshop graduates who said: The workshop “helped me personally but really helped me plan for change in my workplace” and “helped me to understand why many change efforts I have led have failed.” The conference will conclude with a review of how one Virginia community applied Switch principles as the catalyst for community change.

“There has never been a time when leadership was more important to our communities,” said City Manager Chris Morrill. “This conference will offer participants a clear understanding of new options, models, and strategies to form partnerships, identify solutions, and affect change that can significantly enhance the vitality of Virginia’s cities, towns, and counties.”

The deadline for conference registration is Friday, May 11, and space is limited. For more information or to register for the conference, contact Martha Walker or Linda Jones at 434-766-6761. Checks for the $65 registration fee should be made payable to VCE-Central District and mailed to Virginia Cooperative Extension, 150 Slayton Ave., Danville, VA 24540. Each participant will receive a copy of Switch and a copy of the Switch workbook.

For more information on Extension leadership programs, contact Martha Walker at 434-766-6761. Regarding City of Roanoke leadership programs and opportunities, contact Bob Clement at 540-853-5210.

Virginia Cooperative Extension brings the resources of Virginia's land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to the people of the commonwealth. Through a system of on-campus specialists and locally based educators, it delivers education in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, community viability, and 4-H youth development. With a network of faculty at two universities, 107 county and city offices, 11 agricultural research and Extension centers, and six 4-H educational centers, Virginia Cooperative Extension provides solutions to the problems facing Virginians today.