Submitted by: Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry

The Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry announced that it is accepting applications for the Leadership Whatcom class of 2017. Leadership Whatcom is a community leadership training program that brings emerging and established leaders together to develop leadership skills, while gaining unique insights into the multifaceted issues facing our county.

Leadership Whatcom class of 2016 explored the East Whatcom Regional Resource Center—Opportunity Council in Maple Falls. Photo courtesy: Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

The class of 20-25 business professionals from various industries, nonprofits and municipalities participate in the 11-month program that includes interactive workshops hosted throughout the county to introduce Leadership participants to area industries and government leaders. Classes meet one day each month for nine months with no classes in July and August for summer vacation.

The program is highly experiential and focuses on a nonpartisan approach to leadership development. In each session, participants will learn the principles of ethical leadership, situational leadership, situational leadership that generates research and shared knowledge necessary for innovation to take place, servant leadership, transformational leadership and visionary leadership.

Leadership Whatcom participants gain a deeper understanding of how our community works. Photo courtesy: Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
The Leadership Whatcom class of 2016 traveled to Arroyo Park to learn about salmon spawning. Photo courtesy: Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

Those leadership skills will help the participants build bridges across generations and work productively with differing perspectives and sectors of the community. In addition, participants will collaborate with Leadership Whatcom alumni in order to build a program that utilizes the strengths of its graduates to mentor its students.

Heather Flaherty of Raptor Group said, “As a recent alumni of Leadership Whatcom, I can tell you that no matter how long you’ve been a resident in Whatcom County, going through the program will give you a deeper understanding of how our community works together and the breadth and depth of resources, businesses, non-profits, and leadership we are so fortunate to have. In addition to learning more about our community and how to affect change within it, I am walking away with relationships that I wouldn’t otherwise have, having gotten to know an incredible group of colleagues from across industries. Those two things combined with the personal leadership development tools provided by the program made it an incredibly valuable experience.”

Leadership Bellingham educates and informs community leaders. Photo courtesy: Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Leadership Whatcom class of 2016 learned about public transportation from Whatcom Transit Authority. Photo courtesy: Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

Enrollment for the program is $1,200 for Chamber members and $1,500 for non-members and requires an 11-month commitment. Applications for the 2017 Leadership Whatcom class are available at The application deadline is Monday, February 13, 2017.

For more information on Leadership Whatcom, including information on sponsorship opportunities and how to apply, please contact the Chamber offices at 734-1330.  You can also go online to the front door of the community,, where you will find general information on individual class sessions as well as an electronic copy of the application. Deadline to apply is February 13, 2017.

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