Leadership Park City, a professional and ethical leadership development program, will forge ahead in 2021 with goals intact despite Covid-driven format changes.
The year-long program’s 27th class begins next week with 35 participants dialing into an orientation by Zoom, rather than bonding over the traditional day-long ropes course.
“This year will be very different,” said Founder and Director Myles Rademan. “Maybe by summer we’ll be able to meet in person.”
Creating community in person was a core objective from the beginning, Rademan said. After the Covid shutdown last March forced that year’s class to go remote, he contemplated pausing the program in 2021.
The association of more than 650 alumni quickly convinced him otherwise, and when the application process began, he found as much interest as ever in the community.
Rademan said he was gratified to receive 95 applications for slots in the class, and that the program’s longevity and role in the lives of alumni were testament to its value to the community as a whole.
With input from co-director and City Manager Matt Dias and tech expert/assistant Minda Stockdale, Rademan put together a new program with more focus on content.
The format for many years has been to build bonds among participants as they learn the nuts and bolts of municipal and state-level government and non-profit processes. Roughly midway through the year, each class collectively chooses a project, then works toward goals aligned with that project.
Exit surveys over the years have shown that alumni consider community-building the most important part of the program.
“There were so many positive experiences that were a product of being involved, but the one that took the cake was the people, hands down” said Lydia Rupnow, a member of class 23. “Good luck to the newbies, class 27. Enjoy the journey, you’re in for a treat!”
The program’s successes in other arenas are evident as well.
“There is not a board or a council here that doesn’t have a member of our alumni on it or running it,” Rademan said, adding that alumni have gone on to contribute to Park City’s development and well-being in myriad ways.
But, he emphasized, the class is “not a secret elixir for success. It’s not there to pad your resume or tell you how to be a great presenter or speaker. We’re really there to tell you what’s available in the community and give you one more portal to be involved in a meaningful way.”
He likened the program to a three-legged stool: Class content is one leg, the ethical component and focus on social justice comprise the second leg, and the third is the networking that occurs and permanently strengthens the community.
“I’m honored to be a part of class 27, and excited to embark on this collective journey,” said Eyee Hsu. “Leadership Park City is impressive for its longevity and for the impact its graduates have on our community. I look forward to broadening and deepening my own understanding of the critical issues in our community.”
Kris Campbell, who also joins the new class next week, said he’s “thrilled” at the prospect of learning from experienced mentors and collaborating with classmates. “Together, we can help each other become more informed community members and more beneficial leaders,” he said.
Leadership Park City is open to people who live or work in greater Park City. Rademan started the program after moving here to become the city’s planning director and finding that he wanted to develop something to foster connection and involvement in what was even then a porous, fast-growing place.
His dream then, and now, centers on giving people skills and knowledge they can carry forth and determine how best to deploy to both serve others and fulfill themselves.
Applications are accepted each fall, and a selection committee of 20-30 people reads, scores and discusses each one before selecting the next year’s class. For more information, visit https://www.parkcity.org/departments/leadership-park-city/program