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Leadership Hudson prepares for next sessions

Katie Inouye

Leadership Hudson is the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau's community leadership program. The program brings together current and emerging leaders from all sectors of the Hudson area and introduces them to topics impacting the community.

The Chamber is now accepting applications for the 2009-10 Leadership Hudson program scheduled later this year. For an application or more information, call the Chamber at (715) 386-8411.

One of the past graduates is Katie Inouye.

"I have worked in Hudson for the last eight years," Inouye said. "I was a participant in Leadership Hudson during its inaugural year, 2005-06."

She said she was interested in the opportunity to further develop her leadership skills and learn more about the community.

"I had wanted to get involved in the community for a long time but wasn't sure where to start."

At the time she was the branch manager and assistant vice president of the First National Bank of New Richmond (now First National Community Bank). Currently, she works for Cardinal Health and has lived in Hudson for the past seven years.

"Leadership Hudson gave me the opportunity to examine how I approach and react to leadership," Inouye said. "The program not only helped me develop my leadership skills, but also helped me consider how I can foster leadership skills in others. The connection that you build with fellow participants can last a lifetime as you grow together in leadership skills and confidence.

"The last official day of the program was environmental day. It was great spending the day with my fellow Leadership Hudson participants outside on the St. Croix River and at Willow River State Park. It was amazing to look back to see how far we had come as individuals and as a group."

She said she was recently accepted into the St. Paul Teaching Fellows and will teach middle school or high school math in St. Paul Public Schools next fall. The program is designed to recruit college graduates and professionals committed to closing the achievement gap in St. Paul.

Once accepted into the program, Teaching Fellows take an accelerated route to teaching licensure.

"I plan to include some of the topics of Leadership Hudson in my classroom next year," Inouye said. "Leadership Hudson also opened the door for volunteering in my community. I am serving my third year on the Hudson board for Junior Achievement which is responsible for fund-raising and the recruitment of volunteers."

Junior Achievement is a non-profit organization that teaches students concepts in economics, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. All of JA programs are funded by the community. Hudson currently has 140 volunteers teaching JA in 135 elementary classrooms.

"I believe anyone who participates in Leadership Hudson will walk away from the experience with a deeper sense of what it means to be a leader and a network of support for future endeavors," Inouye said.