The LP Class of 2017/2018 is Just Getting Started

Ricky Butler, Class of ’15 Program Chairman

Words From the Program Chairman

A few years ago around this time, I was eagerly anticipating my year as a member of the Class of 2015. Today, the anticipation is still high for my role in the Class of 2018 – as Program Chair. If that isn’t proof that leadership journeys can come full-circle, I don’t know what is. Of course, I also don’t know how I got myself into this! I say that in jest, but being Program Chairman is a tremendous responsibility.

Beyond the magnitude of being involved in every single aspect of program day planning and execution, I’m tasked with filling the shoes of Cyndee Haydon – Program Chair World Champion for the last three consecutive years!

Leadership Pinellas helped me tremendously professionally and in preparation for my role as Program Chairman, but not in the way you may think. Everyone has a leadership story that is completely different – and that’s the beauty of the program. The diversity of Leadership Pinellas is its biggest selling point and the more perspective you can gain on the world around you or in this case, the community, the better leader you’re going to be. Further, through the diversity of the programming itself, you will recognize how susceptible you are to complacency.

As the Community Programs Manager for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, I oversee all public education programs and special events for the 15th largest Sheriff’s Office in the U.S. In other words, I stay busy. In a community-centric environment, perspective is vital and complacency is always lurking. Our greatest successes have come from thinking outside the box and never being afraid to continuously tweak programming to meet the needs of an evolving community. The “10,000 foot view” that Leadership Pinellas provides is an unparalleled source of potential when it comes to knowing what our community has to offer and how to utilize it to benefit your respective cause, and for that, I am grateful.

For the 2017-18 Program Year, I am excited to take all the tools in my toolbox and put them to use as Program Chairman. If the planning meeting was any indication, we’re in for a fantastic year! My request to committee members was simple: make certain new alumni get involved and challenge the status quo. Next year, you can expect to hear about new relevant stops, a greater variety of meeting locations to meet travel needs for the class, and a more diversified social event schedule to encourage more alumni participation. This is Leadership Pinellas, and we all know how much our county has to offer, and I want to ensure the Class of 2018 does, too.

One of the bigger changes that will greatly benefit the Class of 2018 is the addition of Emergency Services Day as a permanent fixture on the schedule. The concept had been in the works for a couple years and was offered to the Class of 2017 as an optional day. What we found, besides it being a ton of fun, is that the additional day allowed us to minimize overlap on other days such as Health Day and increase programming for each respective day.

I was pleased to have the opportunity, courtesy of our gracious editor-in-chief, to share with you my experience and vision for the Class of 2018 and beyond. I look forward to catching up at the retreat!