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Class of 2024 members doing a team-building leadership exercise at Pinot’s Palette.

Featured Article

Shaping Our Local Leaders

Leadership 21 Helps Businesspeople Enhance Leadership Skills, Build Connections + Impact Our Community

In the fast-paced world of business, there's a special place where people with a passion to learn, grow and connect are transformed into leaders. The Leadership 21 program, run by the West Chester ▪ Liberty Chamber Alliance, takes skilled professionals and gives them the tools, training and hands-on experience needed to become leaders who inspire, innovate and make memorable contributions to our local community. 

Yasmen Brown-Jones has led this program since 2018 as Director of Membership Services and Leadership 21.

“It’s an amazing way to not only grow in your own leadership skills, but it’s an opportunity for you to connect with other businesspeople and really understand more about what is happening in our community,” says Brown-Jones. “I learn something new every year.”

Leadership 21 is an eight-month program for working professionals. Each month the class spends one full day diving deeply into an important part of our community. Monthly topics include education, healthcare, criminal justice, human services and much more. Hands-on leadership training is woven throughout each session, so participants are able to grow their skills while gaining a greater appreciation for and understanding of our region. 

“Leadership 21 has helped me by providing me the opportunity to gain more knowledge of my community,” says Nathan Duran from the class of 2024. “The program gave me the chance to learn about different organizations and developments within the area. Also, just being able to make connections with my fellow Leadership 21 classmates is a tremendous resource to have as I move forward in my career.”

Each class spends the last three months of the program developing and implementing a class project inspired by what they learned. Past projects range from refurbishing a playground to organizing a charity walk. Brown-Jones emphasizes the importance of finishing with this class project.

She explains, “It allows them to come together as a group and really practice the skills that they’ve learned throughout the eight months in leadership training and apply those skillsets as a group, knowing each other even better than they did when they started.”

Leadership 21 classes form an incredibly tight bond, which carry on long after graduation. 

“Class of 2018 left a long-lasting impression, not just academically or professionally, but personally,” says Amanda Edens, class of 2018. “We truly have formed lifelong friendships and strong bonds that will last a lifetime. You may see us at lunch together, happy hour or even vacationing together! We aren't just friends, we are family. Building such connections speaks volumes about the camaraderie and support within. I am so forever thankful for Leadership 21.”

Applications for Leadership 21 can be found on the Chamber’s website and are due on August 30.

  • Class of 2024 members touring the West Chester Police Department during the criminal justice day.
  • Nathan Duran getting support from fellow 2024 class members, Dannel Shepard + Shayna Thomas.
  • Class of 2024 members doing a team-building leadership exercise at Pinot’s Palette.
  • Leadership 21’s Class of 2023 at their kick-off retreat at Camp Joy.