Conco completes leadership program

Published 8:18 pm Saturday, January 8, 2011

By Wendy Harrison

Special to the News-Herald

Dr. Paul William Conco, Ph.D., president of Paul D. Camp Community College, has successfully completed a statewide program designed to give participants a finer understanding of Virginia’s challenges, while providing networking and collaboration opportunities.


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Lead Virginia is modeled on the theory of social capital, according to its Web site, and “educates proven leaders about regional differences, opportunities and challenges across the commonwealth.” The first class of 39 members graduated in 2005.

Conco, invited to participate in the program by Dr. Glenn DuBois, the Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System, graduated during a formal ceremony held recently at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond.

Participants meet for seven class sessions, held in different regions of Virginia, from April to November, learning about unique aspects of each region and how the regions contribute to the state as a whole.

“The commonwealth of Virginia is very diverse,” Conco said. “We became aware of the advantages and challenges of each region we visited, from the closing of the textile factories in Martinsville and the new energy initiatives in Southwest Virginia, to the effects of the military presence in the shipyards in Norfolk. We also had the opportunity to experience the wonderful communities and cultures that Virginia represents.”

Some of the sessions entailed input from class participants regarding issues facing the particular region.

In an article posted online by the Hampton Roads Partnership, participants brainstormed solutions during the Hampton Roads session to address rising tide levels, arriving at the consensus that part of the plan could include a regional commission with citizens serving as members.

Conco said, “It was an excellent program that I recommend highly to any leader who wants to know more about Virginia, see the work others are doing, and network with great leaders across the commonwealth.”