By Clara Cartrette, The News Reporter
Three Columbus County residents recently completed rural leadership training at the N.C. Rural Center.
They include Latoya Beatty, MD, MPH, founder of her newly designed organization, Alumni in Action: Bolton and Neighbors Recovery Team; Devoria Berry, CEO of Community Support Agency; and Susan Rockel, manager of the Columbus County Farmers Market.
They graduated June 6 from the N.C. Rural Center’s Rural Economic Development Institute (REDI), an intensive, three-month training program designed for rural community leaders.
Rural Center President Patrick Woodie presented certificates to the program’s 30 graduates. Attending the graduation service by invitation were Columbus County residents Randolph Keaton, executive director of Men and Women United for Youth and Families, and Bolton Mayor Shawn Maynor. Both completed the REDI program in 2016.
For 29 years, REDI has helped leaders improve their leadership skills and increase their knowledge of economic and community development strategies, equipping them with tools they need to tackle issues facing rural North Carolina.
“This year’s REDI class had tremendous passion for and commitment to their rural communities,” said Bronwyn Lucas, the Rural Center’s director of leadership development. “The Rural Center recognizes the critical link between rural leaders who are inclusive, connected and informed, and the potential for creative, healthy and more vibrant rural communities across our state. We are proud to have this class as the newest members of our growing network of leadership alumni.”
This year’s REDI participants included elected officials, economic development professionals, health care professionals and civic leaders. More than 1,200 rural leaders have graduated from REDI since the program began in 1989.
Profiles on Beatty, Berry and Rockel about how they will use the knowledge they learned at REDI will follow in later editions of The News Reporter.