Soon after, we publicly announced our intention to begin
a local leadership initiative through which we would offer the
leadership instruction and development normally reserved
for clients. We didn’t know what to expect, but we certainly
didn’t expect what we got.
We invited our community to nominate worthy candidates. We received more than 60 nominations. That’s 1%
of our city’s total population! The initiative was officially
In January 2015, our “Vision 2050” initiative kicked off. We
didn’t know where we were headed at first. We simply did the
best we could—with what we had, where we were—to better
prepare emerging leaders. Year 1 began with a dozen enthusiastic young participants. Six men, six women.
The roster included a doctor and a fast-food manager, a
banker and a lawn service owner, an auditor and a railroader.
In the years that followed, our eclectic list of alumni has
expanded to include teachers, preachers, farmers, social workers, lawyers, salespeople, morticians, architects, engineers,
librarians, bus drivers, and stay-at-home moms.
Levels of education, professional titles, and social status
never meant much. They were never used as determining
factors for participation. Instead, we actively sought out the
brightest, most committed individuals available. And we
found significant numbers of young leaders in the making,
all eager to make a discernible difference where they are.
TOMORROW’S LEADERS TODAY
It’s now been almost five years since the inception. And it’s working! Vision 2050 alumni have stepped up and served our local
community as a council member, chamber president, various
committee chairs, economic development board member, county
attorney, hospital board member, church elders, and so on.
And the movement keeps growing. Vision 2050 alumni
now seamlessly transition into Vision West Kentucky, a 501(c)
( 3) non-profit organization founded to allow this emerging
community of like-minded young leaders a place to meet,
strategize, and serve together—interestingly enough, not
unlike the concept on which NSA was originally founded and
I still make my speaker dash as often as clients will
have me. But I no longer wonder why someone isn’t doing
something for our local emerging leaders. There’s no time to
wonder. I’m too busy working to make a difference in my own
That’s what I see. Can you see it too? ■
PHILLIP VAN HOOSER,
MBA, CSP, CPAE, is a
30-year member and Past
President of NSA. Learn more
WANT TO HEAR MORE?
Be sure to check out Phil’s
interview on this month’s
Voices of Experience®
(VOE). You can listen to VOE
episodes using your favorite
podcast streaming platform.
After years of wondering why someone else wasn’t working to grow
our local leaders, I asked myself, then answered, two fundamental
leadership questions: If not me, who? And if not now, when?
COHORTS (TO DATE): 2015, 2016,
2017, 2018, 2019
PAR TICIPANT AGES: 25 to 35
COST TO PARTICIPATE: No charge
MEETING FREQUENCY: Monthly
(February through November)
MEETING LENGTH: Two and a
half hours: 5: 30-6 p.m., group meal,
and 6-8 p.m., instruction
MEETING LOCATION: Around Phil
and Susan’s kitchen table