What is Leadership Charlotte?

The prestigious Leadership Charlotte program has been the signature program for Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce members and their employees for 31 years. Approximately 25 individuals have been selected annually to participate in the program. Over the course of nine months, the participants attend monthly day-long sessions that provide in-depth, behind-the-scenes, and often confidential views of the operations, challenges and opportunities in our community.

The participants, who are selected by a committee during an anonymous application process, complete a class project. They remain connected and active in the community even long after their June graduation dates.

Current status

You would think it goes without saying, but 2020 and 2021 have been drastically different. And we’re talking world-wide. When you zoom in a quatrabedraxpillion times from the world view to the Leadership Charlotte program, things are different there as well.

Due to the ongoing obvious reasons, a class is not in session at this time, but that doesn’t mean Leadership Charlotte isn’t active. While the Class of 2020 completes its project, planning is underway for future classes.

The board of directors of the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce has several divisions, including the Leadership Charlotte Division. The board vice president of the Leadership Charlotte Division is Mike Martin, State Farm Insurance Agency, and the 2021-2022 Leadership Charlotte Program is being chaired by Nick Worden with Centennial Bank.

Serving as vice-chair is Cheyenne Young with the Wotitzky Law Firm. Together they have been utilizing this time to prepare for both the Leadership Charlotte Class of 2022 and, if possible, the Junior Leadership Charlotte Class of 2022.

Information and applications for LC2022 will be available soon as they put the finishing touches on the program plans.


Now is the time to grab your calendar. There are three important dates already set for the next Leadership Charlotte class. The alumni reception and orientation to introduce the newly selected class will be held Sept. 16. The class will then meet for the first time together on Oct. 21 for their “Ice Breaker” session, followed the next day, Oct. 22, by the renowned day-long SimSoc session.

This is a mandatory session which … well, that’s all I’m allowed to tell you. SimSoc is classified as top secret, involves a book and colors. (Not to be confused with a coloring book.)

For more information about the Leadership Charlotte Program, contact Teri Ashley at tashley@charlottecounty chamber.org or 941-627-2222.

This week, Networking at Noon

We are looking forward to networking over lunch on Wednesday at Blu Grotto Italian Ristorante in Port Charlotte from noon until 1 p.m. Reservations are required so please call the chamber at 941-627-2222 to secure your seat and select your menu choice. It was a toss-up for me, but I picked the chicken Marsala.

Welcome new January members

It is important to note that businesses continue to realize the value and importance of membership with the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce, perhaps even more so during times of economic confusion. The chamber remains here to advocate on behalf of our businesses community and make sure everything possible is being down to ensure our long-term success together as a community.

Please welcome our new members: ADT Security, Bath Fitter of SWFL, Blu Grotto Italian Ristorante, Carpenter Homes, LLC, Chenango Supply Co., Cutco Closing Gifts & 360 Business Growth, Elie Electric Services; EXP Realty; Hampton Inn and Suites, North Port; SUP Englewood; and The Pier.

Although not technically a January new member, I would personally like to add our first February new member — Royal Palm Bakery — to this list because, hello, cookies.

Teri Ashley is the executive director of the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce, now in its 96th year. She can be reached at 941-627-2222 or at tashley@charlottecountychamber.org.