When Leaders and Wine Collide
For those of you involved in some way with the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce, the Leadership Gillespie County (LGC) program will be familiar. This annual, community-based program gives citizens of Fredericksburg and Gillespie County a chance to network and learn about, among other things, local industries, schools, government, and non-profits. Since its inception, LGC has graduated over 500 people. At its root, it’s a breeding ground for our future leaders.
My introduction to LGC was through my husband who participated in the program two years ago. What I knew of it then was that it demanded a lot of his time but that he got to meet a lot of “movers and shakers” in town. And he got to go on field trips. And he ate out a lot.
Now, I know a LOT more about the program. Here’s how LGC works: You submit an application to the Chamber of Commerce. Someone reads your application, and if it seems like you’d be a good fit for the program, you’re selected. You attend an opening mixer and get to meet the other members of your LGC class. Then, you go on a retreat with your class at a kind of rustic camp where you REALLY get to know them. And this kicks off nine months of working with a group of diverse people to set big, community-enhancing plans in motion.
I’m pleased to report that as of this years’ class, six current and former 4.0 staff members are participants in the LGC program. Jesse, our GM, graduated from the program in 2016, and Jasper, one of our newer Tasting Room Associates (she also plays an important role at our local hospital) graduated in 2014. Two of our former 4.0 teammates graduated in 2013 and 2015.
This year, Beth, our Tasting Room Manager, and I were selected to join the 26th LGC class. We attended our kick-off retreat last week, and our class is off and running with great plans for our project. I’m not at liberty to reveal any particulars just yet, but let’s just say that our project is going to be an exciting and impactful one. And both Beth and I have assumed leadership roles within our class (photographer/social media guru and vice-president, respectively).
While all of this is noteworthy because it says, I think, something about the caliber of person working at 4.0, what matters most is that we’re involved in our local community in tangible ways. Fredericksburg and Gillespie County are at the center of Texas’ booming (and still growing!) wine industry. This industry generated over $13 billion in state revenue in 2017, and locally, it employs LOTS of folks.
Ensuring that our local wine industry grows in ways that benefit our community and supporting other local industries and non-profits are critical to the success of our wine industry. Our industry and community go hand-in-hand: One will not prosper without the other. So, it follows that we as local citizens AND members of the wine industry need to be active participants in our community, learning first-hand how it functions, what it needs, and what we can do to make it stronger.
I’m very proud to be able to represent 4.0 in our community…and to represent our community at 4.0. And I think it’s pretty great that I’m not alone in this. I feel confident that 4.0 will continue to foster this kind of forward thinking and civic participation so that we will remain a leader within our industry…and in our local community.