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Leadership Academy

Educating Emerging Leaders at SML

The Smith Mountain Lake Leadership Academy is a 12-month leadership program designed to develop a diversified corps of informed, committed and qualified individuals who will assume leadership roles for Bedford, Franklin and Pittsylvania county organizations, both public and private, to meet the needs of the future.

Apply now to become part of the Class of 2023. Deadline is Dec. 12, 2022.

About the Leadership Academy


  • To identify and develop potential and existing leaders in business, government, and the community and to help them better prepare for responsibility in the community.
  • To provide these leaders with a practical, clear and simple understanding of major problems and opportunities facing our community.
  • To facilitate access between emerging leaders and current leadership of the community.
  • To improve the communications network among leaders from diverse backgrounds and interests.
  • To create an avenue for persons of demonstrated commitment to the community to meet and exchange ideas.
  • To stimulate increased participation in and commitment to the community.

Mission Statement

The Mission of the Smith Mountain Lake Leadership Academy is to develop local leaders by equipping them with leadership skills, to provide information on community issues so that the community can progress, and to evoke community action based on the presentation of these issues.


Each year, participants are selected through an application process.  Orientation begins in early January and class days are the first Wednesday of each month with graduation in early December.

In its first year, the Chamber will accept 10 participants from a diverse group of local professionals, representing various local industries and entities. Applications are being accepted until Nov. 20. For those selected, the tuition will be $750, which includes orientation, classes, networking mixers and graduation.

Class of 2022

Richard Anglin

Richard Anglin

Timber Loving Care Tree Service

Chasity Barbour Community Programs Director Town of Vinton

Chasity Barbour

Community Programs Director
Town of Vinton

Alyssa Eads

Alyssa Eads

Brand Ambassador
Mariners Landing

Megan Huston

Megan Huston

Franklin County Sheriff's Dept.

Baylie Kelley

Baylie Kelley

Casago SML

Heather Kesterson

Heather Kesterson

Program Manager of CSA
Franklin County

James M. Little

James Little

Commercial Relationship Manager
American National Bank

Tracy McCown

Tracy McCown

Senior Director of Nursing
Carilion Clinic

Miranda Mitchell

Miranda Mitchell


Daniel Pinard

Daniel Pinard

Cultural & Economic Development Director
Town of Rocky Mount

Brandy Rosser

Brandy Rosser

Director of General Properties
Franklin County

Eric Schmidt

Eric Schmidt

GIS Coordinator
Franklin County

Justin Sigmon

Justin Sigmon

Franklin County Sheriff's Dept.

Rachel Wilbourne

Rachel Wilbourne

Graphic Designer
Savvy Promos, Inc.

2023 Schedule

This is a tentative schedule. More details will be distributed to the class at orientation. Most classes will be in session noon-4:30 p.m.


Wednesday, January 11


History & Culture

Wednesday, February 1


Regional Leadership

Wednesday, March 1


Economic Development

Wednesday, April 5


Recreation, Tourism & Hospitality

Wednesday, May 3


Health & Human Services/Poverty Awareness

Wednesday, June 7


Protective Services

Wednesday, July 5


Government Affairs

Wednesday, August 2



Wednesday, September 6


Agri-Business/Natural Resources

Wednesday, October 4



Wednesday, November 1



December Evening Dinner (TBA)


In order to successfully complete the Smith Mountain Lake Leadership Academy program, attendance is expected at all scheduled sessions. Failure to attend all sessions may result in participant's ineligibility to graduate from the program. The Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber realizes that unexpected situations may arise that result in participant's inability to attend. In such instances the Chamber’s Education Committee will evaluate the absence on a case-by-case basis.

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