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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.

The Class of 2023 is full. Please contact us for details on participating in 2024.

Class of 2023

Altice, Ronnie

Ronnie Altice

Carilion Clinic

Bowman, Sarah

Sarah Bowman

Ferrum College

Cobbs, Desmone

Desmone Cobbs


Crumpaker, Michelle

Michelle Crumpaker

Bedford County

Dawson, Stacy

Stacy Dawson

Casago SML

Devericks, Shelby

Shelby Devericks

State Farm - Susan Balderson

Furrow, Steve

Steve Furrow

Mountain to Lake Realty

George, Leo

Leo George

Bedford County

Greenway, Whitney

Whitney Greenway

Bedford County

Harmon, Brad

Brad Harmon

Mariners Landing

Lee, Tyler

Tyler Lee

Ridge View Bank

McConnel, Tina

Tina McConnell

American National Bank

Montgomery, Dana

Dana Montgomery

Berkshire Hathaway Home Services SML

Redden, Mark

Mark Redden

Holley Insurance

Morris, Logan

Logan Morris

Farm Credit of the Virginias


Scheffel, Holley

Holley Scheffel

Bedford County

Stanley, Trevor

Trevor Stanley

Franklin County

Raney, Bill

Bill Raney

Franklin County



Smith, Trevor

Trevor Smith

Anchor Title SML

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.

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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