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Leadership Development
“You cannot choose your battlefield, God does that for you; But you can plant a standard Where a standard never flew." - Natalie Crane

Leadership Development

Strong, thriving businesses and communities need educated, talented individuals to lead the way for a successful future. Wood Communications Group has over 30 years of experience in developing community-wide leadership programs aimed at current leaders and future leaders, as well as tailored leadership programs for businesses and organizations around the country. Below are some examples of the leadership development programs that Wood Communications Group has helped develop over the years.

Leadership Greater Madison & Civitas

Leadership Greater Madison (LGM) provides advanced leadership training to help future community leaders become more aware of the issues affecting our area and the opportunities that exist to get involved. The program focuses on helping participants learn how to develop in-depth analysis of, identify resolution management approaches to, and communicate about, critical public issues while placing special emphasis on contemporary issues, challenges and opportunities, as well as “real world” options and experiences. The hands-on work of the program will focus on specific issues affecting the Dane County area. Participants will serve on an issue team and hone their leadership skills through a series of hands-on exercises related to understanding and analyzing the issue, informing elected officials and opinion leaders about the issue and collaboratively identifying and advocating possible approaches to the challenges and opportunities identified. Leadership Greater Madison is a joint effort of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and Wood Communications Group. To learn more about LGM, or to apply to participate in our next class, please click here.

Civitas was a civic education and leadership training program presented by the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and Wood Communications Group. Participants from business, nonprofits and the public sector gathered monthly to gain an understanding of significant community issues and concepts such as of property taxes, municipal finance and budgets, economic development, K–12 school finance and budgets, transportation, human services and public safety. Civitas participants learned from the best, including community leaders, local experts and officials. One of the goals of Civitas was to give participants access to the people who know how things really get done. The program began as a series of monthly luncheons and later expanded to half-day sessions over a period of six months. The goals of Civitas were to:

• Enhance public understanding of how local government is funded and operates.
• Stimulate greater public engagement with and participation in local government.
• Encourage the use of sound, relevant and balanced research in the development and adoption of public policy.

From 2006 to 2013, approximately 300 participants who lived or worked in the greater Madison area participated in Civitas and were empowered to become the next generation of community leaders.

Kennan R. Wood

Kennan Wood joined WCG in 1996 after serving as Public Liaison at the Pentagon and as Account Executive at two Washington, D.C. public affairs and strategic planning firms. He is currently President of Wood Communications Group.

Kennan has over 25 years of experience as an executive strategist in public affairs, public relations, crisis management, community relations, issue management, media relations and community impact. Issue experience has included working with senior management at medium to large size organizations and corporations around the country on issues related to economic development, early childhood development, education, energy, health care, land use, tourism, regulatory permitting, natural resources, workforce development, early childhood development, leadership growth and policy implementation. Crisis communications experience has included senior strategic management responsibilities related to major incidents including hurricane Katrina, terrorist threats, work-place related deaths, work-place embezzlement and major environmental incidents. Additional professional experience includes overall brand protection for companies, organizations and educational institutions; strategic counsel related to policy and political related issues; and strategy development and implementation on socially charged issues relating to the environment, race, and economic inequality. Leadership experience includes overall strategic plan development and implementation for multi-state corporate communications initiatives, corporate communications team integration, large team management, budget development and management, rapid response team identification and training, entrepreneurial practice inspiration, and broad exposure to multiple issues affecting both the corporate and social communities.

In addition to his experience working with clients across the country, Kennan has been active on a number of volunteer boards and committees including Glaciers Edge Boy Scout Council, Entrepreneurs Organization of Wisconsin (Board President), Phantom Lake YMCA Camp (Board Chair), One City Early Childhood Development Center (Board Co-Chair) and the Madison Regional Economic Partnership subcommittee on Regional Cooperation, Leadership and Diversity.

Leadership Greater Madison-Youth

Leadership Greater Madison-Youth (LGM-Youth) is a civic leadership development program for high school sophomores in Dane County. LGM-Youth was launched in February 2015 with a pilot class of 18 students from nearly a dozen school districts. The program is comprised of a variety of hands-on, experiential learning opportunities that help young people learn about the community in which they live and – more importantly – allow them to see the leadership role they can play in that community.

The monthly, day-long sessions include a wide range of leadership skill development activities and exercises; lively discussions and interactive conversations with local experts; a team project; and an invaluable opportunity to connect not only with youth from other schools, but also with a wide variety of community leaders from various backgrounds.