CONWAY, Ark. – Jessica Hemingway, Director of Communications/Public Policy for the Bossier Chamber of Commerce, was among 50 regional business leaders who attended Year 1 of the Community Development Institute – Central (CDI) at the University of Central Arkansas. Hemingway received a scholarship from AEP SWEPCO to attend the program.
“CDI was a great environment to learn more about building the whole community,” Hemingway said. “The insight I gained through this program will help me steer outreach within the Bossier-Shreveport community as a whole, and specifically within the business community. It was especially valuable for me to attend CDI as I help guide the Be Bossier campaign to help brand Bossier City and Parish within our parish, region and tri-state area.”
At the closing ceremony, Hemingway was named the CDI Year 1 Champion. She was chosen by her peers in Year 1 as the person who is engaged, concerned, committed, compassionate and inclusive, and demonstrates leadership that inspires and unites.
“I was extremely honored to have been chosen by my classmates as the CDI Year 1 Champion,” Hemingway said. “The coursework and simulations really bring the group together in discussion and community. I could not have asked for a better group to get to work alongside during my CDI coursework.”
Additionally, Bossier Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Lisa Johnson, who has attended CDI for four years – completing the program and the Advanced Year course – served as a class director in 2018 for Year 3 participants.
CDI trains community leaders and economic development professionals on how to strengthen their local economies and build communities. This is achieved by developing the ability of participants to identify community assets, set goals, encourage collaboration and partnerships with stakeholders, and bring communities, organizations and businesses together to respond to a broad range of economic and quality of life issues.
The complete institute experience is a three-year program, with one week of training per year. Participants move through the program curriculum in cohorts, and are exposed to a comprehensive, applied approach to the field of community and economic development.
UCA is the birthplace for the Community Development Institute, which started in 1987 in partnership with Entergy, Southwestern Bell, and ARKLA. Since that time, CDIs have been established in Texas, Alabama, Idaho and Illinois, and a national governing and certification body, the Community Development Council, has been created.