The North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce is accepting applications for the Class of 2017 Leadership Lab, a nine-month course that develops leadership skills for new managers, middle managers, and executives, both in their careers and personal lives. The course covers a variety of topics including ethical and community leadership, enhancing communications skills, negotiating tactics, emotional intelligence, and managing a personal brand.

The course begins with each student taking the DiSC profile assessment, which determines a person’s dominant behavioral traits. The four categories are dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness.

Jennifer Van Cleave, a senior marketing associate for RSM Accounting, is the 2016 Leadership Lab Chair. She told the Rivard Report in a Monday phone interview that the program teaches participants as much about themselves as it does about working with others. She took part in the program in 2006.

“The program teaches you how to work with different personality styles,” she explained. “I’m on the introverted side and I work in marketing. Leadership Lab helps you learn how to communicate with different personality styles. Now I can really look at other people who are different and know how to best communicate with them.”

She said the Leadership Lab gives managers the extra tools they need to advance in their careers, no matter what stage of life they’re in.

“I think it’s a unique program. We accept all age levels from around 24 to some people in their 50s,” Van Cleave said. “Whether you’re a small business owner, you work for a large company, you’re starting to advance in your career, or you’re a new manager, Leadership Lab gives you the tools to succeed in your career. It’s also an opportunity to grow your personal network.”

She added that there are a variety of guest speakers throughout the year, including members of City Council, County officials, and local business leaders.

Melodye Tomsu is a business development manager for SpawGlass Contractors. She was part of Leadership Lab in 2008 and has held various executive positions in the program. She said that the program is a great way to improve leadership skills at work and at home.

“If you want to awaken your inner leader, this program is for you,” Tomsu said. “It’s all about discovering who you are and branding yourself as a leader.”

The program has graduated more than 1,000 students since its launch in 1999. To learn more about Leadership Lab and apply for next year’s class, click here.

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James McCandless

Former intern James McCandless is a recent St. Mary's University graduate. He has worked with the San Antonio Current and Texas Public Radio.