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October 23, 2013

'Servant leaders never quit': Leadership Southern Indiana hosts inaugural annual meeting

Awards handed out at luncheon event in Jeffersonville

JEFFERSONVILLE — Leaders not only realize the path to success in life, but they also show others how to accomplish their dreams.

That was just one of the messages expressed during the inaugural Leadership Southern Indiana annual meeting on Wednesday at the Sheraton Hotel in Jeffersonville.

As a leadership training organization, LSI has been serving Floyd and Clark counties since 1981. For the first time, the organization recognized local leaders and honored volunteers during an official annual meeting.

Two honors — the George Lane Servant Leader Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award — were bestowed upon some familiar faces in the community.

Christine Harbeson, executive director of Hope Southern Indiana, received the George Lane Servant Leader Award.

She credited her spiritual faith, her family and her professional peers for their influence in her life, as well as LSI for giving her an opportunity to sharpen her leadership skills.

Harbeson said volunteering and assisting others are critical functions for being a leader.

“Serving makes one feel needed and valued,” she said. “We still need people with skills and talent who are willing to share what they have with others.”

Cile Blau, a senior judge for the state, was given the LSI Lifetime Achievement Award.

There are many great leaders in Southern Indiana and LSI helps foster connectivity and leadership through its training programs and involvement with the community, she said.

“It’s really exciting to see the new leaders coming up, and I’ve really enjoyed being part of the program immensely,” Blau said.

Though she completed some of the original training programs LSI offered, Blau said she’s learned leadership is a trait that constantly challenges her to improve herself and those around her.

“Servant leaders never quit,” she said. “If you’re committed to a community, there’s always things you can do better.”

The awards had been handed out by LSI in the past, but they will be distributed during the annual meeting moving forward.

Mark Eddy, executive director of LSI, said the organization has been helping to empower people in Southern Indiana for more than three decades, and added the past three years have been especially productive. In May, LSI reached its $320,000 match for a Paul Ogle Foundation grant a year ahead of schedule. At the end of September, LSI had received $361,568 toward the match including $135,000 from its Leadership Challenge Campaign.

LSI’s latest program, Engage, which is a six-month professional development class, also launched this year.

LSI honored the members of its Engage Committee with the organization’s Volunteers of the Year award for their work toward starting the program.

The organization is now aiming to capitalize on a three-year strategic plan to expand LSI’s impact and to increase alumni involvement.

“This is not done by one person, but by a community that believes in that dream,” Eddy said.

He took time during the inaugural annual meeting to thank sponsors as well as the people who have completed leadership training programs through LSI.

“You are Leadership Southern Indiana, and you are sharing that dream,” Eddy said.

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