Last Modified: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 11:20 AM
Members of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Alliance have initiated a pilot program in hopes of closing the gap between generations of local leaders.
The GAP program is the brainchild of an Alliance task force that identified a number of business-related issues it concluded needed to be addressed by local thinkers.
Bart Yakupzack, an Alliance member, said graduates from the November 2012 Leadership Southwest class will be the first participants.
“Class graduates will be paired with a person in one of the fields of interest they select. The graduate and their connection from a different generation will be asked to meet once a quarter or a minimum of four times during the year to establish a mutually beneficial relationship helping one another bridge the generational gap.”
Leadership classes consist of 28 males and females representing a cross section of professions ranging from government, religion, minority organizations and business, according to the Alliance website.
After completing the leadership course, graduates will have been introduced to different skills like organizational communications, community awareness and media relations while getting primers on topics like the environment, state and local government.
The belief among the task force is that by pairing recent graduates with different generational leaders, it will be easier for the younger generation to learn ways to utilize their knowledge.
“And we think older leaders can benefit just as much,” Yakupzack said.
He said the commitment needed for everyone involved is “slim.”
“Everybody eats lunch or drinks coffee in the morning. We want them to meet with somebody they probably will have never met and talk,” Yakupzack said.
He noted that older leaders are willing to pass their knowledge.
“The task force is made of volunteers from generations of all ages. We’ve received a very positive response to this concept from leaders of the more seasoned generations. We are excited to gauge the program’s ability to make mutually beneficial connections between leaders from different generations.”
Yakupzack, 34, said he would take part in the program.
“It is a way to meet somebody and learn something,” he said.
Results of the meetings will be compiled after the first year of operation and the task force will make changes based on their findings.
“There is a generational disconnect in leadership, and this is a way to chip away at it,” he said.