Leadership Marco, the Chamber of Commerce program that gets Marco Islanders together to learn about what makes the Island tick and meet their fellow leaders, kicked off its new season on July 28, with a new class. Tuesday evening, all the Leadership Marco alumni since the first class in 2002 were invited to get together and schmooze a little.
About three dozen Leaders answered the call, and showed up at the bar at Guy Harvey’s Island Grill in the Esplanade. Sandi Trapasso got things started, taking roll to see which class turned out the most members. With eight attendees, the class of ’09 won out, beating even the current group, who were well-represented with seven members on hand. Debra Sanders kept the flame of ’05 alive, and only the class of ’03 was a no-show.
In addition to imbibing liquid refreshment, catching up and networking, the Leadership Marco group was working to collect funds for school supplies that the Chamber will pass along to students at Tommie Barfield Elementary School, Lely High School and the Shelter for Abused Women and Children. People kept walking up to the Chamber’s Donna Niemczyk and stuffing $20 bills into her hand.
“We have a tremendous mound of school supplies at the Chamber office,” said Niemczyk, stretching her hand up to indicate how high.
Don McDonald, Leadership Marco class of 2007, brought his contribution for school supplies along. “I gained a tremendous amount of local knowledge in the Leadership program,” he said. “You find out how things really work on the Island.”
David Caruso, class of 2006, agreed. “This was a great program — a once in a lifetime experience we’ll never forget.”
Class of 2009 alum Chef Laura Owen, of CJ’s on the Bay, said it was one of the most incredible experiences of her life. “Our class wants to get all the alumni together as a group for the good of Marco Island,” she said. “You put these people together, it’s a force to be reckoned with.”
The Leadership Marco class of 2010 has held their kickoff event, attended a team-building exercise as well as their own cocktail party. On Aug. 11, they had History Day, led by Craig Woodward, at the Marco Island Historical Museum. The group will continue to meet through December, with graduation in early January.