Core Team Members: Brandon Harris, Nancy Crocker, Jim Schultz, Darren Byrd, Sandy Higgins, Tim J. Clark.

Background and History

The Brown County Leader Network was developed through the county’s participation in the Hometown Collaborative Initiative (HCI).

The Hometown Collaborative Initiative (HCI) is sponsored by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA). OCRA provided a $5,000 grant. The County RDC provided a matching grant of $5,000.

HCI is intended for self-identified communities with a total population of 25,000 or less that want to develop a new generation of local leaders; build a supportive community environment for small business and entrepreneurs; or invest in place through creative quality of life initiatives related to public spaces, design, local foods, and tourism among others. A core principle of HCI
is that broad-based input and buy-in is vital to the long-term success and sustainability of all community development initiatives.

Brown County submitted the grant application in March 2017 and was selected for the program in May. The first task for the team was to conduct a county-wide survey. Results were shared at a community forum on March 7, 2018, where additional input was also obtained.

The HCI team then attended six training sessions from June through July 2018. At the completion of the training and a review of the input from the surveys, the team selected “Leadership” as the area of greatest need and agreed to develop a Leadership Network.

Brown County has been the first and only HCI community that selected “Leadership” as a capstone project.  The rationale was that if you develop  Leadership capabilities, the knowledge, skills, and abilities can be applied to any project. Consequently, we had to develop something “new” and we had the expected starts and stops and continue to improve our processes.

On names, we started off with Brown County Leadership Cooperative. Feedback indicated that this name may be confused with other programs. We then developed the name Brown County Leaders Connecting Leaders (LoCaL) which is the name that we used to incorporate the program. We are doing business as the Brown County Leader Network.

Program Description

Vision: To partner with a diverse group of current and aspiring leaders to form a more collaborative Brown County that strives to address the needs and values of its citizens.

Mission: To engage the Brown County community to foster county-wide collaboration and leadership.

Objectives: The BCLN has three main objectives: (1) To engage and assist collaborative community leaders; (2) To improve the competency (leadership skills) of those in leadership positions; and (3) To model proven engagement and planning activities and projects.

Process: All actions (projects) are accomplished through a process. A process transforms inputs into outputs that meet the expectations (outcomes) of stakeholders.  The Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) Cycle is a template that is commonly used in the area of quality management to develop and improve processes.

• Plan a change or test aimed at improvement.
• Do. Carry out the change or test (preferably on a small scale).
• Study. Examine the results. What did we learn? What went wrong?
• Act. Adopt the change, abandon it, or run through the cycle again until you achieve the desired outcome.