Gaines Group Architects has a graduate to celebrate! Congratulations to Deborah on her recent
graduation from the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber Leadership Program! This ten-month
leadership program is designed for participants to learn about our community’s past, present, and
future all while building valuable relationships. Deborah was accepted into this program in the summer
of 2021. She attended monthly community-based meetings that educated her on our community’s
strengths and future growth opportunities.
Deborah is a self-proclaimed introvert, and we are proud of her willingness to step out of her comfort
zone and participate in this program that required her to regularly engage in a large group setting. She
reflected on her experience and greatly appreciates the opportunity to participate in this program
saying it has been “a wonderful experience.” She believes the program did a great job of going beyond
typical speed networking events (which tend to be difficult for an introvert). Deborah appreciated the
opportunity to connect with others on a deeper level during each session while simultaneously learning
more about our community. She specifically enjoyed being able to hear from the community, non-profit,
educational, public safety, and local government leaders who gave her a new understanding of what it
takes for a community to sustain itself and evolve with the times.
In addition to the monthly leadership sessions, Deborah’s cohort worked together on a community
service project of their choosing. Her group opened a “pop-up” shop called First Impressions that
provided an opportunity for the public to pick out professional clothes for an interview or job transition.
Their group collected professional clothes and welcomed anyone to shop, free of charge. It was a
valuable experience for Deborah and her colleagues to work collaboratively on an impactful community
event after spending significant time together.
Overall, this program is a wonderful experience to engage with our community and build relationships.
Gaines Group Architects’ team member Annie Frazier also participated in the same program and is a
graduate of the 2017 cohort. If you are interested in learning more about our community and building
new relationships, we encourage you to check out the program here.