Auburn’s Ward 5 Councilperson, Beth Witten, moved to Auburn in 1997. She was a member of the 2007 class of Leadership Lee County, working at the time for the Red Cross. She has since served on the Board of Directors and was one of the first to join the Leadership Lee County Alumni Association. Beth now runs her own public relations firm, Blue Turtle Creative, and is in her first term as a member of the Auburn City Council.
Beth first became interested in Leadership Lee County because of its reputation, as well as for new professional networking opportunities for development and fundraising. She quickly came to appreciate the program’s comprehensive overview of the Lee County community as its most valuable feature. Through LLC, Beth connected not only with other non-profit leaders, but with business and government leaders. Exposure to each of the different key elements of Lee County helped Beth build the contacts and confidence she would need moving forward.
Beth cites the local government day as a key session for her. Here she learned how much the communities of Lee County work together. As a non-profit representative, she learned how (and to whom) to reach out to for funding. As a future councilperson, she learned how to address government officials, and gained confidence simply in having a greater understanding of the community. Leadership Lee County helped build a foundation to run for office by providing exposure to what that means and what it looks like on the other side.
From Chamber Diplomat to Councilperson, Beth has continued her journey of involvement and improvement for Lee County. As her own career has grown and evolved, so has Leadership Lee County and the community it serves. Through service projects, from her class’ service at Storybrook Farm to her involvement in the Lee County Air Show, she learned how to have an impact on the community as both leader and team-member. In fact, Beth’s recruitment of a Leadership Lee County class to help organize and staff the air show kicked off a new era of LLC service projects. Since the air show, class service projects have evolved from what was essentially a service day for the class, to a major community project, complete with fundraising, PR and a competitive spirit to up the ante from last year.
For Beth, Leadership Lee County is a network, a resource and a family. She cites the transition of LLC into its own, independent NPO and the creation of the LLC Alumni Association as major positive developments in the evolution of the program. Through the alumni committee, alumni can now continue to be involved in, and serve the community through, LLC. Ten years later, even as an established, elected local leader, Beth’s Leadership Lee County journey continues.