There are 32 new leaders in Hampton Roads, as the eXcel Leadership Academy graduated the students in the class of 2018. They represented 5 Hampton Roads cities and 18 schools. During the 4 day program, they visited 9 sites and heard 18 speakers from various industries such as Clark Nexsen, The Port of Virginia, The Chrysler Museum, Chesapeake City Council and the Virginia Beach Police Department. They learned valuable lessons in the importance of social capital, regionalism, giving back to the community and various types of leadership approaches and work environments. “This program taught me just how big Hampton Roads is in terms of opportunity. The leadership camp taught me where our region’s strengths and weaknesses are and most importantly about widening my human capital,” said Bailey Sullivan a rising Junior at Maury High School.
The program culminated with a graduation ceremony at the Slover Library. Hampton Roads Chamber President and CEO Bryan K. Stephens introduced the keynote speaker, Aaron Rouse. Rouse is a Hampton Roads native who shared his leadership story of being offered a full scholarship to Virginia Tech while playing football at First Colonial High School. After graduating from Virginia Tech, he was drafted by the NFL to play for the Green Bay Packers. After a successful football career, he returned to Hampton Roads in order to give back to the community that raised him. Rouse said, “Hampton Roads has something special and could be the best region in the nation, it’s up to the youth to give back. It was important for me to come back to Hampton Roads and be part of a bigger vision for our community and our nation.”
As each of the students received their graduation certificates it was a win for the future of Hampton Roads.