This past week, I stopped by one of our local Chamber Members – Kilwin’s Chocolate, Fudge, Ice Cream in Birkdale Village. Bill Kenney, the owner, has always been a very engaged member of our business community, often lending a hand to local charities and non-profits. When I asked how the New Year was starting off for his business, he smiled broadly as he reminded me we’re approaching Valentine’s Day and “these are the biggest weeks of our year.”
Valentine’s Day is that time of the year when we tell that special someone in our life just how much we love them. As I reflected on that notion the other day, I could not help but think just how much I simply love Lake Norman, and for many of us, there is quite a bit to love!
Arriving at the lake some twenty years ago, I met a young man who was just starting a local newspaper. Scott Hinkle was the editor and publisher of The Lake Norman Times which predated today’s Lake Norman Herald Citizen.
Scott’s paper focused on our lake communities and the great things happening in the region. He later became the 1999 Board Chair of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce and later Chair of Visit Lake Norman. Scott used to crack me up doing a spot on impression of former President Bill Clinton. He’d poke out his lip, cock his head, and with his thumb squarely pointed to the sky, he’d utter the line in a croaky Bubba accent, “I still believe in a place called Hope.”
Scott Hinkle personified leadership and he would be excited to know that next month, the Lake Norman region will have its very first leadership conference. Business Coach and John Maxwell Trainers Dave Ferguson and Titus Bartolotta will join communications consultant Heidi Hansen and myself as we headline what we hope is the first of many Living to Lead Leadership Conferences.
It will be held Wednesday, March 7th at Grace Covenant Church in Cornelius. The net proceeds of this conference will go to The Hope House Foundation. For those unfamiliar with The Hope House, this outstanding organization provides a safe home to females, whose lives have been turned upside down when she becomes displaced from a home due to job loss, illness, or a major life change. Her safety net may be broken and she needs her community’s support to help her work toward self-sustaining goals.
The Hope House is dedicated to helping women who are experiencing “situational” homelessness. With 12 beds in a pleasant, congregate living environment, The Hope House encourages transformative life choices and helps women from various backgrounds, age groups, and all walks of life.
Neither a battered women’s shelter nor a substance abuse recovery center, The Hope House is simply a place for residents to call “home” for up to six months as they get back on their feet.
Sadly, we suddenly lost Scott Hinkle a few years ago but his dream of a place called “Hope” still lives in the hearts of many people who call the Lake Norman region home.
The 2018 Living to Lead Leadership Conference will be a great opportunity to prepare your mind for leadership and your heart for service. In the process, your participation and support provides hope for those who need a helping hand.
Philosopher Thomas Paine once said, “We have it in our power to change the world.” It starts, one person, one community at a time. For women and children who are looking for that outstretched hand and a second chance – it often starts at Lake Norman. It starts – at a place called Hope.
Bill Russell, President
Information about the 2018 Living to Lead Leadership Conference is available by visiting LakeNormanChamber.org or by calling the Chamber at 704-892-1922.