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RALEIGH, NC— Tammie Martin, Assistant Director of Finance Operations at Robeson County Church & Community Center, recently graduated from the Rural Economic Development Institute (REDI), the NC Rural Center’s flagship leadership development program. The three-month intensive training program helps existing and emerging leaders further develop their skills and increase their knowledge of economic and community development strategies, equipping them with the tools they need to tackle issues facing their rural communities.

REDI 2015 alumni and Ahoskie Mayor, Weyling White, served as the graduation speaker for the program’s 25 graduates and emphasized that REDI graduation is not the ending, but the beginning of their leadership journey. White encouraged the graduates to take action, practice the skills they learned, be bold, and dream big when they return to their rural communities. “Even though I graduated from REDI seven years ago, I still remember that feeling of returning to my community after graduation and seeing everything differently.” He continued, “REDI gave me a unique framework to see my community through an asset-based lens.” White was referring to the NC Rural Center’s Building Blocks framework for community economic development.
“This year’s REDI class has participants representing 18 different NC counties and a broad variety of sectors,” said senior director of leadership and engagement, Bronwyn Lucas. “The NC Rural Center understands the value of selecting applicants from different sectors and counties and putting them all together in one room. As a result, they are able to think differently about strategies to overcome local challenges, innovate, and ultimately create more vibrant rural communities across the state. We are thrilled to have this class join our growing network of leadership alumni.”

Now in its 32st year of operation, REDI has trained more than 1,400 leaders across the state. As a graduate of REDI, Martin now joins an extensive alumni network that spans all of North Carolina’s 100 counties and includes graduates from the Rural Center’s other leadership training program, Homegrown Leaders. Many of the Center’s leadership alumni are active in state and local government, and in philanthropic, nonprofit, and small-business sectors, as well as in faith and community-based organizations.

“Leadership development is at the core of the Rural Center’s work, and now more than ever it is important that our leaders are equipped with the skills and tools to foster growth and innovation,” said NC Rural Center President & CEO Patrick Woodie. “We’re excited to see the impact our REDI graduates will have in their communities and regions.”

This year’s REDI training was made possible through the generous contribution from Jordan Lumber. “We are thankful for this sponsorship and for Jordan Lumber’s continued belief and optimism in our mission and in the future of our state’s rural people and places,” said Woodie.

To learn more about how the NC Rural Center is developing and supporting rural leaders across the state, visit ncruralcenter.org.

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