CIVIC Leadership Institute Newsletter  |  Issue 12 |  July2020

Message from the CIVIC Board Chair

Kit Chope, Vice President, Sustainability, Port of Virginia and CIVIC Board Chair

Sarah Jane, Amasa and Megan have balanced some well-earned downtime with their diligent preparations for the upcoming classes of Executives and CIVIC Scholars. Right now, we have 40 Executives committed to the Class of 2021 and 34 returning and incoming Scholars, and the staff is finalizing content and venues for this fall’s programming.  More details will follow to allow you to join us for the conversations.

CIVIC has always attempted to stay in tune with the issues facing us right here in Virginia.  This spring we brought you updates and insights from decision makers and those on the front lines in our battle against COVID-19, and you’ll be pleased to hear that CIVIC alumni are actively participating in regional efforts to restore our economic prosperity.  As with our last newsletter, you can read more about the ways CIVIC alumni and partners are making a difference across our community.  The themes of collaboration and connectivity are the backbone to the region and the Commonwealth’s future success. Continue Reading >>


CIVIC Alumni Volunteer Opportunities

CIVIC alumni have always enjoyed the opportunity to gather, learn and in turn, make an impact. COVID-19 has certainly prevented many of the usual events and get-togethers, but we have found there are many opportunities for alumni to not only connect, but to make a difference.

Like so many non-profits, our Foodbanks have been on the front lines throughout this pandemic. Thank you to the alumni that joined us for our first volunteering opportunity last month at the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank’s Mobile Pantry. Join us for our next volunteer event on August 13th with the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia. 


Where Do We Go From Here?

Dr. Kevin Swann, Pastor, Ivy Baptist Church and CIVIC Board Member

On May 25, 2020 our nation witnessed a most heinous crime. A Minneapolis police officer knelt on the neck of George Floyd for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. His life was taken from him even after he stated at least 20 times he couldn’t breathe. Even after those who witnessed the event, implored the officer to stop. Even after the three other police officers stood by and watched. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing our nation to “slow down,” this incident quickly became a national story and subsequently the issues of race, racism, white supremacy, police brutality, Black Lives Matter and more came back to the forefront. But there was no escaping it this time; America had to address these issues whether it really wanted to or not.

Whenever there is a crisis of any kind, leadership becomes essential. Leaders are called to be the voice of reason and give direction during turbulent times. Leaders should show empathy to the concerns and give others an opportunity to share their views, even if there are varying opinions. Sadly, the issues of our day are not new. Continue Reading >>


CIVIC Scholars Spotlight

Destini Harrell, ODU MBA Student, CIVIC Scholars Class 2018

CIVIC Leadership Institute is one of those completely unexpected things that forever changed my life. As a young student who had little confidence in her own voice, and had no idea what she wanted to pursue in life, and once aspired to leave the area after graduation—CIVIC helped me evolve into who I am today.

Through the programs and my mentor experiences, I grew into a more confident, community-oriented person. Three of the most important things to do for another person are, give them exposure, get them engaged, and mentor them (and see the value in also getting mentored by them). CIVIC allowed me all of those things and I have met some of the kindest people (including the awesome staff!) who have seen me and treated me as a person who has the ability to change the world. Continue Reading >>


RVA757 Connects Conversation

Join CIVIC Leadership Institute President & CEO, Sarah Jane Kirkland, for a conversation about the newly formed RVA757 Connects and the progress of the megaregion initiative. She is joined by John Martin, the President of RVA757 Connects, and Tom Frantz, a prominent leader and promoter of the creation of a megaregion between Richmond and Hampton Roads. Learn more about the next steps of this exciting initiative. 


CIVIC Hospitality Scholarship Fund

Akhil Jain, President, Landmark Hotel Group, CIVIC Class of 2020

Much has been said of our region’s economic dependence on defense spending and the port of Virginia.  While both have been critical to our region’s success, we often overlook the essential third pillar of our economy: Hospitality/Tourism. 

Representing a local economic impact of $5.1 billion and employing over 45,000 workers in 2019*, the hospitality industry is central to our success as a region.  Hospitality is a people business that relies on human interactions to deliver services and operate successfully.  Unfortunately, our area hotels and restaurants have been facing severe shortages of trained and available workers.  During COVID-19, this problem has magnified, especially at oceanfront locations that depend on J-1 seasonal student workers to augment the local workforce.
Continue Reading >>


CIVIC Leadership Institute is a part of the extensive network of leadership organizations across the country. We invite you to participate in an important survey on civic leadership and recent topics. The results of the survey will benefit our community and are also relevant at the national level. We appreciate your willingness to take time to share your opinions and feedback.

We greatly appreciate your participation and thank you for sharing your thoughts. Click here for more information. 


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