CIVIC Leadership Institute Newsletter  |  Issue 3 |  October 2020

A Start to a New CIVIC Year

Sarah Jane Kirkland, President & CEO, CIVIC Leadership Institute

On Thursday, September 24th, CIVIC hosted its first ever Virtual Welcome Event for the executive class of 2021.  We have thirty-nine exceptional leaders who have committed to invest themselves in our program, and we hope you will join us and extend a warm CIVIC welcome.  The list of class members appears on our website and within this CIVIC IMPACT newsletter.  The welcome event was such a success because of our alumni who joined both as guest speakers and as participants.  Your efforts helped create a feeling of community and made even the virtual environment engaging in the true CIVIC way. Thank you to everyone who participated in this event – it meant a great deal to the new class and to our team.

It goes without saying, that strong leadership has always been incredibly important in our region.  In this year of tremendous challenges and uncertainty, our focus on collaboration, community, and connections are even more critical.  We have important work to do and important dialogue in which to engage.  We encourage CIVIC alumni to continue to join our virtual fall sessions and get to know our newest members, as well as learn how you can engage in some of the region’s recovery initiatives.

Our CIVIC Scholars program has also successfully launched into the virtual arena.  We are grateful to Brian Martin and Dawna Ellis who helped begin our program year for the students.  We have focused on the impact of COVID-19 as well as taken an in-depth look into mentorship.  This week we are fortunate to have CIVIC alum, Dr. Ron Carlee, present a workshop on diversity, equity and inclusion.  Our CIVIC Scholar seniors are working on the Mega-Region Community Impact Initiative.   The CIVIC Class of 2020 executives have dedicated time to help students not only complete the project, but to also learn valuable skills like project management and workforce protocol.

I am truly excited to include a video created by Chris Spellman, CIVIC Scholar alum.  Chris shares the importance of the program and we encourage all of our alumni to reach to Megan Shuford, CIVIC Scholars Program Associate to learn how you can become involved in the program –

I look forward to seeing you all soon.  Thank you for your work in the community and thank you for being a supporter of CIVIC.

CIVIC alumni are invited to join three exclusive programming sessions during the CIVIC Class of 2021 Opening Sessions on October 22nd and 23rd. These session will be held virtually through Zoom and are complimentary for CIVIC Alumni. We hope you can join us.


  • Date: Thursday, October 22nd, 2020
  • Time: 11:00 am-12:00 pm


  • Date: Thursday, October 22nd, 2020
  • Time: 1:00 pm-2:15 pm


  • Date: Friday, October 23rd, 2020
  • Time: 10:00 am-12:30 pm
  • Speakers: 
    • Dr. Janice Underwood, Chief Diversity Officer, Commonwealth of Virginia 
    • Dr. Mary Kate Andris, President & CEO, YWCA South Hampton Roads
    • Chief Larry Boone, Chief of Police, City of Norfolk
    • Dr. Ron Carlee, Director, Center for Region Excellence, Old Dominion University 
    • Dr. Kevin Swann, Senior Pastor, Ivy Baptist Church

CIVIC Class of 2021

CIVIC Leadership Institute is proud to present the CIVIC Class of 2021, which consists of 39 senior level leaders from across the 757 region. Please click here to see a fill roster of this year’s class:

As the country grapples with the fallout from the global pandemic and the economic crisis, CIVIC is connecting a community of committed leaders to the key initiatives that will help our region towards recovery.  CIVIC Leadership Institute’s programming focuses on the complexities of the region and engages in important discussions on racial justice, equity and inclusion and the role that leadership plays in building an equitable and inclusive community for all.

CIVIC Scholars Class of 2021

We are proud to present the CIVIC Scholars Class of 2021! This class consists of 38 students from Old Dominion University and Tidewater Community College.  Our Board, alumni and team extends a warm welcome to our returning and incoming students

CIVIC Scholars Spotlight

Christopher Spellman | CIVIC Scholars Class of 2020

“Being a CIVIC Scholar has helped me find my passion and purpose, and that is a career as a university administrator. My experience in CIVIC Scholars equipped me to successfully navigate graduate school interviews and professional development conferences.”

Christopher Spellman graduated from Old Dominion University in May of 2020 with a B.S. in Leadership and a minor in Human Services. Chris has been a part of our CIVIC Scholars Program since 2017, and it has been important part of his college experience. We are grateful to Chris for sharing with us the impact that the CIVIC Scholars Program had on his academic and professional life. Chris is attending Clemson University to pursue his Masters of Education in Student Affairs as well as working as a Graduate Assistant for Learning and Development. Watch the video below to hear more about Chris’ story.

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757-683-6890 | |

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