Alina Donahue, a 2018 Associate Leadership Collier (ALC) graduate, recently wrote an essay on the most valuable experience she's encountered to date. You guessed it—She wrote all about her ALC program experience. Check it out below:
"I have been fortunate enough to be a part and experience some amazing opportunities within our community. The experience I value the most has to be my time with Associate Leadership Collier (formerly known as GAIN).
When I first contemplated the idea about applying for Associate Leadership Collier (ALC), I didn't think I was ready. I heard about ALC and immediately thought, there is no way I will get accepted. It was very competitive to say the least.
Several weeks after applying, I received the best email ever, "Congratulations! You have been selected to participate in the Associate Leadership Collier, Class of 2018!" I was 27 years old and had just received my first position as a Director of a local hotel. I was extremely nervous. Every single person in my ALC class had one thing that I didn't have, a college degree. In a sense, I was secretly embarrassed about that, though I never showed it.
I'll never forget the first day of session. The meet and greet was scheduled inside the Naples Chamber building, there were about 40 of us. In alphabetical order, we all had to stand up and give a short introduction of ourselves with a fun fact. At the time, my last name was Perez and I was relieved because I had time to think about what I was going to say.
One by one, everyone stood up and did their introductions. You can tell some had done this before. In my class we had directors, lawyers, police officers and soon to be executives! I was petrified. When Amanda said my name, I stood up and I could feel my hands shaking. As I felt the blood rush to my face from nerves I introduced myself as "Alina Perez, Director of Sales for the Bayfront Inn 5th Avenue. I am currently the youngest Director of Sales in SWFL. And a fun fact about me is that I have a strong passion for Human Trafficking and have since joined one of The Shelter's NEXT GEN committee to help with this cause." When I finished those 3 sentences, I felt so relieved. And in that moment, I knew that I would fit right in.
During ALC, I learned so much about our community. Not only did I feel lucky but I also felt privileged to have this opportunity. Every single session was my favorite session. I never took the sessions for granted. Every week I went in with an open mind, ready to learn about our community and how I could help make Naples become that much stronger. I gained a confidence that I had yet to experience before. I became confident in my abilities as a professional and was no longer timid to take a seat at the table with our future community leaders, who also became friends.
I would say that Associate Leadership Collier was the starting line within my professional journey. Whether it's making a new partnership, asking local community leaders for guidance or giving back to our community, I can honestly say that I wouldn't have been able to do this without my experience in ALC."
For more information on ALC, click here.
The Leadership Collier Foundation of the Greater Naples Chamber remains committed to work-based learning, taking steps to ensure students have the resources they need to prepare for college, career and life.
As students across the county shifted to a remote learning, the foundation also worked to transition its signature work-based learning programs to a virtual platform. Through a partnership with Collier County Public Schools, the foundation developed unique programming for students and teachers throughout Collier County. From virtual speakers to mock interviews, the foundation has continued to connect students and educators with the business community.
“Through our partnership we have been able to provide guest speakers, mock interviews, and informational interviews all virtually,” said Courtney Stahlman, the manager of high school career academies at Collier County Public Schools. “We wouldn’t be able to do this without the connections of the Chamber and the dedication of our business community to help provide these opportunities to our students.”
Over the past few weeks, students got resume and workplace etiquette tips from human resource professionals, participated in mock interviews with community leaders and cultivated internships, all through virtual platforms. These opportunities are only possible because of the Chamber’s strong partnership with Collier County Public Schools and their NAF Academies.
These are unprecedented times, especially for our employers. We understand employers are making touch decisions to reduce expenses, including reducing operational hours and staffing. But as you begin to take steps to re-open, we encourage you to consider the role an intern can play in your company.
Interns can help your organization become more productive, raise office morale and provide fresh insights. This summer, we will have a large number of high school students interested in completing an internship and helping your organization bounce back.
If you are interested in hosting an intern, CCPS has received a grant through AT&T Aspire that can help fund your intern at the minimum wage rate of $8.56/hour for up to 150 hours of work!
If you are considering hiring intern(s), below are a few reminders:
Now more than ever, students need our support and encouragement to keep moving toward their future career. Thank you to our community partners for their continued support with our work-based learning initiative as we assist with the career development of students.
Don’t know how to get started? From hiring to managing an intern, we’re here to help. Contact Alex Breault email@example.com for more information.
The ballot is set.
Qualifying for state and local races – including state House and Collier Board of County Commissioners – ended at noon on June 12. The weeklong qualifying period set the candidates for August and November.
Collier County voters will cast their ballots in several competitive races this year. Voters in Collier County Commission District 1 will have the opportunity to pick a new commissioner for the first time in more than a decade, after Commissioner Donna Fiala announced her retirement. Over in Commission District 5, Commissioner Bill McDaniel faces a primary challenge before facing off with a Democrat in November.
Look for the race to replace Rep. Byron Donalds in the Florida House to heat up, with three Republicans and one Democrat vying for the House District 80 seat.
Here’s a breakdown of what to expect when you head to the ballot box this year:
Florida is a closed primary state, which means only registered Democrats and Republicans can vote in their party’s primary. Several races on the ballot, such as the Clerk of Courts race, are considered “open” primaries, because no member of an opposing party or with no party affiliation qualified to run.
The deadline to register to vote is July 20 in the August primary election. Collier residents can visit www.CollierVotes.com for more information on how to update your voter information, including changing your party affiliation, or to request a vote-by-mail ballot.