Blog - Longview Gives Back - Leadership Huntsville-Madison County

This month’s Longview Gives Back features Leadership Huntsville/Madison County, whose mission is to “serve as a catalyst to identify, educate, inspire, and connect leaders to better serve our community.” Longview’s Jeff Cedarholm is a graduate of Leadership’s Focus program. Andrew Gipner is a graduate of the Connect class 17 and has continued to volunteer with Connect classes 18 and 19. Jeff Jones is currently enrolled in Connect class 19.


A Brief History

Leadership is a nationwide program born out of the late 1960s. In 1987, the Chamber of Commerce Foundation of Huntsville/Madison County created Leadership 2000, whose purpose was to develop current and future leaders in the community. In the 1990s, a board of directors was established, and by the mid-1990s the first part-time director and dedicated staff was hired. Today, Leadership’s six unique programs are led by President and CEO Sarah Savage along with the support of four staff members. Their vision is clear:

Leadership Huntsville/Madison County will build a community of effective and unified leaders characterized by respect, trust and diversity, to enhance the future growth and prosperity of the Tennessee Valley.


Their Programs (information sourced directly from their website)

The six programs, Leadership, Masters, Connect, Challenge, Focus, and Management Academy, cater to an array of community leaders.

Leadership - The leadership experience provides participants access to community leaders, hot-topic discussions, site tours and interactive panel interviews across all community sectors. This annual 10-month program for adults emphasizes learning through experience and provides in-depth knowledge and tools to network and better serve the community. In addition to opening and closing retreats, the program spends eight days highlighting Huntsville/Madison County’s major community sectors. Participants examine the Economic Base, Education, Healthcare, Local, State and Federal Government and Public Safety and will participate in various simulations to highlight the plight of the poor in the Madison County area in order to become well informed agents of change.

Masters – The Masters experience serves to enhance the knowledge of accomplished leaders about our Huntsville/Madison County’s successes and challenges, to engage them in generating creative responses to those challenges, and to inspire each to pursue opportunities that will enrich their lives and the quality of life for everyone in our community. The Masters curriculum covers the major sectors of the Huntsville/Madison County community. Participants meet approximately twice a month for three months to be educated about these key topics and introduced to core resources, it helps them see the needs in the community and become enthusiastic about helping to meet those needs to enhance our community.

Connect – Connect was established in 2005 in response to a growing community’s desire to attract and retain young professionals by educating them about the Huntsville/Madison County community and engaging these young leaders to get involved. Specifically designed for young professionals under the age of 40, Connect is designed to help participants enhance their community connections and involvement. The program challenges and enhances skills sets of participants to help them see their potential as a leader in their career field and the community. Young professionals are exposed to exemplary leaders from the major sectors of Huntsville and Madison County, such as education, economic development, healthcare, human services, public safety, and more.

Challenge – Challenge is a premier community youth leadership opportunity for outstanding high-school students that provides them with the tools to develop individual leadership skills, increase their understanding of our community and experiment with leadership outside the classroom.  This program is a wonderful opportunity for those already showing leadership qualities in their schools, churches, or clubs to expand their reach to the community as a whole. It allows participants to network with other young leaders in the community from different schools with different backgrounds and establishes friendships that will last into their future. In addition to the personal benefits attained from the program, Challenge alumni receive several benefits such as letters of recommendations for colleges, and internship or job shadowing opportunities.

Focus – This interactive, two-day experience provides executives a quick start for involvement in Huntsville/Madison County. Focus gives an introduction to local business and political systems and exposure to the cultural, historical, educational and human service aspects of the community. It is a highly condensed version of the 10-month Leadership Flagship program, a snapshot look at Huntsville and Madison County design to expose participants to what makes this community unique, be inspired to get involved and become equipped with the knowledge to do so.  It serves as a way to get key decision-makers new to the area, new to their leadership role or in need of a jump-start for community involvement. 

Management Academy – A steering committee of experienced business leaders of local companies came together and shared what they would want to offer the managers in their companies.  From this brainstorming session, they developed a list of the major skills that were most important, and designed each program day around a particular leadership skill. This list includes such topics as team building, effective leadership skills, marketing, finance, motivating employees, and strategic planning.  The course includes panel discussions, case studies, skills exercises, and, to offer the best results for the participants, a key objective of the program is to supply participants with mentors for specific career counsel.


Additionally, Leadership holds events and conducts meeting throughout the year to allow Alumni to continue building relationships and staying abreast of ongoing issues within the community.


Longview is proud to continue our involvement with a program in which we truly believe. For more information, you can visit Leadership Huntsville/Madison County online at


Jeff Jones with Connect Class 19 visiting the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, AL




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