Community Leaders Give Back

Tony and Kathryn DeBone’s original interest in the Ford Institute Leadership Program was to become better leaders in their small business. In 2008, the DeBones participated in the first cohort of the La Pine Ford Institute Leadership Program. The experience took them well beyond their expectations. They gained confidence and skills that helped them in their business, Little d Technology, and the training helped them become leaders in their community.
Ford Institute Leadership Program curriculum concepts include community capacity and social capital, personality types and leadership styles, community development models, catalytic leadership model, and asset mapping. The Tupelo Model of Community Development, taught in the first session, includes the concepts of investing in people, civic engagement, and more.
“We’ve made lifelong friends, and have nurtured some important relationships,” Kathy adds to the list of benefits from the program. “Some ask how I can give all this time to the community yet at the same time run a successful business. By giving back to the community, helping it to be more vibrant...that helps my business. Research shows that civic engagement is positively related to economic vitality and good local government. As a business owner, our own interests lie in helping to improve the lives of others.”
By the end of the program, Tony had blossomed as a rural leader and is now a Deschutes County Commissioner. Kathy has become a La Pine Community Ambassador, a Ford Fellow, and a board member of the La Pine Park and Recreation Foundation. “I love the program,” Kathy says. “It’s inspiring to see people in our community work together toward a common goal.”